Bill O’Reilly on Thursday ended up in a shouting match with South Carolina state Rep. Todd Rutherford (D) when the Fox News host challenged him for calling out the channel in the aftermath of the killings of nine people in Charleston, S.C.
The host of “The O’Reilly Factor” introduced Rutherford as a friend of one of the victims, pastor and state Sen. Clementa Pinckney (D), but eventually challenged Rutherford on a remark he made earlier that day about the conservative news channel.
“You said something that bothered me a little bit, and rather than attacking you, which I don’t wanna do, I wanna play the clip,” O’Reilly said.
He ran a piece of a CNN interview in which Rutherford said that part of suspect Dylann Roof’s ideology had formed in part “because he watches the news and he watches things like Fox News, where they talk about things that they call news but they’re really not — they use that coded language, they use hate speech.”
Rutherford also cited Fox coverage of accusations surrounding President Obama’s birth certificate and those questioning his citizenship.
“You say that this Roof kid watches Fox News — do you know that he watches Fox News?” O’Reilly asked.
“No, what I said is, things like Fox News, I never said —”
“No, you said ‘he watches Fox News,'” O’Reilly interrupted.
Rutherford said that some of Roof’s statements, such as his concern about black people raping white women and taking over the country, were similar to views and coverage the state senator had heard on Fox.
“You’re equating what Dylann Roof did in that church to our commentary here? Is that what you’re doing?” O’Reilly said, as Rutherford spoke beneath him. “Are you gonna stand there tonight and say Fox News justifies brutal crime against African Americans?”
“No, that’s you saying that,” Rutherford said.
“No, you said it,” O’Reilly shot back. He then wound the segment down.
“I gotta say, I think Sen. Pinckney — I know you’re a good friend of his and you’re upset — but I don’t think he would’ve embraced that kinda rhetoric today,” O’Reilly told the victim’s friend.
Rutherford began to respond but was cut off as O’Reilly moved on.
The segment echoed an infamous moment from 2006 when O’Reilly interviewed the son of a 9/11 victim, Jeremy Glick, who opposed the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.
The Fox host, initially sympathetic, eventually cut Glick’s mic out of “respect for [his] father.”
Watch the clip: