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Fox TV Defines Itself

When Fox's O'reilly And Ingraham Attack Andres Oppenheimer As A "Nut" They Actually Define Themselves

By Sherwood Ross

Nothing reveals the mindset of disturbed folks better than the words they call their enemies. Last November 8, Fox TV's Bill O'Reilly said in an on-air chat with Fox News analyst Laura Ingraham that the distinguished Miami Herald Latin authority Andres Oppenheimer was "crazy" and "a nut."

According to Oppenheimer's response in the November 15th Miami Herald, O'Reilly said of him, "there is a crazy columnist in Miami, Miami Herald, who says that the Hispanics are going to rise up."

Ingraham then told O'Reilly, Oppenheimer was "intimating something akin, Bill, to a race war It's insane." He (O'Reilly) responded, 'He's a nut. He's a nut, this guy.'" Oppenheimer said Ingraham added "that I am part of 'a crazy far-left anarchist wing' of the immigration debate."

Wow! What a wild and crazy guy that Oppenheimer columnist must be! Wow, what an irresponsible newspaper The Miami Herald must be to run his column! When will TV viewers grasp, only "fair-and-balanced" Fox knows the truth?

Of course, O'Reilly didn't dare quote Oppenheimer's explanation for his views on the immigration issue. That might be "fair and balanced" but that's precisely how Fox does not operate. Understand this, please: the names Fox broadcasters call others are usually true of Fox broadcasters. They don't answer a person's arguments. Instead, they call the person names.

For any Fox viewers that saw O'Reilly's "drive-by" verbal assassination attempt upon the Buenos Aires-born Oppenheimer, here's what that "nut" Oppenheimer really said: the rapid escalation of the U.S. anti-immigration hysteria is a dangerous trend. It will create an underclass of nearly 13 million people who won't leave this country, who can't realistically be deported and who---if deprived of a path to earned legalization---will become increasingly frustrated and angry.

Oppenheimer appealed for giving the 1.8-million U.S.-raised undocumented children an earned path to legalization. Otherwise, he said, we will be creating an underclass of social pariahs, many of whom will end up joining street gangs."

And from this Fox's Ingraham leaps to the conclusion Oppenheimer said, "Hispanics are going to rise up"? That, friends, is called distorting the news.

Oppenheimer points out reasonably, "I never called for violence, nor would I. Suggesting that I was endorsing violence, as was done in the O'Reilly show, is irresponsible journalism."

Of course, he's right, and he should know because that "nut" Oppenheimer just happens to be a towering authority on Latin American politics whose shoes O'Reilly is not fit to shine, although he is certainly capable of stooping that low.

Oppenheimer is a co-winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize, and has also won the two most prestigious journalism awards in the Spanish-speaking world. They are the 1988 Ortega y Gasset Award, and also the 2001 King of Spain Award presented by Spanish news agency EFE. Oppenheimer also won the Overseas Press Club Award for 2002, among others. Got some idea of the credentials of the man O'Reilly is dismissing as "a nut" and Ingraham is tarring as an "anarchist"?

What Fox apparently wants, and has got, in O'Reilly and Ingraham, are a pair of on-air smear artists that will attempt to make themselves look good by ridiculing others. Both of them have degraded informed debate to the level of name-calling. Maybe O'Reilly and Ingraham should try reading a few of Oppenheimer's books. I'd suggest they begin with "El Regreso del Idiota," which translates, "The Return of The Idiot."


(Disclosure: Sherwood Ross once worked for the Miami Herald. That was a heck of a long time ago, before Mr. Oppenheimer arrived on the scene. Reach Ross at

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