The national board of directors of the Associated Press Media Editors on Friday voted to stand with the Asian-American Journalists Association in demanding a public apology and calling for meaningful dialogue from Fox News Channel following the October 3 segment of “Watters’ World” on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
Host Bill O’Reilly and correspondent Jesse Watters have attempted to defend the piece as gentle fun and political humor, but there is nothing humorous about perpetuating outdated, condescending stereotypes. At a time when issues of race and ethnicity are challenging our country to find common ground, the segment was a gross example of disdain and divisiveness. It is one thing to provide topical commentary; it’s quite another to exploit innocent participants.
Our “Statement of Principles” calls on news organizations to be “fair, accurate, honest, responsible, independent and decent.” The segment on “The O’Reilly Factor” falls far short on multiple counts – especially decency.
APME is an organization of newsroom leaders and journalism educators that works closely with the Associated Press to promote journalism excellence. We support AAJA’s efforts to examine how such an appalling piece could have been produced, and to promote education so such a transgression is not repeated.