This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 17, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight: A television station in North Carolina is reporting that John Edwards will soon admit he fathered a child with his mistress, a woman who testified in front of a grand jury last week. The former senator and vice presidential candidate's in big trouble because there are allegations he used campaign money to pay his mistress not to go public with the situation. But amazingly, the national press pretty much ignored the Edwards story. Compare this to the frenzy that surrounded Governor Mark Sanford's affair with an Argentinean woman.
So what's going on? With us now, New York Post columnist Linda Stasi, and FOX News contributor Ellis Henican. I hold in my hand data, Henican.
ELLIS HENICAN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.
O'REILLY: The actual data of the reportage on Edwards last week when this story broke. Nothing. The network news, nothing.
HENICAN: You say nobody picked it up.
O'REILLY: You know, look, you got a grand jury preceding that could put the man in jail for quite some time. You've got the mistress hauling a baby into the grand jury or — we'll see that shot in a minute. You've got a guy whose wife just wrote a best-seller about her struggle with cancer and infidelity that her husband hoisted upon her. And you got no coverage at all, Ellis? What's this all about?
HENICAN: I love a great sex scandal involving a former politician.
O'REILLY: This is a criminal story.
HENICAN: And it ought to be covered as a criminal story…
O'REILLY: Yeah, it's a crime story.
HENICAN: ...as soon as there are criminal stuff that you can actually report…
O'REILLY: The grand jury investigation with a mistress with a baby walking in.
HENICAN: I don't have any problem with your analysis that says that one thing got a lot more coverage than another thing. That's clearly true.
O'REILLY: Why? Why did it happen?
HENICAN: Well, there are a bunch of reasons. It's a little more complicated than you're suggesting. One is that Edwards was basically an irrelevant figure by the time the story broke.
O'REILLY: Former vice presidential candidate, big guy.
HENICAN: Ex, ex, ex. The fact that there was, I think, a lot of sympathy for the wife, who really did have a terrible case of cancer. And there's a little bit of a, you know, do we really have to pile on to this family? I think that was a…
O'REILLY: Well, what about the Sanford family? You got three teenage boys.
O'REILLY: I mean, where was the humanitarian aspect there?
HENICAN: Granted, all families suffer in these kind of circumstances.
HENICAN: The other aspect of it is that Sanford really handled it particularly badly, dribbling it out, coming up with the Appalachian Trail…
O'REILLY: Well, hold it, hold it. I'm going to get to you in a minute, Linda. Don't worry. Hold it. Sanford handled it badly?
O'REILLY: Sanford handled it.
O'REILLY: Edwards went on ABC News and lied to the — right in front of the camera.
HENICAN: That by the way…
O'REILLY: He said oh, I didn't do anything. It's not my kid. Sanford handled it badly?
HENICAN: Edwards didn't handle it, and running around in the bathroom in the hotel in Beverly Hills wasn't too bright either. Neither one of them…
O'REILLY: That was Edwards.
HENICAN: Right, that's what I mean.
O'REILLY: So come on. You're shooting this full of holes. It is almost exactly the same and the media didn't cover it nearly the same. Why?
LINDA STASI, NEW YORK POST TV CRITIC: Because Edwards is old news. You can throw him out with last week's fish. Who cares? I mean, even his wife…
O'REILLY: He's a big politician.
STASI: Yeah, was, was, was.
O'REILLY: His wife is a best-seller.
STASI: How can you compare what this story is with a guy who went to Argentina and said he was walking the Appalachian Trail?
O'REILLY: Oh, I don't believe you, Linda. I don't believe — here's a governor of South Carolina.
O'REILLY: Nobody knows him.
STASI: Governor, as opposed to…
O'REILLY: Nobody knows him.
STASI: ...ex-politician. Wait a minute.
O'REILLY: I can't believe this.
STASI: Suppose there had been a hurricane or a tornado in his state when he was gone. Who was going to declare a state of emergency? He was walking the Appalachian Trail…
O'REILLY: All right.
STASI: Don't cry for me, Argentina.
O'REILLY: Eva Perone would have done it.
O'REILLY: I can't — wait a minute. You stay out of this for a minute.
O'REILLY: I can't believe…
STASI: He was such a liar.
O'REILLY: I can't believe…
STASI: It's so ridiculous.
O'REILLY: He was such a liar?
STASI: Who cares?
O'REILLY: Edwards goes on ABC. He looks into the camera and — I can't believe you.
STASI: He's old news. This guy is current. Wait a minute. Are you saying it's because he's a Democrat?
O'REILLY: I'm saying it's because the press is corrupt.
STASI: Oh, what about…
O'REILLY: That's what I'm saying.
STASI: Wait. So they didn't cover McGreevey when he got nailed. They didn't cover…
O'REILLY: McGreevey was a local story.
STASI: McGreevey was a local story?
O'REILLY: Yeah, local.
STASI: What about Spitzer? Was that a local story?
O'REILLY: No, Spitzer was big.
STASI: Hello, hello.
O'REILLY: Because it was criminal activity.
O'REILLY: The same thing that Edwards has.
STASI: No, no, no. It was because it was a salacious sex scandal.
O'REILLY: No, it was because the woman was all over the place. But look.
STASI: Because it was a salacious sex…
O'REILLY: You're dodging this. You both know…
STASI: We're not dodging this.
O'REILLY: You both know this story is equal. Edwards and Sanford is equal, and the press isn't covering it.
STASI: Nobody cares about Edwards.
O'REILLY: And the press isn't covering it.
HENICAN: Here's the part where he's right, I think. And there was one part where you're right. It's that Edwards has treated people in the media well. He's like a decent guy. People don't hate him. He treats people with respect. Sanford, even the Republicans in South Carolina can't stand this guy.
O'REILLY: So it's personal.
HENICAN: It is personal. And you know what? It's a lesson in life. You treat people nice and then when you're in a jam, they tend to be a little easier on you.
O'REILLY: Edwards (INAUDIBLE). He was a SOB to us.
HENICAN: You may be an exception.
O'REILLY: And we were nice to him.
HENICAN: But in general, the lesson is…
HENICAN: …be nice to people and they will be nice to you back when you need it.
O'REILLY: No, here's the lesson. The press is corrupt in America. If they can get a Republican, they'll get him.
O'REILLY: That's what they're going to…
STASI: What about McGreevey?
HENICAN: What about Linda (INAUDIBLE).
STASI: What about Spitzer? What about all those people?
O'REILLY: What this is about, and you guys need to know this because this is absolutely true, if a Republican conservative gets in any kind of trouble at all, the press is going to work that person over to the maximum they can. If a liberal Democrat gets in trouble, they're going to get a pass as much as they can.
HENICAN: They do have a problem.
O'REILLY: It's what it's all about.
HENICAN: They do have that hypocrisy problem on the Republican side.
O'REILLY: Well, look, so you're saying that nobody ever can commit a sin on the other side of the aisle, the GOP side, because they stand for something.
HENICAN: Here's what I would say.
O'REILLY: That's ridiculous.
HENICAN: It leaves you open to the na-na na-na.
O'REILLY: All right, so that means everybody has so shut up about any of a social activity unless they're Jesus.
HENICAN: Don't pretend…
STASI: That's why they went after…
O'REILLY: That's crazy.
HENICAN: Don't pretend.
STASI: This is way they did it, because it was that, na-na na-na.
O'REILLY: It was a criminal deal.
STASI: Yes, but it was also because it was salacious.
O'REILLY: All right.
STASI: It sold newspapers.
O'REILLY: And we — and I have to — and I want to tell everybody before we go, we didn't cover the Edwards story because of his wife. We let it go. But now the hypocrisy is overwhelming. Linda, Ellis, thank you.
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