Interviews

Bernie Goldberg on Rolling Stone's Role in Gen. McChrystal Controversy

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 23, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight: The question is how much responsibility does Rolling Stone magazine have in this McChrystal fiasco. Did the reporter, Michael Hastings, act responsibly? Also, how is the mainstream media reacting to this story?

Joining us from North Carolina, Fox News analyst Bernie Goldberg, who we like to call in on days like today when the media really is in the center of the storm here. So, how do you evaluate this?

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BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Well, I don't think Rolling Stone did anything wrong, unless something comes out that I don't know about right now. Unless they used material that was off the record or unless they made stuff up and there's no indication of any of that.

Listen, it isn't the role of the journalist to do PR for the military or to protect the soldiers' career. If I'm in a bar with McChrystal and his boys and they start saying the things they said, I'm going to report it. I hope a liberal reporter or reporter with left-wing leanings or reporter with conservative leanings will do the exact same thing. It should make no difference at all.

Now, is it true that Rolling Stone is a left-wing magazine? Of course. This particular reporter, he's a card-carrying unabashed lefty. No question. It just amazes me that a general could be so breathtakingly unsophisticated as to do an interview with these guys, but I don't blame Rolling Stone for what McChrystal and his team said.

O'REILLY: I don't have any beef with Rolling Stone on this case. They did a hatchet job on me, as I pointed out. But on this case, unless McChrystal comes out and says this is all a bunch of crap, which he hasn't done, although he's been ordered to keep quiet. So, McChrystal may have, you know, something else.

But look, when you have a situation like this, you have to make an evaluation. You've been around long enough to know that JFK -- and he's the best example in American history -- was protected by the press. They knew about what he was doing with the extracurricular, they knew about a lot of things. They didn't report it for the good of the country. Now, you say that's bull, that you've got to report everything you hear. Doesn't matter because the folks have a right to know.

GOLDBERG: Not everything. But I think to use your phrase, an important phrase, for the good of the country, journalists need to report about the military without regard to whether it's going to be good or bad for the military. And that doesn't mean reporting troop movements where somebody is going to get killed just because you happened to have the information. But it does mean that it's not your job for the good of the country. It's not your job to worry about how this is going to affect a general of his stature. That's not your problem as a journalist. If you start worrying about that, then you are doing PR for the military and that's not good for the country.

O'REILLY: OK. Now, the mainstream media obviously has reported all day long on this. It's all over the place, you know, some people are blaming Obama. They said he shouldn't sack him. Some people are this. Some people are that. But it's not really an ideological story. It's just pretty much straightforward as I absolutely understand. Obama can't afford to look weak. If you let him go, then it will be, you know, he's another thumb in the eye and the president doesn't stand up. That's really what's behind this.

GOLDBERG: Uh-huh. Well, when you say the media, let me include in the media talk radio for a second. I was listening to it today and I'm depressed, Bill. I'm really depressed. There are a lot of my conservative friends out there who are blaming Obama for this, who are blaming Rolling Stone for this. You know, it isn't Obama's fault. The hypocrisy is enough to choke a horse. If some liberal member of the military said something about George Bush or Ronald Reagan, the sainted Ronald Reagan, that either one of them didn't like and Bush accepted his resignation or fired him.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Well it happened. Shinseki said something that the Bush administration didn't like and he was out of there. Absolutely.

GOLDBERG: I don't remember and I don't remember talk show hosts or their brilliant callers dialing in to condemn George Bush. You know what, you just can't get honest criticism or very little honest criticism anymore out there and that's something that bothers me a lot.

O'REILLY: Except on one place. Except one place.

GOLDBERG: That's right. Here. That's right. Right here.

O'REILLY: You bet! The No Spin Zone. Listen, I agree with you.

GOLDBERG: By the way, there's more truth in that. There's more truth in that. I know we're sort of kidding but there's more truth in that than we probably want to get into right now.

O'REILLY: Well, there is. I mean, ideology is overwhelmed a lot of commentary in this country. Bernie Goldberg, everybody. Thank you.

GOLDBERG: Precisely my point. Thank you.

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