Fox vs. Fox: O'Reilly Pours Cold Water On "Gross Speculation" About Obama Link To IRS Controversy
Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly is admonishing conservatives -- many of whom have appeared on the channel for which he works -- for baselessly tying President Obama to allegations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny in their efforts to obtain nonprofit tax status.
During a May 13 joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama addressed a question about the IRS controversy, calling the behavior "outrageous" if true and added that "there's no place for it. And they have to be held fully accountable."
On the May 14 edition of America Live, O'Reilly pushed back against efforts by conservatives to directly tie Obama to the IRS controversy. O'Reilly told co-host Martha MacCallum he does not believe Obama explicitly told the IRS to target conservative groups "because that's insane." O'Reilly added: "But you can't connect it to him without gross speculation. ... Conservative commentators provide cover for Obama when they go further than the facts take them, when they speculate."
Nevertheless, Fox has continued to try and connect Obama to the IRS controversy. On the May 14 edition of his Fox Business show, Stuart Varney claimed that the IRS "took Obama seriously" when he joked about auditing Arizona State University. On Fox's Happening Now, co-host Jenna Lee linked President Obama to past presidents investigated for alleged IRS abuses despite acknowledging a lack of evidence connecting Obama to the controversy.