Bill on 'Oprah': A Review by Malkin & Powers

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 30, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, in support of my new book, "Culture Warrior" I'm appearing on some entertainment programs, as you know. Last week, I visited Oprah in Chicago. I thought she was very fair, and the town meeting format was perfect for the "Culture Warrior" debate.

But on the Letterman show, things were a bit tense, as I mentioned in the "Talking Points Memo". Here's a sample of what happened on both programs:


O'REILLY: Do you want the United States to win in Iraq?


O'REILLY: I don't — it's an easy question. If you don't want the United States to win...

LETTERMAN: It's not easy for me because I'm thoughtful. -- How about that? There was a good one.

O'REILLY: That was great, Dave. You get paid for those.

How about the movies. What did we go to see? We went to see "The Blob." Steve McQueen running around, going, "It's the blob." That was a lot of laughs. Now they've got a chainsaw guy cutting off people's arms. That's what kids are seeing. We've come along way, haven't we? This country is under siege...

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": This is a country that allows "The Blob" and also chainsaw movies, because this is America.

O'REILLY: I'm not — I'm not advocating a ban of chainsaw movies. All right? I'm telling you it's bad.


All right. With us now, FOX News analyst Kirsten Powers and in Washington, Michelle Malkin, also a FOX News analyst.

All right. How would you ladies define these things? You could take this where you want, Michelle. What struck you? Give me your greatest hit between the two shows?

MICHELLE MALKIN, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Well, first of all, congratulations, Bill. I think you've really conquered the secular-progressive TV circuit. Rosie, check; Letterman, check; "Oprah," check. I think all that's left, maybe, is a cooking segment with Rachel Ray, and then you'll really...

O'REILLY: We're working on it. You know, we want a "Culture Warrior" Thanksgiving menu.

MALKIN: Well, it may happen. But seriously, I think it's a testament to just how the book has resonated that you got on these shows and that they acknowledged that you speak to a very large segment of the American population.

And I think maybe even Letterman, as abusive as he was on his show, acknowledges that somehow. It would have been nice if he were more civil. But of course, you knew what you were getting into and, I think one of the points that you made in the book, see, unlike a lot of these people who had you on their shows, I actually did read your book, was that, you know, when you approach these kind of venues you have to be prepared to be insulted. You have to be prepared to be condescended to and you have to treat it with, you know, the kind of intellectual humility that a lot of people do not credit you for. And that was one of the things I found...

O'REILLY: I don't credit myself with that.

MALKIN: But I found that striking.

O'REILLY: Look, look, I have — I have to be honest. I didn't do it for a noble reason. I did it.

MALKIN: You did it to sell books.

O'REILLY: No, I didn't even do it for that. Oprah was a sell book thing. I wouldn't have got up at 4 in the morning and flown to Chicago for anybody else.

But Letterman I didn't do it for a noble reason. I did it for a reportorial reason. Now, when I was out there, I was fully prepared to insult him and get down to his level, and say, "Look, you moron, you don't know anything. You don't bother to know anything. All you want to do is demean me so you can go out and have cocktails with George Clooney." All right? I was prepared to say that.

But then, while I was there, Michelle, I said to myself, "Why do I want to do that and take away from his performance"? See, anything I did would have taken away from what he was doing. And my goal is to let everybody see the secular-progressive forces at play in the media. And that's why I didn't do it.

MALKIN: Well, it worked.

O'REILLY: Well, good.

MALKIN: Because he pretty much showed himself to be the bonehead that he accused you of being.

O'REILLY: See, I don't know that. I don't know why he does what he does.

What do you think?

KIRSTEN POWERS, FOX NEWS ANALYST: You know, I think she's right. He did. And you know, he says that he's "thoughtful." Well, news flash, he's not thoughtful at all. And the fact of the matter is there are a lot of arguments you can make against the Iraq war. George Will, a conservative columnist, does it all the time.

What he was doing, what Dave Letterman was doing, wasn't thoughtful. It was juvenile. He was insulting. You know, and I don't know how you did it, frankly, sitting there taking it from him.

O'REILLY: It wasn't hard.

POWERS: And I know why you — you know, why you said you did it, and I agree with Michelle it was the right thing to do. I saw on "The View". You did the exact same thing with Rosie.

O'REILLY: Right.

POWERS: Where it comes — it becomes clear how thoughtless they actually are.

O'REILLY: Well, my role i to let these people define themselves — unless they go over certain lines. Now if he had gone over a certain line, then I would have done it. Something. But he didn't.

I thought the Oprah thing, though, went very well.


O'REILLY: I thought Oprah was respectful. The town meeting thing was good. A lot of information got out. A lot of people had questions and comments directed toward me. I really, that was the best program I've ever been on.

POWERS: Yes. She does a great show where — a show where she gives people a lot of opportunity to really talk, and she is fairly thoughtful. Like I said before, I don't really watch her, but I understand why a lot of people do.

I think that it was interesting to me what you talked about, what you sort of alluded to in the clip, is that how much time people spend watching these ridiculous shows, "Dancing with the Stars" and "Survivor" and everything else, while all this stuff is going on around in the world. And they're just so to it.

O'REILLY: Well, they're depressed.

POWERS: But they're not really paying attention. And if you've been looking at Dave Letterman, the perfect example. He's holding himself up as this informed person, when like I said, you can oppose the Iraq war and you can have a really good reason for it. He didn't give any good reasons. It was just a bunch of talking points and a bunch of kind of blather. And you know, it was pointless.

O'REILLY: Michelle, about the Oprah thing, was I too mean? You know? Because I told people in the audience that they were full of baloney. Was I too mean on that?

MALKIN: No, not at all. And I think what was great about Oprah's audience is that there were people who agreed with you and people who didn't agree with you.

And in the Letterman audience you had pretty much uniformly "Kool-Aid drinkers," as you call them, stroking David Letterman's ego. And that's really unfortunate.

I mean, the valuable thing about Oprah, and you know, I do watch her pretty frequently, is that she allowed you to delve into the issues in your book. And it's so valuable for authors to be able to have that time. I mean, complete segment, a complete hour to talk at length about that. I mean, that is really valuable real estate to have.

O'REILLY: Yes, it — I have to say Oprah did a very nice job. She was very fair. And we're happy we went on that program.

Ladies, always good to see you. And these ladies are responsible for my appearance on Oprah.

POWERS: That's good!

O'REILLY: Because we did the first story analyzing her guest list with Michelle and Kirsten. --They're the powers behind the throne.

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