Bill O’Reilly and Michelle Malkin Call out Dan Rather Over Fox News Slur

Michelle Malkin was Bill O’Reilly’s guest on Monday’s “O’Reilly Factor,” and the pair had some unkind words for former CBS anchorman Dan Rather. For a little background, Rather told HBO’s Bill Maher on November 17 that Fox News gets talking points from the White House. O’Reilly subsequently challenged Rather about this, and instead of going on “The Factor” to discuss the issue with Bill, the former anchorman went on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” last Sunday to plead his case. O’Reilly wasn’t pleased with Rather’s response over the weekend, and chose to take issue (video available here, hat tip to Hot Air):

Rather can't have it both ways. If he says FOX News gets White House talking points, he'd better be able to back it up. And so far, he can't, no matter how many interviews he does with CNN. Mr. Rather is welcome here to explain himself, but he should have done that already.

As he introduced Malkin, O’Reilly made his case even stronger:

My estimation of Dan Rather, to be brutally honest, is declining rapidly, because all I want -- this is simple. This is a simple deal. All I want from Dan Rather is some documentation of his accusation. He's made it twice, HBO and now CNN. Too busy to come here, but he can go on CNN. Because he knows he's not going to be challenged. But back it up, Dan, and he can't.

Malkin responded:

Well, look, he's not going to produce any documentation. And if he does, you better be very careful, because it will probably be typed on the same typewriter as those fake memos were. And I agree with you. I think Dan Rather owes an abject apology to FOX News if he can't back up those slanderous statements. And I think you and Roger ought to take a big lump of coal and send it to him for Christmas is he doesn't.

As the conversation ensued, the discussion moved to whether or not Fox News is indeed biased. Malkin stated:

And you know, in general, I mean, you have a lot of opinions that are not conservative, right-wing, fall in line with the Kool-Aid drinkers. Neither do I, for that matter. But it doesn't matter how much real truth and evidence that you give these people. They are absolutely convinced of their caricature of FOX. And there's a bigger picture here, which is that a lot of detractors and critics and losers in the competition in the mainstream media have, to paraphrase Charles Krauthammer, FOX Derangement Syndrome.

And we've seen it with the obnoxious treatment, not just of this show but of some of the most respected journalists at FOX News and in the media industry in general, people like Brit Hume and Chris Wallace, who have been absolutely demonized and beaten up simply because they are fair and balanced.

O’Reilly concluded the segment: “And Dan Rather, we're waiting.”

Don’t hold your breath, Bill. What follows is a full transcript of this segment.

O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly.

In the "Personal Story" segment today, as you may know, former CBS News anchor Dan Rather has accused FOX News of being in the tank with the Bush administration. A few weeks ago, he said this on HBO.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN RATHER, FORMER CBS NEWS ANCHOR: FOX News operates in a -- at least a somewhat different way than every other news organization that I know, that they have their talking points, in other words. Somebody in the hierarchy, whether this is Roger Ailes, who runs the place or not, we know that they get talking points from the White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: All right. Now right after that, we invited Mr. Rather on "The Factor". He said he would come on in the future, but he was very busy. However, he did find time to go on CNN to say this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RATHER: First of all, Bill has invited me on his program, and I intend to be on the program. I stand by what I said on the Bill Maher program. Not only is it true, but it's widely known to be true, and I do know it to be true.

I want to be explicitly clear. Bill O'Reilly may never get the White House "talking points", and I believe him when he says that he didn't get it. I also believe him when he said he checked with top management and top management said, "We never see pieces of paper or what have you."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Now Rather can't have it both ways. If he says FOX News gets White House talking points, he'd better be able to back it up. And so far, he can't, no matter how many interviews he does with CNN.

Mr. Rather is welcome here to explain himself, but he should have done that already.

Joining us now with their takes on this, FOX News analyst Kirsten Powers in New York and Michelle Malkin in Washington, D.C.

Look, I know you're not a fan of Rather. My estimation of Dan Rather, to be brutally honest, is declining rapidly, because all I want -- this is simple. This is a simple deal. All I want from Dan Rather is some documentation of his accusation. He's made it twice, HBO and now CNN.

Too busy to come here, but he can go on CNN. Because he knows he's not going to be challenged. But back it up, Dan, and he can't.

So now I'm starting to reevaluate my quasi-defense of him in the National Guard thing, when I said he didn't do it on purpose; it was just sloppy reporting.

You, Michelle, you might have been right and I might have been wrong.

MICHELLE MALKIN, FOX NEWS ANALYST: I'm glad to hear that.

O'REILLY: It pains me to say that.

MALKIN: You are -- you are -- I'm speechless.

O'REILLY: Yes, but I'm thinking to myself, you know, I worked with the guy and know the guy.

MALKIN: Yes.

O'REILLY: He never struck me as being a dishonest man, ever. All right? But now this is so simple. You either put up, Dan, or you apologize to FOX News. Am I right?

MALKIN: Absolutely. Of course. Welcome to the club, Bill, and I'm glad you've joined it. And it's better late than ever.

O'REILLY: I'm still going to let him come on here now.

MALKIN: Well, look, he's not going to produce any documentation. And if he does, you better be very careful, because it will probably be typed on the same typewriter as those fake memos were.

And I agree with you. I think Dan Rather owes an abject apology to FOX News if he can't back up those slanderous statements. And I think you and Roger ought to take a big lump of coal and send it to him for Christmas is he doesn't.

O'REILLY: All right. Kirsten, how do you see this?

KIRSTEN POWERS, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Well, I think that it was -- I was a little bit confused following back and forth, because he makes the accusations and then he says that it's not happening; then it is happening. So it's a little unclear.

O'REILLY: It is. I mean, he can't have it both ways.

POWERS: If it is happening, it is bad, or maybe it's not bad. He's very confusing.

O'REILLY: He is a little confusing.

POWERS: But also it's pretty clear that he maybe was watching "Outfoxed" on Netflix or something, because this is...

O'REILLY: When he knows -- now look, here's the -- here's the deal. I mean, FOX News is under fire from every left-wing loon in town. All right? Every nut in the world is trying to bring this network down on the left, far left. All right? We're used to it.

When a guy like Dan Rather, who has a following and has access to the media, makes an accusation that we're all on the take -- that's what he's basically saying, we're on the take.

POWERS: Right.

O'REILLY: On the path, all right? The White House tells us what to do and we do it. That's a serious thing.

POWERS: Yes. And you're right. He should -- he should give you some documentation for it and tell you where he got that. And he said he would come on your show.

And I think that I saw an interview with Rupert Murdoch not that long ago, at the anniversary, and he said FOX was founded in response, basically, to the liberal media. So there are, you know, the conservative bent to it. Certain shows are more conservative.

There's nothing wrong with that. And in my experience in doing a lot of television, is that other places lean very left. And I think that...

O'REILLY: I basically say, look, we have people like you on. We have Michelle on. This is balanced.

POWERS: Sure.

O'REILLY: And you have me. You have Alan Colmes. You have (UNINTELLIGIBLE). You have Greta Van Susteren.

POWERS: But Bill, this is an opinion show anyway. You're allowed to do whatever you want.

O'REILLY: But the opinion is not weighted a certain way.

POWERS: Right.

O'REILLY: Now I have documentation, Michelle. I have documentation, because that's the kind of guy I am. I'm a documentation guy. So Rather says I'm in the tank for President Bush. Roll the tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: The Bush administration now says it will provide captured suspected terrorists with Geneva Convention protections. I'm a little disappointed the Bush administration has caved into public opinion that is flat out dangerous.

President Bush did not fulfill the leadership role Americans expect in a disaster like that. As soon as the levees were breached, it became a national security issue, and the president should have issued an executive order immediately, sending in the military.

We need a General Patton here. We need a leader, and President Bush has not been the leader -- he was after 9/11. He hasn't been in Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: All right. So, I don't know if those were in the "talking points" that President Bush sent me. I don't know if he's going to write that stuff. So there's my documentation.

And I could have bored you to death, Michelle, with 15 other examples, including the border. So there.

MALKIN: Sure, of course. And you know, in general, I mean, you have a lot of opinions that are not conservative, right-wing, fall in line with the Kool-Aid drinkers. Neither do I, for that matter. But it doesn't matter how much real truth and evidence that you give these people. They are absolutely convinced of their caricature of FOX.

And there's a bigger picture here, which is that a lot of detractors and critics and losers in the competition in the mainstream media have, to paraphrase Charles Krauthammer, FOX Derangement Syndrome.

And we've seen it with the obnoxious treatment, not just of this show but of some of the most respected journalists at FOX News and in the media industry in general, people like Brit Hume and Chris Wallace, who have been absolutely demonized and beaten up simply because they are fair and balanced.

O'REILLY: Right. And I show you those clips on President Bush, but President Bush still respects us, because we do give him a fair shake.

All right, ladies, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

And Dan Rather, we're waiting.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.