MEDIA

Bill O'Reilly's Campaign Against Undocumented Immigrants Backfires

A politician's response is stealing the show.

Bill O’Reilly’s recent campaign against undocumented immigrants has backfired.

For the last week or so, the Fox News host has used the murder of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle, whose suspected killer is a man who has been deported five times, as the pretext to go after “sanctuary cities” such as San Francisco that refuse to turn undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities for deportation. O’Reilly has proposed -- and is collecting signatures in support of -- what he calls “Kate’s law,” which would mandate a five-year jail sentence for anyone who returns after being deported.

Part of O’Reilly’s opportunistic crusade involves a dumb trick his show regularly uses. When interviewees decline the show's request for an interview, O’Reilly likes to ambush people during their daily routines -- walking to and from work, or in the case of The Huffington Post’s own Amanda Terkel, on vacation.

The way the gimmick works, O’Reilly’s producer shouts questions at the bewildered interviewee, who often has no idea what the guy is yelling about and walks away. The show then airs the staged encounter as evidence that the person is dodging questions from hard-hitting Fox News. It’s eye-rollingly immature.

But it seems to have backfired for O’Reilly  this time. The show recently chased down San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, who had declined a previous interview request, to badger him about the city’s sanctuary law.

But Weiner had a sharp response at the ready, telling the producer, “Fox News is not real news, and you’re not a reporter. I talk to real news only.” The encounter, which O’Reilly aired on his show, has gotten more attention than O’Reilly’s anti-immigrant campaign.

In a follow-up interview on the liberal site ThinkProgress, Wiener says the show has been “stalking various members of the board of supervisors for the last week. They went to someone’s home. One of my colleagues said they were following her around in her district last week.” Wiener, who said he regularly talks to conservative members of the press but believes Fox wouldn’t make a good-faith effort to represent his views, said he thinks O’Reilly is “tak[ing] advantage of a horrific crime to bash immigrants.”

The incident has reportedly made Wiener a hero in liberal San Francisco, where he says there is “a deep-seated frustration with Fox News and the fringe it represents.”

Watch the original encounter below. 

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