Jesse Watters (Fox News)

Huffington Post reporter turns the tables on Fox News' Jesse Watters and ambushes him — fisticuffs ensue

Bill O'Reilly blamed the incident on the violence inherent on the left, even though his reporter swung first


Scott Eric Kaufman
May 3, 2016 4:19PM (UTC)

At an MSNBC party after the White House Correspondents' Dinner, the Huffington Post's Washington Bureau Chief Ryan Grim turned the tables on Fox News' "ambush reporter" Jesse Watters and confronted him -- cellphone camera in hand and rolling -- about his stalking of Amanda Terkel in 2009.

Watters was initially game, saying that he'd apologize for stalking her if she apologized for "denigrat[ing] some rape victims" and saying "some nasty shit."

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"I ambushed her because O’Reilly told me to get her, because she said some really bad shit," Watters was recorded saying in the video Grim took of the encounter. "She denigrated some rape victims, so we had to call her out. It’s what we do."

He did, however, insist that "I love Amanda Terkel, she’s a good girl," although after Grim pressed him to walk five feet and apologize, Watters decided he'd had enough of his own medicine, telling Grim he'd changed his mind and wouldn't be apologizing.

After asking if Grim was recording the conversation and learning that he was, Watters grabbed the phone and threw it across the room. It continued to record, however, and moments later Watters grabbed it again and attempted to delete the video. Grim attempted to retrieve the phone, and a brief scuffle ensued -- some of which was captured by the Washington Post's Dave Weigel:

On The O'Reilly Factor last night, host Bill O'Reilly defended his ambush man, opening the program with a diatribe about the violence inherent on the left, and later providing Watters with a platform to express his "regrets" over his behavior.

"I was at a party trying to enjoy myself," he said, "and this guy came up to me with a camera phone. I was friendly at first but then he got a little obnoxious and things happened, that's all it is. But I never punched him."

Witnesses disagreed, but O'Reilly wasn't interested in fairing or balancing this matter, merely saying that "this Grim character had no business bothering Jesse Watters about anything -- but that is what the far left does. They seek to harm people with whom they disagree."

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For his part, Grim told the Washington Post that "ambush guy can’t take getting ambushed -- maybe he should think about his life choices."

Watch Grim's unedited video of the encounter here.


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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