Policing the Press

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 6, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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 "Weekdays with Bernie and Jane" segment tonight, most states in the union have laws whereby you can sue somebody for "unreasonable intrusion on one's seclusion," a poetic description of somebody violating your privacy.

Because many Internet sites pay for video showing famous people in embarrassing situations, a small army of predators now room the country, looking for famous people, or even ordinary people, caught in embarrassing situations. These predators will do just about anything, including photographing little kids.

Now, the actress Julia Roberts actually chased one of these guys down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry. I know, I know.

JULIA ROBERTS, ACTRESS: Hi. You can turn your video camera off.


ROBERTS: But I'm going to talk to you about the fact that you're at a school where children go. Turn it off.


O'REILLY: Joining us now with analysis, Jane Hall in Washington, and the author of the book, "Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right," Bernie Goldberg, who is in Key West, Florida.

O'REILLY: All right, Bernie, look, I wrote my newspaper column this week — it's just posted on BillOReilly.com — about the fact that you can sue people who intrude on your privacy. Jacqueline Onassis did it in 1972 and won.


O'REILLY: But you usually don't get damages. You don't — you know, it costs you a lot to make the suit. You don't get a lot of money from the suit, but I think the laws have got to change here. What say you?

GOLDBERG: Well, I'll tell you what changed everything, before we get to the law. Technology changed everything, including the way we think about privacy.

There have always been paparazzi. I mean, they used to take pictures of Elizabeth Taylor, but they didn't go through school zones to do it, because they respected a certain amount of privacy.

Today, the paparazzi are really not much better than professional stalkers. I mean — and because of technology, Bill, because of technology, there's an Internet where they can sell their little videos and their pictures and make — make a good living doing it.

But it isn't just — it isn't just the professionals. Any doofus with a cell-phone camera can take a picture of anybody, anybody, anybody slipping on a banana peel or take a picture looking up some young woman's dress and put that on the Internet.

We live in a brave new world, and it's a brave new world, Bill, where privacy doesn't matter, where you can share your most personal thoughts and videos on YouTube, where every dullard can tell the world about his fascinating life in a blog.

This has changed. Technology has changed how we see privacy, and not for the good.

O'REILLY: Well, there is no privacy. Jane, there's no privacy at all. A celebrity can't even take a vacation.


O'REILLY: Because there's going to be somebody in the weeds. And they'll even shoot into your house.


O'REILLY: They'll set up a telephoto, and they'll shoot you when you're in your living room. So I say, if that happens, that you ought to sue these people under these state statutes and that the courts have got to become much tougher and start awarding damages for emotional distress.

HALL: You know, a lot of people aren't that sympathetic to celebrities. I mean, inside, I think people feel, well we made them. You know, we're their fans.

O'REILLY: Wait a minute. Are you a celebrity? Are you a celebrity, Jane? Are you?

HALL: Let me finish.

O'REILLY: Wait. I know where you're going with this, and so does the audience.

HALL: Wait. No. Wait, wait, wait, wait. Let me finish. I agree with you. I think celebrities should sue for trespass, should sue for invasion of privacy, especially when it involves their children.

People have upped the ante. We're now rewarding people for "Jackass," that MTV series, for getting into fights on the subway or faking fights on the subway. I'm in agreement with you. I think celebrities should have the right to a zone of privacy.

O'REILLY: OK, but wait, wait, wait. Are you a celebrity, Jane? Are you?

HALL: I don't know. I have probably become something of a public figure, and my rights are reduced. I agree with that.

O'REILLY: OK. Now, say you go — say you go on vacation and somebody says, "Look, I saw that woman on 'The O'Reilly Factor'," OK?

HALL: Yes.

O'REILLY: And you're with somebody. And you go in for a swim, or whatever happens to you, and this guy is snapping pictures away.

HALL: Right. Yes. I don't think it's appropriate.

O'REILLY: OK. Wait, wait. And then he posts the pictures: "Jane Hall, 'The O'Reilly Factor.' Look at this picture. She looks like an idiot," or whatever it is. OK?

HALL: Yes.

O'REILLY: Are you going to sue that person?

HALL: I'm probably not. But I think that more celebrities...


HALL: I'll tell you, I think that celebrities are being hunted down. And hunted like quarry. And sites like TMZ and others are putting these moments up, because people have gotten used to seeing that.

O'REILLY: Well, why wouldn't you sue? Why wouldn't you sue?

HALL: I don't know. I'd have to consider that. But I — you know, there are bigger fish than I am. Julia Roberts was absolutely right to say, "Turn off your camera. You can't shoot my kids."

O'REILLY: Absolutely.

HALL: She's within her rights on that.

O'REILLY: All right.

HALL: As far as I'm concerned.

O'REILLY: Somebody's going to get killed. I've said that before on this program. I'm going to say it again.

GOLDBERG: Somebody did get killed. Somebody did get killed.

HALL: Yes. Princess Diana.

GOLDBERG: And it got worse after that.

O'REILLY: Well, who got killed, Bernie?

GOLDBERG: Princess Di.

O'REILLY: Princess Diana, you're talking about. Right.

HALL: Yes. If you look at those videos...

O'REILLY: But you can say, you know, on that one, though, you could say that the driver was loaded. And, and, you know.

GOLDBERG: Fine. Absolutely. But — but when you have a bunch of paparazzi chasing her and...

O'REILLY: Absolutely. Sure, they contributed to it. They contributed to it.

GOLDBERG: They contributed to it, and it didn't get any better even after somebody died.

O'REILLY: It's worse, it's worse. It's so over the top now that, unless Congress gets involved, we're going to have more deaths.

Now real quick, Iraq. Saw my "Talking Points Memo." There's no question that, you know, things are getting better, Jane. There's less coverage. What say you?

HALL: Well, you know, the periods you're talking about, it's down on — it's down on cable television. It's down on online. Pakistan, there were other stories.

So I don't totally buy your thesis that it's off the charts. I do think that we should have coverage of the positive news, if there is positive news from Iraq, but I think the time period that was chosen, it's down on cable. It's down on online. The campaign, Pakistan, they were getting coverage during the period that these media research people studied.

O'REILLY: What do you think, Bernie?

GOLDBERG: The press has always liked bad news more than it liked good news. That's a natural tendency. Nothing new there.

But bang-bang, which is the term TV people use for war footage, bang-bang is good TV; peace is not-so-good TV. But when you add to that the fact that the mainstream media has pretty much become an extension of the national Democratic Party, because reporters think more like Democrats than they do like Republicans...

HALL: And your evidence of this is?

GOLDBERG: ... and good news in Iraq — good news in Iraq is not just bad news for Democrats, which it is; it's also bad news for a lot of journalists.


HALL: It was down on cable television, Bernie, which includes FOX News and talk radio, which includes a lot of conservatives. I — I — you just can't prove that point by — by what you're saying.

O'REILLY: No. I can. I can prove it. All right. I mean, it is no question that, if things were going bad in Iraq right now, you'd see five times as many stories as you're seeing.

HALL: But I don't think that means that the media wants defeat.

O'REILLY: Here's the big story. Jane — Jane, I just got back from Afghanistan. OK? Here's the big story. Here's the story that's being ignored. Our military people performing as well as any U.S. military has ever performed in the history of this country. That's the story. And it's being ignored. Being ignored.

HALL: I agree with you about Iraq. I totally agree with you about that.

O'REILLY: OK. In Afghanistan and in Iraq, these young Americans...

HALL: I mean in Afghanistan.

O'REILLY: ... are extraordinary in what they are doing, and that story is being ignored for political reasons.

Jane, Bernie, always a pleasure. Bernie, tell everybody in Key West there, a lot of fans of mine down there, you know that. Tell them I said hello.

Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2007 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc. (www.voxant.com), 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, LLC'S and Voxant, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.