(Fox News)

Bill O'Reilly begs the GOP field to be as ideologically excitable and politically incorrect as Donald Trump

"The Trump-factor is obliterating standard campaign messaging and rhetoric," he said, so they need to up their game


Scott Eric Kaufman
September 11, 2015 5:23PM (UTC)

On "The O'Reilly Factor" Thursday night, host Bill O'Reilly had some advice for the Republican candidates -- in particular, front-runners Donald Trump and Ben Carson, each of whom he believes should aspire to be more like the other.

Trump, he said, is too enamored of unnecessary publicity and seeks out petty squabbles in order to call attention further attention to himself. "Rolling Stone magazine?" O'Reilly asked, in reference to the article in which Trump disparaged Carly Fiorina's appearance. "Was the Moscow Times not available? Why would you allow them access?"

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Ben Carson has the opposite problem. Even when he does engage the other candidates -- as he did yesterday over the sincerity of their religious convictions -- he employs "sound bites with no bite," as when he compared "Obamacare to slavery," a provocative claim to which he hasn't returned for fear of being "demonized as a religious extremist by a largely dishonest national press."

Carson needs to hone the message that "traditional values provide far more success than politically correct madness -- which does indeed enslave," O'Reilly said, that final clause hanging in the air like an object lesson in overheated political rhetoric.

O'Reilly said that while Carson and Jeb Bush need to stop being human soporifics, even ideologically excitable candidates like Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee need to amp up their game, because "the Trump-factor is obliterating their messages and standard campaign rhetoric." Given the histrionics in which Huckabee's engaged while rising up to the challenge of his rivals this week, it's unclear what more O'Reilly can reasonably expect from him or the remaining non-Trump contingent of the Republican field.

In his interview with Carson, which immediately followed this segment, O'Reilly repeatedly prodded him to declare Trump to be "an agent of divisiveness," but apparently Carson hadn't been listening to the host's "Talking Points Memo," because he refused to take the bait.

"I really don't want to get into the mud pit," he said. "That's not in my nature. I know that the media frequently likes to stoke up these things, and they goad people into silliness."

Watch the entire segment below via Fox News.

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Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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Ben Carson Bill O'reilly Donald Trump Elections 2016 Fox News The O'reilly Factor Video

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