State vs. Bill O'Reilly: Spokeswoman attacks Fox News host as ISIS threat grows

Talking Points 9/3


Marie Harf, whose career has alternated between government jobs and campaign jobs, is the deputy spokesman for the State Department, and if her recent communications are any indication, the face of the most acute foreign-policy crisis facing these United States is Bill O’Reilly’s — an admittedly self-satisfied visage, to be sure, out of which pours a stream of apparently inexhaustible glibness. But he’s never beheaded anybody, so far as I know.

Mr. O’Reilly became an enemy of State when he conducted an interview with Fox News reporter James Rosen, who had some mildly unflattering things to say about Ms. Harf’s superior, Jen Psaki, the witless off-brand Pippi Longstocking who is the current media face of the American diplomatic project. The Obama administration is, to be charitable, currently unsure of how to go about dealing with the Islamic State, and Ms. Psaki was something less than convincing in trying to explain what exactly the administration has been up to between that group’s beheadings. Ms. Harf proclaimed (here I’ll translate from the Twitterese): “Jen Psaki explains foreign policy with intelligence and class. Too bad we can’t say the same about Bill O’Reilly.”

This is not a new thing for the Obama administration, for Democrats, and for the Left. White House communications director Anita Dunn denounced Fox News in the early days of the Obama administration, and Megyn Kelly has recently been elevated to the status of sacred hate totem for Democrats.

To begin with the specific case of Ms. Harf, it is unseemly for an official of the State Department to publicly denounce Bill O’Reilly or any other critic in the media. The State Department has more important things on its agenda, its business is foreign rather than domestic, and there should be at least some decent pretense of separation between the functioning of the American diplomatic apparatus and the Democratic campaign apparatus. That is sometimes difficult to do: Ms. Psaki is literally in bed with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, being married to its deputy finance director. (You can read all about it in Greenwich magazine — because of course she’s a Greenwich girl.) The State Department is not the high-school-prom decorating committee, and Ms. Psaki is, despite her demeanor, a grown woman who works in a media-oriented job. She can take her lumps, having signed up for them.

No doubt the queen-bee tweener impersonation is putting absolute mortal terror into the Islamic State, whose members surely are checking her Twitter feed as they whet their blades.

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Kevin D. Williamson is roving correspondent for National Review.