Interviews

Will Media Report Ground Zero Mosque Imam's Tie With 9/11 Truther?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 13, 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: Our intrepid analyst has been following the story we broke tonight about the Ground Zero mosque imam associating with a 9/11 truther.

Joining us from North Carolina is Bernie Goldberg. So, I think both you and I agree that this story is going to be downplayed, perhaps ignored, by most in the establishment media, correct?

BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You really think that, Bill? No. I think that there's probably a better chance that a snowball would make it through a Saudi Arabian summer than this story will make it into the mainstream media. And -- and that's not just some crazy right- wing paranoia. Here's why I say that.

A few Sundays ago, The New York Times ran a page one profile of Imam Rauf, the so-called Ground Zero imam. It was a Valentine from beginning to end. It was also 1,900 words long, which is a very long piece for a newspaper. And they didn't -- they literally did not devote a single word, not one word, to the fact that 19 days after 9/11, the imam told Ed Bradley on "60 Minutes" that U.S. policies were accessories to the crime.

O'REILLY: Let me stop you there. Let me stop you there. And I want to be fair to Imam Rauf, who I did give the benefit of the doubt to, but now because he's -- because he's running away from this Khan story, now the imam is on my bad side. But let me stop you on that.

The prevailing wisdom in the Muslim world, among moderate Muslims and even Muslims who like America, is that America foreign policy, the way it was handled for 30, 40 years was responsible for radicalizing some people because we have a presence in the Gulf. We take their oil. We support despots in some countries, Saudi Arabia and others. That we do all of these things, that we intrude on the Muslim world.

That's not a radical position. You can debate it one way or the other, but it's not a radical. So I didn't -- I wasn't resentful when Rauf said that to Ed Bradley. Although saying it so close to 9/11 and making an excuse, that's what it came -- and you saw Ed Bradley's expression. Ed Bradley went up like, "Are you saying that we're responsible?" I mean, that's how it came off. You are right.

GOLDBERG: You left out -- you left out one thing from your incredibly long list there, Bill. And that is support for Israel. So, if the United States decides that it's in its self-interest to support Israel, what, then we should expect these crazy lunatics to fly airplanes into buildings? And then our policies are accessories to the crime?

Second thing you said that I want to take issue with, you said moderate Muslims around the world think. Let me tell you something, Bill. A moderate in the Muslim world is very different from a moderate by American values. Very different.

O'REILLY: No, I know. I define moderate -- moderate Muslims as people who don't hate America.

GOLDBERG: I understand your argument, but with all due respect, I'm not terribly impressed by it. Let me just finish my point. And that is that, in 1,900 words they didn't mention this...

O'REILLY: Right.

GOLDBERG: ...which you and I disagree about, but they didn't mention it at all. Now, we -- I assume we agree that it's important enough to at least mention -- well, and let me just say for the record I wrote a letter to the editor of The Times, and they published it.

But my point is if they fail to mention a point that is so important to opponents of the mosque near Ground Zero, they're not going to have any problem at all not covering a story at all about not the imam but an associate of the imam. So there's no way this is going to make it into the mainstream media.

O'REILLY: It speaks to the imam, just as your point about the imam diverting attention from the 9/11 attack by saying, you know, America might be partially responsible. This is the same thing. This is where the imam lives. He lives in these precincts. It's almost like the Jeremiah Wright-Barack Obama association. He feels comfortable with guys like Khan, who's on the board of directors. Now, look, you are right.

GOLDBERG: They're all moderates.

O'REILLY: You're right and I'm right that the media will probably largely ignore the story, and tomorrow we'll document it, OK? Why -- why does the left-wing media want this Ground Zero mosque built so much?

GOLDBERG: That's a great question. It's a very good question. And I think it's because one of the fundamental delusions of liberalism, whether it's the media -- people in the media or outside the media, because there's no difference. Liberals in the media are the same as liberals outside the media. One of their fundamental delusions is that they have a monopoly on compassion. And this -- taking this side of the issue enables them to show how compassionate they are, because they're sticking up for oppressed -- and I am putting that word in gigantic quotation marks -- "American Muslims."

It makes them feel once again that they're looking out for the underdog and all of this, whether it's this or affirmative action or a dozen other issues mostly makes them feel better about themselves. And the -- and the icing on the cake is that many prominent conservatives are against the mosque in that location. And now they could say, "You see? We're the good ones. We're always the good ones, you know. And they're the haters and the bigots and the ignorant people."

O'REILLY: But this story blows...

(CROSSTALK)

GOLDBERG: Those are words they've actually used.

O'REILLY: This story, I think, blows Rauf's cover unless he addresses it directly, don't you?

GOLDBERG: Yes. Well, I think -- I think the question that has to be asked, this -- did you know about this? What did you know? When did you know it? And I don't mean as a gotcha question: What did you know and when did you know it? I shouldn't have phrased it that way. But I want to know, does Imam Rauf know that his friend held these positions? And how close were they? What -- how close was the association?

O'REILLY: All right.

GOLDBERG: These are just legitimate questions.

O'REILLY: Right. They are.

GOLDBERG: At the next softball interview he does, somebody ought to ask him that.

O'REILLY: Right. He had to know. Just like I know all your positions, Bernie. I mean, you know, I hang with you, and I know what you're all about. He had to know. All right. Bernie Goldberg, everybody.

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.