New Documentary Chronicles Media's Treatment of Sarah Palin

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 23, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Factor Follow-up" segment tonight: Every fair-minded American in the country knows that Governor Palin got hammered by the media during the presidential campaign. Now a new documentary called "Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted" is out on DVD. Here's a preview:

Click here to watch a preview and an interview with the producer of the documentary!


BRIAN WILLIAMS, "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS": Joe Klein's on the board. His blog for TIME magazine and I'll quote briefly: "It's important for the public to know Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the bridge to nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library, and thinks the war in Iraq is 'a task from God.'"

JOHN ZIEGLER, PRODUCER, "MEDIA MALPRACTICE": I perceive that clip, as I implied before, as basically Brian Williams putting out the word, hey, you know, we've got to take care of this woman. Do you perceive it that way?

SARAH PALIN: I think that was a call to action. It sounds like it, yeah.


O'REILLY: All right. The man who asked Sarah Palin that question is with us now, the producer of the documentary, John Ziegler. Now, that was on MSNBC what Williams did, right?


O'REILLY: And that was the night that Palin gave her out of the park speech.

ZIEGLER: Exactly.

O'REILLY: So, and correct me if I'm wrong, because I did not see Williams. I was on the air myself.


O'REILLY: All right. So what Williams, he took Joe Klein, a confirmed Democrat…


O'REILLY: ...all right, and a liberal guy, writes for TIME magazine.


O'REILLY: So he took Klein's column, which of course is going to be anti-Palin.


O'REILLY: And he read it to the nation. For what reason?

ZIEGLER: Well, Brian Williams does this a lot, and we proved this in the film "Media Malpractice", where his favorite tactic is to use the words of others that are really his words. It gives implausible deniability. It's one of the favorite tactics of the media elite.

O'REILLY: But did he have any reason to use Joel Klein? Why didn't he use the Daily Kos or somebody like that?

ZIEGLER: Well, because he felt as if this gave him enough implausible deniability to get his message across without it coming back on him.

O'REILLY: Well, why didn't he quote me?

ZIEGLER: Well, that's the funny part, Bill. Of course, we'll never see Brian Williams do the opposite. He was only going to do that to somebody on the left.

O'REILLY: So you believe — look, Williams is a guy who puts himself up as Mr. Fair.


O'REILLY: OK. Doesn't he?



ZIEGLER: We proved he's not.

O'REILLY: He sits there every night and he looks in, and I'm Mr. Fair. Just like Brokaw before him. All right. And I don't have any dog in the hunt. You say — Ziegler says…

ZIEGLER: And I prove.

O'REILLY: And in your documentary…


O'REILLY: And people can see it online.


O'REILLY: OK. You say that Williams consciously…


O'REILLY: ...took an anti-Palin piece from a known Democratic sympathizer.


O'REILLY: Joe Klein from TIME magazine, and read it to the nation to undercut Sarah Palin's evening.

ZIEGLER: Well, it certainly had that effect. It's my perception, and as you saw, it's Governor Palin's perception and also in the documentary the next thing Sarah Palin says is why didn't I know that when we gave this guy an interview. We never would have given this guy an interview if I had seen that. Now she has half joking, but I think…

O'REILLY: Well, her office people should have given it. Look, with all due respect to Governor Palin, her people are not the best, OK. She's never appeared on this program. We have a very hard time communicating with them. You're much more successful than I am. But anyway, so you say that NBC News, not MSNBC, which was kooky far left.

ZIEGLER: Oh yeah.

O'REILLY: OK. NBC News, in the face of their main guy Williams, went out from the jump, from the jump, because this was moments after…


O'REILLY: ...Palin and everybody thought it was a good speech. And nobody really knew much about Sarah Palin.

ZIEGLER: And those things that he states there from Joe Klein are almost all false. And…

O'REILLY: Well, they're out of context.

ZIEGLER: Right. Well, and context is everything.

O'REILLY: Right.

ZIEGLER: This documentary is all about context.

O'REILLY: Absolutely.

ZIEGLER: I put this entire campaign through the media coverage in a context that people have never seen before. People are going to be stunned by what they see here, Bill. You, as engrained in all of this as you were, you are going to say wow, I had no idea that happened because there's just so much media. I dedicated my life to this, and this is the result. I hope people will see hey, we've finally proven what we all knew and felt to be the case.

O'REILLY: All right. My audience certainly want to go and see it, because they want to make up their own mind. But I just want to get the overarch here. So you basically say that there wasn't even a grace period to find out who Sarah Palin was or how effective a governor? No grace period. As soon as she got the nomination, they went in.

ZIEGLER: I think the proof is more insidious than that. They tried to destroy her in those first three days. They failed. And when she gave that spectacular speech, that was Brian Williams calling in the cavalry. Hey, we now really got to up the ante and go after this woman.

O'REILLY: Do you really think that guy — you know, I've known him for a long time…

ZIEGLER: I think it was somewhat subconscious, but it had an absolute effect. And in reality, we've proven this documentary that happened. There are so many things we show that are misconceptions that are still held today about Sarah Palin and about Barack Obama.

O'REILLY: One more thing on Williams, I've known this guy for a long time. I think he is more interested in shirts and suits than he is on ideology.

ZIEGLER: He's a good dresser.

O'REILLY: My opinion, right. I think that was handed to him. He didn't write it?

ZIEGLER: It is — well, I don't know for sure.

O'REILLY: I would hand it to him.

ZIEGLER: I would love to have an interview with him to ask him that question.

O'REILLY: It's an interesting question.

ZIEGLER: But it's consistent with his MO. This is the way Brian Williams does things.

O'REILLY: But he does what he's told.


O'REILLY: He's not Peter Jennings or Brokaw. He does what he is told.

ZIEGLER: And this is just one small example of dozens of dozens and dozens we have in this film…

O'REILLY: All right.

ZIEGLER: ...that show NBC was in the tank as well as other media outlets. And hope you see the film.

O'REILLY: Very good. We appreciate you coming on in.

ZIEGLER: Thank you, Bill.

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