Ever since highly respected reporter Jorge Ramos was kicked out of a Donald Trump press conference last week, conservative media figures have spent much of their time smearing the Univision anchorman, proclaiming him an “activist” and “illegal immigration advocate” in an effort to discredit him as a journalist. Perhaps the loudest of these voices has been Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, who has mentioned Ramos numerous times on his program and has claimed that he has no business anchoring news programs now because he’s a full-fledged immigration activist. Well, on Wednesday, Ramos appeared on The O’Reilly Factor to confront his accuser, and fireworks ensued.
As Papa Bear is wont to do, he attempted to ambush Ramos right from the start, pushing him on his views on immigration laws as well as trying to force Ramos to support O’Reilly’s ‘Kate’s Law’ proposal. (Remember, Bill-O is the one whining about Ramos’ advocacy.) The Fusion anchor told the Fox News host that a 1,900-mile wall would be extremely wasteful, expensive and futile. He also dismissed Kate’s Law, pointing out that undocumented immigrants tend to commit crimes at much lower rates than native-born citizens and said that there are more efficient ways to deal with criminals.
Of course, O’Reilly did his typical bullying blowhard act regarding Ramos not endorsing his super-awesome Mexican-murderer-catching law, labeling Ramos as “an enabler” while referencing Kate Steinle’s killer. Still, the longtime journalist wouldn’t take the bait, informing O’Reilly that it is his belief that background checks and tougher enforcement of existing laws were what was needed.
After some more back and forth about immigration, with O’Reilly saying he just wants people to face the consequences for breaking the law while Ramos pointed out how impossible it would be to round up and kick out 11 million undocumented residents, Bill-O finally went in for the kill with the following question:“You’re an anchorman, how can you possibly cover illegal immigration fairly when you’re an activist, when you’re a proponent of allowing them amnesty?” He also added, “You should excuse yourself from it, or recuse yourself from it, or become like me, a commentator.”
Ramos’ response was absolutely brilliant, and obviously flustered the humble correspondent.
“Mr. O’Reilly, I don’t think you are the right person to lecture me on advocacy and journalism when you spend most of your program giving opinions and not asking questions, defending Republicans, criticizing Democrats, and frankly, conducting interviews — soft interviews — with conservatives that you agree with. The difference between you and me is that you are partisan, and I’m independent. I can be tough with President Barack Obama, and I can be tough with Donald Trump.” ”
While Ramos was saying this, Bill tried to talk over him, saying that he’s merely a commentator and that he isn’t in the same position as Ramos. This is a standard O’Reilly ploy. See, he’s a journalist when it fits him, but only when he wants to be taken seriously. This was revealed nearly right away, as he pointed out that he has also interviewed Obama, and he was “100 times tougher” on him than Ramos. In O’Reilly world, journalists that don’t work for Fox News are only supposed to read the news and act as stenographers. However, if you are a conservative, it is OK to have an opinion as you are just being fair and balanced.
Ramos ended the interview by saying that as a journalist and a reporter, he should feel obligated to take a stand against racism, bigotry and injustice. As he sees it, that is what truly good news journalists do. Earlier this week, he highlighted that fact in a piece he wrote for Fusion, pointing out that men like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite did the same thing in the past when they saw wrong being done.
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of Fox News: