Published January 13, 2015
This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 5, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight, for the first time ever, a political party may have a network news organization in its pocket! Commentator Chris Matthews is a stalwart at NBC News. But last night, apparently, he called the Bush administration a "criminal enterprise." NBC has a tape of those comments, but will not release it.
This comes on the heels a dust up Matthews had with Jon Stewart:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MATTHEWS: You are unbelievable. You know, this is a book interview from hell. This is the worst interview I've ever had in my life. This is the worst. You are the worst.
JON STEWART: No.
MATTHEWS: You — I thought you were so big, you weren't afraid of me. You're so big. And you're afraid of this book.
STEWART: No! I read this!
MATTHEWS: This book scares you.
STEWART: It doesn't scare me.
MATTHEWS: There's something in here that's fear.
STEWART: There is something in there that I fear.
MATTHEWS: You fear power. Like fascism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Like fascism, wow.
In addition to Matthews situation, another NBC person, David Shuster, went after a Republican congresswoman:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC: You represent, of course, a district in western Tennessee. What was the name of the last soldier from your district who was killed in Iraq?
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-Tenn.): The name of the last soldier killed in Iraq from my district. I do not know.
SHUSTER: OK, his name was Jeremy Bohan. And he was killed August the 9th, 2007. How come you didn't know the name?
REP. BLACKBURN: I — you know, I do not know why I did not know the name.
SHUSTER: You don't appreciate it enough to know the name of this young man. He was 18-years-old who was killed, and yet you can sit here and say chapter and verse about what's going on with The New York Times and Moveon.org.
Here we have a war that took the life of an 18-year old kid, Jeremy Bohan, from your district, and you didn't know his name.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Shortly after that interview, Shuster apologized to Congresswoman Blackburn. The key concern is how will NBC's bias affect the Democratic party?
With us now Democrat strategist Julie Roginsky. And from Washington, D.C., Patrick Gavin, a columnist for The Washington Examiner, who heard Mr. Matthews speak last night. Mr. Matthews declined to speak with us.
All right, so were you surprised? This I guess was a book affair. You've got a new book out and a bunch of NBC brass there. Were you surprised at what he said and tell us exactly what he did say?
PATRICK GAVIN, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, I think everybody was. I mean, this was supposed to be both a book party and a birthday party for the 10th anniversary of his show "Hardball," which Bill, I know this will boil your blood, he did call it the greatest show on cable television.
O'REILLY: That's fine. I mean, look, I want to make — clear. I have nothing against Chris Matthews. You know, he's one of the few people on that network with decency. And if — I'm sure he'd stick up for his show. Why not? I'd stick up for "The Factor."
O'REILLY: But so it's a birthday party. And it's a gathering of NBC brass. And he gets up there and he says what?
GAVIN: Well, he made it clear from the get go, he took the microphone and said, look, I think we're going to make some news tonight. And he certainly did.
First things first, he said that the difference between the Clinton administration and the Bush administration was that when he would slammed the Clinton administration, the Clinton administration wouldn't call the brass at MSNBC and NBC, and you know, put pressure on him to stop doing that. He does say, though, that people in the Bush administration...
O'REILLY: Does he name those people?
GAVIN: ...kind of approach Cheney's office — well, you could tell he was singling out the Cheney's office. And the spirit of his remarks was that it was basically during the "Scooter" Libby case when, you know, night after night, Matthews really hit hard against "Scooter" Libby.
And he said, that in fact, you know, Cheney's office did call MSNBC and NBC brass to put pressure on him to stop it. So that was number one.
Number two, he seemed to relish the fact, again going back to Scooter Libby thing, that you know, in his opinion, things didn't turn out so well for, you know, Bush, Cheney, and "Scooter." And even said "I'm glad that they've been caught in their own criminality." Later saying [about] Cheney, if Cheney had been president during the Cuban missile crisis, we'd all be living under a parking lot. And this certainly stunned a lot of people in the crowd.
O'REILLY: All right. Now there's a tape of this. And you wanted to get it. We wanted to get it. What is NBC — they're telling us we can't have it, but there's competitive reasons maybe. What are they telling you?
GAVIN: Well, you know, I wrote them last night. And I got in touch with them and asked, you know, hey you have the transcript. You have video.
They had NBC crews there. They were their own cameras. And they said no. They said that they might use some footage on it on tonight's "Hardball."
And my take on that is, you know, it's their party. It's their cameras. They can do what they want. But this is a news organization. And they are news organization full of journalists who are constantly asking the powerful to let the sunshine in, to release footage, to release documents, you know, to expose the truth. And so when you ask them, look, I just want to take a look at the transcript, I just want to take a look at the video and they're not willing to sort of hold themselves to the same standard that they hold the people that they cover...
O'REILLY: All right. Well, they obviously don't want to the video out. Sure.
All right, Julie, let's go to you. Mr. Matthews is supposed to moderate a debate, a Republican debate, I guess next week. If you were a Republican strategist, would you ask that he be removed?
JULIE ROGINSKY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I don't think Chris Matthews' opinions are a secret to anybody. Chris Matthews has been complaining...
O'REILLY: ...that's pretty extreme, though. The Bush administration is a criminal enterprise? I don't think he's ever gone that far.
ROGINSKY: Well, he's gone pretty far. I mean, his.
O'REILLY: But I don't mind him criticizing Libby and all this stuff. I mean, that's (INAUDIBLE).
ROGINSKY: Well, listen, I mean these are all big boys. The Republican party. They want to stand up and challenge Chris Matthews?
O'REILLY: Would you — but if you were advising them, would you have a guy like Matthews, who's now out of the closet, so to speak, you know, doing the debate? I mean.
ROGINSKY: I would have - look, I would hopefully done my due diligence and know what Chris Matthews biases were before. Now that I knew them, what they were before. I'd certainly know what they were. They agreed to do it. They should agree to do it.
O'REILLY: If they have a problem with Chris Matthews, they have a natural forum, this debate could challenge them.
O'REILLY: OK. Fair enough.
ROGINSKY: Which is what they should do.
O'REILLY: Now as a Democratic strategist, I think you could probably use NBC's —obviously they're rooting for the Democrats and they want the Democrats to be successful. Is - but can that backlash on the Democrats — I mean, how should they play it?
ROGINSKY: Well, look, you've got people like Chris Matthews that have their biases. You've got people like Joe Scarborough at MSNBC who have Republican biases, as a former Republican congressman.
O'REILLY: Not really.
ROGINSKY: So I would say to you, look, I mean, Democrats and Republicans should go on each of these shows if they want a forum and national television to talk about issues.
O'REILLY: OK, but that's not a question. The question is, look, nobody watches Scarborough. I mean, it's like a test pattern. I'm not being disrespectful. I see the overnight numbers. He's not a player.
Matthews is a player. He's got a syndicated program. He's got a cable program. He goes over to the Williams show. He's a player. This guy gets a lot of air time. Scarborough is like, you know, somebody who's cleaning up.
ROGINSKY: Well, that must mean that more people.
O'REILLY: So the Democratic party, should they - what should they do to exploit the advantage that NBC News, for the first time in history, is really offering them?
O'REILLY: Giving them?
ROGINSKY: ...first of all, I would say that Chris Matthews is not a journalist per se. He's somebody who's an opinion maker. And he's got a set of opinions that's something that may be more in line with the Democratic party.
O'REILLY: And that's perfectly fine.
ROGINSKY: And that's fine.
O'REILLY: That's fine.
ROGINSKY: So, much in the same way that there are other journalists...
O'REILLY: Well, you saw Shuster. You saw Shuster brow beating.
ROGINSKY: Or David Shuster for that matter.
O'REILLY: You know, obviously, didn't like the war. Doesn't like this congressperson. Brow, brow, brow. I mean, this is supposed to be a reporter. Come on.
ROGINSKY: Well, I think, first of all, it's a legitimate question to have asked her. Maybe she didn't like to agree with it, but it is a legitimate question to have asked her.
O'REILLY: To ask a congresswoman if they know the name of soldiers who died?
ROGINSKY: Well, listen, if she's pro-war. She should know the effects it has in her district.
O'REILLY: I disagree with that. I mean, I think that's an ambush question. And I don't think the - the Democratic congress people could answer that either.
ROGINSKY: I would hope they could if they support this war. I really do.
O'REILLY: OK. So if you support the war, you got to know everybody who's dead. But you don't have to.
ROGINSKY: No, if you support this war, what I would say is that you need to know the ramifications.
O'REILLY: All right.
ROGINSKY: ...this war is having or district that you're voting.
O'REILLY: Last question. And I'm going to ask you one more question, Patrick. Do you believe that this is going to help the Democratic party? Is this a tangible advantage that NBC News has taken this task?
ROGINSKY: I believe Chris Matthews is one person.
O'REILLY: No, NBC News.
ROGINSKY: Well, I would say to you that much in the same way that I think Joe Scarborough's numbers are a little better, would help the Republican Party, Chris Matthews may help the Democratic party, sure. The more people that watch him, the more people agree with him, the better his numbers are.
O'REILLY: All right. What do you think, Patrick? Is this — you're a political columnist. You've got now a network who's thrown down the gauntlet, is going to support the Democrats in subtle ways sometimes, in overt ways in other times. Is that a big advantage?
GAVIN: Well, you know, if that's their strategy, I don't think it's a successful one. I mean, people...
O'REILLY: No, no, but is it an advantage for the Democratic party? I don't care about NBC. Is it an advantage for the Democratic party? Is it?
GAVIN: Yes and no. I mean, on the one hand, sure. If you know, if the notion about NBC is friendlier for Democrats, great. But are they just going to reach people who already agree with them? Are they not going to reach across the aisle to people maybe who won't tune in because they might...
O'REILLY: No, it's an interesting point. But remember, it's a big cannon. I mean, it's a big, big organization.
Julie, thank you. Mr. Gavin.
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