Fox News' Most Awkward TV Moments

by Seth Millstein

In an awkward interview to end all awkward interviews, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked senate candidate Annette Bosworth to react to her loss in the South Dakota Republican primary this week. Thing is, Bosworth didn’t know she lost until Kelly read her the results of the election on-air, and was thus caught completely flat-footed. What followed was ...uncomfortable.

“That’s news to me,” Bosworth said, taking it in and, by all counts, taking the news in stride. “I didn’t know that. I found out on national television.”

While Fox has failed many times as a news agency, there are plenty of other times that it’s aired coverage that was not incorrect, per se, but just plain awkward. Those moments are equally cringe-worthy as its factual errors — if not moreso. Let’s take a look.

Correspondent Hits on Drunk People

In a hard-hitting segment about New Year’s Eve parties in Florida, Fox sent correspondent Phil Keating to interview drunk people at a dance club in South Beach. Keating approached a partier, called her “tall drink of water” (as a proper noun, like it was her name), then demanded that she “say something to the nation.” She did indeed say something, though it probably wasn’t what Keating was hoping for.

“We got five minutes till 2014 and we’re gonna FUCK SHIT UP!” she yelled into the camera.

“Whoaa!,” Keating responded, striking an awkward balance between condemnation and celebration. “You gotta watch your language there!” It was as if he knew he had to say something about her obscenities, but secretly wished he could just stop reporting and join the party.

Civil Rights, Basketball, It’s All The Same

There was also the time a host got the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) mixed up with the NAACP (National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People).

“The UConn Huskies are the 2014 NAACP national champs!,” Heather Childers proclaimed. Whoops.

But You’re A Muslim!

In a segment that quickly devolved into a train wreck, Fox decided to interview religious scholar Reza Aslan, who’d recently written a biography about Jesus Christ. But Aslan is Muslim, and to Fox, a Muslim writing about Christianity simply did not compute. Surely, he must have had an ulterior motive! So host Lauren Green asked Aslan — a Muslim, as she points out many times during the interview — would be interested in writing about Christ.

Aslan delivered one of the best responses in the history of interview responses.

“To be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in Biblical greek, who’s been studying the origins of Christianity for over two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim,” Aslan said. “It’s not that I’m just some Muslim writing about Jesus. I am an expert with a PhD in the history of religions.”

But that wasn’t a satisfactory answer to Green, who apparently believes that Muslims shouldn’t do anything other than sit around and Be Muslim, so she asked him the same question again. She then compared a Muslim writing about Christianity to a Democrat writing about Republicans, and asserted that Aslan had “never disclosed” that he was a Muslim.

“Ma’am, the second page of my book says I’m a Muslim,” an exasperated Aslan replied. “Every single interview I have ever done on TV or in print says I’m a Muslim.”

But Asians Aren’t Liberal!

Fox’s knack for casual racial stereotyping was also on stark display when Bill O’Reilly decided to analyze Hawaii politics with his favorite lackey, Jesse Watters. O’Reilly expressed utter bewilderment at the fact that a state with a 35 percent Asian population could possibly vote Democratic. ‘Cause Asians are better than that!

“Asian people are not liberal by nature,” O’Reilly observed. “They’re usually more industrious and hardworking.”

O’Reilly said it casually, as if making a blanket assessment about an entire ethnicity of people is just plain ol’ common sense. But even as a racial stereotype, it was a stupid comment: Asians voted Democratic by a 3-to-1 margin in 2012.

Interviewee Rebels

In an interview that lasted a whole 90 seconds, Fox asked journalist Tom Ricks to comment on Republican allegations that there had been “a possible White House cover-up” after the assault in Benghazi (The network never specified what was possibly being covered up). First, Ricks set ‘em up: “Benghazi generally was hyped, by this network especially,” he said. Then, when asked how it could be hype when four Americans ended up dead, he knocked ‘em down.

“How many security contractors died in Iraq, do you know?,” Ricks asked.

“I don’t,” the host responded.

“No, nobody does, because nobody cared," Ricks continued. "We know that several hundred died, but there was never an official count done of security contractors dead in Iraq.”

He continued lambasting the right’s freakout over Benghazi, and by the time he flatly stated that Fox, in its coverage of the incident, was “operating as a wing of the Republican Party,” the host decided it was time to end the interview.

There was some bonus awkwardness after the interview went viral: When Fox’s executive vice president publicly claimed that Ricks had apologized to the network after the interview, Ricks called that claim “horseshit” and flatly denied having apologized for anything.