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Bill O'Reilly: Those Who Oppose Him are "Fascists"

Reported by Marie Therese - January 20, 2005

Yesterday Bill O'Reilly and his guest, James Harding, Washington D.C. bureau chief of The Financial Times, discussed the harrassing lawsuit being brought against George Soros by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), a conservative watch-dog group that files lawsuits against almost exclusively against Democrats and liberals. Their "targets" as listed on their website are or have been: Billionaire George Soros, Congressional Candidate Nick Clooney, Rep. James Moran, Sen. Maria Cantwell, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Jon Fox, Al Sharpton, Sen. Joe Lieberman, Gore Attorney David Boies and FDA Commissioner David Kessler. (Rep. Fox is a Republican.) They also have a history of opposition to Hillary Clinton. Here is my transcript of the interview.

O'REILLY: As you know, far-left businessman George Soros spent millions trying to unseat President Bush. Soros funds some left-wing websites, and now the Financial Times reports he and other liberal rich guys, like Peter Lewis, are gonna spend even more money on the progressive message. But, not so fast. A conservative group, the National Legal and Policy Center, has filed a complaint against Soros, alleging he is violating federal election laws. Joining us now from Washington is James Harding, the D. C. bureau chief for the Financial Times. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that, that right-wing financier Richard Mellon Scaife does put money into the National Legal and Policy Center - not a lot, but some. So we want to have that up front.

[COMMENT: According to Media Transparency, various Scaife Foundations donated a total of $475,000 between 1995 and 2003, which represents about 23% of NLPC's donations for the same period.]

Now, in December, according to your publication, Mr. Harding, there was a meeting. Soros was there. Other left-wing rich guys were there. What happened?

HARDING: Well, as far as I know, they got together after the election. You would have thought they might have said, 'Well, let's pack up and go home. We lost.' But I think their calculation was there's a need to build an intellectual infrastructure, i.e., to build more think tanks, have more networks, have a message machine on the left that can counter the message machine on the right, and they got together in San Francisco, and exactly what happened is not in - not - not perfectly clear, because they cleared their aides out of the room and just sat down. As you mentioned, there was Peter Lewis. It was George Soros and his son, and then the couple on the West Coast, they met in San Francisco, the Sandlers, over on the West Coast. And they got together and I think basically decided to commit even more money than they spent in the last election cycle into future investment into this intellectual infrastructure.

O'REILLY: All right. So this was a secret meeting. These guys got together. And you - in your publication you say more than $63 million was given last year in the election cycle by these guys. That's a lot of jack.

HARDING: Yeah.

O'Reilly: But they've pledged to get even more to get their progressive message out. Correct?

HARDING: That's right. I think the understanding is they're going to spend more over a longer period of time. And, whereas, what they gave last time was to largely those 527 groups, those groups that tried to increase the voter turnout, this is about building the institutions, as I said, the think tanks, the networks between ...

O'REILLY (interrupts, overtalks last 3 words): But they already have ‘em. See, that's what I don't understand. You got the far left websites that smear everybody in sight with whom they disagree. I mean, ya' got maybe ten of them. Ya' got the dopey liberal radio network, which is falling apart, I mean, they're not doing well. Then ya' got PBS. Ya' got Bill Moyers and his crew. Ya' got the elite media, the New York Times - not to say they're bought, but they're certainly sympathetic to the progressive message. So, what else do you want? I mean - what, are they going to get? The PennySavers, now?

HARDING (laughs): Well, I think that - my impression is, is that you speak to the people who are involved in the progressive movement, and they say, "We're constantly told that we own the media, that we, that we have this fantastic armory of people on our side, but frankly, we feel outgunned." [O'Reilly laughs.] And what they'll say to you is that they feel outgunned, they feel outgunned by the American Enterprise Institute, by the Heritage Foundation, by state groups. You know - and, by you.

O'REILLY: Well, the only reason we outgun them is because our ratings are higher than the CNN network (Harding laughs) which would be more sympathetic to the progressive cause. But it's not...

HARDING: I'm really glad that I've fallen into that argument, yeah.

O'REILLY: Well, yeah. It's not an ideological jihad at the Fox News Channel. I mean, we report the news the way it happens. Um, but basically - you basically have a bunch of guys there that say "Alright, we're just going to try to buy power in this country." That's what it is, buyin' power. Is it not?

HARDING: Well, I think that there is a great history in this country of using your money to express yourself. And as you said right at the beginning of this segment, it's true for Richard Mellon Scaife as it is for George Soros. On both left and right people use their money to get their message across. And I, and I think the point on the media - just going back to your point on CNN and Fox - is clearly the argument, there is a monolithic liberal media, doesn't count with progressives. They say - they look at the FOX network and they say it has a conservative leaning in a way in which you may say the New York Times has a more liberal leaning. I think what they're saying is that this is a much more diffuse marketplace we're working in.

O'REILLY: Yeah, and they don't want it that way. They've tried to destroy the Fox News Channel and me, personally me, in any way they can with the Fox News Channel. These are fascists, I think, and I hope that Soros gets investigated.

HARDING: Well ..

O'Reilly: I hope the government looks into him real hard. I think he's a danger to the country. I'll give you the last word.

HARDING: But I would have thought you would welcome this kind of thing.

O'REILLY: No, I don't.

HARDING: Because ...

O'Reilly: They're smear merchants. I welcome issue debates, but they're smear merchants.

HARDING: And this is an intellectual investment, as far as I understand it.

O'REILLY: Well, I don't care what they call it. I know what they are. They're defamation power. That's what they are. Mr. Harding, we appreciate your point of view. I like your publication.

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