Why Are the Network News Anchors Going to Iraq With Obama?

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 17, 2008. 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: Now for the top story tonight: Apparently the three network news anchors — Katie Couric, Charles Gibson, and Brian Williams — are going to travel to the Middle East and Iraq with Barack Obama, raising some skepticism. That's because John McCain has made three foreign trips in the last four months and no big guns went with him. So what's going on there?

Also, Bernie Goldberg has a beef with me over Jesse Jackson. With us now here in Washington, FOX News analyst Jane Hall. And from North Carolina, the aforementioned and very grouchy Mr. Goldberg.

All right. Now look, both you and I, we discussed this earlier today. We wake up, and we're going, wait a minute, he's not elected president yet, Barack Obama. He's got the three big anchors, I guess, on his plane, doling out the interviews to them. And they're going to go along on the great Barack Obama traveling medicine show. And I'm going, whoa, this is unprecedented.

BERNARD GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS ANALYST: If we needed any more proof, Bill, that the networks were on the Barack Obama campaign team, this is it. They're covering this upcoming trip as if he were already president. By sending their anchors, they're also sending a not so subtle message to their audience. And the message is this trip is important, because we don't send our anchors unless the trip is important, right? And they're also saying it's a lot more important than the trip to the Middle East that John McCain made because John McCain, as far as a lot of the mainstream media is concerned, is just another run-of-the-mill, white politician. And Barack Obama is anything but that.

O'REILLY: But there's also another thing involved here. It could work against Barack Obama, and I'll tell you why in a moment. And then I want Jane to weigh in on it.

By sending the three anchors, that means that the coverage is going to be extensive. When McCain goes abroad, you're lucky if you get 30 seconds on it. You go, "Hey, there's John over there. John, how are you doing, man? And coming up here on the CBS Evening News..." But now they're going to have to spend half the broadcast on it.

GOLDBERG: That doesn't mean they're not going to cover for him if there's a gaffe.

O'REILLY: No, no, no, no. But you and I and everybody else are going to see if they're in the tank for Barack Obama. So I'm saying to myself, maybe this is not a good thing for him. Maybe they will unleash the power of Brian Williams, and you know how ferocious that man can be.

GOLDBERG: Go to Jane.

JANE HALL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You know, let me take a bit of the other side. You know, when John McCain was running his candidacy in 2000 for presidency, you know, he said the press was his base. The guy was running on fumes and wall-to-wall media coverage. Obama benefits from being the new kid on the block. I agree with you. This gives an importance of a state visit...

O'REILLY: Right.

HALL ...which is a little premature. I think what we need to talk about...

O'REILLY: Are you offended as a journalistic teacher? You teach journalism at American University. Is this fair? Is this fair?

HALL: Well, I think it's a bit much, but the Republicans have made his lack of foreign policy experience an issue. And the fact that he...

O'REILLY: All right.

HALL: ...that he's going abroad...

O'REILLY: So I'm going to make a compact with you, Jane Hall, the pinhead instructor of journalism. If these three, and I know them all, and I like two of them. I'm not going to tell you who — I know them all, and I like two of them.


O'REILLY: OK? If they are tough...

HALL: Yes.

O'REILLY: ...if they are skeptical, if they bring us information we don't already know, then I'm not going to have a problem with it. If they go in the tank, Bernie and I are going to unleash a journalistic jihad that this country has never seen. Is that a deal, Bernie?

GOLDBERG: Yes, but they're in the tank.

HALL: You know...

O'REILLY: Wait, wait, wait. Let Bernie…

GOLDBERG: We already know — no, that's fair. But they are in the tank. I mean, maybe...

O'REILLY: But let's give them the benefit of the doubt...


O'REILLY: ...because that's the kind of guys we are.

GOLDBERG: OK, fine. Fine.

O'REILLY: OK, good.

HALL: It's also possible that he'll make a big mistake and it'll be seen worldwide. He's already had a problem speaking at the Brandenburg Gate.

O'REILLY: All right, so we'll see. And we'll cover extensively when they go. By the way, I was not invited on this trip, and I'm absolutely offended by that.

OK. Now Bernie, yesterday, some weasel called up, I guess, an Internet site and told them that Jesse Jackson had said the n-word in his diatribe against Barack Obama. We held that n-word back, because it didn't have anything to do with Barack Obama, by the way. It was an offhand remark, trash talk. And you want to say something about that to me? You want a piece of me, Bernie?

GOLDBERG: You and I could not disagree more on this, Bill. When the most import civil rights leader in America of the past 40 years calls other black people a word that I can't even use right now on your program, that's news. Sorry.

If John McCain, even if he thought he was talking into a dead mike, if John McCain had used the n-word, that's news. If Barack Obama used it, that's news. If David Duke had used the word, we'd be running the tape.

O'REILLY: Yes, I wouldn't have used it if it were just trash talk by any of those three.

GOLDBERG: Well, wait a second. Let me get to that. Let me get to that in a second.

O'REILLY: All right.

GOLDBERG: Jesse Jackson isn't just some dufus off the street corner. He's an important civil rights leader who has spoken out against the use of this word. He has spoken out against the guy who plays Kramer on "Seinfeld," Michael Richards, when Richards dropped the "N" bomb at a comedy club in Los Angeles, and Jesse Jackson said don't buy Seinfeld DVDs, right? So this is ridiculous.

As far as you not wanting to hurt him, and I think those were your words, a noble thought, but totally misplaced. You're not hurting Jesse Jackson. Jesse Jackson is hurting Jesse Jackson.

O'REILLY: What do you think?

HALL: I disagree with Bernie. Editors are allowed to edit. And the power of what he said he wanted to do to Barack Obama and what that revealed about some intergenerational divide was so powerful, I mean, I think, unfortunately, the n-word means different things to different communities.

O'REILLY: It would have been a distraction. But Bernie has an excellent point...

HALL: Yes.

O'REILLY: ...has an excellent point about the Michael Richards thing.

HALL: He does.

O'REILLY: Excellent point.

HALL: He does, but I think the first thing he said was so powerful, that it would have really been a distraction from what you had…


HALL: …which is very...

O'REILLY: I want to tell everybody that this was a very difficult decision for us. It really was. That's an excellent point about Michael Richards.

GOLDBERG: OK, let me make another excellent point.

O'REILLY: Real quick though.

GOLDBERG: OK. You say that it wasn't relevant for the subject. I agree with you. But if you had Barack — if you had McCain on, for instance, and he was talking about global warming, and he said something like this, which is not relevant to global warming, you'd have to run it, because it's relevant. It's not relevant to the...

O'REILLY: It depends. If McCain was using the pejorative in order to hurt somebody, I would run it. If it was an off-camera, stupid remark, as this was with Jackson...

GOLDBERG: Hey, Bill.

O'REILLY: ...it didn't have any context. But look, you're right.

GOLDBERG: You report, the audience decides.

O'REILLY: Now everybody knows. Everybody knows what he said. Now they know. I think I did the right thing, but I am not entirely sure. Your point is excellent...

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

O'REILLY: ...about the Michael Richards thing.

Content and Programming Copyright 2008 FOX News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2008 ASC LLC (www.ascllc.net), 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 ASC LLC's copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.