Interviews

Beck vs. O'Reilly on Westboro Baptist Church Freedom of Speech Case

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 8, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: In the "At Your Beck and Call" segment tonight, as you may know, the Supreme Court is hearing a big freedom of speech case with the hateful Westboro Baptist Church, not related to the American Baptist Church, interrupted the funeral of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

His family sued the vile protesters 1 million. The verdict was overturned on appeal. I say the Supreme Court should reinstate the jury verdict. But Beck disagrees. I spoke to him last night.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

O'REILLY: All right. Here's Beck, and he and I disagree on this Westboro-Snyder case on the Supreme Court.

GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS HOST: No. Actually, we do, but we don't in principle.

O'REILLY: I know that in spirit, everybody knows that these Westboro people...

BECK: Despicable.

O'REILLY: Right. They're vile people. But it's a freedom of speech issue. Let's walk through it in a very simple way, because both you and I are simple men.

BECK: Yes.

O'REILLY: And the question is...

BECK: You just called me a simpleton?

O'REILLY: Which one is simpler. And that is a real tough call.

BECK: It is.

O'REILLY: OK, do you believe in the civil right of privacy?

BECK: Yes.

O'REILLY: OK. So you believe in privacy, but you don't believe in the action of intentional infliction of emotional distress?

BECK: No. I believe that -- look, if you are coming into the church in a private ceremony, you have no reason to be there. If you are, let's say, across the street and you are shouting these vile, vile things...

O'REILLY: Right.

BECK: ... I'm sorry. I mean, I don't have to write down the Constitution to remind me of freedom of speech when people say that I don't like.

O'REILLY: There's more -- there's more to the Snyder case. There have been, in Alaska and New York state, two rulings against talk radio hosts. And you are one, and I used to be one.

BECK: Right.

O'REILLY: Who picked out individual citizens, and then put them up to mock and scorn them. And in both cases, juries ruled that was intentional infliction of a private citizen.

BECK: Yes.

O'REILLY: OK. Both cases the jury has ruled intention of emotional distress. The radio companies had to pay.

Here, the Snyder family is saying, look, not only did these people show up to disrupt the funeral, but before that, they put out mailings with our son's picture on then, our slain son's picture on them.

BECK: I think you can go for this.

O'REILLY: That's what it's all about. Snyder won the case on intentional infliction of emotional distress. Maryland jury said you're absolutely right. That's what they did. They targeted you and your family for pain. So we're going to give you $10 million.

And the feds, the court, said no, overturned it, and said because they have the freedom of speech, and they can do it.

I disagree. I think that the tort of intentional infliction overrides the freedom of speech in this case.

BECK: Where I get concerned is when people say that they don't have a right to gather on the street across from the church or whatever and say despicable things.

O'REILLY: If it's not targeted at an individual, then you're right. God -- so I have convinced you?

BECK: Yes.

O'REILLY: You have changed your mind. I want you to go on the radio and say that. I convinced you. Because that's what it's all about.

BECK: Yes. I have no problem with that.

O'REILLY: Targeting the Snyder family. Not the big issue of protest.

BECK: Yes. And the protests are -- you know, I have such respect for the people that are in these -- these bike groups that are coming out.

O'REILLY: And counter-protesting.

BECK: Absolutely. And they stand between. We have to stop, as a nation, stop worrying about our rights.

O'REILLY: I'm with you.

BECK: And pick up our responsibilities.

O'REILLY: Tennessee.

BECK: Yes.

O'REILLY: There's a fire department in a rural county.

BECK: Not going to convince me on this one.

O'REILLY: It's $75. They want you to pay. So, if you have a fire, they go to your house.

BECK: Yes.

O'REILLY: And you say no. And I'm almost with you on that. So look, you know, it's a public service. I got property taxes. I should be able to get fire service here. But, when the guy didn't pay, and his house burnt down.

BECK: I know.

O'REILLY: The fire department just let it burn down.

BECK: I don't know how the firemen stood there and didn't do it, but they had to. Because look, this is a community that agreed on how are we going to -- they didn't have any fire coverage before. Everybody's house burned down. And they said we have to have firemen. How are we going to do it? Everybody paid.

O'REILLY: I have a solution to that.

BECK: I don't think you do.

O'REILLY: I do. Listen to me. Here's what should have happened. The firemen should have put out the fire and charged him for the action.

We put it out. If you don't pay the 75, you have to pay all the costs of us putting it out. Are you with me?

BECK: No.

O'REILLY: Oh!

BECK: The idea here, Bill, you know what you're proposing?

O'REILLY: What?

BECK: "Obamacare."

O'REILLY: No. I'm...

BECK: Yes, you are. You are -- you are proposing "Obamacare." It doesn't work. This is fire insurance. If I can go buy insurance, which is Obama, what he wants to do with "Obamacare," and is doing, if I can get, "Oh, I've got cancer. I need insurance." Insurance that's $75 is to keep everyone -- everyone's house safe.

O'REILLY: Yes.

BECK: It is to be able to have a fire department.

O'REILLY: But under our Constitution you can't force. And that's the -- that's the problem with Obama care. You can't force people to do it. But what you can do is charge them for the service that you deliver. "I put your house out. I put the fire out. It cost the taxpayers this. You need to reimburse us."

BECK: Here is the thing. Here's why I won't go down the road with you. If that's what the people decide...

O'REILLY: That's what the people decide.

BECK: No. I wouldn't impose it on them. They'd have to vote on it. If this is what they decide to do I'm totally fine with it.

O'REILLY: No, no, no. I'm not going to impose. They vote.

BECK: This is their -- this is their community. This is what they came up with.

O'REILLY: Right.

BECK: The fire department, as cold and as -- as awful as it sounds.

O'REILLY: I want that option in there. I want them to vote on that option.

BECK: If you move to that county...

O'REILLY: Yes.

BECK: ... you can do that.

O'REILLY: OK. So I've convinced you?

BECK: ... county?

O'REILLY: Worse places to live beautiful rural Tennessee?

BECK: Absolutely. I'm wondering because maybe there would be a space here.

O'REILLY: So I've convinced you again.

BECK: No, you haven't.

O'REILLY: No, I haven't?

BECK: No, you haven't. You haven't convinced me. I have convinced you. No. I have convinced you.

O'REILLY: I want you to vote on the back end.

BECK: Yes. That's not what you started with.

O'REILLY: No. That's why -- I would propose.

BECK: Of course I convinced him. One to one.

O'REILLY: All right, Beck. So I won and you lost.

BECK: No. That's not how this works.

O'REILLY: Glenn Beck, everybody.

(END VIDEOTAPE)