This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 11, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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O'REILLY: Continuing now with the "Impact Segment", Al Sharpton continuing to be dishonest on NBC's air. Joining us from Washington, host of "MEDIA BUZZ" on FNC Howard Kurtz and from Miami, the purveyor of BernardGoldberg.com, Mr. Goldberg.
So Bernie, you're the president of NBC Universal. All right? Full power over Sharpton. What do you do?
BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I'd fire him but I wouldn't have hired him in the first place but that doesn't mean that the people who run NBC or Comcast, by the way, the parent company, are going to do that. Every important Democratic politician running for high office has to go to Harlem and kiss Al Sharpton's ring. Ok? Every one of them. They're concerned about him. They have to pay him respect.
So, if powerful politicians are doing that, are we supposed to believe that Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC or the people who run Comcast aren't equally, I'll use the word, "afraid" of him. I think they are. Because who the hell knows what is he's going to say the next day after he gets fired or what he's going to do? They're not going to take that chance, I don't think.
O'REILLY: If Sharpton were just a commentator like Bashir, you think he'd -- did he do enough to be fired, Mr. Kurtz? Did he do enough to be fired, you know, putting his pressure and his color aside. Did he do enough to be fired in your opinion?
HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS HOST: Bill, I would fire the producer to start with, who made those kinds of editing mistakes. To call them mistakes is actually misleading. They are malicious attempts to deceive viewers when they cut you off after you called Nelson Mandela a communist which he was, briefly. And didn't let you continue the thought on tape to say he was a great man.
Now, Al Sharpton has always worn two hats on MSNBC. Civil rights activist -- some says racial ambulance chaser. He was intimately involved in the Trayvon Martin murder case and then went on MSNBC and took one side. So clearly, he is treated very, very differently than most talk show hosts.
Ok. But again, if we -- if NBC is not going to do anything, Bernie, this means all standards have collapsed at that news organization, have they not?
GOLDBERG: Well, you understand that there was a former president of NBC News who said we do news here on this side of the street and they over there at MSNBC are our editorial page. I say, fine. Fair enough. And then I say, is that the kind of editorial page you'd want? Because it shouldn't be the kind of editorial page you'd want. Let me pick on --
O'REILLY: Wait, wait -- let me just challenge. Hard news and commentary both come under the umbrella of journalism.
O'REILLY: They're both in the journalism realm. What we're doing right now is journalism.
O'REILLY: There are rules, there are rules. You cannot distort either the facts or the commentary. You can't do that.
GOLDBERG: That's right.
O'REILLY: We have proven that Sharpton does this routinely. We just showed you the two most egregious things.
GOLDBERG: Yes. That's a good point. But let me take your viewers into the factory and on a tour of how sausage is made. What Howard said is absolutely correct. First of all, Sharpton is responsible for what's on his show. His name is on it. It's his show. He is responsible. No question about that.
KURTZ: I agree with that.
GOLDBERG: But Sharpton doesn't go into the editing room. I'm guessing he doesn't know where the editing room is at MSNBC. This is almost always done, almost always by young, liberal unethical producers who didn't grow up in a world of anything resembling traditional journalism. And what they're doing is what they believe the culture at MSNBC expects of them. What they're doing is what the President --
O'REILLY: So that Phil Griffin should be fired then? Because if you're right --
GOLDBERG: Howard said that the producer should be fired. I would crank it up a step. Phil Griffin is the one who sets the tone at that --
O'REILLY: But there's more than that. And Howard, here's the crunch time now, the one he was on with was this woman Finney, right? Karen Finney. She wrote me a letter of apology today. All right?
O'REILLY: Because she --
KURTZ: Because she said you'd never been in Soweto.
O'REILLY: Right. And then I showed a picture that I was. There's the letter that she wrote me. And I accept the apology. Did Sharpton apologize?
O'REILLY: Did he?
Kurtz: Finney made a mistake. It's in a very different category. I don't want to tar everybody at MSNBC with the same brush. There are hosts, there are journalists, there are producers at the network who you may not agree with, you may think they're awful --
O'REILLY: You don't have to tar them. What about the leadership? What about the leadership, Howard?
KURTZ: Give me half a sentence to get to that. Who do their work honestly even though you, I, the audience may not agree with them but where I hold the MSNBC leaders accountable is in setting a tone and something like Martin Bashir can issues -- can spew forth that kind of venom against Sarah Palin. He was punished for three weeks until he lost his job.
The tone is set at the top. Apologies should be made when these kind of mistakes -- these kinds of malicious mistakes are made and that's where I would fault the management of that network.
O'REILLY: Ok. Well, I don't expect NBC to do anything. I'll tell you what. They're losing credibility, Bernie -- I'll give you the last word on it. They're losing credibility all over the country now. I think they are.
GOLDBERG: Here's the last word. I'm wondering if you considered this possibility. That they have come up with a strategy over there and the strategy is, say really nasty, unethical things about Bill O'Reilly because he's going to try to set the record straight and we'll get more publicity on Fox than we would have ever gotten on MSNBC --
O'REILLY: But it doesn't matter. You've got to have a product --
GOLDBERG: -- where only 12 people watch.
O'REILLY: Bernie, I heard that argument a million times. You've got to have a product. Ok? They have no product. That's why their ratings are terrible.