Goldberg: NYT Downplayed Broaddrick & Flowers Scandals

On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, former CBS News correspondent and current FNC analyst Bernard Goldberg pointed out the New York Times has historically had a double standard of reporting allegations of sex scandals by Republicans while downplaying or delaying reports of sex scandals by Bill Clinton. Before Bill O'Reilly clarified that while the Times did cover Gennifer Flowers, but "years and years and years after the fact," Goldberg complained: "The New York Times showed virtually no interest in Bill Clinton and Gennifer Flowers. It showed absolutely no front page interest in allegations by a reputable businesswoman named Juanita Broaddrick, who said that, when Bill Clinton was attorney general of Arkansas, he raped her. ... But they did have interest in putting on page one a story that alleged that Nancy Reagan, while she was married to Ronald Reagan, was having an affair with Frank Sinatra." Goldberg further contended that at the Times, "they have lots and lots of biases, but they think that anybody who thinks that is the one with the biases."

O'Reilly hosted the segment with Goldberg and, to argue the liberal side, FNC contributor Jane Hall of American University. The FNC host began by asking Goldberg what he thought of the situation. Goldberg:

Well, first, unless this lobbyist is a secret agent working for al-Qaeda, this is going to help John McCain a lot more than it's going to hurt him because nothing unites conservatives more than their visceral distrust of the New York Times. But let me put this into some kind of historical perspective. The New York Times showed virtually no interest in Bill Clinton and Jennifer Flowers. It showed absolutely no front page interest in allegations by a reputable businesswoman named Juanita Broaddrick, who said that, when Bill Clinton was attorney general of Arkansas, he raped her. They had no interest in those stores, virtually no interest. But they did have interest in putting on page one a story that alleged that Nancy Reagan, while she was married to Ronald Reagan, was having an affair with Frank Sinatra. And they got that from a Kitty Kelley book that didn't have one fact to substantiate it. And now, we have a page one story based on two people whose names we don't know, whose motivations we don't know, who think that John McCain might have had a romantic affair with a lobbyist. This is really thin stuff to put on page one of any newspaper.

After O'Reilly asked Goldberg why the Times does such things, the former CBS reporter continued:

Well, I'm not one of those people who says the New York Times gets its facts wrong. I think the New York Times has a problem that they will not admit to. And that is that they have lots and lots of biases, but they think that anybody who thinks that is the one with the biases. They think that they're pure and noble and above it all. But I just gave you some examples. If they have no interest in a story about a credible woman saying that Bill Clinton raped her when he was attorney general, but put Frank Sinatra and Nancy Reagan on page one, that shows their agenda, their biases.

Before getting to Hall, O'Reilly made the liberal argument in defense of the Times:

But the reason they do that is they say that anybody who's a Republican, or a conservative is a family values person, and anything they do is hypocritical and has to be exposed. Whereby the secular progressive, liberal arm, hey, anything goes. Their conduct should not be scrutinized.

Hall disagreed with allegations of bias at the New York Times, but she did at least agree that their McCain story is "very flimsy." Hall:

I disagree about whether the New York Times reported on Bill Clinton's affairs, but I think that this story was very flimsy. They didn't have the goods. If you read the New Republic story, and if it's correct, Bill Keller, the editor, had a lot of questions about it. They didn't ultimately have the goods.

During an exchange with Hall, O'Reilly soon clarified the Times' history of covering Clinton sex scandals:

O'REILLY: I have to correct the record. Bernie stated that Juanita Broaddrick, okay, who was out, not an anonymous source, basically you're out, okay, and Gennifer Flowers, not an anonymous source, out, told the world certain things happened. Told the world.

HALL: Yeah, and it was on the front, Flowers was on the front page of the New York Times.

O'REILLY: Not Juanita Broaddrick, and that was-

HALL: I don't know. Let's don't argue [about Juanita Broaddrick](?).

O'REILLY: Flowers was on, but Flowers was on years and years and years after the fact.

Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Thursday February 21 The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:

BILL O'REILLY: Joining us now from Washington, Jane Hall. And from Greenville, South Carolina, Bernie Goldberg. Both are Fox News analysts. Bernie, so this is right up your wheel house. What do you think?

BERNARD GOLDBERG: Well, first, unless this lobbyist is a secret agent working for al-Qaeda, this is going to help John McCain a lot more than it's going to hurt him because nothing unites conservatives more than their visceral distrust of the New York Times. But let me put this into some kind of historical perspective. The New York Times showed virtually no interest in Bill Clinton and Jennifer Flowers. It showed absolutely no front page interest in allegations by a reputable businesswoman named Juanita Broaddrick, who said that, when Bill Clinton was attorney general of Arkansas, he raped her. They had no interest in those stores, virtually no interest. But they did have interest in putting on page one a story that alleged that Nancy Reagan, while she was married to Ronald Reagan, was having an affair with Frank Sinatra. And they got that from a Kitty Kelley book that didn't have one fact to substantiate it. And now, we have a page one story based on two people whose names we don't know, whose motivations we don't know, who think that John McCain might have had a romantic affair with a lobbyist. This is really thin stuff to put on page one of any newspaper.

O'REILLY: Why do they do it, Bernie?

GOLDBERG: Well, I'm not one of those people who says the New York Times gets its facts wrong. I think the New York Times has a problem that they will not admit to. And that is that they have lots and lots of biases, but they think that anybody who thinks that is the one with the biases. They think that they're pure and noble and above it all. But I just gave you some examples. If they have no interest in a story about a credible woman saying that Bill Clinton raped her when he was attorney general, but put Frank Sinatra and Nancy Reagan on page one-

O'REILLY: No, I know, but the reason they do that-

GOLDBERG: -that shows their agenda, their biases.

O'REILLY: Look, absolutely. But the reason they do that is they say that anybody who's a Republican, or a conservative is a family values person, and anything they do is hypocritical and has to be exposed. Whereby the secular progressive, liberal arm, hey, anything goes. Their conduct should not be scrutinized. Jane, how do you see it?

JANE HALL: You know, I disagree about whether the New York Times reported on Bill Clinton's affairs, but I think that this story was very flimsy. They didn't have the goods. If you read the New Republic story, and if it's correct, Bill Keller, the editor, had a lot of questions about it. They didn't ultimately have the goods. They don't prove that he had an affair. They don't really prove that she, this woman exercised undue influence. What they say is that some people on his staff were concerned about the appearance of impropriety. I think that Bill Keller may have felt pressure to run it. They didn't have the goods. And they-

O'REILLY: You don't think there's any ideology involved in this, Jane?

HALL: I don't, you know, I don't see ideology the way you guys see ideology.

O'REILLY: All right, absolutely, now, I'm going to-

HALL: Let me finish.

O'REILLY: Wait, I have to correct the record. Bernie stated that Juanita Broaddrick, okay, who was out, not an anonymous source, basically you're out, okay, and Gennifer Flowers, not an anonymous source, out, told the world certain things happened. Told the world.

HALL: Yeah, and it was on the front, Flowers was on the front page of the New York Times.

O'REILLY: Not Juanita Broaddrick, and that was-

HALL: I don't know. Let's don't argue [about Juanita Broaddrick](?).

O'REILLY: Flowers was on, but Flowers was on years and years and years after the fact.

HALL: I don't know about that. The point is that this is-

GOLDBERG: I do.

HALL: -beneath the New York Times. That's my point.

O'REILLY: All right.

HALL: They did a tabloid story that they couldn't prove.

O'REILLY: There's a reason why people take these kinds of risks, Jane. This is a huge risk for the New York Times. They know that I'm going to report it.

HALL: Well, I think that was totally misguided.

O'REILLY: Well, it ain't a matter of misguided. You don't take risks like that unless there's a reason.

GOLDBERG: Bill-

O'REILLY: Go ahead.

HALL: Unless your reporters are pressuring you to get the story out and feel they have something.

O'REILLY: No reporter's pressuring anybody. Go ahead, Bernie.

GOLDBERG: First of all, the Juanita Broaddrick story was on page B-10,000. It never appeared anywhere near the front section. And it only appeared in B-10,000, way, way deep into the story. But, you know, Bill, I think in some degree, I mean, I know why we're doing this story. And in some degree, it's important. But you know what? The New York Times, this isn't the same New York Times as when we were growing up. It's just not that important. It's not as important as it used to be.

O'REILLY: Yeah, but all the network news is leading with it, and every news agency-

GOLDBERG: Oh, yes.

O'REILLY: So McCain, look, either this is going to hurt him or help McCain. It's either going to hurt him or help him, you know, and people are now watching us to form an opinion.

GOLDBERG: I think it's going to help him.

HALL: I think it's going to help him.

GOLDBERG: Bill, my point is that when McCain says that he's deeply disappointed, that's one of the reasons conservatives aren't big fans of John McCain. Deeply disappointed that the New York Times did this? You're only disappointed when you expect something from an institution.

O'REILLY: So he should have lanced them?

GOLDBERG: And he should stop expecting something. What's that?

O'REILLY: He should have lanced them?

GOLDBERG: Well, listen, we have to keep open the possibility that the story is, in fact, accurate.

O'REILLY: Right, and that's always the thing. You have to, but they'll have to have a lot more. I'm going to give Jane the last word. Go ahead.

HALL: You know, I just want to say in defense of NBC News, Bennett was on the Today show slamming this story. So there was a lot of criticism of the story. They're raising the question-

O'REILLY: I'm talking about NBC News personnel.

HALL: Okay, you're talking about MSNBC.

O'REILLY: No, no, I'm talking, no, no, I'm talking about the Today show. All of their people lanced McCain today, Jane. It was awful.

HALL: But they had Bennett on. You have to be fair.

O'REILLY: So what?

HALL: They had Bennett on.

O'REILLY: That's a token.

GOLDBERG: Jesus Christ.

O'REILLY: Their personnel -- Russert, Lauer, Gregory, and another guy -- bang! Right in the face, Jane. Wrong.