Screenshot via O’Reilly Factor/Fox News
It’s been a banner year for Fox News’ Jesse Watters, in which he’s gotten lots of attention for the twin achievements of making an astonishingly racist segment in Chinatown and getting in a physical fight with a reporter at a party. Now, he’s back to doing what he does best: trying to ambush people on camera and making a tremendous dick of himself. Normalcy feels great.
Watters works for the O’Reilly Factor, and jumping out at people is his whole thing, even when he has to do things like follow a reporter and her boyfriend for hours on vacation to get it done. (“It,” in this instance, being jumping out at her and yelling.) Watters does not himself enjoy being ambushed, but that’s probably irrelevant.
In the latest triggering event for Watters, students at Hampshire College in Massachusetts lowered the American flag on the campus’s main flagpole to half-mast after the election. The school allowed it to remain lowered, and then, around November 10, someone burned it. The flag was replaced, then removed altogether (for now), as the community has been engaged in an exhausting-sounding, very liberal-arts discussion. In a statement, Hampshire officials said they are confronting “deeply held beliefs about what the flag represents to the members of our campus community.” There have been protests, because American flags are mandatory now, like saying “Merry Christmas” and establishing an even base tan.
As Erik Wemple at the Washington Post writes, Watters went to ask Jonathan Lash, the president of Hampshire, why the school took down the flag. He went to Lash’s house, which is a perfectly good way to ask someone a question if you can’t get them to talk to you otherwise. Of course, it’s unclear if Watters tried any other options before he approached Lash as the man was getting out of his car in what looks like his garage, and demanded that Lash talk to him. Lash tried to go into the house, whereupon Watters stuck his foot in the door and demanded answers about flag:
Watters: Hey President Lash, how are you? Jesse Watters with the O’Reilly Factor, Fox News Channel. Good to see ya.
Lash: [Getting out of his car] It’s not good to see you.
Watters: Well, now that I have you here, why did you remove the American flag from campus?
Lash: [Going through the door into his house] Nice to meet you.
Watters: Don’t you realize the whole country’s laughing at you right now?
Lash: Come on. Get your foot out of my door.
Watters: President Lash, why’d you remove the flag?
Lash: I don’t want to talk to you about it.
Watters: Don’t you think you owe it to the veterans to explain yourself?
Lash: I don’t want to talk to you about it. Would you please remove your foot from my door.
Watters: You made a lot of people very upset. I think you owe the country an explanation.
Lash: You’re giving speeches.
Wemple got a statement from Hampshire, in which they say that they regularly give interviews to people who request them, and that Watters didn’t do that:
In this instance, a Fox reporter and camera person did not request an interview but rather entered private property and then tried to prevent the president of the college from entering his private home. As a result, campus security and the local police department were alerted.
No charges have been filed against Watters. Bill O’Reilly congratulated him on air, calling Lash “a villain and a coward.”
It’s always fun to watch Jesse Watters pantomime aggressive reporting, applied to subjects that don’t matter and without any regard for what actual reporters do before employing tactics like showing up at someone’s house and attempting a tiny home invasion. It’s also worth noting that Lash previously issued a statement about removing the flag, which doesn’t appear in the Fox segment. Why would it?
Here’s the full clip, if you need that in your life.