This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, January 5, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST:  In the Back of the Book segment tonight, crocodile hunter Steve Irwin (search) facing trouble in Australia.  Last Friday, he dangled his 1-month-old baby near a crocodile.  You might have seen these pictures.  They've been all over the place.  And that set off a wave of angst, although Australian authorities say Irwin will not be charged.

With us now is Phillip Coorey, the New York bureau chief for News Limited Australia (search).  This is still a big story down under, huh?

PHILLIP COOREY, NEWS LIMITED OF AUSTRALIA:  Yes, very big, Bill.  Probably about as big as it is here.

O'REILLY:  People -- are they angry?  Like when Michael Jackson (search) dangled his kid over there, I mean everybody said, hey, this is a nut, Jackson should be -- they were calling for his -- child abuse and all of this.  Is it same as Irwin?  Are people against him?

COOREY:  Yes, the -- it's similar to -- with Jackson.  I mean Jack already had a bit of a record, so it wasn't...

O'REILLY:  Yes, Irwin isn't considered a weirdo.

COOREY:  No, he's not, but...

O'REILLY:  Jackson was.

COOREY:  But it's the same anger.

O'REILLY:  But it's the same thing.

COOREY:  The anger is similar, yes, at the moment.

O'REILLY:  Yes.  So most Australians are saying Irwin did a bad thing here?


O'REILLY:  All right.


O'REILLY:  But Irwin himself's very defensive about it.  He was on the Today show with Matt Lauer, I believe, and let's role the clip.


MATT LAUER, TODAY:  Steve, let me...

STEVE IRWIN, CROCODILE HUNTER:  I would be considered the worst dad in the world if I didn't teach my children about the dangers that are in their back yard.  Mate, we live in the middle of Australia zoo.

I am sorry, Matt.

LAUER:  OK, but let me jump in here.

IRWIN:  You know what.  I will never let this happen again.

LAUER:  Let me get a word in edgewise.  It's...

IRWIN:  My life is under the microscope, and that is very unfortunate, Matt, and I can't change it.  It's happened.  I'll deal with things a heck of a lot differently.


O'REILLY:  All right.  Well, that's crazy.  I mean the little girl -- what is the little girl, 5 years old or something like that?  All right.  The baby's one-month-old.  You don't teach a baby about the dangers of anything at one-month-old.  This was a stunt, was it not?

COOREY:  Oh, absolutely.  A lot of things Steve does, are a stunt.  So...

O'REILLY:  But you don't use a 1-year-old baby for a stunt.

COOREY:  Well, I mean...

O'REILLY:  Come on.

COOREY:  But look at the guy.  His whole life is a stunt.  I mean that's how he became famous.

O'REILLY:  I don't care about him doing whatever he does with crocodiles or what else.  But you don't use a baby -- he's exploiting this baby.  Look at this.  He's exploiting this baby near a deadly animal for entertainment purposes.

I mean I don't -- I would have charged him.  If I were in Australia, I would have charged this guy with -- I don't know what.  Endangering a minor or something like that?

COOREY:  Yes.  That's not going to happen.


COOREY:  I guess we have maybe a slightly different view of it.  I mean the guy's obviously paying the price and may pay a future price.  I mean...

O'REILLY:  What is that price?  Bad publicity?

COOREY:  Oh, yes. ... You know, lots of commercial interests.  I mean there's -- I mean, ultimately, his fan will decide whether -- you know, how badly this affects him.

But there's a few things that are happening at home.  He's a candidate at the moment for Australian of the year, which is an award we give to a citizen every January, for -- it's like our national...

O'REILLY:  Well, forget about that award.

COOREY:  Well, he's a...

O'REILLY:  That's gone.  He's...

COOREY:  Well, he was a -- he was the hot...

O'REILLY:  That would be like Michael Jackson winning Californian of the year.  It ain't going happen.

COOREY:  Exactly.  Well, I don't think so.  No.

O'REILLY:  So no Australian of the Year (search) for this guy.  But he's not going get criminally charged.


O'REILLY:  He's not going to pay...

COOREY:  He's...

O'REILLY:  I think he'll pay a promotional price...


O'REILLY:  ... maybe lose some endorsements or whatever, but you -- come on, Phillip, you've got to admit this is stupid.  Isn't this just stupid?

COOREY:  Oh, absolutely.  And I mean he's what we'd call a drongo, Bill.  I mean it -- you know, it's just a stupid thing to do.  I think it's sinking in slowly that -- to him.

I mean Steve Irwin is probably the last guy who thought it was silly.  You know the rest of the world thought it was.  He -- he saw it a different way.  But I think now it's sinking in he's done something.  He's...

O'REILLY:  Yes.  I mean to say, look, I want to teach my children about the dangers -- this kid is 1-month-old, all right?


O'REILLY:  All right.  He doesn't know what he's doing.  What if he slipped or anything happened?  Oh, it just -- it just boggles the mind.  With babies, you don't do this kind of thing.

Now how big is this guy Irwin in Australia?

COOREY:  Well, he...

O'REILLY:  Is he like Hogan or the Hulk?

COOREY:  No.  Well, no, Hogan -- Hogan -- I guess he's like a real life Hogan.  Hogan was his own...

O'REILLY:  Yes, he's a Hollywood...

COOREY:  ... enigma, yes.

O'REILLY:  Right.

COOREY:  Irwin was semi-big.  Most people thought he was a bit nuts really, to be honest.  Anyone wrestling with crocodiles.  He became famous in America -- more famous in America, and, as a result of that, he then became famous in Australia.

O'REILLY:  Is that right?  So it boomeranged, pardon the pun...

COOREY:  Yes.  No, it's true.

O'REILLY:  ... back down under when he became a bigger star here.

COOREY:  Australians are very sensitive about the way they're perceived overseas, and, often, we wait for imprimatur of sort of the Americans or the British.

O'REILLY:  Right.  Is this going to hurt his career in Australia?

COOREY:  I'd say so.  But I don't think it's got the commercial implications as it will in America.

O'REILLY:  Yes.  It will hurt his career here.


O'REILLY:  For how long?  If he apologized and said it was bad judgment, I'm sorry, now that I look at the tape, then Americans, I think, would forgive him.  But if he doesn't and keeps a defiant attitude he showed on the Today show, that's going to hurt him here.

COOREY:  Yes, I think the same goes at home as well.  A little bit of contrition would be a good idea.

O'REILLY:  Right.  All right.  Mr. Coorey, thanks very much.  We appreciate you coming on in.

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