During a remarkably entertaining and (if you’re a liberal or at least an O’Reilly dissenter) satisfying segment of Bill O’Reilly’s show on Tuesday, Fox News contributor and USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers got into a testy exchange over immigration with the network’s biggest star, ultimately telling him that she was “so tired of your mocking.”
The focus of the segment was illegal immigration through the U.S.-Mexico border — and particularly the burgeoning crisis of thousands of minors reaching the border in an effort to escape political turmoil in their home countries — but, as is almost always the case with O’Reilly’s show, the conversation soon became unmoored from any concrete policy debate and drifted instead into a kind of culture war-inflected kabuki politics of dueling identities and sentiments.
After the two went at it over whether immigrants to America today are qualitatively different from those of previous generations — O’Reilly first implied they were, because his ancestors didn’t accept government assistance; Powers noted that this was most likely because no such government program existed at the time — O’Reilly interrupted Powers for the umpteenth time by telling her, “You don’t seem to really know what you’re talking about.”
That was the last straw for Powers, who responded, with evident exasperation, “I am so tired of this with you. I’m so tired of your mocking — mocking liberals because they care about people, that there’s something self-righteous about wanting to take care of children. You know, I thought this was a Christian thing, Bill.”
“We advertise to the world, give us your hungry, your poor, your tired,” Powers continued. “But no, not according to Bill O’Reilly. According to Bill O’Reilly, let’s bundle up the children and send them back.”
O’Reilly then got mad, telling Powers (presumably sarcastically) that she holds “the high moral ground” because she “want[s] an open-border situation that lets everybody in … You want an open-border, you want to accept them all … And I am a cruel barbarian.”
Powers then stated that O’Reilly was misrepresenting her views, while O’Reilly continued to make sneeringly sarcastic comments about how he must be a bad guy if he disagrees with her. Unfortunately, the two never got into discussing O’Reilly’s grand vision for immigration reform, which is, according to some analysts, “stupid.”
You can watch video of the segment below, via Mediaite: