Bernie: Koppel showed a 'tremendous gap' in his journalistic knowledge

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 24, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly. In the "Weekdays With Bernie" segment tonight, there was an interesting reaction to my interview with Ted Koppel last week on the FACTOR and his chat with me on NBC News.

Some thought that Mr. Koppel came in with a pre-conceived point of view.


TED KOPPEL, NBC SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't think anyone is going to be confused as to the ideological belief of most of the people who appear on Fox.

O'REILLY: I think that's grossly unfair to the hard news reporters, OK. If you look at our bureau system and the people we have reporting, all right, I'll run them down for you. Bret Baier, is he an ideologue.

KOPPEL: I don't know, Bret.

O'REILLY: You don't know, OK. Well, that's a big piece of the Fox News puzzle and you don't know him.

KOPPEL: That's fine.


O'REILLY: Joining us now from North Carolina to comment, the purveyor of, Mr. Goldberg.

I was surprised Brit Hume pointed out to me earlier in the program, in the break, that I didn't confront Ted Koppel with the fact that we had Baier and Shepard Smith, certainly not a conservative, back-to-back.

And that, perhaps, I should have done that more. But I did say to him, "Look, you've got to know the players here." And he clearly didn't know the players except for the prime time, you know, the eight to 11. And you say.

BERNARD GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS COMMENTATOR: Right. Yes, I say that Ted Koppel basically knows one thing about Fox. Just one thing. He knows he doesn't like it.

Here's a man who is unaware that Fox has, let's call, the evening newscast, the one at 6:00 o'clock Eastern Time, totally unaware of that apparently.

He doesn't know who Bret Baier is. This is embarrassing for someone who is about to do a story on cable television news.

And it shows a tremendous gap in his journalistic knowledge and a tremendous in his journalistic curiosity or incuriosity, in this case.

And it explains why, I think, his NBC piece on the subject was as shallow and unsophisticated as it was.

O'REILLY: Let me stick up for Koppel for a moment. He came in here, gentlemen, you know, we had made the arrangement that I'll do an interview with him if he does an interview with me.

And we both taped everybody so there couldn't be any shenanigans in the editing and all of that. OK, his basic hypothesis is that the prime time, eight until 11 is really all that matters.

And that shapes how the nation responds to not only Fox News but CNN and MSNBC. And he says that because he perceives us to be right-wing conservative from eight until 11 -- and I don't know how you perceive Greta Van Susteren that way, but there you go.


O'REILLY: And that is an intimidating force on Congress and on the discourse in America, that this kind of conservative push, as trident as it is, with O'Reilly and Hannity is a disruptive force to the nation. That's where he was going with it.

GOLDBERG: Yes. Well, let me make three points if I might about that. The first point is that Ted does believe that cable television is a polarizing force in the country.

And it's not good for the country. That is a perfectly legitimate news story. I would even agree with some of the things Ted Koppel probably believes on that.

But what you can't do, if you are a journalist, is you can't fill up your story only with stuff that supports your conclusion, that TV, cable TV, is a bad thing.

So, as a result, if you watched his story on NBC, you wouldn't know that Brit Hume existed as a commentator on Fox.

You wouldn't know that Kirsten Powers or Charles Krauthammer or Juan Williams, who I disagree with about everything, existed.

They are all civil people whether you agree with them or not. They are not foaming at the mouth. So, that wasn't anywhere in the story because that would have screwed up his conclusion. Because they are reasonable.

The second point is that he's so concerned about nastiness and instability -- remember after the Tucson massacre, "The New York Times" blamed this on conservative talk.

They said, it created an atmosphere where this shooting happened. It was a total 100 percent lie. The shooter was mentally ill. He probably didn't know who you were, who Rush Limbaugh is, who Sarah Palin is.

Ted Koppel, Mr. Sensitivity about Instability, never mentioned a word about that kind of polarizing instability.

And the final point, Bill, he doesn't understand why Fox is really the most important. And that's because it gives a voice to people.

It let's people in on the national conversation who Ted Koppel and the mainstream media won't let in and have a voice. Personal example --

O'REILLY: And that's why we're successful. Absolutely.

GOLDBERG: -- personal example, I had a book, "Bias". As you know, it was a number one book. I was on cable. I was on talk radio.

But Ted Koppel, who ran "Nightline" and is so concerned about the media, he never had me on.

He wasn't interested in my point of view and neither were the other media elites at the network. Because my point of view was not one that they found acceptable.

So, Ted, is a smart guy. There is no question about that. He's done a lot of good work in his career. There's no question about that.

But he's not a terribly thoughtful guy when it comes to issues involving the media.

O'REILLY: Well, you're saying he's not a fair guy is what you are saying.

GOLDBERG: Well, if he were more thoughtful, it would have occurred to him that there are other things on Fox. Number one, that Fox enables people to be part of the conversation.

That Fox, if you want to say Fox is uncivil at times, what about "The New York Times". He used as his voice of reason in his long NBC News piece, the media writer for "The New York Times". But he never said to him, he never said to David Carr, the media writer --

O'REILLY: "What about you, guys."

GOLDBERG: -- "What about the incivility at your newspaper."

O'REILLY: Right. All right, Bernie. Thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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