Media coverage of Syria

Bernie Goldberg on how the media has been reporting on Syria


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 9, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

Watch "The O'Reilly Factor" weeknights at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET!

O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly.

In the "Weekdays with Bernie" segment tonight, President Obama granted six network news anchors seven minutes each to talk about Syria today.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: They have a tremendous military capability relative civilians. They have a significant military relative to children who are being gassed.

But they don't have a military that matches up with ours in any kind of way. Mr. Assad doesn't have a lot of capability.

He has capability relative to children. He has capability relative to an opposition that is still getting itself organized and are not professional trained fighters.

He doesn't have a credible means to threaten the United States. I don't take it as a credible threat in the sense that Mr. Assad doesn't have the capacity to strike us in a significant way.

O'REILLY: Three different interviews, same answer. Joining us from North Carolina with analyses, Bernie Goldberg.

So, you saw the transcripts, I have them here, of all the interviews. Who impressed you the most, anybody.

BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: No. Not really. Look, I think some interviews may have been marginally better than others.

But, look, the reason you got the same answers in those sound bites you just played is because everybody asked pretty much the same questions.

O'REILLY: The same questions, yes.

GOLDBERG: And pretty much got the same answers. Now, I hesitate to say this because I know how the liberal critics who are lying in wait will -- what they'll make of this. But I did think that Chris Wallace's final question to the president was especially good.

He challenged the president on his inconsistencies. He pointed out that the president had said, for quite some time, that Syria was not in our national interest, and until it was, and said he wouldn't go to Congress, until he changed his mind on that.

And I think, in that sense, Chris asked the best out-of-the-ordinary type of question.

O'REILLY: Now, let me just tell the audience --

GOLDBERG: But nobody blew the interview.

O'REILLY: All right.

GOLDBERG: Nobody blew the interview.

O'REILLY: Well, see, you couldn't blow it. It was too easy. It wasn't an easy interview but the questions were easy.

But here's what Wallace said, Wallace said, "Look, how much responsibility, Mr. President, "do you bear for this whole chaotic situation because you've been so inconsistent on your leadership."


O'REILLY: But Wallace asked it in a very long way and Obama replied, "That was a long question. Let me see if I can keep the answer shorter."

And then he answered what he wanted to answer which had nothing to do with what all --

GOLDBERG: That's right.

O'REILLY: -- well, now, here's a difficulty that everybody should understand. Number one, a seven-minute interview with a guy Barack Obama who can talk about his shoelaces for 15 minutes without you getting a word in, OK, --


O'REILLY: -- is very difficult. You've got to be right there, cut them off, cut them off, so you could cut off the President of the United States, all the flags all over, everybody yelling at you, believe me, I've interviewed him twice, that's exactly what happens.


O'REILLY: But what should have happened is that the interviewer should have zoned in on one or two points. Number one, the one I would have -- and I shouldn't say this because I'm trying to get the president on the FACTOR, I don't think he's going to come but we've invited him, I want to know, OK, why President Obama, why, OK, he just won't lead.

Why he didn't lead in Libya. Why he didn't lead in Egypt. And, you know, you're not looked upon as a strong leader.

That's why most conservatives aren't backing your play. They don't have any confidence that you're a quote, unquote, "wartime consigliere," "Godfather."

GOLDBERG: That's right. He's not --

O'REILLY: Right.

GOLDBERG: That's right. He's not a wartime president. That's absolutely true.

I will say this, I have a lot of trouble being a Monday evening quarterback for people doing a live interview with our president in a very confined amount of space.


GOLDBERG: If I'm talking to you for seven minutes, at some point, and you're probably going to do it in the next five seconds, you're going to cut me off and say, "Let me go on to the next question." But you can't do that to the president.

O'REILLY: I did it.

GOLDBERG: He's the president.

O'REILLY: I did it in the Super Bowl interview. And I got -- I caught hell for it, I was disrespectful, I was this, I was that.

GOLDBERG: That's right.

O'REILLY: Actually, the president actually like it because he was feisty, and this and that.

And you'll remember, in one time, I told him the Muslim brotherhood is going to be a disaster. I told him right to his face. It's going to be a disaster.

But you don't get that kind of confrontational style from the anchors, which is why he chose the anchors because they have to be "Anchors!" They can't be feisty guys.

GOLDBERG: No, because it's not just that feisty or not feisty, they are fundamentally -- they do something fundamentally different than what you do.


GOLDBERG: You'll agree with that.

O'REILLY: Right. The folks don't get the information flow from the people who just ask the questions and won't challenge.

GOLDBERG: Look, the anchor of the evening news isn't going to go up there and say, "Mr. President, is it fair to say the American people really don't trust you," --

O'REILLY: Why not.

GOLDBERG: -- "they really don't have confidence that you're going to,"

O'REILLY: Why wouldn't they say that.

GOLDBERG: Because that implies a certain bias that you, the anchor, believes that.

O'REILLY: That would be asking legitimate question. Every poll says the same thing. They don't trust him.

GOLDBERG: Well, here's a question that I would have asked, OK.

O'REILLY: All right.

GOLDBERG: And tell me what you think of this. Tell me if this meets the O'Reilly standard. I would say, "Mr. President, you set a red line and it was just words. It meant absolutely nothing."

"And then you said, 'I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line.' Then you said you didn't have to go to Congress and you sent your Secretary of State out to make a forceful case for military action 24 hours later, 24 hours later."

"You said you're going to Congress and you didn't even know how Congress would vote on the issue. A 'no' vote would weaken you domestically, internationally, and would weaken America."

"Mr. President, do you think you took a bad situation and made it worse."

Now, I think that's a good question. You'll tell me if you do but it's not easy to ask the president something like that.

O'REILLY: It's an excellent question but it took seven minutes and the interview is over. So, Bernie, thanks very much. Good to see you.

Content and Programming Copyright 2012 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2012 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.