On his Fox News program, Bill O'Reilly called Mel Gibson's recent anti-Semitic comments "inexcusable," but said it is "more important" to discuss the "point where the media and individual Americans start to enjoy the suffering of rich and powerful people." Guest Geraldo Rivera later suggested that O'Reilly refer to "that schmuck from MSNBC," apparently MSNBC host Keith Olbermann; Rivera added that the "schmuck from MSNBC" is a "lowlife." Rivera also asserted that Comedy Central hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert "make a living putting on video of old ladies slipping on ice and people laughing" and that they "exist in a small little place where they count for nothing."
During a discussion on the August 2 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor with Geraldo at Large host and former Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera, Bill O'Reilly stated that the anti-Semitic remarks Mel Gibson made following his July 28 arrest were "inexcusable," but that it is "more important" to discuss the "point where the media and individual Americans start to enjoy the suffering of rich and powerful people." O'Reilly declared that media figures who have criticized Gibson's remarks are "smear merchants" who have "blood all over their mouth, these vampires," and also targeted the "corporate masters" behind them, who are "the truly evil people." In keeping with O'Reilly's refusal to mention by name certain people O'Reilly dislikes because doing so gives them "more publicity," Rivera suggested O'Reilly refer to one in particular -- presumably MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, who has repeatedly given O'Reilly his nightly "Worst Person in the World" award -- as "that schmuck from MSNBC," adding that the "schmuck from MSNBC" is a "lowlife." Later, Rivera did use names, asserting that Comedy Central hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert "make a living putting on video of old ladies slipping on ice and people laughing" and that they "exist in a small little place where they count for nothing."
From the August 2 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly.
In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, I hesitate to do yet another story on Mel Gibson. I mean, the guy's been pounded into pudding. But Geraldo does have some thoughts. And here's the star of the syndicated program Geraldo at Large.
I think it's sadistic now. I think it's crossed the line. I should mention the networks, but I'm not going to do it tonight. There are certain people who, you know, know they can get a number just beating the living daylights out of this guy. I think the points have been made. And it's into the sadistic area. Am I wrong?
RIVERA: Well, I don't know. First of all, here's the complaint. First-time seen on TV. Three-count misdemeanor complaint. He faces up to six months in prison.
RIVERA: But I wanted to tell you that what he did was so far out of line. And now these misdemeanor complaints, these, all right. I know you don't want to beat the guy up. But he's facing six months. He's going to do a day or two if he does any time at all.
O'REILLY: Community service.
RIVERA: But remember, he tried to run away and resisted arrest. If he was a gangbanger or a, you know, a guy from -- that wasn't such a big macher over there, believe me, he would not have just been charged with these three misdemeanors.
O'REILLY: Maybe, maybe not. A lot of people get cut slack. It just depends on what's going on.
But here's the deal. And I think this is more important than -- look, everybody can make up their own mind, as you said. And I agree with you 100 percent, how you're going to look at Mel Gibson. Not my job to tell you. Not your job to tell. Everybody in America, they're smart enough to make their own mind up. Nobody can make an excuse for what he did. It's inexcusable, OK? No excuses made. That point is on the record.
But there comes a point where the media and individual Americans start to enjoy the suffering of rich and powerful people.
RIVERA: I agree, I agree.
O'REILLY: All right? They wallow in it. They can't get enough of it. They've got blood all over their mouth, these vampires, OK? They're in the media, these people. This is what they live for.
That's wrong. It's morally wrong. It's maybe not as bad as what Gibson did, but it's approaching that. Because there comes a point where every human being does stuff wrong. Everyone. We all do wrong things.
O'REILLY: And anybody celebrating your suffering is a bad person.
RIVERA: I agree with you, but we have to live with the harsh reality of the fact that we exist in a public arena, where every action that we take is exaggerated and exacerbated by the people who don't like us.
O'REILLY: That doesn't give the people celebrating our suffering a pass.
RIVERA: But would you have these people to your house? What do I give a damn about these cable people who talk about you or me or Mel Gibson? What do they mean to us?
O'REILLY: But we've had this argument before.
RIVERA: But they mean nothing.
O'REILLY: You're right.
RIVERA: They can't even get a rating.
O'REILLY: You're right. But the power brokers --
RIVERA: So who's winning this battle? Who's winning this battle?
O'REILLY: Hold it. But it goes further than that. They mean nothing. They're smear merchants, and they always get theirs. But there's a powerful corporation behind them. And it's a corporation that allows its airways, paid for by all of us, to be abused.
RIVERA: The problem with that train of thought, as righteous as it may be, and I didn't say self-righteous because I think it is righteous. It doesn't do any good. You live in a reality where --
O'REILLY: I think we should call these people out. I think we should call these people out.
RIVERA: Then call them by name, then.
RIVERA: Then don't, then don't --
O'REILLY: Because then you give them more publicity.
RIVERA: Then just say, "It's that schmuck from MSNBC who's doing that," and call him that.
O'REILLY: No, you go after the masters.
RIVERA: He's a lowlife --
O'REILLY: It's like going after the rappers. You don't go after the rappers. You go after the masters.
RIVERA: Don't forgive Mel Gibson for what he said --
O'REILLY: I'm not forgiving anything!
RIVERA: -- because of the media. Don't. Don't let him slide.
O'REILLY: It has no -- I'm not letting him slide. I was very tough on him.
O'REILLY: I want to get this clear. Nobody will be allowed to apologize for Mel Gibson except Mel Gibson on this program.
RIVERA: I'd like to watch that episode.
O'REILLY: OK, OK. That won't happen. But I'll tell you this. You need to think about it, and so does everybody else. These corporate masters that have allowed our society to degenerate into a society that rejoices when this stuff happens and makes money from it, these are the truly evil people.
RIVERA: You know, Comedy Central is now a big hit, Stewart and the Colbert guy.
O'REILLY: Yeah, they do OK. They do OK.
RIVERA: They make a living putting on video of old ladies slipping on ice and people laughing. That's their life. That's their life. They exist in a small little place where they count for nothing. The history will be made by those who have affirmative thoughts, who make, you know, innovative suggestions in life and are inclusive.
O'REILLY: All right. I'm going to cry. "The Philosophy of Geraldo." "The Tao of Geraldo." I can see the new book.