Paper publishes controversial transgender bathroom editorial

Is The Charlotte Observer offending some of its own readers? Bernie Goldberg weighs in on 'The O'Reilly Factor'


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 27, 2016. 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 of Bernie" segment. As we reported, the Charlotte Observer newspaper editorialized this way in the transgender controversy. Quote, "The thought of male genitalia in girls' locker rooms -- and vice versa -- might be distressing to some. But the battle for equality has always been in part about overcoming discomfort. Black sharing facilities, with gays sharing marriage -- then realizing it was not nearly so awful as some people imagined."

Well, that's kind of far out there when talking about school kids showering together. So, we asked editorial page editor of the Charlotte Observer Taylor Batten to come on The Factor. But he said, he just got too much going on there in North Carolina to fit us into his schedule.

Joining us now from Miami, a person not nearly as busy, the purveyor of, Mr. Goldberg.

All right. How do you see this?

BERNARD GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I will get to the Charlotte Observer, I will segue way to that in just less than a minute. Let me tell you my take on the overall issue.


GOLDBERG: I think we have to separate the bathroom issue from the shower/locker room issue. Because I think they are very different. The bathroom issue for me is a nonissue. And it shouldn't be thought as an issue. There had been actually studies on this and they show that there's no evidence that any transgender person ever assaulted anybody in a bathroom. But, 70 percent of transgender people have said that they were either verbally or physically assaulted while trying to use a restroom.

So, if we're concerned about safety, maybe we ought to rethink who the real victims are. Secondly, if a boy honestly thinks and identifies as a girl at some point in his life, I don't mean some wise guy in junior high school who says, I'm a girl today. I mean, this is a serious thing. If he identifies as a girl, let him use the girl's bathroom, go into a stall, do whatever he has too, nobody knows what goes on there.

O'REILLY: Couldn't there be a separate bathroom facility? Not hard to do that.

GOLDBERG: Well, it may be in some cases in restaurants and places like that. But okay. If they could do that, great. But I think the shower/locker room issue is very different. I think parents have every right to say, I don't want my child dressing, undressing, or showering with kids from the opposite sex. That is not being a prude. That's a legitimate position.

O'REILLY: Biologically from the opposite sex.


O'REILLY: You have to say that because then the argument comes back, oh they are really not the opposite sex and all that. Let's get to the press coverage of it. Go ahead.

GOLDBERG: Let me do that because I think for me that's the most important part. "The Charlotte Observer" and others who have Liberal vows have used the word discomfort. I have heard this a lot. And the point that they made and the part that you read is that we have to get over our discomfort to advance civil rights. Well, you know what? Sometimes the majority does have to get beyond its discomfort. If people didn't like integration 40 years ago, too bad. Get over your discomfort.

But this is very different. Sometimes the minorities have to get over their discomfort. Sometimes people in the protected class have to get over their discomfort. And in the case of showering, and dressing and undressing in locker rooms, I think the minority has to be concerned about the majority's discomfort?

O'REILLY: Right. And the intrusion into traditional families and all of that.

GOLDBERG: Yes. That's another matter and I totally agree with you on that.

O'REILLY: But that dovetailed into the Charlotte Observer.

GOLDBERG: But the way Barack Obama handled it was all wrong.


GOLDBERG: I just want to get that out.

O'REILLY: I will submit to you that if we went down to North Carolina, where you have a residence, okay, and there was a poll about North and South Carolinians, do you support transgendered people showering in the locker room of their choice? All right. I would submit to you it will be 80, 20 against.



GOLDBERG: So, "The Charlotte Observer" then takes this very explicit position, even mentioning explicit terms. Is that self-destructive? I mean, can you -- the anger vented toward a newspaper? That's in trouble anyway. The circulation is plummeting anyway.

GOLDBERG: You raise an interesting point. And I'm going to have a position. You probably don't agree with. Newspapers should not be concerned about business or circulation when it comes to writing editorials. They should not do a focus group and say, this is what our audience wants. Let's give them an editorial to boost circulation and boost advertising. I'm sure there were newspapers in small towns in the old south in the bad old days of segregation.

O'REILLY: Sure. That pandered.

GOLDBERG: That wrote editorials in favor of civil rights.

O'REILLY: But that's not the point, I'm not trying to say editorialize in a way that's going to be monetary gain. I'm trying to say that this newspaper.

GOLDBERG: They may have hurt themselves. They may have hurt themselves.

O'REILLY: This newspaper is so out of touch, all right? With the people that it purports to represent. That's why that pinhead wouldn't come on here. Because he knows he can't support his position in any way. I mean, if they were as noble as you are trying to make them out to be. This guy would be sitting here instead of you. And trying to say, you know what? We are sincere people. This is what we believe, this is why we believe it. He is hiding under his desk.

GOLDBERG: Well, if we have time, I will get to that in a second.

O'REILLY: We don't. We just have 30 seconds.

GOLDBERG: Okay. I want to make it clear you do editorials if you are a newspaper based on what you believe, not based on whether your audience is going to like it. Now, if I were advising that editor, I would have said, if you can promise me this is not going to be Barney Frank revisited, I would advise him go on with Bill O'Reilly, start out by saying we appreciate the other side's point of view. We understand the other side's point of view. We have a different point of view and we laid out the argument in editorial.

O'REILLY: Yes. That's what we should do. And you can come on with him. I would even let you sit next to him. All right? So if he gets sweaty or anything, you can say, no, and then you could say, this is what he really means. You can gang up on him. But he won't do it.

GOLDBERG: Good, I appreciate that. Thanks, Bill.

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