During the September 26 edition of his Fox News show, The O'Reilly Factor, responding to criticism of his controversial September 19 remarks on his radio show about his visit to Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem, Bill O'Reilly asserted that "the far-left smear website Media Matters distorted a very positive discussion on race and accused me of racism." During three segments discussing the controversy, however, O'Reilly aired no audio from the September 19 edition of his radio show. In its original item documenting O'Reilly's comments, Media Matters for America provided the transcript and audio of his remarks.
O'Reilly said during the September 26 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, "Now, all fair-minded people know that Media Matters, CNN, and the other media in bed with the far left have lied about what actually happened on The Radio Factor. Just listen to the unedited broadcast available on billoreilly.com and you'll see." Later, during a discussion of the controversy, Al Sharpton said, "I've not heard the tape," and O'Reilly responded, "Right. You need to hear that tape, by the way." O'Reilly later discussed the controversy with Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce -- who described Media Matters as the "media Gestapo" -- and with comedian Dennis Miller, who said he had not heard the remarks himself.
As Media Matters documented, during the September 25 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly asserted that "every day, the far-left smear website Media Matters takes that commentary out of context and feeds the defamation out to the public."
From the September 26 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thank you for watching us tonight. Media Matters and the corrupt press on the run, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."
As reported, the far-left smear website Media Matters distorted a very positive discussion on race and accused me of racism. Today, there was outrage.
JOE WATKINS (Republican strategist) [video clip from September 26 broadcast of NBC's Today]: This is a case where Bill O'Reilly actually was saying something good and positive and uplifting to his radio audience. And instead now, he gets dragged through the mud as if he's a racist. Very unfair on the part of Media Matters.
O'REILLY: Now, all fair-minded people know that Media Matters, CNN, and the other media in bed with the far left have lied about what actually happened on The Radio Factor. Just listen to the unedited broadcast available on billoreilly.com and you'll see.
But the corrupt press doesn't care about that. CNN picked up the Media Matters defamation because they are getting hammered in the ratings. Besides CNN, the worst offender in this case is the New York Daily News, which strung together quotes that were said five minutes apart on different topics. Can you believe it?
And for the record, the following outlets ran unfair and dishonest pieces on this ridiculous situation: The CBS Early Show, which actually described Media Matters as a watchdog group, how dishonest is that? The Chicago Sun Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, ABCnews.com, and the Louisville [Courier-]Journal also completely distorted the story.
Now the following outlets were fair: the Today show, Newsday, and Stephen Smith of ESPN.
The major point here is this: Media Matters fabricated the story. And major American news outlets picked up the fabrication, trying to diminish me and the Fox News Channel.
My words on the radio were an attack on racism. That's quite clear. Again, the entire unedited conversation is posted on billoreilly.com.
As usual, the folks know what's really going on here. AOL.com has a poll on the subject. And right now, 60 percent say my comments were inoffensive.
The tragedy here is that there is no longer an honest press in America. The CNN people didn't listen to The Radio Factor. They tried to get cheap ratings and it backfired.
The New York Daily News couldn't care less about what was really said. They want to damage me because News Corp., which owns Fox News, also owns the New York Post, which has passed them in circulation and on and on.
Now over the past 12 months, Media Matters has personally attacked me 109 times. And I am not alone. Every non-liberal politician and commentator in this country has been smeared by these people. Yet, there's no scrutiny of Media Matters in the mainstream media. They're watchdogs. Figure it out.
With the exposure of MoveOn over the Petraeus incident, and now the blatant dishonesty of Media Matters, and their water carriers, Americans should be very skeptical of the news media. No longer can it be trusted. And that's the Memo.
Now for the top story tonight, another race controversy. This one in Jena, Louisiana, where six black students are charged with beating a white student. The situation's complicated by the fact that months earlier at the high school, hangman's nooses were hung on a tree.
Joining us now from Baton Rouge is Reverend Al Sharpton, who is deeply involved in the case.
OK, Reverend, now before we -- we'll talk about you and I because you caused all this, because I bought you dinner at Sylvia's. Now I have to deal with all of this nonsense.
But in a much more important vein, the Jena controversy, because students' lives hang in the balance here.
O'REILLY: Now Reverend, come on, I take you to dinner. I pick up the tab. And everybody has a great time. And I'm getting slimed by the far left. Come on.
SHARPTON: Well, I've not heard the tape.
SHARPTON: I've not heard the tape.
O'REILLY: Right. You need to hear that tape, by the way, because --
SHARPTON: What I've read --
O'REILLY: Well, come on, what you've read. Come on.
SHARPTON: Let me say this. What I've read was disturbing and surprising. But I must admit that I have also said to you, when you've jumped on me that that was a distortion of my words. So I'm going to hear the tape to hear what you said.
SHARPTON: I can only say this.
O'REILLY: You know me. You know me.
SHARPTON: You and I have gone to dinner before in Harlem. And I've never heard you say anything offensive.
O'REILLY: Of course I didn't.
SHARPTON: And people talking to Juan Williams, I would have assumed that he would have jumped on it. So I'm going to listen to the tape. And I'm going to give judgment. The stuff of being surprised that blacks didn't act up, you can understand why people are offended by that. I'd be offended, but --
O'REILLY: If that is what was said, but it wasn't.
SHARPTON: Let me be -- then let me be as given the time to hear the tape and be as fair to you as you've been to me, so I can hear the whole thing in context.
O'REILLY: All right. That's fair enough.
SHARPTON: And then, I will give you --
O'REILLY: And you know who's coming on here?
SHARPTON: But I will say that you and I go to Harlem at least once a year and have dinner and --
O'REILLY: And who picks up the tab?
SHARPTON: [inaudible] said --
O'REILLY: And who picks up the tab?
SHARPTON: Well, you should pick up the tab. You make a lot more money.
O'REILLY: Now you know who's coming on here tomorrow night? Jesse Jackson.
SHARPTON: You told me Jesse Jackson called you.
O'REILLY: Jesse Jackson coming on right here. And he's got an interesting point of view.
SHARPTON: Two good things come out of it. Two good things come out of it. You and Reverend Jackson finally talked --
SHARPTON: -- because you beat me up about him. And I've defended him.
SHARPTON: And I hope Sylvia's gets a lot of new customers.
O'REILLY: Sylvia's --
SHARPTON: A hundred twenty-six --
O'REILLY: -- is the best.
SHARPTON: Everybody should go to Sylvia's.
O'REILLY: That's right.
SHARPTON: But she told you that her story how she went from a waitress to an entrepreneur.
O'REILLY: She's the best.
SHARPTON: After I hear the tape, me and you will do it on the "No-Spin Zone" here.
O'REILLY: All right, Reverend, I want you to go after these far-left scoundrels, Reverend. I want you to go after them.
SHARPTON: I want you to help us get Mychal Bell free. And we'll work on fair.
O'REILLY: Listen, we'll stay on the story.
SHARPTON: If you're right, I'm there.
O'REILLY: We'll let everybody know.
SHARPTON: All right.
O'REILLY: Next on the rundown, conservative pundits, as we said, getting smeared all over the place. How should they react?
And later, Dennis Miller on Media Matters and [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. Can't wait. Right back.
O'REILLY: "Impact" segment, tonight. The far-left Internet sites are in the business to smear any and all commentators who do not toe the liberal line. In the past year, Media Matters has personally attacked me 109 times. Glenn Beck has been smeared 92 times. Rush Limbaugh, 87 times. And Sean Hannity, 75 times. Not one liberal radio commentator has been smeared by Media Matters.
Joining us now from Los Angeles, radio talk-show star Tammy Bruce, who's also been attacked by that smear factory.
OK. Commentators are attacked by this. We know this. We ignore it most of the time until CNN or another, what they call, mainstream media outlet picks it up. But some people are saying, "Look, O'Reilly, you should just ignore this. You shouldn't do anything about it." I'm attacking it, obviously. How do you see it?
BRUCE: Well, it is actually very serious. And the real story is -- and I think those of us who are in the public eye have got to call attention to the real story, which is the fact that a Gestapo has emerged in America. If you'll notice, the attacks on you mirror the attacks on General Petraeus. And you have a media Gestapo in Media Matters, and then you have the political Gestapo in MoveOn.org. And the intention is the same. The intention is to smear an individual without any basis in reality, without any fairness, in an attempt to make that person demonized so that they will not be listened to.
It is a very serious dynamic. Now, the issues involved are almost irrelevant because the truth of the matter is, no matter what is said, no matter what is done, the Gestapo will find a way to move in some kind of element of demonization, especially as we move into this election year. And it is -- when it comes to the military, when it comes to government, or especially with you, in this case, an individual who is independent from either party line and who is likely to be listened to more seriously than other people.
O'REILLY: OK. Now, how do you handle it then when a CBS morning news -- totally irresponsible, the correspondent didn't listen to the tape. The anchor who did the interview links it up to an Imus. You know, this Media Matters is --
O'REILLY: -- the same people that got Imus. Now, they know that's dishonest. CNN from the jump knew it was dishonest because I told them.
O'REILLY: And they didn't care. CNN, we know because they're getting hammered in the ratings 6 to 1 by us. So we know why they do it. But how do you handle a CBS morning news?
BRUCE: Well, you -- this is actually a gift. And I know it probably doesn't feel that way --
O'REILLY: No, it does. I agree with you.
BRUCE: -- to those of use who have been targets.
O'REILLY: It is a gift, absolutely.
BRUCE: It's a gift because what it does is it swings the curtain back. I -- when I was in the left, it's known as the network. Literally, a network of outlets that then follow the lead of who it is that's leading the charge, whether it be The New York Times or, in this instance, Media Matters or MoveOn.org. And what Americans need to realize, and I think what commentators have a duty to do, is remind people what the real story is, which is this is an opportunity to see how that network operates, how it exists, especially as Americans have to listen to establishment media for news about an election and for decisions they make. So it's a real opportunity to show who is part of the network, who is playing that role, who is a water carrier and who isn't. And I think that you, as a lightning rod, is a perfect example for most people about the agenda is of the Gestapo and how it can be stopped.
O'REILLY: Sure, and the reason it's a gift is because we have the tape. And anybody --
O'REILLY: -- can go to BillOReilly.com and hear the whole thing. And there's no two sides to the story. There's no debate.
BRUCE: Well, it's context.
BRUCE: No, it's context, and the other issue is always --
O'REILLY: But isn't it depressing --
O'REILLY: -- isn't it depressing in a republic as strong as America that we have now the most corrupt media in the history of our country. That's a little depressing to me, Tammy.
BRUCE: Well, it is, but it also then shines the light on the media that we can trust like Fox, frankly.
O'REILLY: All right. Now, Media Matters -- you're basically going to be on their target list coming. They've slimed me 109 times in a year. Every other commentator on the radio who's not a liberal gets slimed. And now CNN is in bed with these people. How do you see it?
MILLER: Well, first off, Bill, I have to say, you're my friend and I always wonder about issues like this. Why do you care? I mean --
O'REILLY: Corruption in the press. Corruption in the press.
MILLER: Yes, but you realize, Bill, that you've won.
O'REILLY: Yes, I know.
MILLER: The only way they define themselves is through the backdraft. You give them oxygen.
But quite frankly, CNN hasn't mattered to me since -- I've got to go back to Davos in '05 when Eason Jordan said that he knew of 12 journalists who were killed and, indeed, targeted by our troops.
O'REILLY: Let me make a case on why it matters. If you have -- if you have -- look, look, here's why it matters. If you have a corrupt media, which you have in the United States, in a presidential election, the folks are not going to get the truth. There's gonna be all of this allying between the far-left smear sites, MoveOn, Media Matters, the Kos, George Soros, pulling their strings like this. And there are millions of Americans, Dennis, who are uniformed, who don't know, don't watch The Factor, don't listen to you, they don't know what's going on. They hear this stuff. Therefore, votes can be swayed by defamation. So, the only -- the only weapon against defamation, 'cause you cannot sue if you are famous, you know that -- Larry Craig and Ahmadinejad can't sue you -- is exposure. You expose them. You say they're corrupt, and then you let the chips fall where they may. That's why I go after them.
MILLER: Well, right after I tell you that I do believe that Larry Craig knows all about the exposure thing, I have to say this, that -- listen -- [laughter] I'm sorry, but --
O'REILLY: You're going to hell. Enjoy life now. You're going to hell. All right, go ahead.
MILLER: As far as Media Matters goes, Bill, I just -- it doesn't really matter.
O'REILLY: But it gets through. It gets through.
MILLER: You've kind of won.
O'REILLY: No, they bought these people. It's corruption in the press. It's just like if it was corruption in the political arena. The press, more powerful than politicians. When there's corruption, it's got to be exposed. All right, now, if I am going to commit murder, Miller, I am coming out to your neighborhood. Phil Spector, hung jury, joins O.J. Simpson and Robert Blake. And what is going on with California juries?
MILLER: First up, before we move on, can I just ask you one thing about the previous subject, and then I'll move on?
O'REILLY: Yeah, sure, sure.
MILLER: Are you comfortable with what you said? Or is Juan Williams comfortable?
O'REILLY: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. I said nothing wrong. Everything was benign. It was put in a context of "racism is bad, and here's why people are racists. They're afraid." If you listen to that tape, there's not one thing wrong with that tape. Juan Williams, everybody else --
MILLER: Well, I just wanted to tell you I haven't heard it. But if you're comfy, and Williams is comfy, and Sylvia's is comfy, leave a big tip next time and go back and watch Conan the Barbarian. The best thing in life is to meet your enemies on the field of battle, crush them beneath your feet and hear the lamentations of their women.
O'REILLY: I think we're doing that. I don't know about the women, but we're meeting the enemies and crushing them. Umm, OK. Phil Spector.