Goldberg exposes racial politics in the media

Bernie Goldberg on why the media ratchets up the racial rhetoric when discussing President Obama


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 23, 2012. 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 it seems every few weeks we get another dose of racial politics at the presidential level.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Barack Obama is the first African- American president. OK. Is there going to be a reluctance on the part of the voters and the political community that talks politics as we get into November about dumping the first African president -- African-American president? Is that going to be something that just ratchets to "Wait a minute here. This guy is going to knock out the first guy who ever got aboard?"


O'REILLY: Joining us now from Miami, the purveyor of, Mr. Goldberg.

All right. So I don't know. I just -- I thought Barack Obama ran a very worthy campaign in 2008. He didn't get into the racial stuff at all, wanted to stay away from it. McCain respected that. And it's like, you know, Michael Corleone: "Just when I thought I was out, they drag me back in." Why? Why are they doing it?

BERNARD GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Right. So you want to know why...


Goldberg: ... and the answer really, Bill, is pretty simple. It's because he's a liberal, and like many liberals, he's obsessed with race.

Ann Coulter was right when she said the two groups in America that are obsessed with race, that see everything through a racial filter, are skinheads and liberals. I mean, it's true.

Now let me give you a little background on Chris Matthews and why I say that he's obsessed with race.

In 2010 after Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union message, Chris Matthews went on the air and said -- this is a verbatim quote -- "I forgot he was black tonight for an hour." He forgot Barack Obama was black.

About the Tea Party he said -- and again, a verbatim quote -- "They're all White. All of them. Every single one of them is White.":' Never mind that that's factually incorrect. What if it were true? There's no crime about being White.

Then, when Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, Chris Matthews said, quote, "This gets very ethnic, but the fact that Barack Obama is good at basketball doesn't surprise anybody." Thank God, Bill, you didn't say that.

Now, here's the point: actually the question he raised -- "Will there be reluctance to toss Barack Obama out because he's black?" -- it's not a bad question. And you and I could have that discussion.

But when someone who is obsessed with race, like Chris Matthews apparently is, when he brings that question up, I'm wondering if he's really saying that Barack Obama should not be tossed out precisely because he's the first black president. I don't know if he means that, but I would have to wonder if he means that.

O'REILLY: I wouldn't have the discussion with you about the question of whether Barack Obama should lose his job because of race, because it's a speculative question and nobody can know.

We know that there are certain people who vote for Barack Obama because he's black, and there are certain Americans who vote against him because he's black. I think those numbers are small, but we know they're there. And otherwise, it really doesn't matter.

And you made an interesting point. If I had said about the basketball -- when I asked Barack Obama in the Super Bowl interview, I said, "Are you a football guy? Do you follow football?" I was immediately branded a racist by Media Matters, because I was saying -- I was asking him whether he followed football or not. How am I supposed to know? That was a racist question.

But it's so -- I don't know why, why this conversation has to center around a man's color at all, ever. I don't think it should. He should be elected or defeated based on his record. That's it!

GOLDBERG: I -- every reasonable person agrees with that, but you asked the question, why is he bringing it up?

Liberals, many of them, not all of them, but many of them are obsessed with race. They see everything through a filter of race. So in 2008 there were articles that said, if Barack Obama loses, there is only one reason: racism in America. Now there's a suggestion if he's not reelected, it could be -- right -- because of racism in America.

O'REILLY: I guess. I just think it's insane.

All right. Last week Bernie and I, you know, we were talking about media bias in organizations that are in business not to inform anymore. They're just pushing an agenda. And the Washington Post weighed in on their blog, and you want to say something about that?

GOLDBERG: Well, yes. Eric Wemple wrote -- he -- you made the point that, since nobody trusts the media anymore, they won't have much of an effect on the election. I said I think you're absolutely right.

So this fellow ended his piece by saying, "If the impact of media bias is so trivial, why do these guys" -- you and me -- "why do these guys harp on it each week?"

Well, first of all, we don't harp on it. We talk about it.

Secondly, there are many smart, thoughtful, serious people who write about the media, but Eric Wemple, sadly, is not one of them.

So, let me try to explain to Eric and everybody else why media bias does matter. Not because it affects an election, but because we all know that you can't live in a free country without a free press. We all know that.

But you know what else? You can't live in a free country for long without a fair press. We need a strong mainstream media. That's why you and I criticize it, because we know we need in a flee country a strong mainstream media.

And that means when the media sounds the alarm about something, when they tell us there's a problem out there, we need to trust them. We need to believe them. We need to -- if we don't believe them, we're not going to pay attention when they sound the alarm.

The Founding Fathers gave the media a lot of power, and they put it in the First Amendment. Not the Eighth Amendment or the 13th Amendment. The First Amendment. And they gave -- they put no restraints on that power. When you have that much power, you have a lot of responsibility.

So, Eric Wemple of the Washington Post, you ought to know this, but since you don't, let's just make clear: it's not about whether the media affects the next election or not. That's not what we're talking about. We're talking about, in a free country, you need a fair and honest media, and that's why we talk about it each week.

O'REILLY: Right. And we don't have that right now. We don't have that right now.

GOLDBERG: Not right now.

O'REILLY: It's getting way, way out of control.

All right. Bernie, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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