Convention: O'Reilly attacks critics; Trump's party crashing

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

A look at the Democratic National Convention through a media lens:

An angry Bill O'Reilly defended himself Wednesday against critics who suggested he was justifying slavery with his assertion that slaves who helped build the White House "were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government.".

Calling slavery an "abomination," the Fox News Channel host said his statement was "not a justification, not a defense of slavery. Anyone who implies a soft-on-slavery message is beneath contempt."

O'Reilly had made the comment the previous night while discussing First Lady Michelle Obama's convention speech, where she said she woke up every morning in a White House built by slaves. O'Reilly said Obama was right, but his "well-fed" comment created a social media storm.

He said his critics "want me dead, literally dead." He said there was an effort by the "sneaky, disgusting far-left press" to discredit Fox News because it was a network "where (Donald) Trump gets a fair shake" — unlike competitors covering the Republican presidential candidate.

While O'Reilly talked about the controversy that originated on his own show, CNN and MSNBC aired convention speakers who talked about gun violence, including a woman whose mother died in the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut.

TRUMP INVASION: There was little doubt, as Fox News' Bret Baier said, that Trump was the talk of the third day of the Democratic convention with words encouraging Russia to try to find missing emails from Hillary Clinton. Analyst Charles Krauthammer, on Baier's show, called it a clever move that backed Clinton into a corner. CBS News analyst Bob Schieffer suggested that what Trump said was so harmful that it "may well be the turning point in the election."

QUOTE: "I do think some Republicans have been reticent about speaking out because they don't want to look like they're helping Hillary Clinton here. But I think this is bigger than that. This is a threat to the sovereignty of the United States." — NBC "Meet the Press" anchor Chuck Todd.

MEMORIES: His eyes moist, CNN analyst David Axelrod didn't pretend to be impartial about his former boss, President Barack Obama, following the president's address. "I love the man," he said. "In these big moments, he was able to rise up and speak about what is great about this country when the country needed it. I'm just very proud of him tonight."

NO PUEDE: Fox News' Tucker Carlson was bothered by Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine occasionally using Spanish phrases in his speech; time spent in Honduras made Kaine fluent in the language. Carlson said Kaine was, in effect, endorsing bilingualism. "I think this is symbolically important and something we should think about," he said.

QUOTE: "I feel this is the 'gloves-are-off' night." —NBC News' Savannah Guthrie.

RATINGS: Democrats had nearly 5 million more viewers Tuesday night than Republicans did for the corresponding night of their convention last week. That's from the Nielsen company's measurement of the six biggest commercial networks that showed the convention from 10 p.m. until its close. For a second straight night, CNN led the way with 5.93 million viewers, followed by NBC's 5.28 million. After winning last week with the Republicans, Fox News was sixth and last.

BOOKING: "Fox News Sunday" says it has booked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton this week. It will be Clinton's fourth time on Fox since announcing her candidacy, and her first time on Chris Wallace's show in nearly five years.