By Ben Barrack
The charge was first alleged earlier this week in an article by Ryan Lizza in the New Yorker. In essence, Lizza claims that gang of 8 Republicans in the Immigration debate (he names Rubio and McCain specifically) have lobbied Fox News hosts to garner support for the Immigration Reform (Amnesty) bill.
Here is the relevant excerpt from the New Yorker piece:
McCain said that he, Graham, Rubio, and others also have talked privately to top hosts at Fox, including Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Neil Cavuto, who are now relatively sympathetic to the Gang’s proposed bill. Hannity voiced support for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, which he previously dismissed as “amnesty,” on the day after the 2012 election.
On his June 20th program, O’Reilly opened his show by claiming that such a charge was ridiculous. He mocked the notion that he has ‘colluded’ with anyone, referring to his show as a ‘no collusion zone’ while also making reference to an off-air call he had with… wait for it… Marco Rubio, which he dismissed as insignificant. He then came out in full support of the Gang of 8’s bill before going to a soft-shoe interview with another ‘Gang of 8’ Republican – Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ).
Click here to see the TPM / Flake interview.
When someone is busted doing something untoward or wrong, the response of an unrepentant suspect is almost universally similar; he or she smears either the accuser, the charge, or both as ludicrous. While this is not proof of wrongdoing, it is a trait of wrongdoers. People who are wrongfully charged, rightfully have similar reactions; this is what makes the response so effective. The behavior of O’Reilly, who has long been regarded as a hawk on immigration, only serves to bolster Lizza’s claim, not detract from it.
Right after O’Reilly’s powder puff interview with Flake, he had talk show host Laura Ingraham on to debate the issue further. O’Reilly had not one sound argument in response to Ingraham and came across as incoherent before ending the interview by telling Ingraham he disagrees with her “100 percent”.
Interestingly, one of the biggest talking points to come out of the Gang of 8 and by extension – the Republican Party establishment – has been that immigration reform must be passed or the Party will destroy itself with Hispanics. You know who else has been making this argument?
Far left Democrats like Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who is also in the Gang of 8:
In an article by Michael D. Shear at the New York Times, he reports that the Obama administration itself is the driving force behind the Gang of 8. Again, the same fatally flawed argument was put forth:
Passage of immigration legislation is critical to Mr. Obama’s legacy but could also help Republicans repair their image with Hispanics — a rare confluence of political interests that has stoked optimism among supporters that it will pass the Senate in the next several weeks.
So, a primary reason why the Republicans need to pass the bill is to prevent the destruction of its own Party and this is the same argument put forth by the opposing Party?!
To recap, in response to reports that O’Reilly talked privately with Republican Gang of 8 members who allegedly lobbied him hard / colluded with him to support the immigration bill, the Fox News host does the following:
- Admits to having at least one private phone conversation with Marco Rubio but attempts to dismiss it.
- Follows that up by giving another Republican Gang of 8 member a platform on which both men publicly align with each other on the Gang of 8 bill.
- Interviews Laura Ingraham shortly thereafter and defends another Republican Gang of 8 member – John McCain – without offering one coherent response to Ingraham’s problems with the bill.
O’Reilly appears to be looking out more for the Gang of 8 than for the folks.
There is definitely more to this.
Note: When people think about the immigration debate, it’s generally considered to be about whether Mexican aliens should be granted amnesty. While that may be the predominant contingent of non-U.S. citizens currently in the U.S., there is an increasing number of Muslim immigrants in this country who do not currently have the right to vote. For example, since 2006, the number of Saudi students in the U.S. has grown seven-fold and is rapidly approaching 100,000. Right now, the Obama administration is giving serious consideration to granting asylum to Syrian refugees, about whom we know very little. Will they be granted citizenship if the immigration bill passes? How about more Chechnyans like the Tsarnaevs?