Douglas MacKinnon

Rush Limbaugh -- the most powerful talk-show host in America -- just rightly called out Fox News for telling him to avoid talking about immigration. Why would the most fair and balanced television news source do this? Are they trying to shy away from a subject which embarrassed their number-one voice?

For those Americans who still don’t understand the one-thousand page “Gang-of-Eight” immigration bill -- and that would be most Members of Congress, most of the Obama administration and virtually all Americans -- it is critically important for them to go back and watch the June 20th airing of The O'Reilly Factor, where radio talk-show host Laura Ingraham absolutely eviscerated host Bill O'Reilly over his misguided support of this highly-flawed and incredibly damaging piece of legislation.

Is that why Fox News would prefer that Mr. Limbaugh not bring up the subject?

With regard to Mr. O'Reilly and Ms. Ingraham, I hold a rare distinction in that I have been banned by both hosts. With regard to Mr. O’Reilly, I was told that it was because I criticized him a number of years ago in a column I wrote on poverty. As for Ms. Ingraham, it goes way back to the days when I was director of communications for former Senator Bob Dole and politely took her to task over the phone for some sophomoric comments she made regarding the senator.

The irony in all this is that I have a huge amount of respect for both personalities -- thin-skin and all. As a conservative, I happen to think Laura Ingraham -- like Mr. Limbaugh and Mark Levin -- is one of the most important voices out there articulating the need for traditional values, the rule of law, and just plain common sense. With regard to Mr. O’Reilly, I believe his voice to be vitally important for the debates of our times and believe that, more often than not, he does come down on the side of what’s best for the vast majority of Americans.

That said, he could not be more wrong on immigration. Worse than that, he could not have looked more foolish or ill-informed on the subject when Ms. Ingraham took him apart piece by piece on his own program. The segment has already gone viral and become a rallying cry for those Americans desperate to insert some sanity into a bill that sells out national security, the rule-of-law, commonsense, and oh, by the way, the millions of legal immigrants to this country who played by the rules, stood in line, waited their turn, and then proudly raised their right hands to become American citizens.

While the segment with Ms. Ingraham and Mr. O’Reilly should be watched in its entirety, one of the most important exchanges has to do with Mr. O’Reilly’s flawed belief that if the GOP does not cave into this embarrassing piece of legislation, that they will lose the Hispanic-American vote forever.

O’REILLY: “If they are indeed going to do what they say they are going to do on the border…and pay for it…if the Republican party is deemed by the Hispanic-voter to be anti-Hispanic…and it will certainly be spun that way…”

INGRAHAM: “Well, if you spin it that way.”

O’REILLY: “I’M not going to spin it that way.”

INGRAHAM: “Well, don’t buy into their narrative. It’s a phony fraudulent narrative.”

O’REILLY: “I live in the real world, and I know what the narrative will be.”

INGRAHAM: “So do I and I read the bill.”

Just by watching that exchange, it’s clear that Mr. O’Reilly is in the tank for this bill and does not know what he is talking about. More than that, despite his denying it, he is in fact joining the chorus of liberals and advocates for illegal immigration screaming that the GOP is “anti-Hispanic,” a notion Ms. Ingraham easily knocked down earlier in the segment when she pointed out: “The Republican Party will win more support in the Latino, Black, female, young-people sector if they start putting forth a pro-growth agenda for the middle-class instead of touting legislation that is going to hammer the middle class.”

Game, set, and match. Mr. O’Reilly would do well to read the bill, admit he was exposed on every front, and then get behind a commonsense solution for the “folks” rather than being used as a propaganda tool by the left.

Better than that, Mr. O'Reilly should invite Mr. Limbaugh onto his program to debate the issue.


Douglas MacKinnon

Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official and author of The Secessionist States of America. (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014)

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