This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 14, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Weekdays With Bernie" segment tonight: It was fascinating to see the reaction to my interview with President Obama on Super Bowl Sunday. But I must say, I never expected the interview to be branded racist. But on HBO, it was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Worse than that, it was actually bigoted. When he asked him if he knows football…
BILL MAHER, HOST, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": Right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: …I mean, if I was the president, I'd say get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of my house.
MAHER: Right. "You're a basketball guy," wink, wink.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An inner-city basketball guy.
MAHER: We know what that means.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not really American. Muslims don't play football.
MAHER: And you also throw dice behind the Rose Garden, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Now, I believe what you just saw is the lowest point in the history of far-left discourse. That's how insane what you just heard really is.
With us now, the purveyor of BernardGoldberg.com, Mr. Goldberg. He also works for HBO but on a very fine sports program. That's just embarrassing, right?
BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It's embarrassing, but it's worse than that. It's irrational. It's -- it's almost clinical insanity. Look, people could watch the interview and say, "I liked it. I thought he asked good questions." Or they could say, "I didn't like it. I didn't think he asked good questions." But you have to be out of your mind to find racism in that interview, which they -- which they clearly did.
Then they also -- which is not in that clip -- also said you were unpatriotic. I can't comment on that because that's too crazy even for me.
The third thing he said, which I found very interesting, is that you were disrespectful to the president. Now, if you're going to accuse somebody of being disrespectful, you better come to the table with clean hands. Bill Maher has said, and I jotted down three things. Bill Maher has said of President Bush that he's a "retarded child emperor." He has said, "I'm a comedian, Bush is a retard." His words. And he said, "Bush is a crazy evangelical Christian." Now, it takes a certain kind of person to see what you did as disrespectful after he does all that.
O'REILLY: But he...
GOLDBERG: So, yes, it's embarrassing and irrational. It's hypocritical. And it's not -- for a guy who fancies himself smart, it's not too smart on his part.
O'REILLY: But here's the -- here's the key question. And this is almost like it was in the Juan and Mary Katharine discussion. When you reach -- when you jump the shark, all right, as they say in showbiz, and you get to a point where what you say is just flat-out, as you said, clinically insane, all right, what happens then?
O'REILLY: But it used not to be that way.
O'REILLY: It used to be when a commentator -- remember Jackie Mason on "The Ed Sullivan Show" when he was doing the finger business?
O'REILLY: He didn't work for five years after that.
GOLDBERG: Right, right.
O'REILLY: OK, it used to be you were held accountable.
GOLDBERG: Yes. Couple of -- couple of things. One, we live in a different America today. Jackie Mason, interestingly, offended one person.
O'REILLY: Ed Sullivan.
GOLDBERG: Unfortunately, it was Ed Sullivan for Jackie.
GOLDBERG: Bill Maher actually should offend anyone with a shred of decency. You don't smear somebody as a racist when there's obviously nothing there. But because we live in a different America where you can say just about anything and get away with it, nothing will happen to him.
And, let me say this: HBO lets people say things, including letting me say things. HBO is a very liberal institution. But they have never once -- they know -- they know what I say about not all liberals but a lot of liberals in the media. And they have never once tried to censor anything that I've said, to their credit. And they certainly, certainly are not going to, you know, try to censor Bill Maher.
O'REILLY: No. I don't expect them to. But the American public though, you believe the public has changed and now does -- won't hold anybody accountable for what they say?
GOLDBERG: I think that's a big part of it. But in the specific case of Bill Maher -- and, believe me, this is not a shot at Bill Maher -- I don't think he's important enough to matter. If Barack Obama had said those words, that he thinks you're a bigot because you asked him about football, knowing -- I can't even explain this -- because he's a basketball guy, and everybody knows black people play basketball, you, Bill O'Reilly, are racist.
O'REILLY: Don't black people play football?
GOLDBERG: That's the crazy -- that's the crazy logic, whatever. So, if Barack Obama said it...
O'REILLY: Yes, then it would be elevated.
GOLDBERG: But Bill Maher said it.
O'REILLY: But I'm more interested in the audience. See, I'm more interested in the audience's reaction.
GOLDBERG: There are two audiences. The American audience, and to the extent that the people watching us tonight are a part of the American audience, they find it reprehensible. There's no question about that. But he speaks to a subculture. He speaks to people who believe what he says. Bill Maher fancies himself -- Bill Maher fancies himself the reincarnation of Lenny Bruce, you know, the comedian of the '50s who said controversial things and got in trouble for them. That takes a certain amount of courage. Bill Maher doesn't have an ounce of courage. He can say anything he wants, and he's not going to get in any trouble.
O'REILLY: Well, I don't know. I just think, to me, there has to be a tipping point, but apparently there isn't anymore.
Now, you were watching the discussion about NBC News and Boehner and why they're harping on the birth certificate and the religion. You have a theory on it?
GOLDBERG: Yes. Well, just let me say, first, I think it's OK to ask a leader, "Do you think that these people who think Obama was born on Neptune, you know, do you want to denounce these people?" I don't think that's a crazy, unfair question in and of itself. Although I think you made a good point earlier. But if liberal reporters, if liberal journalists can get Boehner to say, "These people are nuts," then these people, who many of them who are nuts -- and I'm going to hear from them for saying that -- they also vote Republican. We have to admit that.
O'REILLY: So they just -- he just wanted to create a fissure there?
GOLDBERG: Yes, exactly.
O'REILLY: That's probably what it was. All right, Bernie. Thanks very much. Appreciate it.
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