O'Reilly vs. Geraldo, Round 2

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This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 9, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "The Factor" follow-up segment tonight. For some reason, Geraldo Rivera got a lot of publicity over the Easter weekend. I can't imagine why. So much so, that he has fled to the tropics.

Geraldo joins us now on the phone from Puerto Rico. Now your producer up here told me that you were so exhausted after our little discussion that you had to go down to a spa, get seaweed put all over you, and all of that. Is there any truth to that?

GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS: No. I had to come where they speak the ghetto language in (INAUDIBLE) term.


O'REILLY: Now what.

RIVERA: No. You know, I had a scheduled couple of days off. But I tell you, have never, not in recent years anyway experienced anything like the impassioned audience reaction to our little get together on Thursday. It's been quite remarkable.

O'REILLY: And what have you seen and heard?

RIVERA: Well, you know, the e-mails. I've never had more e-mails on a single topic not in the five years I've been at FOX. Five, six years I've been there. It's been a cascade of I'd say 20 percent negative and admiring 50 percent negative and disagreeing, and 30 percent just absolutely so angry at me they'll never watch again.

I don't see the reality of the American demographic threat, etcetera etcetera.

O'REILLY: You know, I told the Associated Press, which didn't print much of what I said, that I understand where you were coming from in the sense that you're worried about good migrants being brutalized in a vigilante way and being in a situation where nobody is looking out for them and sticking up. And I respect that.

And you've done that throughout your whole career. But the crux of the argument was that I believe it's an illegal immigration issue, a criminal illegal immigration issue.

And you think it's more of a drunk driving issue. And it was interesting to see the e-mails come in. And a few of the journalists got that. They saw the delineation that some people think it's drunk driving. Some people think it's criminal illegal aliens that are really the central issue of it.

But you know, what was lost in this were the deaths of these two girls? That I didn't see hardly any press coverage about that and about what you and I were arguing so passionately about.

RIVERA: I think the deaths of the girls, obviously, is the thing that's the heart searing aspect of this.

But I think you have to look at this also as a media phenomenon. I think what happened with me and you Thursday night was two people kind of at the top of their game, who have been around a while. Both have a feeling of confidence and absolute, you know, a sense that they are right on this profoundly important issue.

And to go at it in the way we did with no rules, no one trying to censor anybody, I think it really does show the FOX News Channel and the fair and balanced, that that's not a slogan. That's reality.

O'REILLY: Well, you wouldn't see.

RIVERA: And you'd never see that kind of debate on MSNBC.

O'REILLY: No, you'd never see it anywhere else, and I'll tell you why. Because the journalists that operate in the so-called mainstream media, and I guess you and I are mainstream guys, but operate in the network news and the "New York Times," they don't get passionate about what they cover. They're apart from it and driven by ideology, I believe.

I had a person ask me so well, why do you get so angry about it? And I looked at the person and I said if I don't get angry about two dead girls in the gutter who don't have to be dead because what I believe are incompetent city officials and a failed archaic policy, if I don't get angry about that, I don't deserve to be a journalist. I don't deserve.

RIVERA: And I, on the other hand, if I don't get angry about the millions of hard working, blue collar, diligent, ambitious, religious, family values people who are in the country without the proper documentation, who are doing everything they can to follow the rules, and if I don't get angry on their behalf because I feel they're vulnerable to being scapegoated, if not me who? And I think.

O'REILLY: No, I know that. And I respect that. I mean, I think you're wrong in the sense that we could have a very humane immigration policy here. But not with this kind of chaos. And not with this kind of anarchy. One more question, did Lou Dobbs give you a call, Geraldo? Because you worked him over pretty good.

RIVERA: Yes, I never said you would lose Lou Dobbs mom. I said I didn't want you to be you part of the Lou Dobbs mob.

O'REILLY: I know.

RIVERA: Howard Dean.

O'REILLY: The mob. Did Lou call you up or why he's gunning for you, Geraldo. Come on now.

RIVERA: Like I said, he's resurrected a failed career.

O'REILLY: Oh, come on. Come on, now.

RIVERA: But unlike you, he's not as open minded and willing to hear the other side.

O'REILLY: All right, Geraldo Rivera everybody at a spa recovering from his verbal bout with me. We'll see you on Thursday when you come back.

RIVERA: I'll be there. OK, Bill.

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