Poll: Fox News Dominating Political Coverage

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," Sept. 27, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly.

In the "Weekdays with Bernie" segment tonight, as we told you in "The Talking Points Memo," brand-new Politico/George Washington University poll says that cable news is past network news as far as election coverage is concerned and that Fox News is dominating cable.

Here now to analyze from North Carolina, the purveyor of BernardGoldberg.com, Mr. Goldberg.

All right. So you heard Brit Hume and Juan and Mary Katharine. But I want to zero in on -- on the media with you. First of all, a poll like this, taken among likely voters saying, "Look, the whole paradigm has changed. Now we're going to go to the cable operations for our election news and analysis and we're are really only going to one because the other two are really off the board." It's almost frightening in a way, is it not?

BERNARD GOLDBERG, BERNARDGOLDBERG.COM: Yes. But first let me say I think the entire poll is suspect. It said that more people in America knew you, Bill O'Reilly, than know Ed Schultz. And I don't know. I find that hard to believe.

O'REILLY: Well, listen, the hardest part is that half the country, actually, thinks I'm a positive force in the political debate.

GOLDBERG: What does that -- what does that tell you about half the country?

O'REILLY: You know, that they're very astute, Goldberg. That they are astute, good Americans. That's what it tells me. And I'm so heartened to hear it.

GOLDBERG: OK. Here's the thing about the poll. If so many people are getting their news about the midterm elections from cable, this says that the old media world continues to crumble. It's been crumbling for a while. But when 81 percent of the people are getting their news from cable, not the broadcast networks, and the biggest chunk of those people are getting it from Fox, the old world of media continues to fall apart.

And -- and, since so many people are getting election news on Fox, this is the real reason. We can cut through all the other stuff. This is the real reason that so many in the mainstream media hate Fox, because Fox is threatening their very existence. Fox is bad for their business. That's No. 1.

The second point is that voters can't vote, of course, until November 2. But as disenchantment with President Obama has -- has grown over the past, well, however many months you want to -- you want to pick out, people have been voting with their remote control device, the only way they can vote, and they've been switching over to FOX.

Now, Fox had all the Republicans and conservatives already pretty much. Now they're getting independents. That's not only bad news for the other cable operations, Bill. That's bad news for the national Democratic Party, also.

O'REILLY: OK. Now, when you have the intensity, as I mentioned earlier in the program, Fox News is going into its 14th year. I think it's October 5. Something like that. And now everything has changed. I used to be the maverick outsider. The guy -- and now I'm like in the middle of this whole thing.

Now, we have modified our approach here on "The Factor." I think everybody knows that. That we are -- we are really fact-based driven. So when I have a Marc Lamont Hill here, he gives his opinion, but I back it up with very strong facts to refute what he says rather than an ideological debate. In the '90s we were more ideological. Now we're not.

But Fox News now becomes -- has more of a responsibility, I think, than it ever had before.

GOLDBERG: Exactly. That is -- this is like I've said this before, once or twice a year you stumble onto a brilliant point. And you just did. It does. If more and more people are watching Fox, and getting very important information from FOX about the elections, then Fox has a tremendous responsibility.

And just to give one example, just one example, if Fox is going to cover Tea Parties, even, even opinion shows have to cover them and not champion them. Because you can't be the most important news organization, as you think Fox is, if you're going to champion certain causes and not others.

O'REILLY: No, I agree with you. You have to cover them, the good and the bad. But you also have to give them a fair shake. And we have given the Tea Party a fair shake here without endorsing anything. And it's wrong to label a whole group of people, millions of people racist. That's just flat-out wrong.

GOLDBERG: Exactly. You see, the other side, the old media, its problem is that it also jumps to conclusions. It jumps to conclusions that the Tea Party people are a bunch of morons.

Fox, in its news coverage -- I don't have a problem with its news coverage. What I'm saying is something more subtle. Even its opinion shows they don't have to be balanced. They can take a point of view, but they have to be fair. And the more Fox is taken seriously as a very, very important institution in America, the more responsible Fox needs to be.

O'REILLY: All right. Bernie, thank you very much.

And I want to point out to the audience that one of the reasons I think I did so well in that poll is because we do have commentators like Bernie and Juan and Mary Katharine and Brit Hume every day who just give honest opinion. They back it up. And so that reflects well on me.

Thanks, Bernie.