Interviews

Bloviating with Bill:Jeff Cagle

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 8, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, part two in the "Bloviating with Bill" contest, where everyday Americans get to take me on in a debate, this evening the topic is ambush journalism.

As you know, “The Factor” sometimes chases down people we feel owe the public an explanation, like this guy, a Virginia charity fundraiser who keeps most of the money for himself. And Judge Edward Cashman, who gave a child rapist 60 days in prison in Vermont.

With us now, Jeff Cagle, who writes for the Burnett County Sentinel in Wisconsin, who has a sharp point of view on it.

Are you ready here, Jeff?

JEFF CAGLE, WRITER, BURNETT COUNTY SENTINEL: You bet.

O'REILLY: You're not nervous? You're ready to bloviate, right?

CAGLE: Cool and collected.

O'REILLY: All right. Excellent. You feel that we should not be intruding on these guys or what?

CAGLE: Yes. It's unethical. It violates their right to privacy. Even though he's a public figure, he's entitled to his privacy rights as well here. And you've got to — you've got to respect that.

O'REILLY: OK you don't — but let's take it step-by-step. You don't have any privacy rights when you're in public. OK? As soon as you walk off your property, you don't have any privacy rights at all.

CAGLE: There's a certain norm you've got to live by here.

O'REILLY: No. There's no norm. When you walk down the streets of New York tonight, if somebody wants to come up to you and panhandle, they can do that. You're in public. So No. 1, we're not violating any laws at all. And we go in. And we only do this when we can't get them in any other way.

CAGLE: Why didn't you make that clear right away, though? You didn't make that clear. And you know, I agree with you on that...

O'REILLY: In what case didn't we make it clear?

CAGLE: You didn't make it clear. You just went right to the footage where you showed...

O'REILLY: Well, here's the guy — here's the guy who scammed, some people say, billions (ph) of dollars, this guy in Virginia. Obviously, he did not want to talk to us about this. He didn't want to be on camera, because he's under investigation. So we went where he was, and we put him on. And what's wrong with that?

CAGLE: Well, it's one thing, you know, if it's a house here. My fear is, you know, you might anger some viewers out there, and they might — you know, you might have a mob come in here and...

O'REILLY: A mob coming here at FOX?

CAGLE: No. Not coming here at FOX, but...

O'REILLY: Oh, after this guy, you mean?

CAGLE: A mob after the guy.

O'REILLY: That's a legitimate point.

CAGLE: And you know, and they might, you know, break in and do harm to him.

O'REILLY: That's a legitimate point. I don't think with the fundraiser, but certainly with Cashman.

CAGLE: And that's what makes me nervous, Bill.

O'REILLY: OK. And it's a legitimate point, but I'll tell you why you're wrong. Cashman is a villain. He's a villain, all right? He has power, and he did something — and I'm sure you would agree with this — that is so egregious, so wrong, sentencing a child rapist to 60 days in prison, and he has an obligation to explain that.

CAGLE: Yes.

O'REILLY: Not only — not only to "“The Factor”" audience but to the family and everything else. And he basically gave the finger, the middle finger to everybody and said, "I'm not going to explain it." And you're telling me I shouldn't run after this guy?

CAGLE: You should have run after him at the courthouse. And you know, even after his car. But at his home where he eats and sleeps at night? Come on.

O'REILLY: We didn't violate his privacy. As soon as he went inside, we left.

CAGLE: But that's something Michael Moore does in his movies.

O'REILLY: That's true. Michael Moore does it.

CAGLE: And you yourself, you hate Michael Moore.

O'REILLY: I don't hate Michael Moore. I hate no one.

CAGLE: He's — well, he's a filmmaker here, not a...

O'REILLY: There's a big difference between Michael Moore and myself. He's doing it to put it in his movie and exploit it. I'm doing it because there's no other way to hold these villains accountable.

CAGLE: But the way you're going about it, Bill, seems like you're exploiting the situation here and you're trying to turn it into a rally cry here for Jessica's Law, which...

O'REILLY: Well, that's true. I am. I am. We're crusading for Jessica's Law. We make no bones about it. But the most important thing — and I'll give you the last word — is that we are holding villains accountable. And we're pretty much the only ones who do that. Go.

CAGLE: It's one thing, you know, if you want to hold villains accountable here, but you've got to do it ethically and fairly here as you guys preach here. And you know, I agree with you...

O'REILLY: Well, we're fair and balanced. But...

CAGLE: You know. Well, you've got to prove it more to the public here, and you've got to — you've got to make them believe that.

O'REILLY: All right. All right, Jeff, you did very well. Thank you very much. It will be interesting to see what people think about Jeff's point of view. We appreciate you coming on.

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