NBC Analyst Insults U.S. Armed Forces

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 5, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Continuing now with our lead story. A vicious attack on the U.S. military by NBC News analyst William Arkin. That report appeared on "The Washington Post" website.

By the way, we expect blow back from NBC News and from some committed left wing media writers. We'll keep you posted. I'm sure that's going to happen.

With us now, FOX News analyst Kirsten Powers here in the studio. And in Washington, Michelle Malkin.

Now NBC News is going to say, well listen, all voices should be heard. You know, we give a platform to people. And this is freedom of speech, blah, blah, blah. What say you?

MICHELLE MALKIN, FOX NEWS ANALYST: I say that I think NBC News and "The Washington Post" and anyone who gives this man a platform ought to be very clear and transparent with the public about what he is. He's an intellectual coward. He's a thug. And he's a radical left wing loon.

And he hides behind these neutral titles that these mainstream media outlets give him. You know, they call him a military affairs analyst and an intelligence specialist.

This guy worked for radical left wing organizations like the NRDC, Greenpeace, and Human Rights Watch. And I think actually he's done us all a favor. He's done America a favor by showing just how unhinged some of these so-called mainstream journalists really are.

You can read the kind of tripe that he put on "The Washington Post" blog every day in the far-left swamps of the Internet. But now it's got the endorsement of "The Washington Post" and by tacit acceptance NBC News as well.

And I think that people really need to hold him accountable for these words. He refused to answer your producer's questions.

O'REILLY: No, he wouldn't answer any of our questions. But look, it's worse than that. It's worse than you're making it out to be. It's worse.

Here's what's worse. NBC News, in which this guy has appeared on "The Today Show," on Williams' show, on "Dateline," they never said what you said. They never told anybody he worked for Human Rights Watch, or Greenpeace, and he's a radical leftist. Never.

They portrayed him fraudulently as an objective military analyst. He's on their payroll, Michelle, as an objective military analyst. That's fraud.

Now we've uncovered the fraud. He made the mistake. He brought in the hatred he has for the military. And believe me if, if you look at his book, his book might have gotten people killed. He broke classified information on code names. This is the worst. He is a military hater. Now has NBC News said that to anybody at any time? Have they?

MALKIN: No. That is my point.

O'REILLY: Right.

MALKIN: They need to be forced.


MALKIN: To disclose this kind of stuff.


MALKIN: If they're going to employ people like this.

O'REILLY: And how much money is General Electric making making submarines, building submarines for the U.S. military? How much?

MALKIN: Oh, I'd like to see that on the nightly news broadcast actually.


MALKIN: Let me say one thing in defense of NBC News though, because William Arkin was driven crazy by an NBC News segment that featured troops who criticized disingenuous anti-war people who say they support the troops. And that's what sent William Arkin through the roof.

And you do have to give credit — I don't know how that report slipped through the NBC Nightly News, but it did.

O'REILLY: No, no, again, you're wrong.

MALKIN: It's the exception and not the rule.

O'REILLY: You're wrong. There are good people at NBC News. It isn't an organized cabal that says let's put on a nightly newscast and bash the troops. That's not what they do.

The problem, Michelle, is this. They'll do a pro-military piece on NBC News. They have good correspondents, fair correspondents over there.

The problem is the management has made a decision, Michelle, to go to the left to pick up viewers, because they feel the mood of the country swinging that way.

Arkin's just part of that. And these decisions are made at the Zucker level, at the Robert Wright level, at the — whatever the — you know, Capus level. And Immelt knows this. And Immelt, who could change it like that, OK, because he has power over these three, all right, goes along with it. So they're selling out their country for ratings points, Michelle.

MALKIN: I'm well aware of that, Bill. And I think if there are good people at NBC News, and I'm sure there are a few of them.

O'REILLY: There are, there are.

MALKIN: I would try and convince them to get Brian Williams to have a sit down interview at the top of the nightly news show with William Arkin and ask him to explain what exactly he...

O'REILLY: Absolutely right.

MALKIN: meant by the obscene amenities that are being sent to the troops.

O'REILLY: There you go.

MALKIN: Because I saw nothing of that when I was in Baghdad.

O'REILLY: What are the obscene amenities. You were over there for a week. I was over there. I didn't see any obscene amenities. They have good food and they can get access to the Internet. All right.

MALKIN: I saw troops sleeping on the floor at the Baghdad International Airport. I guess that's what he means by obscene.

O'REILLY: Yes. Well, I know what's obscene. His pieces. How do you see it?

KIRSTEN POWERS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, I have to tell you that when this was first sent to me, this was yesterday I talked about this, I had to keep asking over and over again, are you sure this ran in "The Washington Post. I don't understand this. This guy works for NBC?"

Because this was the type of thing that you would expect to read on a far left blog. It has all the hallmarks of the basic far left arguments, which is, you know, the reference to our sons and daughters. We have to save our sons and daughters. The reference to — they're all pawns, they're all stupid. They don't actually want to be over there.

The reference that they only support the war because they have to. What else would they do? They couldn't get up in the morning unless they were tricked.

O'REILLY: Yes, they're too stupid to know what they do.

POWERS: Exactly. And.

O'REILLY: But what about Haditha and Abu Ghraib?


O'REILLY: I mean, my God, you know how many hundreds of —


O'REILLY: ...thousands of U.S. forces went through there and behaved honorably and put their lives on the line?

POWERS: But I think - I actually think, not to defend him, I think his point was that they were bad apples and it was overlooked. I mean, I don't think that he was trying to say that...

O'REILLY: No, no, no. It was that the American people gave the benefit of the doubt to the military.

POWERS: Right. Bad apples.

O'REILLY: Well, maybe they shouldn't.

POWERS: Well, it was kind of.

O'REILLY: That's what it was.

POWERS: I really didn't read it that way.

O'REILLY: Read it again.


O'REILLY: Read it - I've read it 15 times.

POWERS: But I thought it was - but overall, it was very condescending. And I mean, and the mercenary comment, of course.


POWERS: Was so over the top.

O'REILLY: Oh, my God.

POWERS: That it was just completely outrageous.

O'REILLY: What if you had lost a brother or a husband over there and Arkin, this despicable human being is saying he's a mercenary, he didn't love his country.


O'REILLY: He just did it for the obscene amenities we're sending. Oh, my God.

POWERS: But the thing that I thought was particularly strange about it is that when you look at what was said in the NBC report, there's nothing in it that should have incited this kind of anger.

O'REILLY: No, he's a hater.

POWERS: I mean, the people - these kids and these guys, these men, whoever they were, were actually saying we don't really — they sounded more hurt than angry that the American people weren't supporting the war.

O'REILLY: Look, and that is their opinion.


O'REILLY: And they're entitled to it. They gave that opinion to me. They gave it to Michelle. And if the soldiers over there say look, you know, we'd like you to support us. We feel — we here on the front lines feel.


O'REILLY: We're doing something noble, then you can dissent from the war. This isn't about war dissent.


O'REILLY: This is about insulting people who are trying — giving their lives to give freedom to other people.

POWERS: Yes. And also Bill, this isn't a good - he's not a good analyst.


POWERS: There are all sorts of good reasons to oppose the war. And it's not — you don't go and attack the soldiers.

O'REILLY: Michelle - I go to ask Michelle one more thing. What did you think of the NBC statement, Michelle?

MALKIN: I thought it was as weasely as William Arkin's interview with your producer.

O'REILLY: I mean, can you imagine.


O'REILLY: All NBC News had to do was say, you know, we find that reprehensible.

MALKIN: You know, it would have been nice if they said we stand by the troops who were interviewed in that story.

O'REILLY: I mean, it is just — I am going to keep the ladies for another minute. So kill the music. Now how should we react to this? What should we do, Michelle? What do you think we should do? Michelle?

MALKIN: I think that putting pressure on "The Washington Post" board of directors, the editorial board, their media critics, and the NBC News management.

I think in addition to just how incoherent and illogical and embarrassing William Arkin's rhetoric was, it's also about how he abused these troops because he mischaracterized what they actually said. And he continues to stand by that. And that is a dishonest smear on these troops.

And I think if you really do support the troops, even if you oppose the war, you should get behind making William Arkin pay a price for his intellectual.

O'REILLY: Now he's got his little NBC cap on there. What do you think we should do, Kirsten?

POWERS: Well, I don't think - I mean, I think there's an argument to be made that it's good that he's out there saying these things, because I think it gives an airing to frankly a view that's not that uncommon.

O'REILLY: So you think that no, you shouldn't do anything?

POWERS: No, I have arguments with friends all the time that say - they don't — minus - take the mercenary thing off the table. The rest of it's not, frankly, that uncommon among a certain group of people.


POWERS: And so.

MALKIN: Elitism and snobbery.


MALKIN: Hostility towards our troops.

O'REILLY: We know.

MALKIN: Yes, let a thousand Arkins bloom so we can just see how naked their hatred of the troops is.

O'REILLY: Well, we'll let them bloom.

MALKIN: I agree with that.

O'REILLY: We — they can't bloom any more than they bloom right here tonight. Ladies, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

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