O'Reilly and Bernie Goldberg Respond to Jon Stewart's Criticism of Fox News

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 19, 2010. 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: Perhaps the most persistent critic of Fox News on TV these days is Comedy Central's Jon Stewart. Last week Mr. Stewart was at it again.


JON STEWART, HOST, "DAILY SHOW": When it comes to stereotyping an entire group based on its most extreme members, I have to say I find myself in agreement with this sentiment:

O'REILLY: You cannot demonize any organization by the actions of a few in a demonstration.

BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: They are tarring the entire…

O'REILLY: Sure. Blowing it up.

GOLDBERG: …Tea Party movement and the Republican Party.

STEWART: Bernie Goldberg is right? Well, unless the group you are generalizing about is actually guilty as charged.

GOLDBERG: This idea that that whole middle of the country is made up of sort of jerks, you know, that's a Democratic thing. That's a liberal thing.

STEWART: Bernie Goldberg is right. Democrats and liberals all believe the whole middle of the country is made up of jerks. By the way, the anti-generalizers at Fox want you to know that generalizing is the least of the liberal's problems.

GOLDBERG: Liberals see just about everything through the prism of race.

GLENN BECK: The left always paints Christians as hate-mongers.

O'REILLY: The far left does not want the USA to defeat terrorism.

STEWART: You know, I have said it before and I will say it again. Go (bleep) yourselves.


O'REILLY: All right. Joining us now from Miami, Bernie Goldberg. Does Stewart have a point here? Are we being hypocritical by generalizing about some people?

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BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I will just speak about me. He does. I am pleading guilty, and that's a sincere plea of guilty. I said that liberals think people who live in the middle of the country are a bunch of jerks, and obviously all liberals don't think that. But I will tell you what: An awful lot of liberal elites think that. I worked with these liberal elites for 28 years at CBS News, and they were always throwing around the term white trash, by which they meant poor Southerners who didn't go to Harvard. I'm not sure why that makes them trash. As far as the middle of the country is concerned, you know, this was flyover country where people flew the flag on the Fourth of July and went bowling and ate at Red Lobster. You know, they were a bunch of hicks. But even all liberal elites don't think that, so I am saying I was wrong. Jon Stewart is right.

But let me speak directly to Jon Stewart for just a few of seconds, and I know he watches. He is a big fan of the show. And Jon, if you have an ounce of introspection, you may want to take this seriously. If you just want to be a funnyman who talks to an audience that will laugh at anything you say, that's OK with me, no problem. But if clearly you want to be a social commentator, more than just a comedian and if you want to be a good one, you better find some guts because even though you criticize liberals as well as conservatives, congratulations on that. When you had Frank Rich on your show, who generalizes all the time about conservatives and Republicans being bigots, you didn't ask him a single tough question. You gave him a lap dance. You practically had your tongue down his throat.

And how about those black columnists who play the race card and generalize about Tea Party people being racist? Why don't you go after them by name and do it with the same passion and gusto that you use when you are going after Fox people?

How about Bill Maher? Bill Maher generalizes about people who go to church being a bunch of dopes. Is there some rule that says a comic can't go after another comic?

Here is my final word, Jon. You can do whatever you want. But if you don't do that, guess what? You are not nearly as edgy as you think you are. You are just a safe Jay Leno with a much smaller audience, but you get to say the f-bomb, which gives your incredibly unsophisticated audience…

O'REILLY: You are generalizing.

GOLDBERG: …the illusion that you are courageous and that you're renegade. But it's only an illusion.

O'REILLY: I have an intellectual beef with Stewart about the general capacity. Our conversation centered around the Tea Party being demonized as a bunch of racists because of the actions of a very, very few. All right. That was a very specific criticism that we were making. All of the racial attacks on the Tea Party come from the left or far left, 100 percent of them, 100 percent. That's a fact. So, when we say the left, the far left, attacking the Tea Party as being racist, that's a fact, OK, 100 percent of them. We are not generalizing. That's where they are coming from. All of them. When you or me or anybody says well, the far left thinks this, there are tenets that the far left embrace, smaller government, big spending, entitlements, social justice, diversity, affirmative action. Those things are truisms. So, I thought your monologue was excellent. But here, there is a very specific thing, you can't demonize the Tea Party as racist for the actions of a few. And it's happening. So, we took them on. On the other side, it isn't fair, as Bernie pointed out, to say all liberals think middle Westerners and Southerners are hicks. That's not fair. And sometimes we do that and we are wrong. But Stewart does a good sleight of hand. He can really sell that stuff. It's not quite intellectually honest. Go.

GOLDBERG: Right, right. The difference is that while all liberals don't think a certain way, even though I said liberals think a certain way, enough of them do, at least the liberal elites. Enough of them do to so that you could make a generalization. The fact is, we all speak in generalizations to one degree or another. We don't mean every single person in that group. I'm sure Jon Stewart speaks in generalizations sometimes. And if the overall sentiment is correct, my position is that liberal elites do look down their nose at certain kinds of people because they are not educated in the Northeast, for instance. Well it's a generalization. So am I — is Jon technically correct? Yes, he is. I will plead guilty. But he knows what I meant, and he knows what the other commentators meant. That generally speaking, liberals have a certain world view and that world view, as I say, looks down their nose at certain kinds of people.

O'REILLY: Leads to certain things that they do and say. All right, Bernie. And Mr. Stewart is welcome any time to come back and take us on.

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