Attendees at a panel discussion in Berlin booed and hissed at Ivanka Trump when she attempted to credit her father’s bona fides on women’s and family issues. “That is something I’m very proud of my father’s advocacy, long before he came into the presidency, he championed this in the primaries. He’s been a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive,” said Trump, to an unappreciating audience.
Lefty Euros shaming the daughter of a Republican president? No better topic for discussion on the upwardly mobile roundtable Fox News program “The Five,” which switched from an afternoon show to a prime-time show following the dismissal of Bill O’Reilly.
Co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle handed off the topic to fellow Fiver Jesse Watters, who had some thoughts on the matter. “It’s funny, you know, the left says they respect women and then when given an opportunity to respect a woman like that, they boo and hiss,” said Watters. “And I always thought that Europeans were supposed to be sophisticated and well-mannered. And now they’re treating this like it’s a soccer match. I don’t understand what’s going on.”
Perhaps, then, he should have shut up. Nope: “I think Ivanka is supposed to be the moderating voice for her father, so I think people in Europe should support that,” continued Watters. “I don’t know why also saying that ‘my father respects families’ is controversial. He’s probably hired a ton of fathers and mothers and children, so I don’t really get what’s going on here, but I really liked how she was speaking into that microphone.”
No one on the panel immediately asked for an amplification of Watters’s microphone comment. Yet the dung-eating look on his face left little doubt as to what the puerile protege of fallen Fox News host O’Reilly was getting at. Have a look at that grin, in the screenshot at the top of this post.
Watters is now taking the glorious step of enhancing this particular story. Via Fox News’s PR office, he has issued a statement saying the following: “During the break we were commenting on Ivanka’s voice and how it was low and steady and resonates like a smooth jazz radio DJ. This was in no way a joke about anything else,” says the Watters statement. Of course, if the co-host had really wished to riff on Trump’s silky voice, he could have. Here’s another screenshot, this one capturing the position of Watters’s right hand as he complimented Ivanka Trump on how she spoke into the microphone:
Then why the naughty-boy smirk? https://t.co/E09DcL4LB0
— Trip Gabriel (@tripgabriel) April 26, 2017
Usually this sort of backpedal requires a Spicer or a Conway. https://t.co/t44SNCaGTt
— т○мм!е (@tlcjr) April 26, 2017
This is the legacy of Bill O’Reilly. Though Fox News and its overlords at 21st Century Fox — the Murdoch family, that is — unloaded the King of Cable News last week after the blowback from his multiple sexual-harassment settlements became too much to bear, O’Reilly spent 21 years at the network. Among his legacies is Watters, the brash ambush artist who scored airtime on “The O’Reilly Factor” as a young producer for the show. “The man knew how to work the system like nobody I’d ever met,” wrote Joe Muto, the onetime Fox News “mole,” in his 2013 book “An Atheist in the Foxhole.” “There was a reason why he was the only producer on the staff to regularly appear on air: His personality was a perfect match for the program. He was unctuous, a bit smirky, and sarcastic to the point where I decided it was a miracle he’d never been punched in the face.”
By irking various liberals with his ambush interviews, Watters over the years earned the admiration of the top-ranked O’Reilly, to the point that his segments on “The O’Reilly Factor” graduated to monthly and then weekly shows. Then he was elevated to the prime-time cast of “The Five,” despite having helmed a crude and racist man-on-the-street segment last year in Chinatown.
From his mentor, he learned well. The oral-sex crack about Trump is just the sort of nastiness that draws scorn from other media outlets, this one included. We know what happens from there: The backlash generates a counter-backlash from the Fox News faithful, boosting the audience numbers for the program. That very dynamic explains to a significant degree how O’Reilly himself climbed the charts. So, well done, Jesse.