The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

05 January 2008

Reporter Claims O'Reilly Shoved Obama Staffer


What Triggered Tussle Between Obama Staffer And O'Reilly?


An alleged physical "confrontation" between FOX's Bill O'Reilly and an Obama staffer earlier today will prove to be much less than what a reporter claims, according to the O'Reilly Factor host.

Reporter Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times claims O'Reilly and the staffer were involved in a "shoving" incident at the New Hampshire event, which included Bill "screaming" at the man.

Note the loaded language used by Sweet in the report:

Sweet: Fox's Bill O'Reilly in confrontation with Obama staffer at rally. Developing.

NASHUA, N.H.--Bombastic Fox News host Bill O'Reilly got into a confrontation with an Obama aide after O'Reilly started screaming at him as he tried to get Barack Obama's attention following a rally here.

The incident was triggered when O'Reilly-- with a Fox News crew shooting --was screaming at Obama National Trip Director Marvin Nicholson "Move" so he could get Obama's attention, according to several eyewitnesses. "O'Reilly was yelling at him, yelling at his face," a photographer shooting the scene said.

O'Reilly grabbed Nicholson's arm, said "move" and shoved him, another eyewitness said. Nicholson, who is 6'8 said O"Reilly called him "low class."

Secret Service agents came after O'Reilly pushed Nicholson and the agents flanked O'Reily.

Obama had his back turned at this point and did not see any of this. O'Reilly yelled "sir" at Obama and Obama walked over, not aware of what happened and told him he had an overflow crowd to visit. According to the time code from a photographer shooting the two, Obama and O'Reilly talked about 12 seconds near 11:45 a.m. eastern time.

Responding to the report, O'Reilly told the FOX News Channel's Brian Wilson at 3:10pm EST this:

O'REILLY: ...then we went over to the Nashua event that Major Garrett just described, it was a big zoo, there were thousands of people there and we set up our camera to try to get a question to Senator Obama, ... so a big guy comes over, I guess he's about six- foot- eight according to the press reports and he stands right in front of the Factor camera!

So I asked him fairly nicely, you're blocking our shot sir, you need to move a little bit. The cameraman that I had actually moved away from him, but he moved right in front of the camera again to block our shot.

So I had to gently remove him from that position, Brian.

Answering Wilson's question on reports of a scuffle, Bill said: "no, there was no scuffle, no scuffle at all, I just had to remove him from in front of the camera," he said.

And responding to Wilson's query regarding reported abusive language by O'Reilly, the host didn't completely deny it, saying "I might have called him an SOB, that's possible. (laughs) But nothing more than that! "

And to the reporter's assertion that he was "frisked" by the Secret Service, O'Reilly called that "absolutely ridiculous" saying, "just ten seconds after I gently removed the man from in front of our camera, I actually spoke to Barack Obama and the Secret Service guys let me right by and we actually had a nice little chat, which we will air on the Factor Monday night."

"We're sorry we had to have that little confrontation, but no one on this Earth is going to block a shot on the O'Reilly Factor, it is not going to happen," O'Reilly concluded.

Here's a YouTube clip of O'Reilly's interview:

Moments ago, Sweet updated her report, adding this:

Secret Service agents who were nearby flanked O'Reilly after he pushed Nicholson. They told O'Reilly he needed to calm down and get behind the fence-like barricade that contained the press.

Obama had his back turned at this point and did not see any of this.

O'Reilly yelled "sir" at Obama and Obama walked over, not aware of what happened and told him he had an overflow crowd to visit. According to the time code from a photographer shooting the two, Obama and O'Reilly talked near 11:45 a.m. eastern time.

He just came right around the barricade. They shook hands and Mr. O’Reilly said he thought Sen. Obama was great and that he loved him and loved to have him on the show and said he would think about coming on after the primaries.

Regardless of what really happened, it boils down to this: mainstream media insiders rarely get this kind of an opportunity to tear down one of their key critics, so you'd better believe they are going to take it when presented.

In the end, the most important question is this: why is the Obama campaign so afraid of the FOX News Channel's cameras? Why do they wish to block coverage of the senator's rally speech? That's where this debate's focus belongs.

UPDATE: Hot Air has updates and reader comments here

UPDATE: "progressive" blogs going bonkers over this, including Democrat Daily, The Carpetbagger Report, Firedoglake and Crooks And Liars

UPDATE: FOX releases still images taken at the event, they are inconclusive. Nicholson appears to have his hand on O'Reilly's shoulder in one picture. A videotape of the event will apparently air on Monday night's show.

NEW CNN coverage here, CBS here, AP story here

O'Reilly "a crazy person":

The incident at Nashual High School North unfolded shortly before noon as Obama chatted with voters, just three days before New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary.

"[O'Reilly] was just a crazy person," a photographer who witnessed the altercation told The Daily News. "He throws a complete fit, and then the Secret Service came in."

The aide, Marvin Nicholson, the senator's national trip director, was shadowing Obama as the senator worked the rope line.

"He started yelling at me to move out of the shot," said Nicholson, recounting the incident to reporters. "And then he came around the barricade and grabbed me by the arm with both his hands and was trying to push me out of the way."
O'Reilly, appearing on his radio program later, insisted there was "no scuffle at all." But he quickly added, "I just, um, removed him from in front of the camera."

(Note: your Radio Equalizer has highlighted factual errors in the story above)

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Bill - Barack image: al-Reuters


  • so let me get this right: an Obama staffer stands in front of bill's camera, and his response is to shove the guy (which he must have done to "gently" move someone 6'7? What a child.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 05 January, 2008 17:25  

  • From what I've read elsewhere, the Obama staffer was "shadowing" Obama as he moved down the rope line. In other words, he was security. For O'Reilly to interfere is incredibly irresponsible.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 05 January, 2008 17:58  

  • The moonbat lefties are full of hatred for Bill-O [& just about for anyone who's sane to the right of them]. Bill himself is often a bit ego-driven, but makes his puny opposition seem like crazy megalomaniacs [like Keith-O, his brain-dead "opponent" whom Bill-O wipes the floor with on a nightly basis.]

    Obama should go on O'Reilly's show, as more independents watch the Factor than Repubs, believe it or not. And more AMERICANS watch the Factor than all the other newsies in his time slots---period!

    By Blogger dave in boca, at 05 January, 2008 20:03  

  • I just bet you Olbermann will find some way to spin this into some horrible, awful thing. And all 12 of his regular viewers will believe every word Olby spews out.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06 January, 2008 00:55  

  • O'Reilly lied. There is now a photo of Secret Service getting involved. You can see it at

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06 January, 2008 20:46  

  • This 6'8" Obama thug was intentionally blocking O'Reilly's shot and he got exactly what he deserved. Freedom of the press anyone? My question is, Why is Barack Obama so scared or Bill O'Reilly?

    By Blogger Falling Panda, at 08 January, 2008 00:00  

  • You dont think Obama is blocking out FOX because they ran stories on him that said he attended a MADRASSA and essentially decided to call him a traitor because he symbolized his displeasure by not wearing a pin of the American flag. He's been called a communist, a sympathizer and any number of awful titles on the FOX news network. Fair and balanced indeed. If OBAMA leaves Fox off his schedule - the better for all decent people.

    Moonbats? Come on - if you going to unite the country through name calling, at least come up with some good names.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11 February, 2008 15:06  

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