Fox News host Bill O'Reilly downplayed the widespread attacks former President Obama faced by right-wing media outlets because of Donald Trump's birther smears. Conservative media, including Fox News, regularly repeated Trump's false claim that Obama wasn't born in the country and called for him to release his birth certificate. In 2011, Fox host Eric Bolling said, “there is a legitimate question as to whether or not the president of the United States is allowed to be President of the United States.” From the March 6 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
BILL O'REILLY (HOST): But that is exactly what is happening. I think Brit Hume is the one who said it. He said that when Donald Trump won, then, it set in that the press and many in the Democratic Party refused to accept it, and basically said, this is a danger to the country, this being Donald Trump and we are going to destroy him no matter what it takes. So, there wasn't that acceptance of what you just said, a transfer of power. There wasn't rooting for the president to succeed. There was, we are going to get him and it’s going to be nonstop. That is exactly what we are seeing.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I think that's true. But I think it's wrong to begin history with the resistance to the Trump presidency. I mean look at what happened when Barack Obama was elected and who led the movement to discredit his presidency, to say he was illegitimate, to say he should never be in the White House, because he was not born in Hawaii, but in Kenya, but Donald Trump.
O'REILLY: But you can’t compare the two because there was no backing for that. That was a fringe play. OK, now, you can chastise Mr. Trump for buying into it, certainly valid. But there wasn't a mass press, try to get Obama, there wasn't leaks, weren't leaks from very high place people, trying to destroy President Obama. That’s happening now.
KRAUTHAMMER: When Trump ran for the presidency, he said many things and he said them very straightforwardly. He said “this election is rigged.” He said “the polls are rigged.” He says that “the media are rigged.” He said, for example, George Bush, president of his own party, had “deceived us, lied to us into the Iraq war.” It wasn't a mistake, it wasn't bad intelligence. He did it deliberately.