Sunday, February 26, 2017

HEY FOX NEWS, YOU GOOFED

Fox News's Bill O'Reilly hosted a couple of folks last Thursday to talk about immigrant troubles in Sweden. One was legit: Anne-Sofie Naslund is a Swedish journalist who is apparently exactly who she said she was. The other guest however, was one Nils Bildt. O'Reilly introduced him as a Swedish security advisor.

Well... he is a security advisor (private sector). And he's apparently Swedish by birth. But he is NOT an official Security Advisor to the Swedish government. And he changed his last name from "Tolling" to "Bildt" a few years ago. This is significant and you'll see why in the excerpt below:

From the Washington Post:
The surname Bildt is well-known in Swedish political circles due to Carl Bildt, the former Swedish prime minister and Swedish foreign minister. Nils Bildt said that he was related to Carl Bildt, who he described as a "most decent and good man." However, when contacted by WorldViews, Carl Bildt noted that his brother, a successful Swedish entrepreneur who is also called Nils, was "highly irritated" when he heard Nils Tolling had began using the surname Bildt. Carl Bildt suggested that the former Nils Tolling had been "trying to use the name to gain favors."
The Bildt who Fox News interviewed is listed as one of the founding partners of Modus World LLC. The company, which says it is based in Washington, Brussels and Tokyo, offers a variety of consulting services, including the “operations and management of possible kidnap and ransom situations,” according to its website, and reports in the Japanese media suggest Bildt was involved a number of hostage negotiations involving Japanese citizens.
 

David Tabacoff, executive producer of “The O'Reilly Factor,” defended the decision to book Bildt. “Our booker made numerous inquiries and spoke to people who recommended Nils Bildt and after pre-interviewing him and reviewing his bio, we agreed that he would make a good guest for the topic that evening,” Tabacoff said in a statement. (Fox News later said O'Reilly would address the matter on his Monday show.)
 

However, Bildt's low profile made him a surprising choice, according to Swedish experts. Robert Egnell, a professor at Swedish Defence University, told WorldViews that he did know Bildt, but it was only by chance: The pair had studied together at King’s College London in 2002.
 
Egnell said that Bildt had left the program early and moved to Japan, after which they had gradually lost touch. “He is in not in any way a known quantity in Sweden and has never been part of the Swedish debate,” Egnell said in an email “He has not lived in Sweden for a very long time and no one within the Swedish security community (which is not a very big pond) seems to know him.

There are several problems here. First, Fox did not properly vet this guy. They took him on someone else's recommendation. Bad move, Fox.

Second, Bildt lied on-air. He runs a private security business here. But when he referred to Sweden, he said "we" not "them." Watch the video to see the context of what I'm referring to. He was obviously attempting to pass himself off as a Swedish official.

Third, O'Reilly loves to call his show the "No Spin Zone." But he was nearly frantic to depict Sweden in a manner that fits the narrative he's pushing. Yes, there are troubles in Sweden and yes, Sweden appears to be downplaying it. But O'Reilly was spinning like a top in this segment.

Fourth, Fox says they'll address the issue on Monday. Well gee whiz y'all, why wait until Monday? You goofed. Big time. You should already be addressing it.

All in all, this whole mess reinforces my contention that while Fox's straight-up news reporting remains solid, their opinion people are far too biased to fit the "Fair and Balanced" slogan. O'Reilly was shamelessly grubbing for the comments he wanted. He didn't get them. But he did manage to drive another nail in the coffin of his fading credibility. The Post article with the O'Reilly video is linked below:

 Washington Post Article With O'Reilly Video