Interviews

New York Times Editor Slams Fox News Viewers as 'Most Cynical People on Planet Earth'

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 7, 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: As you know, there is no love lost between The New York Times and the Fox News Channel.

Speaking before The New York Press Club, Times editor Bill Keller said: "I think if you're a regular viewer of Fox News, you're among the most cynical people on planet Earth. I cannot think of a more cynical slogan than 'Fair & Balanced.'"

Joining us now from Miami, the purveyor of BernardGoldberg.com, Mr. Goldberg. Now, wait, wait. Before you wail -- and I'm going to give you plenty of time to do that -- Keller shows up on a radio show, a liberal radio show today, and he says this: "It was not intended to be a criticism of the people who watch Fox News." Oh no, of course not. "But I do believe that Fox News has had a qualitative impact on the public discourse in the country. Not all by itself; it's not the only shrill voice and partisan voice out there. But I think the degree in which Fox blurs the line between ideology and news gathering and then pretends aggressively it does not has brought a measure of cynicism in the national discourse."

So here's my question: If Keller thinks that we do that, what does he think he does? I mean, The New York Times is about as uber-left as you can get. We have proven time after time after time that it bleeds its editorial page over into its hard news; that it ignores stories it doesn't like; that it promotes stories that it loves and people that it loves, all left-wingers, all of them. And then he has the nerve to say this. I don't know, I guess these guys live in a dream world.

BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: No. They live in a bubble, and inside the bubble they don't think that they're guilty of any of the things that they accuse everybody else of, or at least that they accuse Fox of. Now, one of the things he said that he doesn't dispute is that he thinks the Fox slogan of "Fair & Balanced," he can't think of anything more cynical. I can think of something more cynical.

O'REILLY: Wait, let me stop you.

GOLDBERG: It's -- no, no, no, no. Don't say it. I want to say it.

O'REILLY: I know what you're going to say.

GOLDBERG: Don't beat me to it.

O'REILLY: Go ahead.

GOLDBERG: It's The New York Times' slogan of "All the News That's Fit to Print."

O'REILLY: "All the News That's Fit to Print."

GOLDBERG: Right. They -- they didn't report on the Van Jones story.

O'REILLY: Whoa, whoa, hold it. Let me just -- I'll make this as clear as I've made anything on "The Factor" in 14 years. On Monday -- no, today is Monday. On Thursday, Reuters...

GOLDBERG: Pretty clear so far, Bill.

O'REILLY: I'm sorry, Bernie. I'm intimidated by you. On Thursday, Reuters news service put out a story that "The Factor" and President Obama in conjunction used the notes of my interview with him to raise three quarters of a million dollars for the Fisher House military charity, OK? The New York Times didn't mention it. "All the News That's Fit to Print."

GOLDBERG: Well, here's the general rule. And since he's talking about cynicism, what's cynical is that there are certain stories that The New York Times finds unfit to print, either because those stories don't fit into their liberal world view or to put the best face on it because those stories don't strike their liberal journalists as terribly interesting or important, even though millions and millions of ordinary middle Americans do find those stories interesting and important. But the second thing he said, Bill, even though he's now weaseling a bit on it, is that he finds the Fox viewers, the regular Fox viewers to be among the most...

O'REILLY: Cynical people on earth.

GOLDBERG: …cynical people...

O'REILLY: Right.

GOLDBERG: ...on the face of the planet. Right? Well, let me tell you something. He doesn't mean cynical. What he's really saying is he finds those Fox viewers to be among the stupidest people on the face of the earth because media elites like Bill Keller have never respected ordinary middle Americans, especially conservative ones. They never found them smart enough, certainly not sophisticated enough. And in the broad sense, they never found them good enough. If they treated black people with the same contempt that they treat conservative middle Americans, they would be called racist. They are snobs of the worst kind.

O'REILLY: Now, when you see this kind of a thing on Fox News, all right, Keller, really we have gotten under Keller's skin. Wouldn't you agree? Why would Keller even bother talking about this at a New York Press Club event? Why isn't he just talking up his newspaper? Why is he talking about Fox News? For what reason? So we've gotten under Keller's skin. I would submit almost everybody over at The New York Times. How? How has this television operation gotten under their skin?

GOLDBERG: That's a very important question, a very important question. I think I've got the answer. Once upon a time, The New York Times pretty much controlled, certainly as a media organization, pretty much controlled the national conversation. They certainly helped shape events in this country of ours. Now -- now Fox News also has a seat at the table and has a loud voice in the national conversation, and Fox News also helped shape events, and this drives Bill Keller and other media elites crazy for one reason: because they think you're all a bunch of yahoos. They don't have any respect for your intelligence or your integrity. And the idea, the idea that Fox News would have a seat at the table, would help shape events, makes them nuts.

O'REILLY: Well, I think it's further. I think they know we have more influence than they have.

GOLDBERG: Well, I know you think that.

O'REILLY: Right.

GOLDBERG: And it's a close call, and -- and...

O'REILLY: I don't think so, Bernie. If you look at their circulation and you look at their balance sheet, they're going south.

GOLDBERG: I have some numbers on that. Let me -- let me give you some.

O'REILLY: Real quick.

GOLDBERG: This is another thing. Under Bill Keller's administration, circulation has dropped 21.5 percent and profits have dropped 57 percent.

O'REILLY: Yes. I think under Roger Ailes we're, like, up 400 percent in profits, and obviously we dominate the landscape on television news in primetime. Bernie, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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