Interviews

Is Race a Factor in Ethics Charges Against Reps. Rangel and Waters?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 2, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

Watch "The O'Reilly Factor" weeknights at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET!

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Weekdays with Bernie" segment tonight, two hot topics: Is "American Idol" in trouble? And is there a racism involved with the ethics complaints against Congressman Charles Rangel and Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

Joining us now, Fox News Analyst Bernie Goldberg, who is in North Carolina. And he is the purveyor of BernardGoldberg.com. OK. You've been thinking about this racism angle. I think it's pretty clear that Congresswoman Waters is going to make this a racial forum. What say you?

BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Sure she is. Well, I think the blind guy down the street that sells pencils in his tin cup could have seen this one coming. Racism is just what people throw out these days. George Bush was a racist because of Katrina. A liberal magazine, a prominent liberal magazine online said if Obama doesn't win the election in 2008, it was because of white racism. If you are against Obamacare, you are a racist. If you are against affirmative action, you are a racist. If you have anything to do with Fox News, you are a racist. Look, the Congressional Black Caucus and white liberals, not all white liberals but too many white liberals have trivialized the word. They have rendered it virtually meaningless, and that's a very bad thing.

I made a list, Bill. I did some research today with the help of your staff. And I made a list of other congresspeople who were charged or are being charged or will be charged in ethics violations. Newt Gingrich was charged. Another speaker of the House, Jim Wright, was charged. Senator Ensign is being investigated. Congressman Visclosky is being investigated. Remember, Eric Massey, the guy who tickled people, he resigned after an ethics investigation began. Congressman Mark Sanders resigned before an investigation could even begin. You know what, Bill? They are all white. They are all white. So, here's what we need. We need a liberal Democrat, a gutsy liberal Democrat to stand up and say stop, enough of this. You can't cry wolf about racism because when real racism comes down, nobody is going to pay attention, and that is a very bad thing.

O'REILLY: Now, who is going to do that? Barney Frank going to do that?

GOLDBERG: No. That is a great question. That is a great question. And the answer is, I don't know anybody out there who is going to do it. That's the real problem. And it can't be anybody on the right. It can't be any conservative no matter how well-meaning he is. It has to be somebody on the left and your question is right on the money because I can't think of who that is.

O'REILLY: Well, you know, maybe somebody will surprise us. But the media is also at fault here because Maxine Waters knows that if she makes it a racial deal…

GOLDBERG: Right.

O'REILLY: …all right? The media will pick that up, will run all day with it. Talk radio will run with it; cable will run with it and in the end, nobody will know what Maxine Waters allegedly did, you know.

GOLDBERG: I don't think this has ever happened before when I have been a guest. You've made two really good points in a row.

O'REILLY: Yes. I'm usually good for one a show. But I'm really, you know, I have been on vacation. I'm rested. That's what's happening here.

GOLDBERG: Yes, I mean, this is incredible, and you are right. You are absolutely right. The press will become stenographers. Maxine Waters will say things about racism, and they will dutifully take it down and the people at home will read that Maxine Waters thinks it's racism. But I will tell you something. Good, decent people have had enough of this. The word racist used to instill fear in people. Nobody wants to be called a racist. It means less and less because of how they misused the word.

O'REILLY: Yes, it's been marginalized because it's a political weapon. Rangel hasn't really played that tune very much. I don't know whether old Charles is going to do that as much.

GOLDBERG: But members of the Congressional Black Caucus have played it and that's not a good thing.

O'REILLY: Right. All right. Now, let's get to "American Idol." A lot of people -- "American Idol," but this is a powerful force in American culture right now. It looks like the show is absolutely falling apart. Ellen DeGeneres resigned. Simon Cowell is the creative force behind the program. He is out. And I don't know -- I don't know whether this can survive. No. 1, do you care that it gives relief to a lot of people? It gives joy to a lot of people. I believe that. And, No. 2, is it done?

GOLDBERG: I always care when a show, a good family show like that brings joy to people. I think that's obviously a good thing. Yes, but I want to give you a take on this that you will not hear anyplace else. I guarantee you that. And that is that the show has largely been a success, of course, because not entirely but largely because of Simon Cowell. And that's because Simon Cowell does something that is rare in our culture. He tells the truth.

Now, we always tell our kids honesty is the best policy. That's a little too simple. You get in a lot of trouble. And in many cases you will get in a lot more trouble for telling the truth than telling a lie unless you are under oath. I mean, your wife says to you, how do I look in this dress? You say, not too good, you are going to get in trouble for that. If you lie and say oh, you look great, you will never get in trouble for that. I need to say my wife looks good in everything, you know, and that's the truth.

But here comes Simon Cowell, here comes Simon Cowell, and if you are a no-talent hack, he says, you can't carry a tune in a dump truck; get out of here. And I think people at home, Bill, this is my unique take. I think people at home secretly, at some level, envy that. They wish they…

O'REILLY: Is there distinct quality to Mr. Cowell when he does it though?

GOLDBERG: No, no.

O'REILLY: Is a there a joyfulness and slaughtering innocence?

GOLDBERG: No, I don't think it's sadistic at all. I think people at home wish they could be that honest and not get in trouble. But they know they will get in trouble so they don't tell the truth and the sort of cowards about that.

O'REILLY: They're vicariously living through Simon Cowell's truth-telling. Now he is gone. Can't they find somebody else to do it?

GOLDBERG: You would be a good choice but...

O'REILLY: I'm tone deaf, you know, and, you know, I'll tell you what, and this is true. I'm glad you brought that up. I don't like to do that. I do it to the powerful people, you know, where people who are really harming the folks. But to some guy who can't sing, you know.

GOLDBERG: Hey, Bill, come on, the guests bring it on themselves. These people who, as I say, can't carry a tune in a dump truck.

O'REILLY: Who do you think picks those guests? The pinhead producers of the show. They want them. They line them up, Bernie. Come on.

GOLDBERG: Nobody is going to their house and dragging them out of the house. They show up.

O'REILLY: All right. I'm nominating Bernie Goldberg to take Cowell's place, everybody. There you go. There is the solution to that problem. We solved it.

GOLDBERG: That's not a bad idea.

O'REILLY: You get free clothes, Bernie. So, take it.

Content and Programming Copyright 2010 Fox News Network, Inc. Copyright 2010 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.