On Wednesday night, Bill O’Reilly blasted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Thomas Frieden and the federal government’s response to the Ebola epidemic during his Talking Points Memo at the top of his Fox News Channel (FNC) program.
He reiterated his call for Frieden to resign in the wake of the CDC’s response and called him out for “spouting nonsense” and being “almost incohent” during an interview on FNC’s The Kelly File on Tuesday night. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Before summarizing the basic facts of “the Ebola situation” as it stood early Wednesday night, he pointed out that “[w]hen President Obama cancels a fundraising trip, you know things are serious” as the President convened a cabinet meeting of advisers Wednesday afternoon to discuss the government’s response to Ebola thus far as well as going forward.
O’Reilly played an exchange from FNC’s Megyn Kelly’s interview with Frieden as he relayed his belief that a travel ban should not be put in place because: “If we do things that are going to make it harder to stop the epidemic there, it's going to spread to other parts.”
At the conclusion of a series of back-and-forth responses, Frieden said this about why he didn’t think the ban could be put in place without affecting charter flights: “If we isolate these countries, what's not going to happen is disease staying there. It’s going to spread more, all over Africa and we’ll be at higher risk.”
Reacting to Frieden’s bizarre responses, O’Reilly tore into the CDC Director : “Does that make any sense to anybody? Anybody? It is just ridiculous. The man is spouting nonsense.”
Upon playing a response from FNC’s Bill Hume, who similarly opined on Tuesday that Frieden’s reasoning for opposing a travel ban “makes no sense,” The O’Reilly Factor host aired a clip from Marine General John Kelly telling the National Defense University that Ebola would be likely to spread in the U.S. if the virus came to certain places in the Western Hemisphere (such as Central America). If that happened, Kelly predicted that scores would flood across the U.S./Mexico border to either seek care if infected or flee from places where an outbreak would be occurring.
After that, O’Reilly wrapped up the Talking Points Memo by addressing the status of Frieden, President Obama, and what Americans should do from here on out:
So now the federal government looks stupid. It underreacted to the Ebola threat. It still isn't imposing a travel ban from West Africa and our border is still porous in the south. That's what happens when leadership is weak. Dr. Frieden, out of there. He botched it. Period. President Obama, stop the fundraising, pay attention to your country. For everybody else, stay calm, but let your Senators and Congress people know you want that travel ban now.
In calling for changes to who can and can't travel to West Africa, O'Reilly is not alone. According to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, 67% of Americans support "restricting entry to the United States" of those "people who have been in affected countries." Nonetheless, as of late Wednesday night, Frieden and the Obama administration remained opposed to any such measure.
The complete transcript of the Talking Points Memo from FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor on October 15 is transcribed below.
FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor
October 15, 2014
8:01 p.m. Eastern
BILL O’REILLY: The Ebola situation gets even worse. That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo. When President Obama cancels a fundraising trip, you know things are serious and that's what happened today. Mr. Obama meeting with his cabinet about the growing Ebola chaos in the USA instead of traveling. Late last night, Texas health authorities announced a second healthcare worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has contracted Ebola. She is 29-year-old Amber Joy Vinson, a registered nurse who treated the man who died from Ebola Thomas Duncan, a Liberian national. That make two American nurses infected after treating Duncan. The other nurse, Nina Pham, remains in isolation, but the latest case is even more harrowing than the first because Ms. Vinson took Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 from Cleveland to Dallas on October 13th. Apparently, she was carrying the Ebola virus. So now, everybody on that flight has it to be monitored as well as all the people they came into contact with you can see how Thomas Duncan coming into the USA on a false premises has led to disaster. As you may know, Talking Points has demanded that U.S. authorities stop admitting West Africans into America right now. We have also called for the resignation of Dr. Thomas Frieden, the head of the CDC because he opposes that. Last night on The Kelly File, Dr. Frieden was almost incoherent.
MEGYN KELLY: Why not put a travel ban in place until we have shorn up the system?
DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN: Above all do no harm. If we do things that are going to make it harder to stop the epidemic there, it's going to spread to other parts.
KELLY: How is it going to make it harder to stop it over there?
FRIEDEN: Because you can't get people in and out.
KELLY: Why can't we have charter flights?
FRIEDEN: You know, charter flights don't do the same thing commercial airliner do.
KELLY: What do you mean? They fly in and fly out.
FRIEDEN: If we isolate these countries, what's not going to happen is disease staying there. It’s going to spread more, all over Africa and we’ll be at higher risk.
O’REILLY: Does that make any sense to anybody? Anybody? It is just ridiculous. The man is spouting nonsense.
BRIT HUME: His explanation, like previous ones that have been given for the reason for not imposing a travel ban in order to keep people from those infected areas out of this country for the time being, I thought, makes no sense.
O’REILLY: And there could be even a more frightening scenario on the horizon. Marine Corps General John Kelly, who is in charge of the U.S. Southern Command, told the National Defense University that all hell could very well break loose in this country.
GENERAL JOHN KELLY: If Ebola breaks out, in Haiti or in Central America, I think it is literally “Katy bar the door” in terms of the mass migration of Central Americans into the United States. 68,000 children essentially wandered across our border this year. They get into the country pretty much unimpeded. So, these populations will move to either run away from Ebola or if they have been – or in the fear of having been infected to get to the United States where they will be taken care of.
O’REILLY: General Kelly's assessment is speculative, but certainly possible. So now the federal government looks stupid. It underreacted to the Ebola threat. It still isn't imposing a travel ban from West Africa and our border is still porous in the south. That's what happens when leadership is weak. Dr. Frieden, out of there. He botched it. Period. President Obama, stop the fundraising, pay attention to your country. For everybody else, stay calm, but let your Senators and Congress people know you want that travel ban now. And that's the memo.