Casey Anthony, the Media and the 'United States of Entertainment'

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 5, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: "Back of the Book" segment tonight., "Weekdays with Bernie." Just moments after Casey Anthony was acquitted of murder today, one of her attorneys delivered a blistering attack on the media.


CHENEY MASON, CASEY ANTHONY'S ATTORNEY: Well, I hope that this is a lesson to those of you have indulged in media assassination for three years. Bias, and prejudice, and incompetent talking heads saying what would be and how to be. I'm disgusted by some of the lawyers that have done this.

And I can tell you that my colleagues from coast-to-coast and border to border have condemned the whole process of lawyers getting on television and talking about cases that they don't know a damn thing about and don't have the experience to back up their words or the law to do it. Now, you learned a lesson.


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

You know, that attorney has a point in the sense that the media ran wild with this. HLN - 24/7, and they got every expert they could find and, you know, a lot of people were just talking through their hat. So I -- you know, I obviously think that the woman is guilty but I don't think the lawyer's point is unfounded.

BERNARD GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the mistake, the talking heads that he condemns, the mistake that they made is that they thought incorrectly that the jury in Orlando had a modicum of common sense.

This jury -- this jury watched too much "CSI, Miami." This jury wasn't going to convict unless there was rock-solid evidence way beyond anything that was presented.

This -- look, I mean, I'm so disgusted with this whole thing I can -- I can hardly speak straight tonight. But the lawyer condemning -- condemning the talking heads, listen, the problem is with the jury. Not so much with the talking heads. The problem is that the jury, as I say, didn't have a modicum of common sense.

O'REILLY: And I agree with you in the sense that -- go ahead.

GOLDBERG: Bill, here was a woman, as you rightly said in your "Talking Point." Here was a woman whose daughter goes missing, who for 30 days doesn't report it to the police, who then tells the police that the housekeeper took the baby, but that's a cock and bull story because there is no housekeeper. Then she talks about a rich boyfriend, but there is no rich boyfriend. Then she goes out dancing and she gets involved in -- she gets a tattoo that says "the beautiful life." And they can't -- and they find this woman not guilty. Circumstantial evidence is evidence.

O'REILLY: It is. And look, but what happened -- what the lawyer was angry about were pundits loading up and saying, "Oh, you know, there isn't any other side to the story." There was another side to the story. And Geraldo and I -- and I think that's why I love Geraldo, I have to say. Geraldo and I go at it as good as any two individuals have ever been on television, and you heard that -- you heard that debate. Geraldo has taken the defense side tonight.

And I'm saying exactly what you're saying, Bernie, that it doesn't add up in any way, shape or form at all. And there was enough forensic evidence to make me, an American citizen, convict this woman.

What did you think of the back and forth between Geraldo and me?

GOLDBERG: Well, I wonder if Geraldo and others who think like Geraldo would be so open minded if, let's say, a militia man in Arizona was accused of killing a Hispanic immigrant and the evidence was similar to this case. A mountain of circumstantial evidence. Do you think Geraldo Rivera would go on the air and talk to you the way he did?

O'REILLY: I can't answer that question.

GOLDBERG: Well, I'll tell you what. Let me try. I don't think he would -- he would speculate that maybe this person did it. Maybe she's crazy. Maybe this. Maybe that.

This is ridiculous. If the man from Mars came down, and he heard the evidence in this case, he'd say, "Well, of course, she's guilty." I mean, maybe she shouldn't get the death penalty but, of course, she's guilty. I mean, does -- can you name any other mother on the planet earth or at least in this country who, when their own daughter is missing for a month, goes out dancing?

O'REILLY: No. And that surely was damning, and that combined with the forensic evidence that I cited to Geraldo that he had. And Geraldo is basically saying well, every piece of evidence is questioned. But believe me, there is no doubt in my mind or any fair individual's mind, there that there was chloroform residue in the trunk of Casey Anthony's car.

Now, let's go on to the huge ratings, television ratings that this trial has garnered for the past month and a half. What is the fascination?

GOLDBERG: I think that's a very good question. And I think the answer is this. I've said before that we live in the "United States of Entertainment," and I think the fascination with this story proves the point.

Here you have a case where the American people are watching a reality TV show. That's the fascination. They're watching a reality TV show with real characters and the possibility that, at the end of the show, the star may get sentenced to death.

This wasn't -- from a journalistic point of view, Bill, this was not an important story. It wasn't about race. It wasn't about the clash of class in this country. It wasn't even about fame. And yet we were drawn to it, because in the United States we crave -- and I mean crave -- entertainment.

We have American soldiers dying for their country in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they don't get one tenth of the time that this story got.

And one more point, and nobody is going like this, but it's absolutely true. If Casey Anthony were a young black woman with a black 2-year-old, no network would give this story 10 minutes. And if there wasn't videotape of that cute little girl who wound up dead, that probably wouldn't get on the air either.

In this country we have the ability to be incredibly shallow at times, and this, Bill --this, Bill, was one of those times.

O'REILLY: All right, Bernie. Thanks very much. As always, we appreciate it.