O'REILLY: When you enter this country illegally, number one, you have no right to be here, no right. That's the truth.O'Reilly is correct when he says that it was a discussion about crime, but he has either forgotten the discussion or is misrepresenting it when he purports that it was about "violent crime".
RIVERA: That's true.
O'REILLY: And, number two, when you're caught committing a crime, as this man was, four times.
RIVERA: He was drunk in public twice.
O'REILLY: Hold it. Four times.
RIVERA: And, one time, he was a drunk driver with no victims.
O'REILLY: He should have been deported the first time. And he was not. And the reason he wasn't deported...
RIVERA: Because he didn't commit a felony.
O'REILLY: It doesn't make any difference.
RIVERA: And he didn't commit a misdemeanor...
O'REILLY: He committed a crime.
RIVERA: He didn't commit a misdemeanor having to do with moral turpitude either.
O'REILLY: All right.
O'Reilly's complaint is about the statement,
For a host who once got into an on-air screaming match with Geraldo Rivera over whether to blame drunk driving deaths on illegal immigration, it was a pretty significant shift in tone.That statement can be interpreted one of two ways: First, that O'Reilly is relating drunk driving deaths in general to illegal immigration. That would not be a fair characterization of O'Reilly's statement. Second, that O'Reilly is relating specific drunk driving deaths, the two teenagers killed in the incident he was specifically discussing, to illegal immigration. That would be true.
O'Reilly didn't do himself any favors with his confabulation that the argument was about "violent crime", when it was not. He didn't do himself any favors with his narcissistic claim that the Talking Points Memo website "stole" that name from him. And he didn't do himself any favors by closing with a silly attack on the Internet and the TPM reporter's name. When you're accusing somebody else of playing fast and loose with the facts, it generally makes sense to try to stick to the facts, yourself.
You know what they used to say before they warned people, "Just because you read it on the Internet doesn't mean that it's true"? They warned you about television. Or the radio. Or the newspaper. Or books.
I hadn't watched the O'Reilly-Rivera face-off before. I came away with the impression that it was staged - a set-up for the epilogue in which O'Reilly and Rivera talk up their network:
RIVERA: You know, seriously, I think that one of the wonderful things about our network is that we are fair and balanced, that impassioned common peers...It was interesting to see how quickly they shifted from red-faced bellicosity to collegiality, with both men gushing over the glories of Fox News.
O'REILLY: Yes. People can decide whether you're right or I'm right.
RIVERA: Right. And they can.
O'REILLY: And they will decide that I'm right.
O'REILLY: All right.
RIVERA: Maybe your viewers will, and my viewers will judge it the other way.
So, will — I think that there is — there is that — what that does is, you often talk about political correctness and left-wing media. And I think that they do think portray our network unfairly, because they fail to represent that we are on different sides of the fence, in this issue most passionately, but many others as well.
O'REILLY: That's why we have you on every week.
RIVERA: So, I — and I appreciate the chance.