O’Reilly and Ramos Spar on Immigration, Advocacy Journalism

"You're an activist!"

Jorge Ramos clashed with political commentator Bill O’Reilly Wednesday night during his show on whether the Univision anchor is a reporter or — as The O’Reilly Factor’s host suggests — merely “an activist.”

O’Reilly began by asking Ramos about his opposition to a potential border wall with Mexico.

“It’s a complete absurd idea,” Ramos replied. “Why would you want to build a 1,900 mile wall between Mexico and the United States, if almost forty percent of all immigrants come by plane and they overstay their visas. Based on some New York Times report, it would cost about twenty billion dollars. So, clearly Mr. Trump’s problems, and maybe yours, are with Mexicans and not with Canadians. Why do you want a border with Mexico, and not Canada? It really doesn’t make any sense.”

“Because we don’t have an immigration problem with Canada,” O’Reilly responded, citing Israel’s border wall with Palestine (only 430 miles long) as an example of effective border security.

Things began to get heated when O’Reilly suggested that South and Central American nationals did not “have the right to come to the United States.”

“You think they’re just coming because they want to go to Disneyland? Of course not,” Ramos said mockingly. The dialogue would quickly devolve into an argument about the journalistic integrity of Mr. Ramos.

“You’re an anchorman. How can you possibly cover illegal immigration fairly when you are an activist — you’re a proponent of allowing them amnesty?” exclaimed O’Reilly.” How can you possibly cover the story? You should excuse yourself from it or recuse yourself from it. Or become like me, a commentator.”

“I’m just a reporter,” Ramos replied.

“You’re not! You’re an activist,” said the Fox News host.

Ramos’s exchange with Trump last month at a press conference has since sparked a debate within the journalistic community about whether GOP candidate Donald Trump‘s treatment of reporters has become overly hostile, or whether the popular Hispanic newsman was simply out of line.

As the segment continued, Ramos would repel O’Reilly’s assertions that his personal views disqualify him from reporting — telling the Fox News host that he is not “the right person to lecture me on advocacy and journalism.”

“I’m a commentator. That’s what I do,” said the TV host.

“Jorge, you’re doing exactly what I’m doing, man,” concluded O’Reilly. “You just don’t have the title.”

Watch segment, courtesy of Fox News.

Publish date: September 3, 2015 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/oreilly-and-ramos-spar-on-immigration-advocacy-journalism/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT