Editor calls out NY Times for liberal bias

New York Times public editor: Progressive worldview 'bleeds through' the paper


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 27, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly. In the "Weekdays With Bernie" segment tonight, "The New York Times" has an Ombudsman. And he is supposed to tell the paper's readers if there is bias in the presentation.

That man Arthur Brisbane, is leaving his position. And, yesterday, he wrote quote, "Across the papers many many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism - for lack of a better term - that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of the times."

Now, you may remember, 11 years ago, Bernie Goldberg wrote a book called "Bias" in which he said pretty much the same thing about "The New York Times" and other national media.

Joining us now from North Carolina is the purveyor of, Mr. Goldberg. So, it must have been sweet for you to read Mr. Brisbane's column.

BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, a little bit. My first reaction, Bill, was this is not exactly a bullet in saying that "The New York Times" is a liberal bias. And thank you for acknowledging that I said this in print a long time ago.

But then I thought, "I'm glad he did it." In difficult times, it's important to state the obvious and he did. And I'm glad he did.

Then I figured, when I wrote "Bias", and even before that when I wrote an update on "The Wall Street Journal" about liberal bias when I was still a correspondent at CBS News, this touched off the media equivalent of World War Three.

I was called a "traitor". They practically put a bounty out on me. I mean, it was really ugly because I said there was a liberal bias.

Fast forward to now. Now, you have the Ombudsman for "The New York Times" saying there's a liberal bias. You have Jake Tapper of mainstream ABC News saying the media went easy on Barack Obama four years ago.

You have Mark Halperin of mainstream "Time" magazine saying that the media tends to cover the kinds of stories that the Obama campaign wants them to cover.

You have Kirsten Powers who's a smart, open-minded liberal saying, "there's a double-standard in the media and reporters treat democrats better than they treat republicans."

Now, look, the good news is that all these people are coming out and saying this. That's good. The bad news is is nothing is going to change. "The New York Times" is still a liberal institution. The networks are still liberal institutions.

And they don't care frankly what I say. They don't care, Bill, what you say. They don't care what -- most of all, they don't care what customers, their own customers, the American people say. And they don't care what the renegades in their own organizations say. So, nothing s going to say.

O'REILLY: So, people watching us and I go, "What do I care about what "The New York Times" say. So, what if it's a liberal paper. So what ABC News is liberal. CBS News is liberal, whatever it may be."

I got the Fox News Channel. I got "The Wall Street Journal" Editorial page. I got places to go on the Internet. I got talk radio. What do I care what these guys think. And you say.

GOLDBERG: Well, first of all, I say, that's all good. That's all good. But "The New York Times" still has a lot of power in this country, not because so many people read the actual paper, but because they set the agenda for the networks.

The first thing you -- we were at CBS and you were at ABC also. The first thing the producers do in the morning is they open "The New York Times" and they see what they have to cover that day. So, that's important.

"The New York Times" stories are syndicated in papers in small towns and big cities around the country. So, that matters. And, I think, most of all, it matters is because "The New York Times" is read by 535 members of Congress.

And they care what "The New York Times" says to some extent. And I agree with you totally. You've said this in the past, that "The New York Times" doesn't have nearly the clout that it used to have. I totally agree with that. But it still influences a lot of other news organizations.

O'REILLY: And it does subliminally in the sense that -- and I'll give you an example. Here in New York City, we have two all-news radio stations, WCBS and WINS, all right. And they're owned by the same company.

And they are around the clock, you're in your car radio, bang, boom, boom, boom, they're giving you the news and whatever. Their tone largely is set by "The New York Times".


O'REILLY: And, so, you're listening to just the encapsulation, the 5- minute-on-the-hour quick news summary. And I can see, I can hear exactly the spin that "The New York Times" puts on. For example, "Stop and Frisk", the big police campaign in New York that's dropped crime dramatically, violent crime dramatically, in the city.

Well, "The New York Times" hates it and it's trying to get rid of it. And then the broadcasters on the radio, subliminally, maybe consciously, they're putting the "Stop and Frisk" in a negative light.

GOLDBERG: Exactly.

O'REILLY: That's what happens. It just bleeds through. And if you're not real aware of it, you're saying", "Well, dude, that Stop and Frisk is pretty bad." You're hearing that it saved 3,000 lives a year in the minority community.

GOLDBERG: Right. The Ombudsman said -- and this is the quote that you read, "Progressivism, which is just a fancy word for liberalism, bleeds through into the newspapers." But you're right, it also bleeds through into a whole bunch of other news organizations --

O'REILLY: -- presentations everywhere. And he also said that because of that culture, that instead of reporting on issues like move on, not move on, like --

GOLDBERG: -- they treat them as causes, as liberal causes.

O'REILLY: Right. Like gay marriage and "The Wall Street", "The Wall Street" crazy people. Instead of reporting on it, "The New York Times" cheerleads for it. They promote it.

And that's absolutely true. In the beginning, the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, "Oh, this was the greatest thing in the world. Look at these people, seizing power."

And then, all of a sudden, the city of Oakland's on fire and where is the "Occupy" coverage. It doesn't exist.

GOLDBERG: But what happened after they fell in love with the movement in New York, then the networks fell in love with the same movement. They took the same tone. That's the importance of "The New York Times".

By the way, if we have 30 seconds more or whatever we have, Chuck Todd, the Chief Political Reporter for NBC News said, "No, it's not a liberal bias like that, not like you guys made it. It's a geographical bias because all the news operations are based in New York.

Chuck, a New York bias is a liberal bias. If the network says I suggested in my second book, "arrogance" moved to some other place. And one of the places I suggested was Tupelo, Mississippi.

Seriously, they wouldn't have such a liberal bias because they'd be, they'd rub shoulders with people weren't New Yorkers. They don't get that.

O'REILLY: Yes, but they would look down upon them though. I mean, you can take the liberal out of New York but you can't take New York out of the liberal, so they're going to --


O'REILLY: What are you eating, grits, Sterner (ph). What's the matter with you. What is this Nascar stuff. Come on, you know what the game is. They're always going to be that way because they feel that they're better.

GOLDBERG: They do. Listen, Bill, I said that that my biggest complaint once upon a time was the liberal bias in the media. But that changed. My biggest complaint after I really got to know these people was their elitism, how they looked down their nose at everybody who lives between Manhattan and Malibu.

That's a bigger complaint than the bias which most people know exists and sort of brushed off. But their elitism is truly repulsive. It really is bad.

O'REILLY: All right. Got to go, Bernie. Thanks very much.

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