Fox News Anchors Spar Over Income Inequality

On the May 29 edition of the Fox News Channel’s O’Reilly Factor, anchor Bill O’Reilly and colleague Kelly Megyn of FNC’s Kelly File, argued about how conservatives and Republicans should take on the Left’s spin about “income inequality” in American society today.

While Kelly argued that income inequality has objectively gotten worse and is a valid issue that needs to be confronted by policymakers – albeit from a conservative tack by conservatives –   O’Reilly claimed that the idea that income inequality is a new and pressing problem is a “myth” as it naturally “exists in every free marketplace” and has merely been “exacerbated” by the success of technology improving everyone’s standard of living. You can read the relevant transcript and watch the exchange by pressing play on the embed below the page break. Click here for MP3 audio.

May 29, 2014
Fox News Channel
O'Reilly Factor
8:40 p.m. Eastern
1 minute and 39 seconds

MEGYN KELLY: Listen, on the issue of income inequality. It's a good issue for the Democrats because there is no question that it exists, and the Democrats have used it-

BILL O'REILLY: But it's always existed.

KELLY: Well it's worse now than it's been since 1920, according to the stats. But both parties have agreed with that. The only difference is how we got there and what we do about it. The Democrats have been open. I mean, you are talking Democratic pollster about their need, their plan to stoke resentment. They want to play to the resentment that the middle class and some of the poor feel towards the rich and say we are your guys. The rich say, let's all get there.

O'REILLY: You are buying into this fraud, Kelly and I'm very disappointed, so listen to the master here--

KELLY: Where? Where?

O'REILLY: Number one, we are going to have Lou Dobbs on tomorrow who is going to shatter this income inequality thing. But there's a reason for it and that's high technology. That's why the gap is expanding. Okay so you're buying into this a little bit and this is a total fraud.

KELLY: It's not a fraud. Income inequality exists in this country Bill. Of course it does. It-

O'REILLY: Wait a minute

KELLY: Alright go ahead.

O'REILLY: It exists in a free marketplace not because of government policies, okay, so unless you banish-

KELLY: Well, lack of growth is related to government policy and that's how the Republicans say we got in this position.

O'REILLY: Unless you banish the free marketplace, which a lot of these lefties want to do. You'll always have it.

KELLY: But I'll cede that point in part. We've got French economists advising us on how to get out of this. French economists. On how to get out of this by saying the answer is to abolish capitalism. So your point is somewhat valid.

O'REILLY: Let me make my point incontrovertible so you'll agree with me by talking about you. By talking about you Megan Kelly. A nice lady from upstate New York. No uncle in the business, correct.

8:42 p.m. Eastern
1 minute and 2 seconds

KELLY: I didn't come from money, I didn't have any private schooling.

O'REILLY: You worked your way up. Was there any war on you? Did anybody declare war on you.

KELLY: Apparently there was and I just didn't know it.

O'REILLY: Okay. Was there income inequality while you were working your way up?

KELLY: Plenty, plenty Bill.

O'REILLY: When you were working your way up Kelly!

KELLY: Listen, I was inspired by the rich people, I wanted to be one of them!  

O'REILLY: Were you paid fairly for what you did?

KELLY: I don't know. I guess so. I never had anything to complain about.

O'REILLY: I guess so! So, no war on you. No income inequality on Megyn Kelly. Worked hard, worked your way up, and now here you are, right?

KELLY: It's like the classic Jon Lovitz bit. Where he says you can do it! You can pull yourself up, work hard, you can make it to the top. And get here and I get here and the answer is blank you! That's how the country has become.

O'REILLY: So I just destroyed this inequality myth. Okay, finally, and I have to ask this question.

KELLY: That's not true. Because there are poor people who don't have the advantage of education that I had, the advantage of both parents and the home that I had.

O'REILLY: But there are programs in place to help them.

KELLY: We need more of them. There's no question. Listen you can't get out of this income inequality situation by saying it doesn't exist, and it's all a fabrication.

O'REILLY: It exists in every free marketplace and technology has exacerbated it.

KELLY: Alright, fine.
 

Laura Flint
Laura Flint is a 2014 summer intern for the MRC's News Analysis Division.