Fox News host Bill O’Reilly criticized what he described as “ideological commentators” on Friday for being all too willing to stir up trouble by latching on to a story, while drawing a comparison between coverage of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).
“MSNBC has convicted Governor Christie of crimes over and over and over again in the ‘Bridgegate’ story, and the network did that for two reasons,” O’Reilly said. “It amped up its liberal base for ratings, and it targeted a politician who might be a threat to Hillary Clinton.”
O’Reilly’s criticism came in response to CNN host Brian Stelter, who said on Thursday that he “can’t think of MSNBC taking an equivalent story on the left and spent weeks covering it the way Fox News has, and Sean Hannity chief among them.”
“If Stelter doesn’t know that, he’s not qualified to do any reporting anywhere at any time,” O’Reilly said. “If he does know it, he lied on national TV. And that’s far worse than some Fox News commentators sympathizing with an ill-informed rancher in Nevada against a big government overreach.”
Stelter acknowledged O’Reilly’s “shout-out” online on Friday, but then asked, “Maybe you didn’t watch the whole segment?”
The longer clip of Stelter’s Thursday remarks showed that he also said Hannity and other Fox hosts could have avoided having to back away from supporting Bundy by doing more research on him before taking up his cause so loudly — a criticism also levied by O’Reilly on his show Thursday night, and alluded to on Friday.
“Some commentators, including a handful on Fox News, rallied to Mister Bundy’s side,” O’Reilly said. “But most Fox News people did not. And that’s why we’re successful. We have a wide range of opinion, expressed in a vibrant way.”
While O’Reilly did not mention his network’s about-face regarding Bundy coverage, he did have harsh words for people who still supported him in the wake of his racially-inflammatory statements about African-Americans.
“The man foolishly asked whether Blacks are better off being dependent on government as opposed to being victims of slavery — an insane and outrageous question,” O’Reilly said. “The institution of slavery allowed murder, rape, child abuse, child abandonment, whippings, and other horrors beyond description. Those things were done by Americans who brutalized Black human beings for decades. Millions of other Americans were killed or wounded to end slavery during the Civil War, so the anti-American loons who disparage the country to this day are misguided as well.”
Watch O’Reilly’s commentary, as aired on Friday, below.