Patterico's Pontifications


Think Progress Tries to Ambush* Jesse Watters, Comedy Follows

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:38 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Jesse Watters, a Fox News producer, is kind of known for the “ambush” interview, where people refuse to sit down for interviews, so he approaches them on the street and tries to force them into one.  So Think Progress thought it would turn the tables on him. Think Progress has allegedly some “insider” accusing Fox of making things up and being a propaganda arm of the Republican party.

Yes, that is Think Progress making that accusation.  Mind you, they are not specifically citing anything that was made up, just generally someone who supposedly was an insider, who may or may not have been paid to say this, saying they made something up.

Anyway, Jesse Watters has waaaay too much fun explaining the trade to this amateur.

Via: The Blaze.


Oh, there I go again with that violent rhetoric, “ambush.”  I will flog myself now.  And sure, “flog” is violent rhetoric, too, but I mean that literally.

(No, not really.)

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: The alleged Fox insider thing is from a piece by Eric Boehlert, who has railed on anonymous sources so many times in so many contexts it renders his wholly anonymous (and clearly partisan Democrat) source a complete joke. I almost did a post about it the other day, but couldn’t muster the energy to care.

UPDATE x2 BY PATTERICO: Thanks to Instapundit for the link. Fans of busting Think Progress should check out my post from this morning, in which I discuss how they whitewashed information about a lefty convicted bomber.


  1. Greetings:

    Self-flaggelation is the more appropriate term for when feels compelled to flog oneself. Just ask your local Shi’ite.

    Comment by 11B40 (dc0d9c) — 2/13/2011 @ 9:02 am

  2. Jesse seems like a fun guy who enjoys his work.

    “Do you think Fox News makes stuff up?”


    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 2/13/2011 @ 9:13 am

  3. “A Fox insider says Fox makes stuff up!” That’s the kind of substantive analysis that will get this kid a gig with MSNBC or Time.

    Comment by the wolf (7cffb6) — 2/13/2011 @ 9:22 am

  4. I think maybe a better question would have been, “Do Republicans really eat babies ?” Now, there is a hard hitting question.

    These lefties never get out to talk to other people and they think this stuff is plausible. If Fox News “makes stuff up” they could show an example. That would be effective. This is just high school journalism.

    Comment by Mike K (8f3f19) — 2/13/2011 @ 9:41 am

  5. I’m still laughing at my own joke. I hope to one day actually see an attorney writhing on top of a metal-spiked fence. That would be cool.

    Comment by dr kill (06b97e) — 2/13/2011 @ 10:58 am

  6. “A Fox insider says Fox makes stuff up!!!!”

    They couldn’t say it if it weren’t true!!!

    You saw it!!! ON CAMERA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!1

    Comment by Gesundheit (aab7c6) — 2/13/2011 @ 11:32 am

  7. AW, you should save those urges to perform self-flagellation until the next observance of Ramadan.

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! (3e01c9) — 2/13/2011 @ 11:38 am

  8. Someone says that Fox makes stuff up!!! answer the question!!!!!!

    Comment by JD (d4bbf1) — 2/13/2011 @ 11:40 am

  9. If Fox were making stuff up, their ratings would more resemble those of MSNBC, which does, and MSNBC’s product has subsequently been rejected by the viewing public, which has found Fox to be much more “fair & balanced” than its competitors.

    Note to Leftists:
    Get over it!

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! (3e01c9) — 2/13/2011 @ 11:41 am

  10. “This is just high school journalism.”

    Junior high school.

    Comment by C. S. P. Schofield (71781e) — 2/13/2011 @ 11:48 am

  11. Waters could have said at some point no, Fox doesn’t make up stuff but Talking Points certainly does. Along with CNN and MSNBC and the rest of the lame-stream media. He could of further twisted the knife by saying unlike the others Fox lame stream ethical standards so it would not make stuff and to finally plunge the knife all the way in he could have said even if Fox had no ethical standards with all of the leftist crap they still would not need to make things to get ratings.

    Comment by cubanbob (409ac2) — 2/13/2011 @ 12:03 pm

  12. Notice he never said yes or no. The reason being, if you noticed, the tinknoprogress guy tried to apply his own answer to the question. No matter what answer, a yes or a no, the tinknoprogress guy would have twisted it into something else. So not answering was the perfect response.

    Comment by reff (7206a4) — 2/13/2011 @ 12:11 pm

  13. Or, Waters could have pulled an “Etheridge”, and just wailed upon this doofus;
    the Left would have understood and applauded.

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! (3e01c9) — 2/13/2011 @ 12:13 pm

  14. I would have replied with (after mocking how the “ambush” was done – seriously, you need a full crew because a full crew is un-nerving, and puts the subject off their game) a simple “Tell you what, I’ll respond to the “allegation” when you can actually give me some specifics as to what this person – whomever he or she might be – says we made up…”

    Comment by Scott Jacobs (d027b8) — 2/13/2011 @ 12:24 pm

  15. Isn’t think regress one of the Soros sites that William Yelverton, the midget racist hilljack plagiarizer hangs out at?

    Comment by JD (d56362) — 2/13/2011 @ 12:25 pm

  16. Notice he never said yes or no. The reason being, if you noticed, the tinknoprogress guy tried to apply his own answer to the question. No matter what answer, a yes or a no, the tinknoprogress guy would have twisted it into something else. So not answering was the perfect response.

    reff, I understand your point but it also seemed to me that Waters appeared unsure of himself – whether it was not knowing the most effective way to respond due to his understanding the inherent dishonesty of TP, or whether it was an attempt at keeping TP guy on the defensive, I don’t know.

    I do think his seeming evasiveness and lack of direct answer might easily be seen by those who already have suspicions of Fox, as confirmation of their suspicions.

    Comment by Dana (8ba2fb) — 2/13/2011 @ 1:07 pm

  17. Dana – agreed, right up to the point where the think regress clown started the “so I take it that is a yes” BS.

    Comment by JD (b98cae) — 2/13/2011 @ 1:26 pm

  18. Think Progress makes stuff up.

    Comment by Think Progress Insider (081489) — 2/13/2011 @ 2:28 pm

  19. Why didn’t Jesse hug him and ask him who he is?

    Comment by Dave Weigel (081489) — 2/13/2011 @ 2:33 pm

  20. Methinks Jesse got caught up in how he could turn the tables, and couldn’t quite get it done to turn the guy away.

    Answer (in the calmness of my family room), “Do I believe an anonymous insider at Fox who says Fox makes stuff up? I’ll tell you who makes stuff up, the anonymous insider you’re talking about. Look, if you want to do a real ambush, you need to come with a fact that will be hard to explain away. So, if you want to do a good job ambushing me on whether Fox makes stuff up, you find a story that you think Fox made up, and ambush me with that. But you better be sure, cause if you try to BS me with something, I’ll give you the facts behind it and you’ll be looking foolish.”

    “But thanks, they say copying someone is the best compliment. So thanks again. If you really want to find out what you want and how to ambush someone, why don’t you apply for an internship, put me down on your application as a reference. Have anice day.”

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 2/13/2011 @ 3:21 pm

  21. the think regress clown started the “so I take it that is a yes” BS.

    That was on the question of “you have no response?”.

    Comment by Gerald A (389a16) — 2/13/2011 @ 3:24 pm

  22. When I saw Lee Fang’s name on the Think Progress piece I figured it was just more of him making things up from scratch, the way he did with some of the alleged Tea Party videos and other pure fabrications issued under his name.

    I was unaware it started with the equally untrustworthy Boehlert.

    Comment by daleyrocks (479a30) — 2/13/2011 @ 3:59 pm

  23. It’s amazing that Soros shells out his ill-gotten gains to pay these clowns. He could have hired a bunch of homeless people off the street to do the same thing as Boehlert and his colleagues, and spent 1/3 the money.

    Comment by Another Chris (129d96) — 2/13/2011 @ 5:08 pm

  24. Wait. Think Progress says that an anonymous source has allegedly made a non-specific accusation…

    And it’s FOX that they think is making stuff up????

    The whole story is made up!!! How is this “news”? “Somebody may have said something about you, do you have a response?”

    These people seem to be incapable of self reflection. They are certainly beyond parody – because this video is like a parody of parody already. To try to parody ThinkProgress would require a parody of parody of parody!

    Comment by Gesundheit (cfa313) — 2/13/2011 @ 5:36 pm

  25. Aaron,

    I just watched it, seemed to me that they guy was a condescending a-hole and didnt appreciate being on camera.

    The question was stupid, trite, but the Fox guy for a PRO – completely mishandled it – he should of just asked who? Who? and then said there you go another anonymous source

    Comment by EricPWJohnson (cfc629) — 2/13/2011 @ 6:31 pm

  26. BREITBART was indicted today.

    Comment by JD (d4bbf1) — 2/13/2011 @ 6:41 pm

  27. JD


    Comment by EricPWJohnson (cfc629) — 2/13/2011 @ 6:52 pm

  28. Breitbart was sued yesterday.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 2/13/2011 @ 7:06 pm

  29. I would have double bagged it.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 2/13/2011 @ 7:06 pm

  30. They really don’t understand the process of discovery do they, the whole Pigsford issue can
    be examined as a result

    Comment by narciso (c8ccf1) — 2/13/2011 @ 7:09 pm

  31. I saw that Patterico. It is a classic example of a frivolous suit. Sheer comedy.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 2/13/2011 @ 7:10 pm

  32. Who did that, and why?

    Comment by JD (d4bbf1) — 2/13/2011 @ 7:11 pm


    Comment by narciso (c8ccf1) — 2/13/2011 @ 7:12 pm

  34. I also think pointing out the anonymity was the way to go. How can you judge the credibility of an accusation from someone not even named, and for all you know, who may not even exist? A few questions along that path would have had the TP guy on the defensive for the rest of the “ambush.”

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fb9e90) — 2/13/2011 @ 7:14 pm

  35. Rick Perry would have handled it much better. He would have said “don’t talk to me about anonymous sources, look at my awesome hair, dude!”

    Comment by daleyrocks (479a30) — 2/13/2011 @ 7:57 pm

  36. well at least TP were able to see the humor in the “meeting” and post it for everyone to see.

    Comment by rp (a4af04) — 2/13/2011 @ 8:07 pm

  37. Yeah Daley he wouldnt have crunched the States Oil industry like that lying socialist Palin Obama

    Comment by EricPWJohnson (cfc629) — 2/13/2011 @ 8:09 pm

  38. What did that mean?

    Comment by JD (d4bbf1) — 2/13/2011 @ 8:11 pm

  39. Palin hates big oil, and epwj hates Palin.

    Comment by JD (d4bbf1) — 2/13/2011 @ 8:13 pm

  40. There is a thing called good journalism. I haven’t seen it in so long it makes me sad.

    There’s another guy who posts here who will know what I mean. Journalism is the truth. Politics is power. Perverting the two is fascism.

    I weep for my profession, but I do know what journalism means whether you agree with me or not.

    Comment by Ag80 (7a9f97) — 2/13/2011 @ 8:19 pm

  41. Someone told me you make stuff up!!!!!!!!!! RESPOND TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!,

    Comment by JD (d4bbf1) — 2/13/2011 @ 8:21 pm

  42. JD

    Daley makes reference to a oblique attack that Perry is a closeted gay the “goodhair” thing coined (not really) by the late Molly Ivins as a roundabout way to discredit my obvious pointing out a smirking unprofessional smart alec reporter that didnt have the class to answer a question just threw insults and we were supposed to think that this was ground breaking…

    I find it interesting that the only progressive income tax passed in Alaska was Reccomended by Palin in 2004 as chair of the commission that supervised the industry and pushed for it when she worked for Murkowski, then thought he didnt go far enough for her and changed it with 100% democrat support (the only way it would pass)when she was governor

    So if you make the comment I hate Palin (which isnt true but you and the truth are sometimes not in the same room most of the time)

    And when people open the door….

    Comment by EricPWJohnson (cfc629) — 2/13/2011 @ 8:23 pm

  43. “Daley makes reference to a oblique attack that Perry is a closeted gay”

    EricPW – Did not know anything about that. Thanks for bringing it up. Is it true?

    Comment by daleyrocks (479a30) — 2/13/2011 @ 8:30 pm

  44. EPWJ or whatever just did the perfect example of my point.

    He suggests someone else said something regardless of whether it is true, but by making the statement, he is exonerated from providing the truth since he did not originate the allegation.

    Journalism should not only require the truth, it should also require the evidence for its statements of the truth.

    Comment by Ag80 (7a9f97) — 2/13/2011 @ 8:34 pm

  45. This is the latest psychotic episode from the Sorosphere,

    Comment by narciso (c8ccf1) — 2/13/2011 @ 8:36 pm

  46. At 45, narcisco makes another good point. Trying to assign nefarious intents to common sense is self-defeating no matter appeals to power.

    Comment by Ag80 (7a9f97) — 2/13/2011 @ 8:43 pm

  47. It is unclassy and unprofessional to mock a lying liar? who knew? When thinkregress claims that someone somewhere told them that someone makes something up, any response that does not aggressively mock thinkregress is insufficient. For you to make it out that he committed some kind of journalistic faux pas when the clown from thinkrgress was not

    Your feedback loop is itchy again, huh? Save your breath, and our time. We know your position. And it has been rejected by everyone except you and your big oil cronies.

    Comment by JD (d4bbf1) — 2/13/2011 @ 8:57 pm

  48. Something got cut out … For you to make it out that he committed some kind of journalistic faux pas when the clown from thinkrgress was not engage in journalism, but pure dishonesty, makes you out to be a bigger clown than I had previously thought. The thinkregress clown was treated way nice, and with way more respect, than he deserved.

    Comment by JD (d4bbf1) — 2/13/2011 @ 8:59 pm

  49. It is kind of humorous how epwj objects to me noting that he hates Palin, calls it a lie, when he asserted that Palin hated big oil, sans any support, other than the horrific tax plan he has objected to about 92847264859271638498562 times now, which would actually tend to substantiate my characterization as opposed to his.

    Comment by JD (d4bbf1) — 2/13/2011 @ 9:22 pm

  50. Goodnight, folks”

    Comment by JD (d4bbf1) — 2/13/2011 @ 9:23 pm

  51. JD

    Well you seem to say alot of things I didnt say

    If you had read my statement

    The question was stupid, trite

    followed by

    he should of just asked who? Who? and then said there you go another anonymous source

    But go ahead and tell people what I really meant

    For an experienced Fox national reporter – he showed me a frat boy smarmy side that did not do himself nor the company that made him into a quasi celeb any honors

    After all citizen journalists (okay this was a lefty moron) are highly prized these days and a cell phone has captured alot of ground breaking footage

    Comment by EricPWJohnson (cfc629) — 2/13/2011 @ 10:15 pm

  52. Waters has gone after the John Adams program, (which sought to endanger the lives of CIA interrogators),ACORN, SEIU, Ward Churchill, Bill Ayers, that’s just off the top of my head. He’s
    a hero in my book,

    Comment by narciso (c8ccf1) — 2/13/2011 @ 10:19 pm

  53. Narcisco

    I dont doubt that Waters has done great work – but to be more efective and to be legit and have doubters believe him – its essential that he handle these gotcha moments better…

    I guess thats my point – you have to be believable and likeable to get strangers to listen to you

    Comment by EricPWJohnson (cfc629) — 2/13/2011 @ 10:26 pm

  54. Daley

    Thanks for confirming that you knew it :)

    Comment by EricPWJohnson (cfc629) — 2/13/2011 @ 10:26 pm

  55. I think Fox News treated Think Progress very nicely, in this case. He was smarmy, but I liked that. It was confident. They act as though they have nothing to be ashamed of, and don’t dignify every crazy conspiracy theory with a serious, angry reaction.

    If Fox asked ‘Who?’, I think it would look worse. The conspiracy theory would be that Fox News is desperate to identify the whistle blower, even though nothing has been blown.

    Jesse nailed the response when he noted they ‘really aren’t bringing it with that question’. It’s a lame, yes or no question, phrased in an obnoxious cannot-win way, with absolutely no specifics.

    If Fox News made up a story, the insider would obviously tell us which one. Anyone who is more suspicious of Fox because of this video is an imbecile.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 2/14/2011 @ 4:13 am

  56. Why couldn’t he just have said, “No, I don’t think Fox News makes stuff up”? How does that make him (or anyone) look bad?

    Comment by Kman (26c32e) — 2/14/2011 @ 5:24 am

  57. Kman, why dignify that kind of question with an answer? He obviously devotes his hard work to a reputable news station, and anyone who thinks this needs an answer is a lunatic who would not be convinced by a denial.

    But there’s more. Watch the video again, and ask yourself why he couldn’t have said ‘no’. It would have been twisted. There was no way out of it. I think the fact Thinkprogress had no better question to ask, and went in for the ambush anyway, is all the evidence a reasonable person needs that their charge is without merit.

    Fox News tells you all day long they are Fair and Balanced. They constantly behave in a way that shows they content they have integrity. The question was already answered. When you’re calling someone like that a liar, there is no answer that can satisfy the kooks.

    And now, the kooks having nothing left than the pathetic ‘he didn’t deny it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ argument.

    It says a lot about Kman’s lack of integrity that he parrots such an argument.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 2/14/2011 @ 5:58 am

  58. Isn’t it funny that whenever somebody has absolutely no facts or evidence, they claim “some inside sources” say this or that. I could say ANYTHING that way. I could say “Some inside sources in the White House say that Obama is a committed socialist.” Oh, wait a minute, Obama IS a socialist. Sorry, no need for any verification there. His first two years in office already proved that.

    Comment by Libertyship46 (9cbbfa) — 2/14/2011 @ 6:38 am

  59. Jesse Waters is a very likable guy and although the long silences were unnerving, I think he handled this “ambush” really well. He knew it was a question with an answer that would lead to more questions, so he simply ignored it and changed the subject.

    The point is taken. Think Progress are a bunch of ankle biters, snapping and nipping at the lower extremities of anyone that they think they can get their pointy little baby teeth into. Spoiled infants should be ignored otherwise there is no end to their demands to be taken seriously.

    Comment by sgi (82c583) — 2/14/2011 @ 6:41 am

  60. If Jesse really was part of a news organization that was trying to make up stories and lie to America, he probably would have answered the question at length. He’d try to con us by taking an empty question and issuing a denial that shouldn’t even be possible, since Jesse doesn’t even really know what the accusation specifically is.

    Instead, he doesn’t acknowledge the pointless question because he’s got no reason to con anybody. If they want to ask him about a specific ‘made up story’, he could justify it with a source, or admit it’s a weak claim. But in this case, there never was a question worth answering, and Jesse acts like an honest person dealing with, as sgi says, an ankle biter.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 2/14/2011 @ 6:58 am

  61. He knew it was a question with an answer that would lead to more questions, so he simply ignored it and changed the subject.

    Exactly! Kdud, that brilliant legal mind, fails to recognize this very point. Quelle surprise! My guess is Kpud might be a process server.

    Comment by vote for pedro (e7577d) — 2/14/2011 @ 7:06 am

  62. It was well handled. There’s no benefit in engaging the Think Progress guy either way, and he didn’t provide anything exploitable.

    It’s not like there’s a magic answer that would’ve gotten the TP guy to rethink his worldview, turn off his camera, and go get a job in a value generating field. Denying him content was the best response.

    Comment by buster (73ca59) — 2/14/2011 @ 7:28 am

  63. Jesse should be a guest on Red Eye, which is the appropriate forum to discuss Think Progress and the best cell phones for interviews and social justice.

    And I bet had the dirty hippie handled the ambush better (without shivering, asking a smarter question, breaking the ice instead of letting the interviewee look drastically more sympathetic) Jesse would have offered him some work.

    Comment by Dustin (b54cdc) — 2/14/2011 @ 7:39 am

  64. Armbruster, doesn’t even realize how badly he was pwned

    Comment by narciso (c8ccf1) — 2/14/2011 @ 7:43 am

  65. Watters did an outstanding job. The critics have no idea what its like to be in this situation. He handled it quite adroitly, as it was obvious he was not taking the guy seriously, yet he never lost his cool or told the guy what he thought of him. Being shadowed like that is annoying at best and Watters behaved like the professional he obviously is.

    Comment by Mark Johnson (17e2b5) — 2/14/2011 @ 7:58 am

  66. Dustin

    > Kman, why dignify that kind of question with an answer?

    Why dignify kman with an answer. i mean why should think progress be ignored. oh, right because they are serial liars.

    So why should Kman be paid attention to?

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (e7d72e) — 2/14/2011 @ 7:58 am

  67. Mark

    > or told the guy what he thought of him

    I will respectfully disagree. I think we all know what Watters thought of him and it was communicated pretty clearly.

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (e7d72e) — 2/14/2011 @ 8:21 am

  68. Note to Leftists:
    Get over it!

    Dude I saw a bumper sticker the other day, the “Big 0″ ‘pepsi’ symbols in place of the “O”s:

    He Won.
    Get Over It.

    After having a snit fit for eight years over a “stolen” election… utterly ignoring the potential for a “correction” at the 4 year mark — as well as repeated conclusions even by left-oriented newsrags like the Miami Herald and the other papers in the area that, in actual fact, Bush won, this pinhead libtard actually thinks ANYTHING done subsequently by GOP supporters in regards to The Big 0 is even vaguely comparable?

    Can you say “projection”?


    Comment by Smock Puppet (c9dcd8) — 2/14/2011 @ 8:46 am

  69. Someone told me you make stuff up!!!!!!!!!! RESPOND TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!,

    You just made THAT up!! Respond to ME!!

    Comment by Smock Puppet (c9dcd8) — 2/14/2011 @ 8:50 am

  70. Someone told me you make stuff up!!!!!!!!!! RESPOND TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!,

    You just made THAT up!! Respond to ME!!

    I just made THAT up!! Who do *I* respond to, dammit?

    Comment by Smock Puppet (c9dcd8) — 2/14/2011 @ 8:52 am

  71. Someone told me you make stuff up!!!!!!!!!! RESPOND TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!,

    You just made THAT up!! Respond to ME!!</blockquote
    I just made THAT up!! Who do *I* respond to, dammit?

    I’m my own anonymous source!!

    Do I have anything to say about that?!?!

    Wait, what? Now I’m really, really confused.

    Can I get a job working for Think Progress, now?

    I think I’ve established my bona fidos. Or something along those lines.

    Comment by Smock Puppet (c9dcd8) — 2/14/2011 @ 8:56 am

  72. I am an insider at Think Progress. A really inside insider. Inner inner sanctum. Honest, I am; really truly; Soros’ honor.* And I can tell you for a fact that Think Progress makes stuff up all the time.

    * In other words, none.

    Comment by The anonymous Milhouse (ea66e3) — 2/14/2011 @ 5:26 pm

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