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Juan Williams Speaks Out About NPR Firing

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 21, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight, let's bring in the guy causing all the trouble, Fox News analyst Juan Williams. First of all, I'm sorry about this. You know, I don't have any use for NPR, but you worked there a long time. I know, you know, you are sad and emotional about it but, believe me, you are better off getting out of there. You are better off.

Let's walk through. When you said that on "The Factor," I heard it and I was going to say well, I'm not scared of Muslims on a plane. I was going to but I said, you know, it's not worth it. It's a small point. It's a small point.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS ANALYST: It was.

O'REILLY: First of all, millions of Americans feel the same way. That's beyond a reasonable doubt. So you say it. When did the fallout start? How quickly after you said it? This was on Monday night you said it.

WILLIAMS: Monday night on your show and on Wednesday afternoon, I get a call from Ellen Weiss, the vice president in charge of news at NPR and she says "What did you mean to say?" I said, "I said what I meant to say."

O'REILLY: So it took them 36 hours to get to you.

WILLIAMS: Not to get to me. They can get to me any time. I work for them. They know how to reach me.

O'REILLY: You didn't hear anything for 36 hours.

WILLIAMS: Nothing. In fact…

O'REILLY: Do you know what that tells me? Somebody put heat on them.

WILLIAMS: Yes, without a doubt.

O'REILLY: Because if they had heard it and there'd been so much outrage, you would have heard Tuesday morning.

WILLIAMS: I would have heard that night. I'm saying you are exactly right. All of a sudden, let me tell you, I was in Chicago on Tuesday and people were coming up to me to say, and this was a Muslim guy telling me about how his kids, you know, have fears about being identified as Muslims, thank you for what you said on O'Reilly last night. This is in O'Hare Airport and then that night, I start to see my mailbox, e-mails from and clearly orchestrated by a Muslim rights group saying that I am a bigot.

O'REILLY: CAIR? That's who did it.

WILLIAMS: Exactly.

O'REILLY: OK, so they got to NPR and then these pinheads, who probably never even watched this program, didn't know what you said. They start to make this determination. People should know that Juan was very sympathetic, by the way, to Muslims during that interview. You didn't hammer them at all.

WILLIAMS: No. I mean, this is the irony of the thing. They take something totally out of context, like one word or one line and forget the fact that here I am engaging you, Bill O'Reilly, right? We are having an honest discussion. This is what America should be. People having a real debate and telling you, you pointed out rightly in the "Talking Points Memo." This is what I felt. If I have a fear…

O'REILLY: It wasn't an opinion. That's where this Schiller, do you know her by the way?

WILLIAMS: I have met her.

O'REILLY: I mean, this woman is stone-cold dumb. I'm not saying it, with all due respect. Williams gives -- you are not allowed to give personal opinions as an NPR analyst. You are not allowed to give personal opinions. We don't want personal opinions. You weren't giving an opinion.

WILLIAMS: Never.

O'REILLY: You were saying, look, if you had said after that, "And I think all Americans should feel the same way that I do," that would have been an opinion.

WILLIAMS: No.

O'REILLY: This woman doesn't understand what a feeling is as opposed to an opinion.

WILLIAMS: She must not have lived in America after 9/11.

O'REILLY: Then she goes on and gives a speech today.

WILLIAMS: I know about this.

O'REILLY: OK, and listen to this clip. Roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VIVIAN SCHILLER, NPR PRESIDENT AND CEO: Juan feels the way he feels, that is not for me to judge -- to pass judgment on. That is really his feelings that he expressed on Fox News are really between him and his, you know, psychiatrist or his publicist, or take your pick. But it is not compatible with a news analyst on a -- with the roll of a news analyst on NPR's air.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Are you kidding me?

WILLIAMS: So now I'm a psycho.

O'REILLY: A psychiatrist?

WILLIAMS: Now I'm mentally unstable. I'm a journalist.

O'REILLY: This is the woman running this operation?

WILLIAMS: Oh my God.

O'REILLY: It is -- it's unbelievable.

WILLIAMS: That's insulting. So now it becomes personal.

O'REILLY: She apologized.

WILLIAMS: Not to me.

O'REILLY: That's a good point. She apologized to -- all right. Look, I'm not here to assassinate Ms. Schiller's character. I think she is a coward. She could have come on here. She didn't. She fired you. She didn't talk to you. Somebody else did, an underling.

WILLIAMS: In fact, I said why can't I even come in and talk to you. I have been there 10 years. I have taken shows at that network to unprecedented heights. I have served key roles there, raised tons of money for them.

O'REILLY: She wouldn't talk to you.

WILLIAMS: She said I wouldn't even come in to talk to the assistant. I never got a word from Ms. Schiller.

O'REILLY: Now you haven't raised this. I want everybody to know Juan hasn't raised this. About a year ago, the society of Black Journalists chastised NPR for not having any black journalists. You are the only one, Williams.

WILLIAMS: I'm the only black male on the air at NPR.

O'REILLY: Now you are gone because you offered a sincere, honest opinion and you didn't celebrate the opinion. You didn't say I'm happy I feel this way.

WILLIAMS: No.

O'REILLY: I'm wondering now, Al Sharpton and all those guys are going to get involved here? Don't have any black men on the air at NPR.

WILLIAMS: You know what? I don't fit in their box, Bill.

O'REILLY: I know that.

WILLIAMS: I don't fit in their box. I'm not a predictable black liberal. Let me tell you something else. You were exactly right when you said you know what this comes down to is they were looking for a reason to get rid of me because I appear on Fox News. They don't want me talking to you.

O'REILLY: Here is back up. The Media Matters group, which Soros gave a million to in addition to the $1.8 million and we will get to that with Rove in a moment. They called today from Mara Liasson, who is our Fox News analyst, to be fired from NPR as well. Are you telling me that this guy isn't pulling the strings over there at NPR? He gives them $1.8 million and a week later you are gone. Come on.

WILLIAMS: Money talks. He is a puppeteer.

O'REILLY: Wake up and smell the corruption.

WILLIAMS: But, you know, it's just so unbelievable because I have always thought of journalism in a way as a priesthood, you know, that you honor it, that you protect it.

O'REILLY: These people are corrupt.

WILLIAMS: These people don't have any sense of righteousness and what's right here. They are self-righteous.

O'REILLY: I don't want to say anything else. All right, let me finish up here. OK, No. 1, this is good for you.

WILLIAMS: What?

O'REILLY: Yes, this is good for you. You are going to get a big book contract to write about what you can and can't say in America. You are a good writer and you're going to do that. No. 2, you'd be able to host "The Factor" tomorrow night.

WILLIAMS: I will, thank goodness.

O'REILLY: More people will see you tomorrow night than see you all year on NPR.

WILLIAMS: That's true.

O'REILLY: So that's good. No. 3, everybody likes you now, OK? Before it was like, I don't know whether I like this Juan Williams. Now everybody likes you, OK? Everybody who counts.

No. 4, Congress is going to defund NPR. They are going to lose all their public funding and you did it, Williams. You did it. So this is all good for you, all right? You got it?

WILLIAMS: I got it. You know what?

O'REILLY: We got your back.

WILLIAMS: You know what else? I notice now, you are a stand-up guy.

O'REILLY: I got your back, Williams. Trust me on this. We are not letting this go. Ms. Schiller, OK, I'm going to tell you again. You're welcome to come on this program, but we are not letting it go.

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