National Review's Byron York Responds to CNN Distorting His Story About Sarah Palin

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 22, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight, let's bring in Byron York, the guy who's caused all the trouble. He joins us now from Washington.


Click here to see part of the CNN interview in Bill's "Talking Points."

Click here to watch Bill's interview with Byron York.

O'REILLY: I said after the third debate that I felt like I was in "The Twilight Zone" and Rod Serling was standing in the corner. And now CNN, you know, they've been OK. NBC News, ridiculous. But I saw that, and then we said to CNN, look, you know, maybe made a mistake, whatever. What are you going to do? And they basically said we're not going to do anything. What do you think?

YORK: Well, you know, I was pretty surprised about it. I'd heard about it. My first thought was who at National Review wrote something like that? My editor said I think he's talking about you.

But listen, I don't think that there's any apology due to me or anything, but it was, as you said, it was Governor Palin who was sandbagged by this whole thing. And when she said, you know, who wrote that, well, the answer is nobody wrote that. So I think that it probably would be a good idea for CNN to make some sort of retraction or correction…

O'REILLY: But here's the danger.

YORK: …as far as the question to Governor Palin.

O'REILLY: Here's the danger, Byron. And you know this as well as anybody. Most of the people watching that interview — and it goes all over the world — they didn't read your article. They don't know what you said. And then the guy frames it with look, conservatives think you're a moron, too, governor. It's not just we liberals. It's conservatives think you're a moron, too.

Not only is that a lie, what he said, but then it puts her in an untenable position. What can she do? She doesn't know what was said, doesn't know what you wrote, doesn't know anything about it. So you know, with two weeks to go before a presidential election, and you have this kind of — I don't know what to call it from CNN — going out to millions of people, and you're saying to yourself there's something seriously wrong in the United States of America.

YORK: No, she had to be very, very surprised at it. And this is part of a bigger issue. You know, there was a study that came out today by the Pew Center for Excellence in Journalism that said that as far as Barack Obama is concerned, positive stories have outnumbered negative stories. Not a huge surprise there. As far as John McCain is concerned, negative stories have outnumbered positive stories three to one. This has been a pretty amazing season for press coverage, and you know, perhaps this CNN thing was a mistake, but it fits in a much larger pattern.

O'REILLY: Yes, it could have been that this reporter just didn't read the article properly.

YORK: Sure.

O'REILLY: Or he was briefed improperly. We're not going to say that this guy, Griffin, is an evil guy or whatever, but CNN owes it to its audience, and owes it to Governor Palin, to correct the record. And we gave them all day to do so, and they won't.

That is the crux of the matter. That you have now NBC, CNN, New York Times, and on and on and on, they basically don't care, Byron. Fairness, gone. Accuracy, gone. Honesty, gone.

So now what people have to think about is what kind of a democracy, what kind of a republic is this country going to be with a corrupt press? We know Wall Street's corrupt. We know that Congress can't regulate Wall Street. And look where that's gotten us, OK? Into economic chaos.

Now we know that beyond a reasonable doubt, the American press is corrupt. I fear for the country, Byron. I really do. We were set up to watch the powerful, and now nobody's watching us. There are no restraints on the press, and we're corrupt. We are absolutely corrupt.

YORK: Let me give you an example of one sort of attitude here. You know, over the weekend, The New York Times published on the front-page a story about Cindy McCain that was really kind of mean-spirited.


YORK: Not very newsworthy.

O'REILLY: Nasty.

YORK: Just didn't have much to it.

Go back to early October. Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, was in a panel discussion in New York, and he was asked what his reaction was when the McCain campaign complained about coverage from The New York Times. And this is what he said. He said my first tendency when they do that is to find the toughest McCain story we've got and put it on the front page just to show them that they can't get away with it. There's certainly an adversarial relationship, it seems here, that probably doesn't help the coverage any.

O'REILLY: Well, I think ideology has now overridden any kind of journalistic ethics at all, and I think that's the bottom line here. Byron, thanks very much. And try not to cause so much trouble, Byron, please, you know.

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