This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 14, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.
BILL O’REILLY, HOST: In the "Weekdays with Bernie and Jane" segment tonight, because Bernie Goldberg worked for CBS for more than two decades, wanted to get his take on the Dan Rather/Katie Couric controversy. It's a little old, but we haven't heard from Bernie on this.
Also, how TV news is covering Iraq. My "Talking Points Memo" this evening was on that.
Joining us now from Washington, Jane Hall, and from Miami, Mr. Goldberg, the author of the best selling book, "Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right," which Dad will enjoy on Father's Day. Give him that book and "Culture Warrior." Dad will be your best friend for at least two weeks.
BERNIE GOLDBERG, AUTHOR, "CRAZIES TO THE LEFT OF ME, WIMPS TO THE RIGHT": Right.
O'REILLY: All right, Bernie. Dan Rather. I said that Rather was smart to do that because it brought him out of obscurity, working for whatever he's working for, and now he's back in the news.
GOLDBERG: Yes, well, so is CBS for that matter. Look, I think Dan was right. I think CBS News did try to dumb down and tart up the news. And by the way, tart up means to cheapen. It's not a sexist remark.
I wish that Dan, Mr. Courage, would have said these things while he was still at CBS News anchoring such brilliant shows as "48 Hours" murder mysteries. I mean, talk about dumbing down the news. But better late than never.
As far as the controversy is concerned, I think that Leslie Moonves, the head of CBS, figured look, if controversy sells, if we can create some kind of controversy, then maybe people will tune in to a newscast that, frankly, they don't want to tune into.
But Bill, a second point very quickly. If we want to talk about dumbing down the news, we don't have to go all the way over to CBS. Yesterday on this network there was video of two girls fighting, and it was on all day. It was on the 10 p.m. show for ten minutes.
I mean, that's bad local news. FOX and other cable stations run car chases that have absolutely...
O'REILLY: Wait. We got to do 24 hours of news, Bernie. So when you get a piece of tape — I didn't use the tape last night. I was thinking about it. But I couldn't figure out if there was a reason to use it.
GOLDBERG: And there wasn't.
O'REILLY: No, but put yourself in a position where — I'm not going to defend FOX News editorial here, because I don't have any sway over what they do or don't do. But if I'm producer, and I got to fill 24 hours, And I get a piece of tape, I'm going to use a piece of tape. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
GOLDBERG: I do.
O'REILLY: No, because if we had excluded something important, then there would have been.
GOLDBERG: Cable is always excluding something important. As good as cable is, we have discussions on cable that they never have on network news. Cable also runs car chases.
O'REILLY: You got to fill the time.
GOLDBERG: They run nonstop Paris and nonstop Anna Nicole Smith. I mean, look, the networks have an issue with bias. Cable, as good as it is in many areas, has an issue with crap.
O'REILLY: Bernie, if you were the E.P. here, having to fill all that time, you'd use the tape, too. I guarantee it.
GOLDBERG: I would not. I absolutely would not.
O'REILLY: Well, then you'd have shadow puppets. Because you got to fill a lot of time.
GOLDBERG: No, Bill — I can come up with 50 ideas for you by next week that would be legitimate stories.
O'REILLY: All right. Now I'm holding you. I'm going to have Mitchell call you with the 50 ideas, because we, of course, will use them. All right, Jane, Rather and Couric. Go.
JANE HALL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think that Dan, it looks unseemly because he is the ex-anchor and it looks like, "it was better when I was there."
But I think I agree with Bernie, he was trying to make a serious point. And I think, ironically, they are doing a much newsier broadcast, but they started out doing, you know, Suri, Tom Cruise's daughter, on the first broadcast. And people who were interested in news tuned away from it, and they have not come back. So that's the problem.
O'REILLY: OK. But you know, they went after — and this is in your wheelhouse, Jane. Moonves went after Rather as sexist.
O'REILLY: What do you think of that?
HALL: You know, well, I have to tell you, I am from Texas, so I can usually decode Dan Ratherisms. I agree with Bernie. I do not think it was sexist.
I mean, Les Moonves tried to put on a newscast with a woman as anchor and make it more like morning television. You can have a serious broadcast with a woman as anchor. I think it's insulting to women to say they only want to see Tom Cruise's baby. What's sexist is that. That's the sexist remark.
O'REILLY: All right. Now...
GOLDBERG: But if you say “sexist” you might get some of those women to watch.
O'REILLY: To sample. That's an excellent point.
GOLDBERG: Who you were trying to get in the first place when Couric…
O'REILLY: Moonves may be marketing this, absolutely, to get people to come back in who...
HALL: Yes, but they've lost viewers to the other networks, because they're doing a show for people who don't want to watch the news.
O'REILLY: All right, but it's a harder broadcast now than it was in the beginning.
HALL: Yes, it is.
O'REILLY: And they're marketing the thing.
OK, now this is a very serious point. FOX News has been criticized for not doing the explosion du jour. And here on "The Factor," I do stories — we've done hundreds of them on Iraq — when the story is advanced, when we advance the story. Because it's so dangerous for correspondents to be anywhere in Iraq, because it's an imposition on our armed forces, Bernie. And it is. They don't want reporters out there, because it's so dangerous.
You know, we run stories when it advances the story. And we don't try to make any administration, the Bush administration, look bad by showing carnage du jour. Are we wrong?
GOLDBERG: Well, let me put it this way. It's a fact that FOX runs fewer stories than the other cable networks on Iraq. But it is not a fact, it is not a logical conclusion that it's done for partisan reasons.
Liberals will always attribute the worst political motives to FOX News, because many of them suffer from Bush Derangement Syndrome, which I write about in "Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right."
I just don't think FOX makes the decision based on politics. I do think, however — and you're not going to like this — I do think FOX in general makes the decision based on show business.
In other words, it's a lot easier to watch Paris Hilton and Anna Nicole Smith than the constant death and destruction coming out of Iraq.
O'REILLY: But again...
GOLDBERG: And I think you get more viewers with that. But I think it’s a bad decision.
O'REILLY: You don't run constant death and destruction unless it leads somewhere. Everybody knows it's bad.
Jane, I'm sorry. I only have 15 seconds for you to comment on this. Go.
HALL: Well, I think that if you were on the left and you looked at Anna Nicole Smith coverage on FOX versus coverage of the war on the other networks, you might conclude that they were trying to distract people away from the bad news of the war.
O'REILLY: All right. That would be an erroneous conclusion. Because CNN did more coverage on Anna Nicole Smith than we did and, again, we here on "The Factor." I can't speak for anybody else. When we advance the story, we'll do it. If it's just another boom, there's no point, in my opinion.
Jane, Bernie, as always, thank you.
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