Why the obsession with the missing plane?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 18, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: And in the "Impact Segment" tonight. Why is America obsessed with the missing Malaysian jet liner? Some of us are disturbed by the situation.


LIMBAUGH: I can't handle the media on this. I literally cannot. I can't handle, we've got anchors and anchorettes who don't know being about even why an airplane flies. They couldn't explain the concept of air pressure differential or lift to you if their jobs depended on it. And it's all such a show. Am I only -- I just -- I can't -- I can't handle the media coverage of it.


O'REILLY: Mr. Limbaugh is right. Watching some of this coverage is painful. Today somebody did five minutes on a possible electrical fire on the plane. Well, if there was an electrical fire, don't you think the pilots would have radioed about it?

Another dopey pundit put forth a stowaway might have hijacked the plane on national TV. A stowaway -- unbelievable.

Rejoining us now from Washington Charles Krauthammer. So, I want you to analyze me -- I keep -- when I'm watching this I'm like flowing -- I'm upset about it. I know I'm old school but I know it's ratings. Obviously it's ratings. There are people who want to watch the mystery. But it's now corrupting the news business, I think. What do you say?

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, as for analyzing you I'm not sure you can afford my rates.

O'REILLY: I can. I can. I got a new contract here. I can afford it.

KRAUTHAMMER: Do you have Obamacare?

O'REILLY: No. I'll pay you cash, Charles. I'm not going to put you through that.

KRAUTHAMMER: All right. Well in that case I might just do it.

Look, let me try to explain why I think there is this fascination. This is a story with a lot of sort of fantastic fictional elements. It's got, first of all, Agatha Christie right, "Murder on the Orient Express". Whodunit it, who among the passengers are suspect? He's got magic, David Copperfield he makes airplanes disappear and you can't quite figure it out why? It also has a kind of a James Bond feel because you know there are all of these imaginings that there is a secret island somewhere with a runway and a cave --

O'REILLY: Yes "Thunderball" underneath, right that's what happened in "Thunderball".

KRAUTHAMMER: And then if you're -- exactly. And now, if you are a sophisticate, it's got Amelia Earhart you know the lost airplane in the South Seas. So this is sort of a mixture of all these story lines. I personally have as little interest as you do except for the fact that it's a terrible tragedy. I would hate to think of what the families are going through.

And I think in the coverage what annoys me is the way it's become a game when actually it's a terrible, terrible event. And there are people who are terribly suffering.


KRAUTHAMMER: And imagine what it was like if you were a passenger and the drama went on for hours and hours. But, I mean, as for why the networks are doing it, you know why and I know why.

O'REILLY: Sure. They are getting ratings from it. But I know why the audience is -- the mystery drives it but also people identify with this because everybody flies. And what would I do and, you know, I could be on that plane. And there is a personal element to it.

But right now though, you know, cable news is a great thing I think. It gives voice to you and to me and to a lot of people who probably never would have been seen on the network news because of their stranglehold and their ideology.

But there comes a point where it becomes burlesque show. It becomes a farce. And we've reached that point on this coverage. When you have people well, it's a stowaway. You know, well, when does Godzilla come in, ok? And on another network they actually said aliens might have taken it. They actually said that on the air and they weren't kidding around. All right and then you go --

KRAUTHAMMER: Well now you are talking my language. Psychotic I can deal with that. I can explain that. But the real mystery is why the ordinary, non-psychotic people so fascinated with this? And I think it's just had all these exotic story lines and -- and the way that the media responded is not a conspiracy, normally you and I are upset about the bias in the media.

O'REILLY: It's a grab -- a ratings grab, that's what it is. Sure.

KRAUTHAMMER: Stories here it is just, you know what this is? Capitalism at work.

O'REILLY: Yes. I know but sometimes.

KRAUTHAMMER: They see ratings and they go after them.

O'REILLY: Sometimes you have to -- all right. I know I'm old school and I know I shouldn't be bothered by it Charles Krauthammer, just send me the Bill, Charles and I'll -- I will get it for you.

And the Doctor's book "Things that Matter", still have a very big best seller. There it is.

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