Bernie and Jane on Edwards and Letterman Trashing O'Reilly

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This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 24, 2008. 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 and Jane" segment tonight, two hot topics. First, the Associated Press and various other news agencies reported yesterday that the Bush administration has lied or had lied hundreds of times in the run-up to the Iraq war. One problem with that: The information came from an organization funded by far-left enthusiastic, George Soros. I'm being nice tonight. But the AP and the other news agency failed to mention that fact.

Also, a couple of nights ago David Letterman and John Edwards pretty much trashed me over the contention that the economy has caused some veterans great harm.


JOHN EDWARDS: The core of the feud is that I've been talking about homeless veterans, and the fact that we have a couple hundred thousand homeless veterans that have no place to sleep at night.

It's embarrassing, horribly embarrassing, incredibly embarrassing for America, a huge moral issue facing the country. And he kind of went on the show and said that I was exaggerating, making it up. And I think he got a lot of correspondence, and a lot of homeless veterans have been calling in.

DAVID LETTERMAN: You know what I've noticed about Bill O'Reilly — and he's a marvelous communicator — but he's not — he doesn't really care much about telling the truth.

EDWARDS: Yes, I've noticed that.


O'REILLY: Now as we demonstrated last night here on "The Factor," we have the stats to back up that we of course told the truth. But John Edwards did not, and David Letterman doesn't know what it is.

Joining us now from Washington, Jane Hall and from Miami, Bernie Goldberg. Both are FOX News analysts.

All right, Bernie, now does Letterman owe it to his audience to, when he sides with a guy like Edwards and calls me a liar and I don't know what I'm talking about and all of that. And then we produce the evidence that says 150,000 beds available to homeless veterans every night, $37 billion, a record amount of spending, on veteran health care. And the V.A. guy comes on the program and says, "If you're a homeless vet, we will come to you, anywhere, anytime, and help you." That's the truth. So does Letterman owe it to his audience to come on the next night and say, "Gee, you know, I was really unfair to Bill O'Reilly"? Does he owe it?

BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS ANALYST: What you're really implying in that question, Bill, is does David Letterman, who's a comedian and not a journalist, does he have some sort of responsibility to not only be fair but to do his homework, especially when he's interviewing somebody running for president of the United States? And the answer to that is, absolutely, in theory.

But in reality, David, like a lot of other liberals, is suffering from Bill O'Reilly derangement syndrome, so he goes on television and he calls you a liar, not because you're a liar, but simply because he doesn't like you and he knows he'll get a laugh from his audience if he says that.

Is that right? No, it isn't right. That's not really the issue. I mean, what a more responsible person — let's put it this way: Would a more responsible person go on national television and call somebody a liar, absent any evidence that he's a liar?

No, but there's a better chance, a much better chance that Hillary Clinton will leave Bill and run off with Rush Limbaugh before David Letterman is going to say, "You know what? I probably shouldn't have done that. I probably was wrong, and I'm sorry."

O'REILLY: All right. How do you see it, Jane?

JANE HALL, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Well, you know, I think that he should have challenged him. He should have done his homework. I think he did make a swipe at you that he knew would please his audience.

But you know, these shows are not "60 Minutes." And it's a friendly forum for any political candidate, Republican or Democrat. I think he should have asked him and presented your argument and, perhaps, that you present your argument. I mean, I think he has some journalistic obligations with a presidential candidate.

O'REILLY: But he has, you know, he has invited me on the program, but I don't know whether I should go back on his program because: No. 1, he did this a few years ago with Stuart Smalley, a.k.a. Al Franken, and Franken said O'Reilly wasn't brought up in Levittown.

And then I handed Letterman the deed to my parents' home, and I said, "Would you please read what it says?" And Letterman said, "Levittown." I said, "Do you owe me an apology?" And he goes, "Well, how do I know this is real?"

I mean, I gave him, not a photocopy, the real deed from 1952. So, yes, I had it forged. No.

So now he knows Franken lied. He doesn't care. Bernie is right. He doesn't care. So should I go back on his program, Bernie? Should I put forth my case here to his audience?

GOLDBERG: Let me make two points. I don't think you should go on most programs to defend yourself, but in this case, I think you should. And I think you should go on, be the gentleman that you are, and say, "David, I know this is a comedy show. I get it. I really get it, and I'm not thin-skinned about it. But you called me a liar, and that's not right. That's not just right to go on a national television show and call somebody a liar unless you have some reason to say I'm a liar. That's all I am saying, David."

O'REILLY: But the last time — he doesn't care. Remember his famous line last time?

GOLDBERG: Yes, but you know what? Yes, but Bill, let him come on. Give him the chance to apologize. I said he wouldn't. Maybe he will. Let's see.

O'REILLY: Here's my worry about that. Here's my worry about that.

GOLDBERG: He's going to come off looking bad, not you.

O'REILLY: Well, I think he came off looking bad the last two times. Because the last time I was on, he goes, "You know, O'Reilly, I think 60 percent of what you say is crap."


O'REILLY: "But I never watch your show." So it's clear to me, Jane, that he doesn't care, doesn't bother. So I'm going into a zone. I'm going into the "don't care" zone is where I'm going.

HALL: Well, you know, I think we should always evangelize in all kinds of media. I mean, you've been on "The View." You've been on "Colbert."

O'REILLY: You both think I should go on?

HALL: I think you should go on the air and say you want to have a serious discussion. Call his bluff.

O'REILLY: But I don't want to have a serious discussion.

HALL: You want to have a serious discussion about veterans and whether they're being used and statistics and John Edwards. I think you should go on.

O'REILLY: I think we've proven that beyond a reasonable doubt.

All right. Let me get to this other thing, Bernie, with the George Soros-funded public integrity study. This is a riot.

The AP comes out and doesn't say this is a left-wing-funded organization. And Jane, don't tell me it isn't because I've got the list. They're all left-wing organizations, OK? Now Bernie, this is just flat-out dishonest from the Associated Press, is it not?

GOLDBERG: Not just the Associated Press. It's a lot of other big news organizations.

Look, journalistically, I think this is simple. If a conservative — a wealthy conservative guy funded a study — and let's say the study concluded, by the way, that there was a liberal bias in the media, let's say — either the mainstream media wouldn't run the story at all, but if they did, in the first sentence, there would be a line about how some rich, right-wing moneybags funded the study.

Now I'm not saying that the study is automatically — I'm not dismissing it automatically. There were, in fact, a lot of statements that turned out to be incorrect. I don't have a problem with that part, but you have to — it's Journalism 101. You have to identify the source, the money's source for a study like this.

O'REILLY: All right. I only have 45 seconds.

GOLDBERG: You have to do it for conservatives. You have to do it for liberals, too.

O'REILLY: Forty-five seconds, Jane. Take 25 of them. Go.

HALL: OK. They are an independent organization, won a lot of awards. They went after Bill Clinton and the sleepovers in the Lincoln bedroom. Nobody objected to that. They do not have an agenda.

And I'd like to see somebody expose the — you know, the right-wing funders. I don't see a lot of references to right-wing groups, other than saying they're conservative.

O'REILLY: Really?

HALL: This is a journalistic study and organization.

O'REILLY: OK, Jane. We appreciate your point of view. Both of you, thanks very much.

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