Bill O’Reilly Covers the Bob Menendez Scandal Like Only He Can

Bill O’Reilly very craftily and cannily discussed the latest dirt on Democratic Senator Bob Menendez – while pretending to hold himself above the fray. Citing a report based on an anonymous source that Menendez had sex with a prostitute, O’Reilly assured viewers he “never used unidentified sources on an investigative story, ever.” But that was no reason not to discuss those anonymous allegations with media critic Bernard Goldberg.

During his weekly discussion with Goldberg about the media last night – and after the two pundits finger-pointed about the “corrupt,” “level of dishonesty” at MSNBC, they got to Menendez at about 5:09 into the video below.

O’REILLY: There’s a report on The Daily Caller about Senator Menendez and some unidentified, anonymous source, who says she’s an escort, says ‘Yeah, Menendez paid me to have sex.’ I never used unidentified sources on an investigative story ever. Have you? And what do you think about that?

Goldberg said he may have used an unidentified source at some point during his 28 years at CBS News. But, he told O’Reilly, “I don’t care if Senator Menendez paid a prostitute for sex. …I’m going to be honest with you, Bill. If it was a named source, I still wouldn’t care.”

Obviously not what O’Reilly was hoping for. A little debate over whether it was or was not a fair and responsible media attack on Menendez would have been a nice way of planting sensational allegations front and center in the audience’s mind – at the same time that O’Reilly feigned taking the high road. He responded to Goldberg's dismissal by saying, “Yeah, but you have to report it. …With a big guy like (Menendez), you gotta report it, Bernie. If it’s true. …The folks need to know.”

Right. And if you don’t have a reliable-enough source to know whether it’s true or not, you “gotta report it” by framing the discussion as a media issue.