Interviews

O'Reilly vs. Colmes Over Al Jazeera

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 1, 2011. 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. With us, our "Barack and a Hard Place" duo Monica Crowley and Alan Colmes. Colmes, you an Al Jazeera fan?

ALAN COLMES, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I didn't know that Sam Donaldson was a spokesman for the far left. That's really news to me. And that he speaks for the entire far left.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: You've got to check it out. Wait, wait, wait. For the last two years, Donaldson…

COLMES: Yes.

O'REILLY: …has been saying radical left things. For the last two years.

COLMES: I don't know what the guy, ok, but does he speak for everybody on the left?

O'REILLY: No, I just asked you, are you an Al Jazeera fan?

COLMES: All right. Yes, in some ways I am.

O'REILLY: You are.

COLMES: Al Jazeera, what -- the people you quoted were guests on Al Jazeera.

O'REILLY: Yes.

COLMES: You quoted people giving answers to questions, featured guests on Al Jazeera.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: And if there was no counter…

COLMES: Not editorial…

O'REILLY: …it wasn't like Monica was sitting next to them.

COLMES: Yes.

O'REILLY: There is no counter.

COLMES: Ok. Well sometimes there's not counter in every instance on every network and every guest.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: No, there's -- there's rarely a counter on Al Jazeera.

COLMES: You know that Al Jazeera is…

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Wait, wait, just stop.

COLMES: Yes.

O'REILLY: And you know why there is not a counter on Al Jazeera? Because people are afraid to be killed if they would go on in opposition.

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: Al Jazeera is there -- Al Jazeera is there to speak out and give you the information that…

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Against the Zionists.

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: …that people are not getting from the Arabic governments. I would think a populist like you would support Al Jazeera and freedom of the press.

MONICA CROWLEY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Oh for goodness sakes, Colmes.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Are you nuts?

COLMES: And yes -- and -- and do you know that just yesterday that the Egyptian President Mubarak…

(CROSS TALK)

O'REILLY: Yes.

COLMES: …shut down Al Jazeera in his country and that's -- and -- and went after journalists. I would think as a journalist you would take the side of Al Jazeera on this.

O'REILLY: I'm not taking the side of an anti-Semitic, anti-American network.

COLMES: No, freedom of the press.

O'REILLY: I don't care what…

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: Oh come on, Colmes.

COLMES: Look, its freedom of the press.

O'REILLY: Wait Monica, wait. I'll give you your turn.

CROWLEY: My head is going to explode.

O'REILLY: Listen, listen.

COLMES: Your head is exploding over that?

O'REILLY: You're Jew -- you're a Jewish man, correct?

COLMES: Yes, I am.

O'REILLY: So it doesn't -- it doesn't come any more anti-Semitic than Al Jazeera.

COLMES: I -- I'm…

O'REILLY: They would, they would -- they would do violence to you.

COLMES: Who? And who? A journalist at Al Jazeera will do…

O'REILLY: The people who run that network. They would do violence to you.

COLMES: They would do violence to me? I hardly think so. I hardly think so.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Ok, all right. Ok.

COLMES: You should support a populist network, freedom of the press that gives the information to the Arabic countries that they don't get from their own governments.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: The information about witchcraft at Guantanamo bay.

COLMES: That's what I -- that's guest…

O'REILLY: Yes, now that's good information.

COLMES: That's not Al Jazeera speaking.

O'REILLY: Whoo, witchcraft.

COLMES: That's a guest giving an answer to a question, O'Reilly. Come on.

O'REILLY: Now your turn.

CROWLEY: Thank you, Bill O'Reilly.

O'REILLY: You're welcome.

CROWLEY: Look, Al Jazeera is based in Qatar. It a propaganda outfit for the autocrats who sit on the sands of the Middle East. It is funded by petro dollars that come from Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia. It is a mouthpiece for the governments that Alan says, oh, they are showing freedom of expression.

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: The freedom of speech.

CROWLEY: They are bring -- they are bringing words and images to the people in the Middle East that they don't get from their government.

COLMES: Correct. Correct.

CROWLEY: This outfit is a mouthpiece for these governments. It also props up the fundamentalists in the Middle East. Just -- so to suggest somehow that Al Jazeera is the equivalent of the Fox News Channel, or frankly any media outfit in the West or in the United States, is flat-out absurd.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, why do you think a guy like Sam Donaldson and to a lesser extent Colmes, but more -- more Donaldson…

COLMES: To a lesser extent Colmes.

O'REILLY: Why -- why are they cheerleading Al Jazeera, when, look, I could spend the whole hour, ladies and gentlemen, giving you anti-American -- and there isn't a counter-voice on the network. And I -- I was very serious when I said if you stand there in their studio and you say, you know what Mullah so and so al-Sadr, you're a hater, you'll get a bullet right in the head when you walk out. Nobody is going to go on that network and take the opposing point of view.

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: Well, judging from the network too, they will not carry that -- that point of view live.

O'REILLY: They -- I think in America they would but not certainly in their -- in their overseas operation. But why is Sam Donaldson so enamored of them?

CROWLEY: Well, I -- I don't want to attribute this directly to Sam Donaldson but I would say to make a broader point that the far left in this country is essentially anti-American.

COLMES: Oh please, now that's disgusting.

CROWLEY: They are -- and so a lot of their -- a lot of their philosophy.

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: That's disgusting. That's sickening.

CROWLEY: I'm not saying you, Colmes, I'm saying the broader far left has an anti-American agenda that in many ways dovetails…

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: Who, who? Tell me who? Who on the left?

CROWLEY: …with the kind of reporting -- reporting that we see come out of Al Jazeera.

O'REILLY: She's saying the far left.

COLMES: Who? Who? Who are you calling anti-American? I'm so tired of people calling people on my side anti-American.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Are you a far-left guy?

COLMES: I don't know. You have called me that.

O'REILLY: Sometimes your positions are far left.

COLMES: All right, fine. But am I anti-American?

O'REILLY: I don't think you're anti-American. But certainly the far left is taking anti-American positions.

COLMES: But look, but let's stop this name-calling. Let's stop demonizing anybody you don't agree with and call them anti-American.

O'REILLY: I just ran a "Talking Points Memo" that backed up, all right, with four specific things that this is an anti-Semitic, anti-American network and I could do 40 of them.

COLMES: But you said those were people on the network as guests.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: There is no counter. Why don't you grasp this -- and I'm getting a little mad at you -- grasp this? There is no counter on it, you got it? There is no counter on it.

COLMES: Yes, I hear what you say. It's free speech.

O'REILLY: So it's this, yes, it's free speech. Shouldn't be praised by a pinhead like Donaldson.

COLMES: And you know why it was praised? Because it helped lead to and open the way for demonstrators.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: For what? For the Muslim Brotherhood?

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: …to come and give aid and support -- not just the Muslim Brotherhood.

O'REILLY: No, they want -- Al Jazeera wants the Muslim Brotherhood in there.

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: That is -- that is one of many factors in the Middle East. It's one of many factors in Egypt.

O'REILLY: All right, last word.

CROWLEY: Let me just try to reframe this. I think that what you're hearing from the left, Sam Donaldson included, is a way to distract the American people from a real significant point here, which is that President Bush was crucified for two terms for trying this freedom agenda, for trying to open up at least the discussion and actually through force in Iraq to open up the Middle East, have them democratized.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Yes, Monica but let's be fair about it, well, wait, wait…

CROWLEY: And have the economic and you know what…

O'REILLY: …while Bush did want to spread freedom, he did. He also dealt with a guy like Mubarak, who is a despot.

CROWLEY: True, true but Bill the point is Rome was not built in a day.

O'REILLY: Rome.

CROWLEY: A democratic free Middle East is not going to be built in a day.

O'REILLY: I understand that.

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: So what President Bush did was…

O'REILLY: It's tough -- it's tough to say to the Arab people we want you to be free and Hosni, here is a $1.5 billion…

CROWLEY: But -- but here is the point. What Donaldson and others on the left are doing is they can't keep their arguments consistent on the one hand. They want clearer democratization and liberalization. On the other hand, they don't want…

O'REILLY: Well, I think it's disgraceful.

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: …they want to give credit for it.

O'REILLY: And I challenge Sam Donaldson, wait, I challenged Sam Donaldson to come on this network and defend it. All right. There you go.

CROWLEY: Thank you.

O'REILLY: Thank you.

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