O'Reilly Rips Press Coverage of ICE Raids: 'A Low Point in American Journalism'

February 14th, 2017 8:20 PM

In his opening monologue and first segment Monday evening, Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly sharply criticized the national and local press coverage of the past week's immigration raids.

In his Talking Points Memo, O'Reilly observed the press's utter failure to headline the fact that the raids targeted criminal illegal aliens, describing that failure not as press bias, but as "blatant dishonesty."

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

The host's first guest then accused the press of deliberately drumming up uncalled-for "mass hysteria," and described the operation as "the same kind of operation they did conduct under President Obama."

Here is O'Reilly's opening:

Transcript (first 3:58 of 4:24 clip; bolds are mine throughout this post):

BILL O'REILLY: Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight.

A stunning display of dishonesty from the national press and radical left politicians. That is subject of tonight's Talking Points Memo.

Last week about 680 undocumented aliens were arrested by ICE officials countrywide. Many of them have already been deported. (O'Reilly appears to have meant to say "previously deported." — Ed.) The coordinated rates targeted aliens who had committed crimes in the USA, mostly felonies.

75% of those taken into custody had convictions, including homicide and rape. One man arrested in Chicago, an Iraqi citizen, with a conviction of sexual abuse of a victim unable to consent. Many of the arrested non-felons were associating with the criminals.

But those facts have largely gone unreported by the American press and by the radical left, which is actively misleading you.

(Cut away to February 10 segment with California State Senator Kevin De Leon on another Fox program)

KEVIN DE LEON: What took place yesterday, with raids, in personal homes, is part of the cog of the Trump deportation machine.

(Cut away to previously recorded MSNBC segment with attorney Paul Reyes)

PAUL REYES: How inhumane this is to be breaking down people's doors and separating parents from their children.

(Cut away to separate previously recorded MSNBC segment, with Congressman Ruben Gallego speaking)

RUBEN GALLEGO (D-Ariz.): This is Donald Trump really executing his campaign plan. He's trying to be a tough guy. So he's going to go after, y'know, the maids, the moms, the people that are working in the shop, instead of going after the hard-core criminals.

(Return to studio)

O'REILLY: "Maids, moms and shopkeepers," according to that dishonest politician.

Now, the false news reporting actually reached the level of hysteria. Newspaper headlines screaming things like "The Trump Deportation Regime Has Begun"; "Immigrant Community on High Alert Fearing Trump's Deportation Force"; On Devon Avenue in Chicago, News of Immigration Raids Intensifies Fears." We could find no headlines in major newspapers, none, that benefit the fact the rates were targeted at illegal aliens who had committed serious crimes. Committed them. That's not press bias. That's blatant dishonesty.

Here's another example. In the year 2013, the Obama administration removed from this country more than 434,000 illegal aliens, the highest number in history, which goes back to 1892. Did you see any anti-Obama demonstrations? Did you see any screaming headlines in the national media? No you did not, even after President Obama said this:

(Cut to a Barack Obama speech in Madison, TN in July 2015)

BARACK OBAMA: What we should be doing is setting up a smart legal immigration system that doesn't separate families but does focus on making sure that people who are dangerous, people who are gangbangers or criminals, that we're deporting them as quickly as possible.

(Return to studio)

O'REILLY: And that's exactly what President Trump is doing, exactly. But the illegal immigration issue has been set up by the media to demonize Mr. Trump as a racist and a brutalizer of the poor.

That's what's really going on here, a set-up. It's flat-out disgraceful. If the federal government cannot remove aliens were committed serious crimes in this country, then we don't have an effective federal government.

But the far left and the press, knowing full well that the ICE raids last week were directed at dangerous people, chose not to report that, instead smearing President Trump

We have now reached a low point in American journalism ...

O'Reilly went on to contend that those on the far left "do not want any immigration enforcement. They want open borders, they want alien criminals protected, and they want anarchy," and that they represent a "radical element in this country which wants to destroy it."

It must be noted that California State Senator De Leon, who briefly spoke in the first cutaway segment, bragged last week:

Half of my family would be eligible for deportation under the executive order, because they got a false social security card, they got a false identification, they got a false driver’s license prior to us passing AB 60, they got a false green card, and anyone who has family members who are undocumented knows that almost entirely everybody has secured some sort of false identification.

O'Reilly then spoke with Claude Arnold, a retired ICE special agent who was in charge of special investigations in Los Angeles.

Arnold described the media's and the left's posturing as "mass hysteria," insisted that the ICE operation was "a fairly routine operation, the same kind of operation they did conduct under President Obama throughout his administration," declaring that the deliberate mischaracterization of these raids "caused hysteria in those communities."

O'Reilly pointed out that "in Los Angeles, out of the 165 arrested, 151 had felony arrests."

"The majority" of the others, according to Arnold, had deportations warrants out on them. Arnold described the reporting "of course" as "politically motivated."

O'Reilly was spot-on in declaring at the end of his opening monologue that "you are not getting accurate information." When that happens, it's up to those who know the truth to ensure that others learn it.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.