Media Gurus Bernie Goldberg and Jane Hall on the CNN/YouTube Debate Fallout

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 29, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Weekdays with Bernie and Jane segment tonight. Big controversy over last night's debate, because a Clinton supporter, a gay general, asked a question to the candidates, but neither he nor CNN defined his agenda to the audience. Listen to this.


BRIG. GEN. KEITH KERR, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I want to know why you think that American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians.


Well, right after that question, the Internet blew up with people complaining about General Keith Kerr, whom we invited on this program. And we hope he shows up tomorrow.

But joining us now are Jane Hall in Washington and Bernie Goldberg in Miami. And he is, of course, the author of the book, "Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right." Great Christmas gift. And both are FOX News analysts.

All right, Bernie, what did CNN do wrong here?

BERNARD GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Well, first of all, I don't believe in big left wing media conspiracy. So I don't think CNN concocted a plot against Republicans, although I guess I could be wrong about that.

If it wasn't a conspiracy, then what was it? Incompetence. It was simple incompetence. When you're ridiculed by conservatives, as the Clinton news network, then you can't make a dumb move like this. CNN prides itself on being the most important name in news. They've got thousands of journalists on the payroll and millions of dollars. And they couldn't figure out that this guy was on team Clinton?

And civilians, regular folks with no resources other than a laptop figured it out in about no time flat? I mean, this is a bad move. Has CNN ever heard of Google? That would have told him who this guy was.

O'REILLY: So you're saying that the producer of the program, who would be in charge, because they knew ahead of time who the Youtube people were, obviously, they selected those people who sent in the questions, and they had the guy's name and who he was, that the producer of the program should have vetted the guy, known who the guy was.

Now CNN, interestingly enough, Jane, took that question out towards later fees - feeds, I should say. So they knew they did something wrong. They knew they screwed up. But as Bernie points out, it's such a glaring, huge error, it's almost incomprehensible.

JANE HALL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it is the kind of thing that makes it hard to argue against vast left wing conspiracies, if you happen to believe in those, which I don't. I'm glad to hear Bernie doesn't.

I mean, it was a screw-up. They should have known. I mean, the problem with these things is, you know, there were thousands of entries. But they ultimately selected the people. They should have done a search. I hope to heck that they will the next time this comes up.

I mean, Youtube is supposed to be regular people as opposed to, you know, irregular people, journalists asking the questions. And it's not supposed to be adversaries.


HALL: And it's really regrettable that that happened.

O'REILLY: OK, now Bernie, I'm teeing you up here, Bernie. You ready for this? This is the biggest softball you're going to get in...

GOLDBERG: I need it, Bill. Come on.

O'REILLY: All right, here it comes. Giant softball question. If FOX News had a Democratic debate and then paraded in...

GOLDBERG: Exactly.

O'REILLY: ...Rush Limbaugh's brother to ask a question and didn't identify him, he would say he's under an assumed name, what would The New York Times and everybody else have done?

GOLDBERG: I'll tell you. The New York Times would have Abu Ghraibed you. They would have done 65 straight page one stories about how sleazy the FOX News channel is. And you know what, Bill? This isn't just about CNN. How excited is the so-called objective mainstream media over this — let's just call it a mistake.

O'REILLY: Well, you're not going to see it anyway.

GOLDBERG: I don't see where they're so excited about it.

O'REILLY: No. No, nobody is, Jane. I haven't seen this in any paper or any place else.

HALL: Well, I think we're going to see stories tomorrow. I mean, this is one that broke in the blogosphere. I mean, Anderson Cooper went on the air as this was happening and said we're being told by Bill Bennett, who's being told by bloggers that we screwed up.

O'REILLY: Well, it wasn't Cooper's fault. I mean, he doesn't vet these things.

HALL: It wasn't. And they did correct it.

O'REILLY: But do you agree with Bernie, Jane, that if FOX had done this in the opposite proportion, that the — you know, crazy loons that are controlling the mainstream media now would have gone absolutely wild?

HALL: Well, can I take out crazy loons and say, yes, I think people would have said this proves FOX News is biased. I mean, a long time ago, there was a Bush relative involved in calling the election at FOX. And everybody made that assumption.

O'REILLY: Good call. That's right. And nobody...

HALL: That FOX was in the tank on that.

O'REILLY: And they went crazy on that.

GOLDBERG: Can I ask a very quick question?


GOLDBERG: Jane, if you're right, and I think you are, that they would have accused FOX of being biased, why doesn't this prove that CNN is biased?

HALL: Well, you know, you may have a point there. I'll try to think how I can get out of that one.

O'REILLY: CNN is — I don't think this proves CNN is biased.

HALL: I don't think it proves bias either.

O'REILLY: It proves that they need better producers, but it doesn't prove...

GOLDBERG: Neither do I, but they would have accused FOX of being biased, right?

O'REILLY: No, I know that. But if the mainstream media, the network news tonight and others don't report this, it proves they're biased.

GOLDBERG: Exactly.

O'REILLY: Now we're going to bring Bernie and Jane back to discuss the media running wild over former White House Spokesman Scott McClellan accusing the president and vice president of lying. But did McClellan really do that?

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