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The Democrats' Pitiful, Planted Hit Piece on Bill Melugin

Screenshot via Fox News

I was going to leave this story alone.  Until the second round. 

Let me explain.  Earlier in the week, Politico published a story about how the White House has grown "irritated" by the border crisis reporting of my Fox colleague Bill Melugin.  Full disclosure: Bill has been a guest on my show numerous times since he joined the network, and he's followed the ongoing disaster at the Southern border as closely as any journalist in the country -- most of whom have largely turned a blind eye to it.  It seems as though he's crawled "under the skin" of Biden administration officials, who'd much prefer he stop talking about the deadly, unsustainable chaos they've created:

There’s a tall Fox News reporter in his mid-30s with slicked back hair and an air of combative indignation who is getting under the skin of some people in JOE BIDEN’s administration. And he’s not PETER DOOCY. BILL MELUGIN, a former local Los Angeles Emmy-winning reporter, has become a growing presence online and in broader political circles as Fox’s go-to reporter at the U.S. southern border. He’s done hundreds of television hits since joining the network last year, largely from border states, where he often focuses on the historic flow of migrants that are overwhelming communities there. In recent days, several current and former White House and administration officials expressed to West Wing Playbook their increasing frustration with his on-air coverage, arguing that there is an alarmist quality to it, designed to feed political narratives rather than illuminate the actual issues feeding the migrant flow...As Melugin has become an increasingly visible figure on the network, his coverage has caught the attention of the White House, which has become increasingly irritated by his reporting. During a press conference last week, press secretary KARINE JEAN-PIERRE noted that Fox News got the heads up on the Martha’s Vineyard flight before local, state and federal agencies...The White House has remained extremely sensitive to immigration issues in part because it’s been a political vulnerability for Biden.

Is Melugin an "alarmist," or is the news he's gathering, illustrating, and reporting...alarming on its face? August marked the 8th month under this president in which more than 200,000 illegal immigrants were encountered at the border. There have been more than two million apprehensions this year alone, with the 'known got-away' population fast approaching one million under Biden. Last month alone, a dozen suspected terrorists on the FBI's watch list were taken into custody at the border, with an unknown number of potential terrorists and convicted criminals evading capture.  The White House would like none of these facts to be shared or discussed with voters.  After all Team Biden is "extremely sensitive to immigration issues" due to the "political vulnerability" they fuel.  They're not quite sensitive enough to, you know, change their catastrophic policies, which their political coalition cannot and will not abide.  So instead, they attack the messenger via the press, seeking to disqualify his work - unable to defend the atrocious consequences of their own decisions.  This is also an interesting complaint:

Melugin has helped usher in a new style of coverage of the issue by the network. He is part of a more technologically savvy generation of Fox reporters and producers whose work leans more heavily on on-the-ground reporting augmented by soaring aerial drone footage of migrants crossing the border. The technique gives the story a dramatic visual scale that Fox pundits use to bolster their arguments about the enormity of the problem (Fox has built up its flight team in recent years to incorporate aerial drone footage into the network’s coverage.)

These cameras and drones aren't inventing the problem.  They're capturing it and demonstrating it.  Gathering and deploying powerful visuals to accompany on-the-ground reporting and statistical information is known as...broadcast journalism.  But what really set me off was a follow-up item Politico ran:

Apparently the Democrats who fed Politico this 'scoop' think it's amusing that Bill Melugin used to go by 'Billy,' and that more than a decade ago, he worked in retail.  At a company that famously hires attractive sales people.  The scandal.  We're talking about a grown man, who's won multiple Emmy awards for his journalism, and who's doggedly covering one of the biggest stories in the country.  And the Democrats are snarking about a job and nickname he had eleven years ago.  I reacted to all of this on Fox Business yesterday:

As I wrote, Bill is more than capable of defending himself (amusingly, he's pushed back on the story's description of his 'slicked back' hair) and his work product stands on its own.  I offered some more complete commentary here: 

I'll leave you with some more "alarmism:"


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