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O'Reilly's Ambush Interviewer Ambushed

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You may not know Jesse Watters, but you likely know his work. He produces the ambush-interview segments for The O’Reilly Factor, in which he stalks some bête noire of Papa Bear, then rushes them asking hostile questions, in a theatrical effort to “get some answers” out of supposedly-stonewalling people who, in fact, weren’t invited to appear on the show and answer questions in the first place.

So Gawker writer John Cook and some associates drove out to Long Island Saturday morning to ambush Watters in his driveway and asking him some questions about his own interviewing techniques. Do you suppose he answered them? See the results here.

Frankly, the video could have done with some editing—the money scenes begin about 40 seconds from the end—but the piece is worth the time as much for the writing as the footage:

His hurried departure leaves no doubt in our minds that his ambush tactics have nothing to do with the answers he claims to be seeking from O’Reilly’s enemies and everything to do with the theater of humiliation that Fox News thrives on and the us-against-them “culture war” that his boss believes he is waging. If Watters honestly believed that people like [Amanda] Terkel and [Hendrik] Hertzberg have an obligation to answer for the things they do and say in the name of journalism, he would have recognized that obligation in himself.

Cook would have gotten better footage if he’d been more obnoxious in his ambush, but in a way it only makes Watters look worse to drive off from a questioner who’s treating him more decently than he does his own targets. You stay classy, Jesse.