NBC's Norah O'Donnell: Maybe Behar and Goldberg Were Right in Storming Off 'View' Set

Against the opinion of the "Morning Joe" panel (and Barbara Walters herself), NBC's Norah O'Donnell half-defended Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg for brazenly walking off the set of ABC's "The View" when guest Bill O'Reilly got too controversial for them.

Without saying that she personally was okay with Goldberg's and Behar's stunt, O'Donnell hinted that they had a legitimate reason for doing so. "You know, if Whoopi and Joy felt that [O'Reilly] was being demeaning to them, they felt like they should walk off," she posited.

The MSNBC reporter was a fill-in co-host on Friday's MSNBC's "Morning Joe" along with brew crew regular contributor Willie Geist. Guest and columnist Mike Barnicle was the first to disagree with her sentiment. "Stay there," he said about Behar and Goldberg, "Keep going. Confront [O'Reilly]."

O'Donnell was careful not to heatedly argue the point further, but rather was content to echo the responses from Barnicle and Geist.
 

HLN host Joy Behar and comedienne Whoopi Goldberg have been no stranger to controversy in the past on "The View." When Rosie O'Donnell was a co-host, she posited on-set that 9/11 may have been an inside job. Controversial left-wing comedienne Kathy Griffin was a guest earlier this year after she had publicly insulted conservative "View" co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Never before did they walk off the show.  

Until Thursday, that is.

Goldberg and Behar stormed off the set after the conversation got too controversial with O'Reilly. The intensity began when O'Reilly playfully condescendingly to the HLN host Behar, pleading, "Listen to me, because you'll learn."

The debate then switched to the Ground Zero mosque, and Goldberg was in an uproar when O'Reilly said that Muslims killed Americans on 9/11. Seconds later, Behar, sitting directly to O'Reilly's left, got up and expressed her outrage at his remarks. Goldberg followed her off the set.

"You have just seen what should not happen," Walters immediately told her studio audience. "We should be able to have discussions without washing our hands and screaming and walking offstage. I love my colleagues; that should not have happened."

"Morning Joe" guest John Ridley summed the scene up to O'Donnell thus: "I think it's odd to invite somebody to your house and get into an argument and walk out of the room of your own house."

"I agree, they're there to debate the issue," he continued. "If you're not there, then you can't even present the facts."

For a transcript of the segment, which aired on October 15 at 6:03 a.m. EDT, is as follows:


NORAH O'DONNELL: Well Laura Ingraham, who was O'Reilly's guest last night , said the walkout seemed "contrived," but O'Reilly said he certainly wasn't expecting it to happen. I thought it was pretty heated, but you know, if Whoopi and Joy felt that he was being demeaning to them, they felt like they should walk off.

MIKE BARNICLE: They shouldn't have walked off.

O'DONNELL: Yeah.

BARNICLE: Stay there.

O'DONNELL: And what?

BARNICLE: Keep going. Confront him.

O'DONNELL: Yeah.

BARNICLE: You know?

WILLIE GEIST: Have the debate.

O'DONNELL: Have the debate.

WILLIE GEIST: I think that the was the point Barbara was making –

JOHN RIDLEY: I just – I think it's odd to invite somebody to your house and get into an argument and walk out of the room of your own house. Do you know what I'm saying? Forget you, I'm going to the kitchen.

I agree, they're there to debate the issue; if you're not there, then you can't even present the facts. I mean, to me, I'm more upset about the fact that all of television seems like now is just other hosts talking about other hosts and getting angry with other hosts. 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014