"Don't hit anybody, OK?" O'Reilly jokes to NY gubernatorial candidate Paladino

Despite what many conservatives claim, The New York Times and liberal blogs don't always see eye to eye; and despite what many liberals claim, FOX News Channel hosts don't always ignore controversies involving conservatives.

While 'The Gray Lady' claimed that the Republican candidate for governor of New York received "no easy pass" during an appearance Monday night on Fox News, a top liberal media watchdog blog thought that pundit Bill O'Reilly instead was busy "making excuses" for the controversial office-seeker embraced by the tea party movement. Meanwhile, fans on Paladino's Facebook page teed off on O'Reilly for being a "bully."

At the NY Times' City Room blog, Javier C. Hernandez writes, "An appearance on The O’Reilly Factor might have seemed like a slam-dunk for a candidate like Carl P. Paladino, who has made attacking the Democratic establishment a centerpiece of his bid to be New York’s next governor."

But Mr. Paladino, a Republican, received a far cooler reception than expected on the Fox News program on Monday night.

Bill O’Reilly, the show’s host, called Mr. Paladino’s indignant strategy a “very flamboyant gamble” and said Mr. Paladino was a “zoo man” for forwarding racist and pornographic e-mails to friends.

Brit Hume, a Fox News political analyst, said Mr. Paladino had “crossed the line between tough guy and thug” after threatening to take out a New York Post reporter last week.

The Times also noted, "Shortly after The O’Reilly Factor was broadcast, Mr. Paladino’s Facebook page featured comments from fans criticizing Mr. O’Reilly’s interview style. Some faulted Mr. Paladino and offered alternate talking points."

Some comments from the Facebook page:

O Reilly is a bully, thats right he didn't let you talk Carl.


O'Reilly is an ass... Why couldn't he talk more about the issues instead of the incident. He sounded like a host on msnbc. NY needs someone who is a little off and crazy, somenone who is going to shake up Albany and not just talk about it. We don't need a career politician who will feed us the same BS as usual. We need Carl mad as hell ...


I just sent an e-mail to O Reilly about that. He was fair but not really very welcoming


I think Carl was on his best behavior, and didn't want to come on too strong, but I also think Bill O'Reilly likes the idea that Carl is a thug because that is what we need in Albany.......

At the conclusion of his interview, O'Reilly joked to the combative candidate, "Don't hit anybody, OK?"

Then O'Reilly played "devil's advocate" to debate Hume on the interview and Paladino's chances in the NY race against Andrew Cuomo.

"He had every right to be indignant and to act indignant and angry about what he thought was harassment of his daughter but you take that to the point where you are in a wholly undignified shouting match with a journalist and threatening to take him out and I think you cross the line between tough guy and thug," Hume said. "At least in terms of how it appears."

O'Reilly replied, "I'm not arguing with you. I'm just saying that some people are going to vote for thugs this time around. They've had it with the gentle stuff that crippling this nation. They've had it and I think that's what Paladino is going for. 'You know, look, I'm just going to let it fly, I'm going to be mad as hell. I'm not going to take it anymore, you vote for me or not.' Because that's his only chance. He can't win in a regular way up against a Cuomo machine. He can't. It's impossible."

O'Reilly agreed with Hume that Paladino could run a pure anti-incumbent campaign but "with the media and the money locked up, it's very, very tough."

A blogger at News Hounds wrote,

I’m not a mindreader but I’ve been watching O’Reilly long enough to think that he knew he had a real case on his hands. But for some reason – whether loyalty to the Republican Party, to the Tea Partyers in his audience, to his desire for a conservative to win the election, to a Fox News agenda or all of the above – he kept on acting as though Paladino was a legitimate candidate who merely needed a little polishing and professional handling.

However, the blogger notes, "Kudos to Brit Hume for coming out and calling a spade a spade – or in this case, a thug. Sadly, he’s the first Fox News pundit I’ve seen speak up about the Emperor’s New Clothes that make up Paladino’s candidacy."

But, the blog ends with the following: "Fox News: The network where thugs can count on getting a break – so long as they’re Republicans."

Perhaps News Hounds missed the segment on O'Reilly's show after the Hume exchange.

FOX News political commentator Juan Williams said of Paladino: "This is a guy with history of writing emails using the n-word, pornographic emails. This is a guy..."

"Yeah, I know," O'Reilly interrupted. "He's a zoo man. That's what zoo men do. You ever hear that in college Mary Katherine? A zoo man? That's what he is. I mean he's not Mr. Sensitive."

But O'Reilly, still playing both sides of the fence, added, "In any other year these are problems. You know, they want somebody to get in there with a hand grenade. That's how angry people are."

The following video was uploaded by News Hounds: