Covering the Presidential Race
By: Bill O'ReillyFebruary 23, 2016
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Some in the American media do not quite understand that reporting and analyzing what presidential candidates are doing and saying is not supposed to be a rooting experience.

When you root for someone you can't possibly cover that person in a fair and balanced way.

Now if you're not a journalist, it really doesn't matter.  There are plenty of programs on radio and TV that use political campaigns for entertainment purposes.

Comedy Central makes a living doing that with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert becoming stars.

But the serious business of actually bringing information to you the American people about those who want power over you is no joke.

It is well documented that the national press in this country leans left.

In fact if the Fox News Channel did not exist, almost all the television reportage would come from liberal-leaning companies.

That's a fact.

There is also pressure to get ratings, to bring in candidates who will attract a mass audience.

Donald Trump is the best example of that.  He is in great demand on TV.

Mr. Trump knows this, but I have to say he has been fairly fearless showing up pretty much everywhere to make his case.

We hope that continues.

However, like every other candidate Mr. Trump wants to be treated in a way that he considers fair and therein lies the problem.  What's fair?

There are some political candidates who will not appear on certain venues because they do not want to subject themselves to rigorous questioning.

Sometimes I will tell you who those people are.

Dick Cheney, for example, did not do The Factor while he was Vice President because he knew that I had many questions about his Iraq war participation.

After Mr. Cheney left office he came in here a number of times, but while he was serving he wanted no part of us.

President Obama has sat for three interviews with me, but I do not believe he will come in again.

The last time we spoke the interview was very intense and the word on the street is the president didn't like it.

Now that does not matter to me.  My job is to ask every political candidate the toughest questions I can think of.

If you watched The Factor last night you saw Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson all put through their paces.

By the way, we'll have a lively mail segment about that at the end of the program.

The danger here is that some candidates will go only to venues that favor them.

This week some pirated audio featured a conversation off the air between Donald Trump and MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

Some believe the conversation was inappropriate.

It began with Ms. Brzezinski complimenting Mr. Trump for bringing an Iraq war veteran onto the stage with him.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC HOST: "You know what I thought was a kind of wow moment, was the guy you brought up on stage."

TRUMP: "Yeah that was great."

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: "We played it several times this morning."

BRZEZINSKI: "We played it up against Obama."

TRUMP: "Both guys."

BRZEZINSKI: "Both guys."

SCARBOROUGH: "For years we played Obama first -"

BRZEZINSKI: "The young guy was a champ."

SCARBOROUGH: "-- and then we played the guys."

TRUMP: "Yeah I saw it.  I watched your show this morning.  You have me almost as a legendary figure.  I like that."

((EDIT))

TRUMP: "We have one more segment?"

BRZEZINSKI: "One more segment, then we're good.  Thank you for doing this."

TRUMP: "Okay, I'm doing it because you get great ratings and a raise.  Me, I get nothing."

BRZEZINSKI: "We're getting a real window into your -- so..."

SCARBOROUGH: "Well..."

TRUMP: "Just make us all look good."

SCARBOROUGH: "Exactly."

Now Talking Points does not see anything wrong with that banter.

Donald Trump has said similar things to me off camera, that he brings in big ratings and he doesn't get much out of it.  But he does this in a joking way.

Some believe that Mr. Trump tries to co-opt some journalists, tries to persuade them to be friendly.

But almost every political candidate does that, it's part of the process.

Of course politicians want favorable treatment and there's nothing wrong with them trying to get it.

But there is something very wrong with news vehicles providing favorable coverage for any candidate in return for access or simpatico ideology.

Running for president is a serious business and all of us covering the campaign have an obligation to be fair but tough.

And make no deals.

And that's the memo.

 

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