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Transcript of O'Reilly-Block Interview, FNC, 8/5/2004

Reported by Marie Therese - August 7, 2004 -

The O'Reilly Factor. August 5, 2004. 8:39 PM to 8:44 PM EDT.


O'REILLY: In addition to the New York Times, the Daytona Beach News Journal (They distort, you decide) calls the FOX News Channel closer to propaganda or parody than news. We called them up. These people are hiding.

A columnist in the Courier-Journal (Betty Baye) of Louisville, Kentucky, accuses me of being unfair to France of all places! A writer in the Dallas Morning News (Review of Outfoxed), Chris Vogner outright lies about my interview with the son of a 9/11 victim. And the Miami Herald printed a column (Why Fox News matters) by Edward Wasserman, a professor of journalism, that is blatantly dishonest.

None of the above people would defend their work on this program. We have called and called and called. However, joining us now from Los Angeles is Alex Ben Block, the editor of Television Week, who has written a column saying that FOX ignores some of the writers who are critical of it.

Alright. Now, look, you can understand that this network - under fire almost on a daily basis from the liberal media primarily - which, for whatever reason, doesn't like us. And it's more than ideological, I think but it could be just that.

You can understand why our publicists here and our people here really don't want to give them very much, can't you?

BLOCK: Well, if you put it that way, then obviously the answer has to be 'yes'. But a traditional public relations function in most companies does not operate that way.

O'REILLY: But we want to persuade people, all people, that we are a fair operation here, that we - you just heard the guy, Krugman, saying, 'Oh, they get memos' and, you know what he's doing, he's taking this from a smear movie that cut and paste all this kind of propaganda.

Sure FOX News issues a morning briefing. Every network does, alright, but this isn't unusual, but he takes it in the way the smear merchants want him to take it, 'cause he's a puppet. Now, if Krugman wants to come on The Factor and debate, I'll take him all day long. If Krugman wants to roam around the building, I'm not lettin' him in, because we're not gonna get a fair shake from him and that's, I think, the point here.

BLOCK: Well, I'm not here to defend Mr. Krugman or the New York Times or anybody else. I work for Television Week and I stand by every word that we write in Television Week and that's what I'm here to talk about. And FOX News is a very important channel. From my point of view, as a business model, FOX News has been incredibly successful. And it's shaken up the news business. There's no question about that. But, if the point is does it slant the news or does it have an opinion, I think it's a little more complicated than that.

I think, to me, FOX News comes out of more, like, an English or Australian tradition, where all media - TV stations and newspapers - actually have political people who judge what should be on and what should not be on. And that's more the approach here, that you have a point of view and that that point of view is effective all through your news.

O'REILLY: But it's not a monolithic point of view. I mean, my point of view is decidedly different than Greta van Susteren coming up an hour after I get off. And it's decidedly different than Brit Hume. And so what is presented by some journalists is that this is a propaganda parody and that Daytona paper is shi - disgraceful editorial. And when you ask them to come on and defend it, they won't. They're cowards. So when the Daytona paper calls me and wants to follow me around for two days, I'm gonna say 'no.' I'm not gonna let them in the building. And you objected to that and I didn't understand why you did.

BLOCK: Well, I don't believe that I objected to that specifically and I'm certainly not (garbled due to overtalking)

O'REILLY (interrupts, overtalks him): No. No. No. But in a general way, you said that we should embrace people that behave in a certain irresponsible manner and I'm sayin' nobody would do that.

BLOCK: What I wrote about is a public relations department that, yes, gets hundreds of calls and, compared to other news organizations and other corporate organizations I've dealt with, is much more demanding, much tougher. PR people, typically, are a bunch of pussy cats. They're there to help you, to be a resource.

O'REILLY (overtalks): OK. That's fair enough. Fair enough.

BLOCK (keeps speaking): This is not the way it works at FOX News.

O'REILLY: But the guys that we hire here have to be that way. You understand that. Has there ever, Mr. Block - look, you've been around a long time, I've been reading you for years.

BLOCK: Good.

O'REILLY: Has there ever been a network in the history of television attacked as viciously as this news channel?

BLOCK: Well, you know a lot of channels have been attacked in different ways over the years.

O'REILLY (overtalks): Mr. Block, you're dodging a very simple questions. Has there ever....

BLOCK (keeps speaking): In a political sense, FOX is an extraordinary and is a special case, no question.

O'REILLY: OK. We have been attacked more viciously than any channel in the history of American television, so you must have tough guys at the door, bouncers, if you will, because these people are blatantly dishonest. You know this smear merchant stole video from us, stole video over an eight-year period and put it out. Anybod - I could make you, Mr. Block, look like a communist, a fascist, a muslim or a mudwrestling woman, if I get eight years of video and cut and paste it. You know what I'm talkin' about here.

BLOCK: I'm sure you could. But I'm not here to defend anybody who steals video.

O'REILLY: But that's what they do.

BLOCK: I'm here to talk about the approach that the FOX News pulbic relations department takes. For instance, if some outlet writes some outrageous thing, I don't blame you for not talking to 'em. But, let's take the example of the lead media writer for the Associated Press. This is a mild-mannered gentleman, known for his fairness over man years, and he wrote one story that FOX didn't like. They didn't talk to him for two years.

He got a new boss. The boss came to FOX and said 'Look. Let's make peace. We're the Associated Press. We're the biggest news organization in the world. Your're a news organization. Can't we work this out?' And FOX News said 'No. We can't work it out.'

O'REILLY (overtalking): Well, they don't trust the guy, obviously.

BLOCK (overtalking at the same time): What's extraordinary about this, if I may, what's extraordinary about this - I've been boycotted and blacklisted by the best in Hollywood. When I was editor of the Hollywood Reporter (theme music starts in background) companies didn't talk to us for years at a time. What's different here is - you're a news organization. This is one news organziation blacklisting another news organization!

O'REILLY: Not blacklisting.

BLOCK: It's not right.

O'REILLY: What it - if they sent over a reporter that they felt was fair, they would deal with them, because I've dealt with them. They took my picture on the top of the building. There are certain reporters they don't feel they are gonna get a fair shot on. We respect your opinion, Mr. Block, and that's why we have you on. Thanks very much.