Is Ann Coulter Helping or Hurting Conservative Cause? Bernie Goldberg Analyzes

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 8, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Factor Follow-up" segment tonight: We had a very lively discussion with conservative writer Ann Coulter Wednesday night. Her new book is called "Guilty: Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America."

But there is no question Ms. Coulter is a polarizing figure, even within conservative circles. The question is: Is she a positive for the right wing or a negative? Joining us now from Miami, FOX News analyst Bernie Goldberg, who's new book "A Slobbering Love Affair" about the press coverage of Barack Obama comes out later this month. You can pre-order it on Amazon or

All right. Good or bad for the conservative movement, Ms. Coulter?

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BERNARD GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Well, let's put it into some perspective. Ann Coulter hasn't done nearly as much harm to conservatism as Republicans have who say they're for fiscal responsibility and then spend money like Imelda Marcos in a shoe store. She hasn't caused conservatism nearly as much harm as the president, who says he's against nation-building and then spends half of his time in office nation-building Iraq.

Now having said that, are there some liberals who are going to use Ann Coulter as a bludgeon against all conservatives because she goes over the top sometimes? Yes. But here's the dirty little secret, Bill. Those liberals wouldn't like Ann Coulter under any circumstances, because the only conservatives they like are dead ones. They like Ronald Reagan only after he died. Before that, he was an idiot actor, as far as they were concerned. And they loved Barry Goldwater now that he's dead. So Ann Coulter is the latest excuse for some liberals to detest all conservatives.

O'REILLY: OK. The conservative movement itself though say, put liberals aside, is divided over Ann Coulter. I mean, I'm going to read the mail at the end of the program. It's split right down the middle among conservatives.

GOLDBERG: That's right.

O'REILLY: Yes. So you're a conservative guy, an independent thinker, but lean to the right. Is she within conservative circles helping or hurting?

GOLDBERG: Well, no, but I'm sorry. I — that's the first answer I gave. But you raised another point now. Yes, she is a dividing figure. Forget about between liberals and conservatives. She's a dividing figure among conservatives. A lot of people like Ann Coulter. No question. I agree with her 90 percent of the time. I am a former journalist before I became a commentator. I mean, not a former journalist. I'm still a journalist, but I was a working journalist who covered stories all over the world before I became a commentator, so I approach things differently. I won't say the best way to deal with liberals is to hit them with a baseball bat. Ann Coulter will say that. If people like that, that's fine with me. I have no quarrel with that. That's not my style. I prefer Bill Buckley, Brent Bozell, who I think is great, Charles Krauthammer, Rush Limbaugh. Those are the conservatives I…

O'REILLY: OK, but she says that her role is different from those men, that she is an avenger, a conservative avenger and a satirist. So when she says B. Hussein Obama, all right, which is what she writes in her book, she says well, why shouldn't I say the man's middle name? If it were Herbert Hitler Hoover, the left-wing media would have run wild with that. So I'm a satirist. And I'm going to point out the absurdity of the whole media structure here. And I'm an avenger, and I'm going to pummel these people because that's what they do to us.


O'REILLY: Is that a legitimate argument?

GOLDBERG: Yes, to some extent it is. And here was the advice that you were going to pass along to her last night that she didn't want to hear.

O'REILLY: OK, let me set this up.

GOLDBERG: She should…

O'REILLY: Let me set this up so people who didn't see it, who watched last night. I told Ann Coulter Wednesday night that Bernie Goldberg had some advice to her, and then she cut that off by saying I don't take advice from anybody who sells fewer books than I do. And then I said , then you'll take advice from me, because I sell more than you. And she said, no, you don't. So you go ahead.

GOLDBERG: Right. And just for the record, although I hate doing this, just for the record, not only do you sell more books than she does, but "Bias," my book about liberal media bias, sold more books than any book she's ever written. So let's get that out of the way.

As far as — but here's the advice I would have given. Go on with liberal journalists and tell them, "Yes, do I go over the top sometimes? Do I say things that perhaps don't sound civil? Yes, but I do it to point out your hypocrisy because if Al Franken came on, or Bill Maher, two really nasty guys as far as I'm concerned, you would sit there and giggle with them, you liberal anchor. But when I come on, you're all over me. That's why I do it, to point out your liberal hypocrisy." That was my only advice.

O'REILLY: And that was great advice.

GOLDBERG: Well-intentioned. Perhaps she'd want to listen, perhaps not.

O'REILLY: I think that Ann Coulter…

GOLDBERG: I agree with her 90 percent of the time.

O'REILLY: I think that Ann Coulter is watching right now, and she should do that because that is devastating. That is absolutely devastating, when the liberal people go after her, say hey, if it were Franken or Maher here, you'd be yukking it up, pal.


O'REILLY: So don't give me that.

GOLDBERG: Exactly.

O'REILLY: Bernie Goldberg, everybody.

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