Bill O'Reilly called for more "czars" during Bush administration

››› ››› ADAM SHAH

Fox News personalities, including O'Reilly Factor guest-host Laura Ingraham, have attacked President Obama for appointing "czars" -- a term the channel uses to refer to any White House official tasked to advise the president on a specific issue, regardless of whether the position is subject to Senate confirmation -- with Fox News host Gretchen Carlson singling out the appointment of a "border czar" for criticism. However, during the Bush administration, Fox's Bill O'Reilly called for the appointment of an "immigration czar," as well as a "charity czar" and a "disaster relief victims family czar."

Fox attacks Obama for appointing czars, including "border czar"

Carlson on appointment of "border czar": "I was wondering to myself why we are having so many czars-slash-kings now in America." Referring to the April 15 appointment of Alan Bersin as the Department of Homeland Security's assistant secretary for international affairs and special representative for border affairs, Carlson stated on the April 16 edition of Fox & Friends that Obama "has now appointed a border czar, another czar. You know, when I looked up 'czar' in the dictionary, or Googled it, the word that came up was 'king.' And I was wondering to myself why we are having so many czars-slash-kings now." Moments later, Fox News aired a graphic that asked, "And Now We're Russia?"

Fox and Friends

On O'Reilly Factor, Ingraham attacks Democrats for appointment of "dozens of unelected czars with unchecked power." Criticizing Obama and Democrats while guest-hosting The O'Reilly Factor on August 31, Ingraham stated: "Well, Americans have seen now seven months of far-left government in action. What does that mean? Massive spending programs, Washington's takeover of the auto companies, the perpetual apology tour overseas, dozens of unelected czars with unchecked power, and my favorite, cash for clunkers."

On O'Reilly Factor, Fox News political analyst asserts appointment of "czar" "goes against the Constitution. ... What are we, in Russia?" On the September 3 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, again with Ingraham guest-hosting, Fox News political analyst Angela McGlowan stated of then-Obama administration aide Van Jones: "People like this czar goes against the Constitution. You have Cabinet members that are supposed to report to the president. What are we, in Russia having -- having czars?"

Fox News accompanies discussion of Obama administration's "czars" with Russian music. On the September 7 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, Fox News played ominous Russian music while discussing Jones' resignation. During the segment, onscreen text read: "Do Presidential 'Czars' Pose Threat to Constitution?"

In segment about Obama administration "czars," Sean Hannity warns of "a shadow government right here in the U.S.":

HANNITY: And tonight we begin a brand-new segment that takes a look at the 30-plus Obama appointees that are known as czars. Now, since taking office, the president has skirted the Senate confirmation process and has empowered individuals to oversee major offices now within the federal government, many of whom operate only under the supervision of the White House itself.

Now, in essence, a select group of unconfirmed, unvetted individuals are now at the helm of a shadow government right here in the U.S. So without further ado, well, let's take a trip to the "Land of the Czars." [Hannity, 7/13/09]

Neil Cavuto suggests calling czars "evil despots accountable to no one."

CAVUTO: If we change the name of the czar to something that resonated more true to what they are, let's say evil despots accountable to no one, don't you think if you said look, we have 15 evil despots accountable to no one, don't you think people would go "what the hell?" [Cavuto on Business, 6/6/09]

O'Reilly called for appointment of "immigration czar" and other czars during Bush administration

O'Reilly called for appointment of "immigration czar" in 2002. From the March 13, 2002, edition of The O'Reilly Factor (Nexis transcript):

O'REILLY: The Immigration and Naturalization agency has approved student visas for Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi. Of course, both terrorists are dead, killed in the 9/11 sneak attacks. But the INS, six months after these notorious terrorists made the front pages, deemed to send them approval for their student visa applications. The approvals were to attend flights schools.

So why did 9/11 happen? Well, you can lay part of that right on the doorstep of the INS.

President Bush is said to be furious. His administration is roundly embarrassed. But being furious is not enough. INS boss James Ziegler, a Bush appointee, should be immediately fired, and that organization should be reorganized and placed under the jurisdiction of the White House itself.

A presidential counsel should be appointed immigration czar and clean out the INS once and for all. This pitiful government agency has put all of us in danger. It simply does not perform, and all the excuses in the world don't cut it. Shut it down, start again. The INS is a dangerous failure.

O'Reilly called for "charity czar" in 2001. From the October 21, 2001, edition of The O'Reilly Factor (Nexis transcript):

O'REILLY: Some progress in getting donations to the families of the terror victims. Four weeks after THE FACTOR began investigating, "The New York Times" reported the story in its Sunday edition. "The Times" documented the problems getting the $1.2 billion now collected to the suffering families. Said "The Times," "What has not been provided is a simple, comprehensive way for families to apply for the full range of help. The experience of dealing with the hundreds of charitable agencies and funds can be maddening."

Well, that's what we've been saying for weeks. We're happy "The Times" has joined the chorus.

And Talking Points is happy to tell you some things are getting better. The Red Cross is now committed to distributing most of the $530 million it has collected for the families, but not all of it. We'll tell you about that tomorrow.

[...]

So things are moving in the right direction, but are still far too chaotic. Talking Points continues to ask for the appointment of a charity czar to coordinate all the money and organizations.

In 2001, O'Reilly also called for "disaster relief victims family czar" to oversee disbursement of charity funds to disaster victims. From the October 4, 2001, edition of The O'Reilly Factor (Nexis transcript):

O'REILLY: Yeah, the individual charities may have oversight within themselves, but Spitzer, the attorney general of New York, he doesn't have it together. Giuliani doesn't have it together here. And there's nobody at the federal level watching these private charities right now.

DANIEL BOROCHOFF (president of the American Institute of Philanthropy): Well, I think by having the informational data base for all the victims, at least we can keep track of who is getting what for the 6,000, 6,000 deaths and the 8,000 injuries.

O'REILLY: Is that up and running?

BOROCHOFF: But the Red Cross doesn't want to participate in it...

O'REILLY: Yeah, that's right. You see, you're making my point. They -- there's no coordinated effort. There should be somebody appointed...

BOROCHOFF: Well, I wouldn't say no. There's some, but we could have more, certainly.

O'REILLY: Yeah, there should be somebody appointed by the federal government, a disaster relief victims family czar, to do it.

BOROCHOFF: Well, you've got FEMA, FEMA is involved. But, you know, keep in mind, you know, you want -- the government has it's own, has it's own efforts going on at the federal, state and municipal level, and the nonprofit sector is smaller.

O'Reilly repeated call for "charity czar" in 2002. From the June 11, 2002, edition of The O'Reilly Factor (Nexis transcript):

O'REILLY: Let me repeat the most important points. Only 29 cents on the donated dollar has reached the 9/11 families, and almost a billion dollars is sitting in the bank with no future designation.

The Washington Post has also discovered some lunacy. For example, The New York Times set up a fund after 9/11, and $25,000 of that went to the Jewish Museum of New York for a program on tolerance for Islam.

"Talking Points" once again is asking our federal government to get involved here. Obviously there's an accountability problem with all the money, and obviously the IRS can't handle the situation. And while some charities are doing the right thing, others are not. There's no doubt that some of your donated money is being misspent.

It's time for Congress to act and for the president to appoint a charity czar to oversee the money and hold the charities accountable.

This is an enormous problem and one that must be corrected.

Transcripts

From the August 31 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

INGRAHAM: When Barack Obama and the Democrats swept into office in November, they did so on this nebulous promise of change and a desire to remake America. Republicans were told by the elites on the right and the left that they were on the verge of becoming a permanent minority party if they didn't moderate their views and, frankly, become more relevant. The country was moving, you see, away from the old ideals of Reagan conservatism, and so should the GOP.

Well, smart conservatives weren't buying this. They said, look, wait and see what this crowd does with the country, then talk to me about moving to the left. Well, Americans have seen now seven months of far-left government in action. What does that mean? Massive spending programs, Washington's takeover of the auto companies, the perpetual apology tour overseas, dozens of unelected czars with unchecked power, and my favorite, cash for clunkers. All of these have been total failures.

From the September 3 edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

INGRAHAM: Angela, go ahead.

McGLOWAN: There you go. With -- No. 1, Bush protected this country. Have you seen an attack on our homeland since Bush was president and he has protected this country? And I think what Obama is doing, dealing with the CIA and letting everything out, is putting us at risk, No. 1.

No. 2, the reason why we have a job problem right now is because of Obama's stimulus package, where the unemployment has gone up. He said that a stimulus package would create jobs, but no, it has gone up.

No. 2, people like this czar goes against the Constitution. You have Cabinet members that are supposed to report to the president. What are we, in Russia having -- having czars?

And secondly, people like this guy, they use the race card, Laura. They use the race card to cause more racial division in this country.

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