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Media coverage of the Navy Yard shooting

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 19, 2013. 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. Weekdays with Bernie segment tonight. As we reported last night with Howard Kurtz I we hope you saw that interview, many in the national media erroneously reported that the Navy Yard killer used an AR-15 assault weapon. It was almost hysterical of reporting -- now, it was just a mistake.

But Bernie Goldberg he says a bit differently and he joins us now from North Carolina. How do you see it?

BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I'll get to the ideology of journalist and guns in a tad. But let me talk about the mistake part first. The only thing I'm sure, Bill, is that if God forbid there's another mass shooting like the one in Washington this week, the mainstream media or the media whatever you want to call it will get it wrong again. And I say that because they always get it wrong in stories like that. They got it wrong in Connecticut where they said the shooter was the guy's brother and the mother was a teacher at the school. That was all wrong.

They got it wrong in Boston when they said the suspects were in custody, and they even had the wrong suspects. They got it wrong this week in Washington when they said that it was an AR-15. And one cable network said a reporter was out in the field and he said, we have confirmed that there were two shooters. He didn't confirm anything. And here's where the Bernie rule comes in, OK? Here's the Bernie rule. Unless you've seen it with your own two eyes in a breaking story, do not say "we can confirm." Because you can't. You're going to get it wrong too many too often.

And by the way, the reason -- the reason it's wrong as often as it is is for the exact same reason each time. And that is, so-called reliable law enforcement sources aren't reliable at all. They're unreliable. So here's the Bernie rule. Do not say that "we confirm" do not even say "we've learned." Here's how you say it. We have been told. We have been told. Now, that may sound like a subtle distinction and not much of a difference.

O'REILLY: No, no. Then you can lay it off on somebody who told you a fib or whatever.

GOLDBERG: Right. But on the ideology part?

O'REILLY: Yes. But let me frame the question. Because some people might not have seen the Kurtz interview last night. Howard Kurtz has worked many many years for the "Washington Post." He's deeply engrained in the national liberal media. Not to say he's that. I don't know him that well. But he's in that world.

GOLDBERG: Exactly.

O'REILLY: He just said, you know, it was a foul up in the heat of battle. It was within an hour, less than an hour of the initial erroneous reporting that the tsunami of oh, here we go again, assault rifles. Front page of the newspapers, all over the internet, on the liberal cable networks, all over the place. It couldn't have been an accident. They couldn't have all made the same mistake. It's just like sheep.

GOLDBERG: No. No. No. They did all make the same mistake because they all got it from either the same person or the same kind of people.

O'REILLY: No, they wanted it to be that way, Bernie.

GOLDBERG: That's the point.

O'REILLY: They wanted it to be that way.

GOLDBERG: I wanted to establish first how they made the mistake. I totally agree with you that there is a liberal narrative, a liberal story line on certain kinds of stories. If it's about race, the story line, the most interesting one is a white person attacking a black victim. That's the story line that they like the most. If it's about guns, the simplification of it is guns are bad. And if it happens to be the kind of guns they hate the most, AR-15 so called assault weapons, then they're pretty much in the same category as Bashar Assad's chemical weapons. OK?

So, what happens is they get this information from the unreliable sources, and I want to make clear they're not happy that people are dead, but I'm going to use the word you used last night. They do celebrate. They do celebrate the fact that oh, here's another AR-15.

O'REILLY: Absolutely they're celebrating. And you know another decent analogy. Whenever there is a terrorist attack, many in the liberal media root that it's not a Muslim doing it. They would much rather have --

GOLDBERG: That's exactly right.

O'REILLY: -- some hillbilly, you know, living in the mountains of Idaho, that's much better than some Muslim guy.

GOLDBERG: Exactly. And I think what Howard Kurtz did not -- a road he didn't want to go down probably because as you very perceptively said, and that doesn't have it often where you make a very perceptive comment. But you said that he lives in a liberal media world. That's a very perceptive comment. So the road that he didn't want to go down, is that whether it's that Muslim story you just talked about, or the race story or the gun story, there is a liberal take on it. And they want it to be a certain way. And when they get information, even if it's incorrect about an assault weapon, an AR-15, they jump on it. They're going to run with it.

O'REILLY: It's journalistic wish fulfillment is what it is. Bernie Goldberg, everybody. Corolla's on deck. Terrible desecration of a 9/11 memorial in Vermont. Little being done about it.

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