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Interviews

Bernie Goldberg on Big Shakeup at MSNBC

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 24, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Weekdays With Bernie" segment tonight: big shakeup at MSNBC. They're moving their primetime lineup around and replacing a hateful commentator. Some in the liberal press are very, very upset by this and have distorted the situation in news coverage. But if you want to know the truth, go to The Baltimore Sun website and read TV critic David Zurawik, who has reported the story honestly.

Joining us now from Miami, the purveyor of BernardGoldberg.com, Mr. Goldberg. Bernie, I want to show everybody a chart. This is 2010 cable news rankings. Twelve -- the top 12 shows are all Fox News Channel shows. In fact, Hemmer and MacCallum at 9 a.m., Jon Scott and Jenna Lee at 11 a.m., Megyn Kelly at 1 p.m., they all beat every one of MSNBC's primetime shows, and that's almost unheard of because primetime obviously has so many more viewers than dayside. Yet, if you read about the shakeup, you would think that MSNBC people are ratings monsters. Now, that's outright deception by the liberal press, is it not?

BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Yes. But I need you to help me out in the beginning. I've been -- I was tied up all weekend watching football and stuff. Did somebody leave MSNBC?

O'REILLY: Yes. They took one of their guys out, and then they're moving everybody else around.

GOLDBERG: Who?

O'REILLY: It doesn't really matter who the guy is or why they took him out.

GOLDBERG: So you -- so you don't want to tell me who it was?

O'REILLY: No.

GOLDBERG: OK.

O'REILLY: I don't want to get involved with any of that personal stuff.

GOLDBERG: I -- I'm only -- I'm only kidding.

O'REILLY: OK. Here's -- I want everybody to know the importance of the story, because you and I are in the business. We pay attention to this stuff, because we're in the business. Why should anybody care? OK. And they really don't care. The folks don't care. But when you have a press in America as blatantly dishonest as you have today, in almost everything, that they love, MSNBC, they being the left-wing print media.

GOLDBERG: Exactly.

O'REILLY: They love them, and now it's tottering. It's like this. So they're going to do anything they can to save it.

GOLDBERG: So let's -- so let's start out by putting this in perspective. Saying that, as almost all the stories did, that this person who left MSNBC had the highest ratings, was the most successful person, that's all true, but that's like saying he was the tallest midget in the room. I mean, having great ratings at MSNBC isn't really saying very much. Now to your point…

O'REILLY: But did they say that? They didn't say that. Did they say, Bernie -- did you read anywhere?

GOLDBERG: No.

O'REILLY: Did you read anywhere that MSNBC...

GOLDBERG: That's why I said let's put this in perspective.

O'REILLY: Right. That MSNBC is the 28th...

GOLDBERG: No.

O'REILLY: ...rated cable network?

GOLDBERG: No.

O'REILLY: Spike TV kisses their butt. Spike TV. The Carrot Channel beats them, I think. OK. Did you read anywhere about that?

GOLDBERG: No. And that's why I said let me put this into perspective. And the reason they don't get into that is because, look, a lot of so-called mainstream reporters share the same views as the dominant view on that network.

I mean, you like specifics. Let me give you -- let me give you two specifics. One, there's a writer for the Orlando Sentinel, Hal Boedeker. He's a good guy. Hal Boedeker's a good guy. But he wrote that this anchorman who's no longer there, he said, "He put MSNBC on the map, and his anti-George W. Bush commentaries were audacious and passionate."

Well, what is audacious and passionate? This is a person, this is an anchorman who went on the air and shouted into the camera to George W. Bush, "Shut the hell up." He also asked a question one night, "Is George W. Bush a pathological liar or an idiot in chief." And this -- could you imagine if you said any of those things?

O'REILLY: Yes, if I had said that about Obama...

(CROSSTALK)

GOLDBERG: Passionate and audacious?

O'REILLY: ...it would be -- it would be, sure, look, we know the double standard, but it is -- and we've accepted the double standard, Bernie and I have, because we can't do anything about it. I mean, Bernie left CBS. I left CBS. Now we're here at Fox News.

But let me ask you this. When you read in the print press about all of this garbage, and that's what it is. This network, with NBC's resources behind it, to be ranked 28th is a disgrace. That's a failure. Now, they could squeeze out a few million dollars of profit, I guess. But it's a failure. But the Fox News Channel is a colossal success. Colossal success. You never read that. I very rarely read that.

GOLDBERG: No. No, you're absolutely right. And that's because -- look, to break it down to the simplest terms, they like those guys, and they don't like you guys. I mean, The New York Times, just to take one newspaper, The New York Times in the past two years ran 12 stories, at least 12 that I found, about Rachel Maddow, the new big star at MSNBC. Twelve Valentine stories. And one of them began "Rachel Maddow" -- are you ready for this? -- "Rachel Maddow spends downtime in an 1865 House in western Massachusetts." I mean, are you kidding me? I mean, it's like you can't make stuff like that up. It's embarrassing. And the title, the headline over it is: "A Pundit in the Country."

O'REILLY: Yes. The -- I want to tell everybody that last year, 2010, Fox was ranked the fourth-highest cable network, behind USA, ESPN, which spends, you know, a ton of money on the football games and stuff, and TNT. So that, if it's a business story, which a lot of this stuff was, the success of Fox News Channel is unprecedented in the country. Yet, as you said, because they don't like the tone of the network, that is constantly diminished.

But I'll tell you what. It is a corruption story. And when you have an industry as powerful as the American media being, I think, as corrupt as I have ever seen it in this country's history, that -- this is just a small thing, small. But it -- it epitomizes the larger problem. I'll give you the last word.

GOLDBERG: Let me just throw in that I think the real villain here or the other villain are the management people at MSNBC. They allowed this anchorman to defame people, to smear people, and David Zurawik, who you mentioned, wrote in The Baltimore Sun that he was the McCarthy of the left. He was a character assassin, and they let him get away with that because they were so desperate. They were the head of a network that was a miserable failure, that they let one of their people defame and slander and character assassin people he didn't like because -- because he was that much more successful than everybody else. Because, if you will...

O'REILLY: On their network.

GOLDBERG: ...he was the tallest midget in the room.

O'REILLY: And we might point out that...

GOLDBERG: They let him get away with that.

O'REILLY: I want to point out that Mr. Zurawik himself, writing for The Baltimore Sun as a TV critic, is a liberal.

GOLDBERG: Yes.

O'REILLY: But he told the truth.

GOLDBERG: Right.

O'REILLY: He absolutely told the truth at what's going on. Bernie, thanks very much.

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