Ex-NBC Analyst on William Arkin Outrage

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 8, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: On this, joining us from San Diego, Texas — I'm sorry, San Antonio, Texas, San Diego is in California, Colonel Ken Allard, who recently left NBC News where he was a military analyst for 10 years. He is the author of the book “Warheads: Cable News & the Fog of War."

Did you ever run into this guy Arkin when you were at NBC for 10 years?

COL. KEN ALLARD, U.S. ARMY (RET.), AUTHOR, "WARHEADS": Yes, Bill, I sure did. Because, again, during the — some of the intense part of the era right after 9/11, particularly during the war in Iraq. We were all thrown into the coverage. And yes, more than once I was on with Bill Arkin.

O'REILLY: Now is he a loon or what is his deal?

ALLARD: He is not really — you know, I would not characterize him that way. But it was very clear to me that he was very much to the left of center, which in a network that needs to be diverse, they pride themselves on having a variety of perspectives, including his.

O'REILLY: OK. But we asked them for their contributor list, interestingly enough, to see how many conservatives and how many liberals they have. They wouldn't give it up. Even though FOX News contributors post it on our Web site. You can say who is saying what to whom.

Now you wrote a column today for The San Antonio Express, what did that column say?

ALLARD: It basically reviewed that blog by Bill Arkin and said it was really kind of beyond the pale. And I simply thought that it was entirely consistent with some other things he has written, some other things he has done. And I was really — I found it remarkable that NBC News had not let him go.

Because, as I point out in my book, there is a long but — it's unwritten, but it's a well-understood rule, you do not do anything to embarrass the network. You can have any opinion you want, but you do not embarrass NBC News. And I thought he had.

O'REILLY: Now do you think Arkin is a military hater? Does he just hate the — what is — I mean, why would you say they're lucky not to be spit upon and they're mercenaries? He knows better than that. And they're not paid enough to be anybody's mercenary.

ALLARD: And anybody saying that on a network like NBC, I simply thought that was why he was beyond the pale.

O'REILLY: He didn't say it on NBC. He said it in The Washington Post, I want to be accurate.

ALLARD: He said it in his blog.

O'REILLY: But obviously NBC News hasn't distanced themselves from it. But do you think he is a hater of the military?

ALLARD: I don't think he is a hater. I think really more than anything else, his view was colored by the 1970s, which is the era in which he served briefly in the U.S. Army.

O'REILLY: OK. Now, in your column, because we've got the whole column, The San Antonio Express cut out your criticism of NBC, why did they do that?

ALLARD: I'm not really sure, but I think it probably had more to do with space limitations and also making sure.

O'REILLY: Space limitations. It doesn't have anything to do with The San Antonio Express is a liberal paper, does it?

ALLARD: Well, it's a liberal paper, but don't forget, they have me on there.


O'REILLY: But they cut out the NBC News criticism in The San Antonio Express, which I thought was very, very interesting because it was a very important part of your column. Now you left NBC News, why?

ALLARD: Right. Well, partly because of the fact I suffered a stroke this last summer. So I have not been doing very much TV.

O'REILLY: OK. So a health reason, and this, that, and the other thing. But in your column, you criticize that network, why?

ALLARD: Well, partly because of the fact that this is also the network of Tom Brokaw. And as you see the fact that there has been an evolution in standards, I saw MSNBC as kind of backing off the hard news. They do a lot more "crime time" in prime time now than they ever used to, and I think they have simply avoided some of the hard news, including the military stuff.

O'REILLY: Now what about ideology. I've said that NBC News in general has taken a sharp turn to the left, feeling that the country has gone that way. As you know, and 10 years ago or even six years ago, NBC News, you know, pretty fair and they were not the far left people they are now. You know, have you noticed it?

ALLARD: Bill, one of my vivid memories is working with Rick Kaplan when we did the commemoration of the D-Day invasions. And to have that kind of a network take the positions — or not refuting the positions of a Bill Arkin, I found that remarkable. I still do.

O'REILLY: I did to. We were all stunned. I mean, we — all they had to do over there was say, look, here's a guy writing on The Washington Post, this is outrageous, and we are — but, no. I mean, they are standing by their man, won't tell us how much they are paying him and of that business. Colonel, we wish you the best.

ALLARD: Bill, I also.

O'REILLY: You have made a very remarkable

ALLARD: Thank you so much.

O'REILLY: recovery from your stroke, sir.

ALLARD: Thank you, I appreciate that.

O'REILLY: No, I know you have worked hard. And you really have, and we appreciate you coming on today.

Watch "The O'Reilly Factor" weeknights at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and listen to the "Radio Factor!"

Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2007 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc. (www.voxant.com), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, LLC'S and Voxant, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.