Journalistic line-crossing received scrutiny on last night’s edition of “The O’Reilly Factor.” Bernard Goldberg, a regular on the program, criticized a segment that had aired the previous night on the program, as Jesse Watters visited San Francisco with an ambushing camera crew seeking answers from city officials on whether their failures contributed to the killing of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle, allegedly at the hands of a Mexican laborer who had been deported five times. Watters spoke at an open session of the San Francisco board of supervisors and cornered a spokeswoman for Mayor Ed Lee, a series of encounters praised on this blog.

Goldberg differed on the matter: “It’s wrong,” said Goldberg in a discussion with O’Reilly. “It’s just as wrong as if MSNBC sent somebody out to a City Council some place in America and advocated for something that you and I don’t agree with. We would say what a bunch of clowns. You just don’t do that. That crosses the line. And, look, I will tell you this. I was sitting at home watching that, sitting on my couch and I was embarrassed watching it.”

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Credit “The O’Reilly Factor” with allowing some ombudsmanesque criticism. There’s little question that Watters did some grandstanding in California, but the Steinle killing is a outrage that demands genuine accountability from elected leaders — a great time to roll out the ambush. Of all the lines that “The O’Reilly Factor” crosses, Watters’s San Francisco trip figures among the least concerning. Consider that O’Reilly constantly plugs his books on air, sometimes subordinating the program’s editorial content to this self-interested mission. Consider that he’s now pushing a bill to punish undocumented immigrants who had been deported (O’Reilly apprised viewers of his venture into activism). And finally, consider that O’Reilly on various platforms has been caught telling falsehoods about his reportorial exploits of yore. Now there’s a line.

Speaking of lines: Megyn Kelly last night sounded more like O’Reilly than O’Reilly. She opened her program with this editorial:

Kate’s murder has since exploded into a national debate on illegal immigrant, sanctuary cities in crime. With the White House ducking the issue of its own acquiescence in these city’s decision to flout the federal immigration laws which were duly enacted. When asked repeatedly this week to speak to this case, White House Spokesman Josh Earnest declined to weigh in other than to refer folks to the Department of Homeland Security. A stark contrast to what we saw after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri. A man we now know was attacking a police officer at the time of his death. His funeral saw three Obama officials in attendance, his death drew comments from President Obama personally. And the administration also sent in the DOJ and 40 FBI agents dispatched to Missouri after Michael Brown was killed.
Where is the swarm of agents in San Francisco? Then there was Freddie Gray in Baltimore, a repeat drug offender who was killed in police custody. Here again his funeral was attended by three Obama administration officials and again the President spoke personally to Freddie Gray’s death. And again, sent the DOJ in to investigate. When Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida, the President spoke to his death which was later ruled to be in self-defense. But Kate Steinle, nothing. No comments, no swarm of FBI agents, no DOJ investigation, nothing. Why?

Later in the segment, Kelly said of President Obama, “He picks and chooses the victims he wants to highlight and apparently this victim wasn’t deemed worthy.”

Those words come from an anchor who said, “I’m a straight-news anchor. I’m not one of the opinion hosts at Fox.”

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