Bill O’Reilly is pretty defensive about his Super Bowl interview with President Obama.
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank learned as much on Tuesday. Milbank dared to write a critical piece on the nationally televised interview, and he unleashed O’Reilly’s famous temper.
“He’s a weasel, in my opinion. Beneath contempt,” O’Reilly told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.
O’Reilly said that Milbank shouldn’t expect an invitation to the “No Spin Zone” anytime soon partly because “the audience despises him.”
But O’Reilly couldn’t care less about Milbank.
“I care that the Washington Post employs him,” O’Reilly said. “That’s what I care about. Whatever he says, doesn’t bother me because I know where it’s coming from. But the fact that the Washington Post would employ a guy like that — I mean, it’s really disturbing.”
Really, it’s not about Milbank.
“But I’m not on a jihad against Milbank. I’m on a jihad, a holy war, against declining standards of journalism. The Washington Post editors — if they watched the interview, which, God knows if they did or not — had to know that Milbank was lying,” O’Reilly continued.
“And they had to know that he was lying for a reason, that he’s a far-left zealot. It’s okay to be a liberal columnist, but once you cross the line into lying to promote what you want, then the paper’s got to take action.”
Milbank wrote that O’Reilly “devoted nearly 40 percent of [the interview] to the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, 30 percent to the Obamacare rollout and 20 percent to IRS targeting.” He counted 42 times that O’Reilly interrupted Obama and wrote that the pundit was “hostile” to the President.
Hewitt later invited Milbank on the show, and the columnist questioned O’Reilly’s assertion that he lied.
“And look, we can have a difference of opinion about the merits of the interview, of ideology, of politics, but if he’s saying there’s something factually wrong, I’d like to know what it is so that I can correct it,” he told Hewitt.
But O’Reilly hasn’t responded well to even the faintest criticism of his interview. On Tuesday, he blasted the Associated Press for its characterization of the interview.
“The Associated Press, their headline of the interview was: ‘President Obama Defends Himself from Republican Charges,'” O’Reilly said on “Fox and Friends.” “These aren’t questions that all Americans should be interested in? No. Just Republicans should be.”
Obama himself made note of O’Reilly’s choice of questions, arguing that Fox’s top host is “absolutely” unfair in his coverage.