'They're Going to Hate Us Even More'

J$P Instant Transcript! Geraldo Rivera talks to Bill O'Reilly about his appearance on the tsunami telethon and a war of ideologies.

From At Large with Geraldo Rivera, January 15 2005:

GERALDO RIVERA [FOX NEWS]: There has been some concern raised about whether or not that money is going to the intended beneficiaries. Is it going to where the people raising the funds have promised it's due? One of those raising those oncerns, our own Bill O'Reilly, who tonight saw the fund-raising process up close and personally, appearing on a star-studded benefit on the NBC network. Bill, what was that like and why did you make the appearance?

BILL O'REILLY [FOX NEWS]: Well, George Clooney pretty much goaded me into doing it. Not that I minded it, but we had told NBC that we were going to watch what happened here in this whole process, just as we did, as you know Geraldo, for 9/11. And the 9/11 thing was a mess, and still to this day some of the money that the folks donated to help the 9/11 families really wasn't used the way it should have been. Now, the Red Cross, the American Red Cross, straightened things out. The United Way I'm not so sure about. But this time NBC decided to give all the money to the American Red Cross, and since I think that organization has vastly improved its services and accountability, when Clooney wrote the letter goading me, well why don't you shut up and come in here and help, I said OK, OK, I'll do it. But I'm going to still watch what goes on, because if the folks give the money then the stars, or the celebrities, whatever you want to call them, who raise it have an obligation to see that it gets to the folks it's supposed to get to. So that's the bottom line on this thing.

RIVERA: So what was it like being in the belly of the liberal beast?

O'REILLY: Everybody's very nice to me--to my face. I mean, what they say about me when I'm not around. But I was hanging out with our pal Bruce Willis in the Green Room, and he's a very down to earth guy. And he's a Fox News aficionado, and so he and I watched the end of the Jet game, a tragic occurrence.

RIVERA: Oh really the Jets; that's another story.

O'REILLY: And then Drew Barrymore walked in, and I had never met her. And she is like a peanut. She's like really little. Very nice; very, very nice. Talked with her a little and then Gloria Estefan walked in; I know her a little bit, and she's another very nice woman. So I have to say the experience was 100% positive. I'm sure there were pinheads around but they didn't bother me.

RIVERA: So do you think, what about the cause that brought you there? Does it all seem legit to you?

O'REILLY: It is legit until it leaves America; see, that's the problem. But I have talked to Marty Evans, the head of the American Red Cross, and I told her, and this is exactly what I told her, she was there tonight. I said if you have trouble once this money leaves the United States and goes to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, all these other places, if you're having trouble getting this stuff to the folks, you've got to tell me. You can't wait till I hear about it from someplace else. You've got to pick up the phone and tell me so we can help you, see, because we expect that there is going to be some trouble. Whenever you have huge sums of money floating around in the third world, you're going to have people trying to steal it. And that's just the way it is. But I'm pretty confident that, because so many people are watching this, that most of the money will get to the intended victims.

RIVERA: And it's good advice, and I'm sure, Bill, that you agree with this, to stick with the charities you know. Stick to something like the Red Cross, a mainstream charity.

O'REILLY: Right.

RIVERA: Don't go into these email charities, kind of ad hoc charities, that have been created just for the disaster, and so many scammers are involved. What do you think about the outpouring of compassion from the American people, contrasted to the image the United States has, I think, overseas of being somewhat stingy?

O'REILLY: It's outrageous. We've always been a very generous people, and it gets me so angry to hear these far-left pinheads in the United States bad-mouth us. I mean, the New York Times, "stingy America". And I'm going to myself, aren't we the protector of the world? Didn't we bankrupt the Soviet Union? Didn't we vanquish Hitler? And didn't we keep the South Korean peninsula free? That comes out of our pocket, Geraldo. We pay for that. And we're stingy? The New York Times says we're cheap? This is outrageous. Americans are the most generous people on earth; it's proven over and over again. We're a compassionate people. We know that maybe some of the money isn't going to get to the tsunami people; we give anyway. Because that's the kind of country we are. So I am very comfortable with the level of giving and the compassion of our government, in the sense that we protect the world. That's a lot of money. And then we do humanitarian things all day long.

RIVERA: OK, finally Bill, now that you've had this experience with Bruce Springsteen, with George Clooney, with Drew Barrymore, do you think maybe the stereotypes on the ideological warfront, they may be overdone?

O'REILLY: No, it's--

RIVERA: And that we should, at least in terms of crisis, all get along?

O'REILLY: It's all going to--it's--no. The hardcore left hates the Fox News Channel, Geraldo. They hate us. They're going to hate us even more because we're becoming even more successful. As we rise, and all of the other, particularly the liberal media--Air America's falling apart, if you saw their latest ratings--as they go down, the intensity of the hatred toward you and me and Fox News is going to rise. And that's just the way it is in America. Now, I hope we have a rapprochment with George Clooney. I have nothing against the guy; people I know say he's a very generous guy. I don't know him; I never met him. But I'm watching him. And if things go south on this tsunami telethon, I'm going to be the first one knocking on his door for him to do something about it, to help me do something about it. And I think that's the way we have to operate.

RIVERA: OK, Bill. Bill O'Reilly, I appreciate your staying up, man.


RIVERA: Congratulations on your efforts on behalf of those victims and thanks for being on the program.

posted: Sat - January 15, 2005 at 11:23 PM       j$p  send