Jesse Watters, Fisticuffs and Fox Fibs

While the spectacle of Fox “News” Channel’s Jesse Watters exchanging ineffective blows with HuffPo’s Ryan Grim at The United States Institute of Peace mirrors a scene from Dr. Strangelove, this reality-imitates-art Grudge Match was 7 years in the making. And, true to form, last night both Bill O’Reilly and Jesse Watters repeated the same lies from 7 years ago that got them in trouble in the first place.

To understand this story one needs to go back to when Jesse Watters was first earning his well-deserved reputation as a stalker with a camera, who operated as Loofah Lad‘s hitman. The Falafel King is notoriously thin-skinned and, 7 years ago, took exception to something written by then-Think Progress writer Amanda Terkel. Here’s how Bill O’Reilly described Think Progress last night:

A crazy-left website called Think Progress tried to jam the fundraiser by saying that I had partially blamed Jennifer Moore for her own murder, a despicable lie.

But, it’s not a lie and Think Progress wasn’t trying to “jam” the fundraiser. Terkel was trying to jam O’Reilly for having said:

O’REILLY: “Jennifer Moore, 18, on her way to college.  She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff.  Now, again, there you go.  So every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at two in the morning.  She’s walking by herself on the West Side Highway, and she gets picked up by a thug, alright.  Now she’s out of her mind, drunk.  And the thug takes her over to New Jersey in the cab and kills her and rapes her and does all these terrible things to her.  And the thug is so stupid, he uses her cell phone, and the cops trace it back to him and they — and they arrest him and charge him with murder.” [Transcript from Bill O’Reilly.]

Everyone who knows how to read, and to think critically, understands how this paragraph is victim-blaming. Both NewsHounds’ Pricilla and Think Progress’ Terkel (with a h/t to NewsHounds) wrote about the absurdity that “It Happened To Alexa,” a reportedly fine organization that helps rape survivors, would host Bill O’Reilly at a fundraiser after his insensitive victim blaming. Here’s the group’s mission statement:

The purpose of the It Happened to Alexa Foundation is to help support rape survivors through the trauma of the criminal trial, in the hopes that more survivors will go through with the prosecution in order to put these perpetrators behind bars.

Established in 2003, the foundation assists rape victims’ families with travel expenses during the litigation process.

Bill O’Reilly didn’t take kindly to his hypocrisy being pointed out for all to see. So, he sent Jesse Watters down to confront Amanda Terkel, even though no one at Fox “News” had bothered to contact her for comment prior to this stalking incident.

Why is this stalking and not just simply an ambush interview? According to a new post by Terkel in yesterday’s HuffPo:

[…] O’Reilly sent Watters out to ambush me while I was on vacation in Virginia. On March 22, Watters accosted me on the street and asked why I was causing “pain and suffering” to rape victims and their families. He never introduced himself and didn’t give any context for what he was saying — he simply shouted questions as I tried to switch out of vacation mode and remember the short post I had written weeks earlier.

Fox News has never given an explanation for how Watters found me. I didn’t tell anyone exactly where I would be that weekend, and in retrospect, I remember a car following me for much of the way. My best guess remains that Watters found my home address, followed me for two hours to Virginia and then harassed me after I walked out of my hotel.

Which — finally! — brings us to the testosterone-fueled Fight of the Century the other night at The United States Institute of Peace following the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Seven years later, some things are clearer now than they were even then. Neither Priscilla, nor Terkel, caused “pain and suffering” to any rape victims or their families. As NewsHounds says:

In fact, the only person Terkel may have caused pain and suffering to was thin-skinned O’Reilly. At an MSNBC afterparty, following the White House Correspondents’ dinner Saturday night, Huffington Post’s Washington bureau chief, Ryan Grim, confronted Watters about the ambush and unsuccessfully tried to get him to apologize to Terkel, now Grim’s Huffington Post colleague. At one point, Watters told Grim, “I ambushed her because O’Reilly told me to get her.”
 
Watters told Grim the ambush happened because Terkel said some really bad sh*t… She denigrated some rape victims, so we had to call her out. It’s what we do.” He also said condescendingly, “I love Amanda Terkel, she’s a good girl,” and “I’m not gonna apologize, but she’s a good girl.” In reality Terkel said nothing bad about any rape victims.

First: note the repeated lie? According to Watters “she denigrated some rape victims,” which is demonstrably untrue. She merely denigrated Bill O’Reilly which is the only reason “O’Reilly told me to get her.” “It’s what we do.”

But, how did this all lead to blows being exchanged?

Whiny little man-boy stalker Watters objected to Grim sticking his phone camera in his face — like he has stuck a camera in the faces of dozens of people over the years. So Watters snatched it away and tossed it across the room. Grim retrieved it — it hadn’t stopped recording — and stuck it back in Watters’ face. Watters The Stalker grabbed the phone again and put it in his pocket.

This is what led to the fight in which Grim tried to get his camera away from the unrepentant child playing keep-away.

However, the phone was eventually retrieved, the video saved, and posted. [Embedding unavailable but it’s a fun 6 minutes.]

Since this incident blew up the internet on Sunday, I was poised to see how O’Reilly would deal with it on his Monday show. And, wouldn’t you know it? The Culture Warrior didn’t disappoint in his lying and deflection. Like the Geiko commercial, it’s what he does.

First O’Reilly set the scene by showing video of violent protests. No, really! If you’re going for false equivalency, why not go all the way?

Yesterday in Seattle a May Day, anti-capitalism protest turned violent.
 
A number of police officers were injured, one hit by a Molotov cocktail.
 
Some protesters were arrested, but nothing will really happen to them.
 
In California and Indiana, protests included young children.
 
Now protesting can be a good thing, think Boston Tea Party.
 
But it’s how you do it.
 
Certainly some voting for Donald Trump are protesting, but they are using the ballot.
 
Some on the far left, however, want to destroy, not protest.
 
The subversives in Seattle were organized and planned their mayhem.

Then Loofah Lad makes a sharp turn to somehow drag Ryan Grim into his rant:

There comes a point when a political movement becomes destructive, and that point has been reached with the far left.
 
And we have a very personal example for you tonight.
 
Jesse Watters was confronted in Washington over the weekend by a far-left zealot who hectored him and provoked a confrontation.

Get the picture? Far-left zealot! Hectored!! Provoked confrontation!!!

Weirdly enough, after accurately describing what he said 7 years ago, with still no recognition he was blaming the victim, O’Reilly started spinning and lying all over again:

The whole thing was insane.  This Grim character had no business bothering Jesse Watters about anything.

O’Reilly can send Jesse Watters out of state to stalk people with a camera, but “this Grim character” has no business bothering the precious Jesse Watters. He continued:

But that is what the far left does, they seek to harm people with whom they disagree.

It’s like he’s talking about himself and the Jesse Watters Stalking Missions™. They seek to harm people with whom they disagree. But, Loofah Lad wasn’t done yet:

Talking Points has had enough.  All far-left kooks who cause trouble and break the law will be held to account here.

The Falafel King tells us every night that he’s looking out for you, but he’s really just looking out for himself, spewing new lies to — once again — cover-up for his gross insensitivity of 7 years ago. Watch the entire Talking Points Memo where he falsely equates Ryan Grim’s silly stunt with May Day anarchists:

[EMBED #2: <script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://video.foxnews.com/v/embed.js?id=4875240527001&w=466&h=263″></script><noscript>Watch the latest video at <a href=”http://video.foxnews.com”>video.foxnews.com</a></noscript>]

Watters and O’Reilly would have been better off letting the lie die. They foolishly resurrected it to falsely claim that Amanda Terkel deserved it. They just cannot stop blaming the victim, like O’Reilly did Jennifer Moore 7 years ago.


Photo: Twitter

Headly Westerfield wrote under the nom de blog Aunty Em Ericann for NewsHounds when the Terkel incident happened and remembers it vividly. He currently compiles Friday Fox Follies for PoliticusUSA.