Meghan McCain on Media's Treatment of Conservative Women

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 12, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Culture Warriors" segment tonight: We begin with women in politics. Some say they are getting a much rougher time than men. In fact, Meghan McCain wrote a column about it on The Daily Beast Web site. And there is no question that conservative women are really getting hammered.


MEREDITH VIEIRA, CO-HOST, "TODAY" SHOW: You say in the book you've been Palinized, referencing Sarah Palin? What do you mean by that, I've been Palinized?

CARRIE PREJEAN, FORMER MISS CALIFORNIA: You know of the attacks Sarah Palin's been under, don't you?

VIEIRA: But you think if you're a conservative woman that…

PREJEAN: Do you think Sarah Palin has been attacked?

VIEIRA: I think Sarah Palin has certainly been criticized, absolutely, by a lot of people, as have many politicians.

PREJEAN: And there is a double standard out there. There is an extreme double standard that conservative women are under attack for whatever it is.


O'REILLY: All right. With us now the "Culture Warriors," the aforementioned Meghan McCain, in for Margaret Hoover tonight, and "Fox & Friends" co-anchor Gretchen Carlson, the vision in red.

OK. Let's deal generically with women in politics. They get a rougher time than men, do you think?

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GRETCHEN CARLSON, CO-HOST, "FOX & FRIENDS": I think women in general get a rougher time.

O'REILLY: So not only in politics, but in all areas of America?

CARLSON; Probably. I think it's exacerbated in politics or in television, any kind of career that's in public display.

O'REILLY: So in television you get a harder time than, say, me?

CARLSON: Well, potentially on this front, meaning that people would be more apt to criticize my appearance before they would criticize yours.

O'REILLY: I'm perfectly flawed.

CARLSON: Look at me, and instead of necessarily listening to exactly what I'm saying, for example, say, "I love that dress" or "I don't like that dress" or "Love that hair."

O'REILLY: Isn't that natural, you know?

CARLSON: I'm not criticizing it. I'm just saying that I think that that's the first thing that's thought about women.

O'REILLY: Let's take it even to a more serious level than dress. Do you think you're under more pressure in the media than, say, I would be or another male anchor would be?

CARLSON: Because I think the perception is that overall women are still not still as smart as men.

O'REILLY: Really?



CARLSON: Take, for example, politicians. Hillary Clinton...


CARLSON: ...when she was a very active first lady, was thought of as being too tough, OK? But then Sarah Palin comes onto the forefront, and because she's pretty, the label that always comes with that is, "Oh, well, she's probably not that smart." So it's kind of a no-win situation.

O'REILLY: OK, but you have noticed what they say about me and other — OK.? It's pretty vicious.

CARLSON: I acknowledge that.

O'REILLY: Now, Meghan — and we're happy to have you.


O'REILLY: Appreciate you coming in. Let's take women politicians. The two highest profile, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, a Democrat and a Republican. No doubt they've both been hammered. But is the criticism fair?

MCCAIN: I don't think so. I mean, just mathematically, women still make 70 cents to every man's dollar. So I think you can't mess with statistics. But I do think we are actually having a whole generation of women right now, young women, that are going to be intimidated to run for office, because they see the way women like Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin are treated.

O'REILLY: But aren't men battered in the political arena as well? And I don't disagree with you here. I mean, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin have been just hammered. Now, some people say legitimately so. Hillary Clinton because of all of her, let's say, questionable activities, Whitewater, on and on. And then Sarah Palin, because she did not do well in a couple of interviews on national television. So, you know, what do you do? Is the criticism legitimate or is it not legitimate?

MCCAIN: I don't think it's legitimate. And I would always be curious to know if my father had picked a male running mate and his teenage daughter were pregnant, how the media would have handled that in a different way than they have with Sarah Palin.

O'REILLY: We'll never know, but it's a legitimate point. So both of you ladies say that it's rougher for a woman in America, in any kind of an industry, than it is for men?

CARLSON: I think so. I think we've come a long way, and here is the hope. I think that younger generations now maybe are going to be raised with a different perception, possibly. And Meghan is much younger than I am, so maybe she can talk to that more than I can. But I also want to point out that it's not just men's perception of women. It's women's perception of women.

O'REILLY: Yes, women are tough on women.

CARLSON: Some of the harshest critics of Sarah Palin were women.

O'REILLY: Look at "Saturday Night Live." There's no doubt about it.

Final question on the subject. Conservative women, I think, get it worse than liberal women, do they not?

MCCAIN: In my experience as an open and out, proud Republican, I do think that — I mean, I do think it's harder. I do. I just know from my experiences anywhere, from speaking at colleges to going on television shows, it is a double standard, in my experience. That's just my personal...

O'REILLY: I think conservative women get — and a lot of it has to do with the abortion issue. Your reproductive rights, you're a traitor.

MCCAIN: Exactly. You're not a feminist if you're not pro-choice.

O'REILLY: You're not a feminist, you're not sticking up for women if you're pro-life. And that's where it all starts.

OK. Let's go to a lesser intense topic. Carl's Jr., the burger outfit out on the West Coast. And they are provocateurs. They do commercials to get people upset. Here's the latest. Roll the tape.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Introducing the authentic chicken parmesan sandwich. New at Carl's Jr.


O'REILLY: So the implication is Italians are assassins. What do you think?

MCCAIN: I didn't find it offensive, but Carl's Jr. is known for their Paris Hilton, you know, on top of a car.

O'REILLY: Yes, right.


O'REILLY: You didn't find that offensive. And if you were Italian — you're not, but if you were — you wouldn't say, "Hey, it's a stereotype. What are you doing?"

MCCAIN: Maybe. But I wanted to know what this group had to say about "The Sopranos," one of the most popular television shows on ever that was on for, like, I think nine years. Did they not have a problem with that show? I mean...

O'REILLY: That's good. Because they're organized mafia comprised of Italians. All right. Now, the Carl's Jr. people pulled the ad. But I think that they knew they were going to have to pull the ad.

CARLSON: You do?

O'REILLY: Yes. Oh, yes.

CARLSON: Because I think that's the headline of this story.

O'REILLY: I had the Carl's Jr. guy on, the president of Carl's Jr. This guy — I love this guy. He goes, "Let's make this commercial. We know we'll have to pull it. We will throw it a few times. And O'Reilly and other pinheads will run it for free. And we'll sell more burgers."

CARLSON: But I think the headline is that they acquiesce to the pressure, because once again...

O'REILLY: They were going to do that from the jump.

CARLSON: I'm back to my PC, OK? Because now we're just going to acquiesce to everything.

O'REILLY: You would have kept it on?

CARLSON: By the way, until they want to stop telling blonde bimbo jokes about Meghan and myself…

O'REILLY: Really? Do they tell blonde bimbo jokes about you guys? Would you please give me them? I would like to hear that. But you left. Carlson, when that tape was rolling, Carlson, you were laughing. You were laughing at Italian stereotypes.

CARLSON: Oh, come on.

O'REILLY: You were laughing at Italian people.

CARLSON: Well, let's laugh at the Swedes then, too, because I'm 100 percent Swede. Come on.

O'REILLY: There's nothing funny about the Swedes. No, they gave the Nobel Peace Prize — that was a riot — to President Obama. So I stand corrected.

CARLSON: Come on. We have to have a little levity.

O'REILLY: I agree.

CARLSON: There were no weapons in that ad, and I thought it was funny.

O'REILLY: OK, and you thought it was funny.

MCCAIN: I did, too.


MCCAIN: You can make an Irish joke about me.

O'REILLY: I have to say, as a person who's Irish, 100 percent, I was very offended by that ad. And if Carl's Jr. does it again, I'm sending hit men over from Sicily to get you.

Ladies, thank you very much.

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