Bill O’Reilly, sticking up for George Stephanopoulos

A few tweets touched off my interest in the segment above, from last night’s edition of the “O’Reilly Factor.” They were talking about how Bill O’Reilly in the segment “defends” ABC’s George Stephanopolous from Dick Morris’s charge that he’s a “paid Democratic hitman.” A Mediaite headline said this: “O’Reilly Defends Stephanopoulos From Dick Morris’s ‘Unfair’ Claim He Is A ‘Paid Hitman.’”

All of it accurate, and a bit incomplete.

Morris’s argument is that Stephanopoulos plants Democratic strategy points in debates and interviews with Republicans — and that he pressed Mitt Romney hard on contraception because the Democrats want to “set up contraception as the new social issue replacing abortion.” O’Reilly finds that “explanation . . . logical.” He also says, “You have enough knowledge about George Stephanopoulos and have put together at least a debatable theory on the contraception.”

The only part that O’Reilly challenges is the paid part. “It’s not fair,” says O’Reilly, who protests that Morris has no proof of a payment, that he goes “too far” in alleging a payment, that there’s no way a payment went down.

You might call it a rebuke, but it’s more of a “rebuke.” Watch the tape: O’Reilly delivers one of his softest, sweetest spankings.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.

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