Has Martha Profited from Crime?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," Mar. 3, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, as you know, Martha Stewart's coming out of prison in very good shape. Even though she will be on probation and has to wear an ankle bracelet, she'll be able to work and get shoes to match the bracelet.

Her $900,000 salary kicks next week, and she has two TV programs in the works, and her stock holdings are worth $1 billion — with a B — dollars. Mr. Evil. Dr. Evil. The question: Has Ms. Stewart profited from crime?

With us now FOX News Analyst Meredith Whitney, executive director of CIBC World Markets.

Now it's almost like what I was talking to the two rap guys about, that you go to prison and this murderer gets a rap album that's going to sell a lot of units because he killed somebody. Now Martha Stewart didn't do anything like that, but she comes out of prison in enormous financially good shape, right?

MEREDITH WHITNEY, FOX BUSINESS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I don't know that the people who are buying her sheets are buying them because she has good "street cred" because she's been in the slammer, right?

O'REILLY: No. But listen to this, Meredith. Listen to this: This is a FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll. Favorable opinion of Martha Stewart, March '05, today — this month, 46 percent. Last March, 34 percent. She's up 12 points since she went to the poky!

WHITNEY: Yes. I wonder if this isn't just a creation from the media because this gives her a new lease on life. I mean, she — the reason why she's in prison to date is because she — her hubris got her in there, right?

O'REILLY: Hubris?

WHITNEY: If she had been...

O'REILLY: Is that like lying?

WHITNEY: No. If she had...

O'REILLY: She got in there because she lied.

WHITNEY: She was arrogant. She was arrogant. She thought she was above the law, so she lied to the feds.

O'REILLY: She lied. Yes.

WHITNEY: Had she been a little bit more agreeable...

O'REILLY: She wouldn't have got anything.

WHITNEY: ... down to earth, she wouldn't have gotten anything.

O'REILLY: She would have skated.

WHITNEY: So people think she is a victim...

O'REILLY: Everybody knows it. But, look, here — this is what I don't understand about the business world, OK.


O'REILLY: She's up 12 points in favorability after she goes to prison. She — "Newsweek" magazine puts her on the cover. It's not even her body.


O'REILLY: It's her face, and then they give the body of somebody who's in pretty good shape. Why Newsweek did that, I have no — I think they just wanted to sell magazines, but...

WHITNEY: I heard someone who was like — I think she lost a lot of weight in prison. I can't wait to see her.

O'REILLY: Yes. Lost a lot of weight. But it looks like America, the media in particular, is saying, OK, Martha, you paid your price, now we're going to reward you.


O'REILLY: You think that's what's going on?

WHITNEY: Well, her stock has tripled since she went into jail.


WHITNEY: She made over $100 million just on the announcement that she's getting out today, just on one day's trading alone, so it seems like...

O'REILLY: Her stock was up how much today?

WHITNEY: Six percent. Almost 6 percent, so she...

O'REILLY: Just because she's getting out, huh?

WHITNEY: Which is amazing because it's as if being in prison for six months gives her — or five months gives her a transformation in personality, and she's going to be — I think the most interesting thing is she'll go on a TV program similar to Donald Trump (search), and it's OK if Donald Trump says you're fired and he's gruff and rough and — this guy has been in and out of bankruptcy, but still perceived as a business icon. If she's that noxious of a personality, I don't think people are going...

O'REILLY: People are not going to take it.

WHITNEY: ... are not going to like it.

O'REILLY: Well, Burnett's a genius, the guy who's going to produce the show. He does "Survivor." He does Trump's "Apprentice." So he'll figure out a way to market her, and then he's — but the big show is the morning show in front of the studio audience, the syndicated morning show, where she's got to be Miss. Warmth, too.


O'REILLY: Can't come out there with a — you know, I'm going to cut these vegetables.

WHITNEY: Right. Let me cut my cabbage.

O'REILLY: But, you know, with all due respect to Ms. Stewart, who I don't really know, but I have met, she isn't Ms. Warmth.


O'REILLY: She is not, and I don't know if you're going to — I don't think prison has really injected her with the — you know, who am I thinking of who's warm and cuddly — with the Elmo spirit.


O'REILLY: You know, I don't think so.

WHITNEY: Well, this is what people are counting on. When, you know, Rush Limbaugh did a turnaround after his drug stint, he was still Rush Limbaugh. I think she's still going to be Martha Stewart who is not warm and fuzzy. You know, you could look at athletes who have gone through rehab...

O'REILLY: So — well, let me get a prediction from you. Is she going to be huge — I know people will tune in the beginning. Is she going to make it in primetime and daytime television? Your prediction.

WHITNEY: I don't think to the extent of Donald Trump, no way.

O'REILLY: OK. Is her company going to justify a $40-a-share price tag?

WHITNEY: No way.

O'REILLY: Don't buy it.

WHITNEY: No way.

O'REILLY: Sell it short?

WHITNEY: Well, I mean, this company has — this company has no earnings. It will lose money. It may make...

O'REILLY: All right, but they're counting on her being a megastar in television to drive the rest of the products up.

WHITNEY: This is priced for more than perfection.

O'REILLY: All right. OK. Martha Stewart out of the big house.

Meredith, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

Content and Programming Copyright 2005 Fox News Network, L.L.C. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2005 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), 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, L.L.C.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.