Aired on September 19, 2000

Guests on this program were:

  Giselle Fernandez
Joey McIntyre
Bill O'Reilly
Howard Kurtz


Panel Discussion

Bill: Thank you, folks!
All righty.
Let's meet our panel.
He is an award-winning media reporter for "The Washington Post"
and the author of "The Fortune Tellers" -- Howard Kurtz!
There's his book right there.

[ Cheers and applause ]

How are you, sir?
Glad to have you here.
He is the host of his very own show on the Fox news channel.
His book, "The O'Reilly Factor," is in stores everywhere.
Bill O'Reilly!

O'Reilly: Hey, Bill.

Bill: Good to see you.
She is the president of the Internet company and the co-host of "This Week in History" Fridays at none other than the History Channel --
Giselle Fernandez!

[ Cheers and applause ]

Hey, you look fantastic.

Giselle: Great accent.

Bill: Did I get that right?

Giselle: Beautifully.

Bill: Okay.
I'm fabulous with italic.
The former new kid on the black, he is the heartthrob star of the new movie "The Fantastics" --
Mr. Joey McIntyre.

[ Cheers and applause ]

All right.
Well, on this panel the media people outweigh the --

Joey: Yeah, where's my suit?

Bill: -- the heartthrob.

Joey: I need to change into my --

Bill: Yeah, you got your shirt unbuttoned.

Joey: I need to weigh you guys out.

O'Reilly: No, it's the mike.
I'm rattling off this, uh --

Bill: Yeah, I tried that once.
Anyway, so let's talk a little media, 'cause I got a little mad last week with Tim Russert.
I don't know if you saw the debate without Rick Lazio, who, by the way, without Hillary Clinton would only get in the paper if he killed someone.

[ Laughter ]

But he had a debate with Hillary Clinton.
We wanted to show a clip from it.
ABC wouldn't let us because it uses someone from another network -- God forbid.
And NBC wouldn't let us 'cause they got some other bug up their ass.

[ Laughter ]

So, anyway, in the middle of the debate Tim Russert asks Hillary Clinton if she should apologize for misleading the nation about her husband's affair.
If you don't remember, she went on the "Today" show right after the story broke and said she didn't know.
And I don't think she said, because, I mean, my God, it was an affair.
An affair is meant to be secret.
People keep affairs secret.
If you don't keep it a secret, it's whatever Giuliani was doing.

[ Laughter ]

So isn't that a cheap shot by the media, who want to aggrandize their role?

Giselle: Absolutely not.
It was perfectly a fair playing field.
We are in an era where we asked the president if he inhaled or impaled.
It's perfectly within, I think, the framework of asking a question of a political leader or someone who's running for office.
I think the real issue here is not whether he should have asked the question.
I think it was a fair question.
She answered, I think, honestly.
But she's right.
There is a right-wing conspiracy.
There's a left-wing conspiracy.
And it's called politics.
It's just the name of the game.

Howard: Here's where I differ with Giselle.
Yes, the question was even predictable that somebody would ask it.
But, when Tim Russert says, in effect, "Would you apologize to the nation?," he then becomes the story.
It's no longer about the candidate.

Bill: Exactly.

Howard: It's about him.
This is where we are.
We're in an age of celebrity journalism, where, in order to --

Bill: It's about Tim.

Howard: And this is what people have been saying.
And Tim Russert is a good journalist.
I don't mean to pick on him.
But, in this instance --

Bill: Well, no, he's not.
He did this.

Howard: Well, he thought it was "Meet The Press."
And on "Meet The Press," he rules.
He asks the aggressive questions.
That's how he got his reputation.

Bill: But journalists aren't supposed to rule.

Giselle: I disagree with that.

Howard: You think journalists should rule?

Giselle: No, I think that's not the issue here.
I think the issue is sensational journalism, I think we've all been severely plagued by what it's done to the coverage of news.
But I think that Tim Russert was in his rights to ask this question.
I think it's fair.
I think that Hillary Clinton had an opportunity to say, "listen, when I found out -- I found out when you found out.
I answered you honestly."
I think he gave her an opportunity to just say, "No, I'm not ashamed.
I answered you honestly with the information I had at the time."
I think that was interesting for the American public to hear.

Bill: Interesting?
Is that really the criterion we're using now for running elections and asking questions in a political race --
what's interesting?

O'Reilly: You're raising the relevance of the question, correct?

Bill: The relevance of the question, yes.

O'Reilly: You thought it was irrelevant.

Bill: Irrelevant.

O'Reilly: All right, here's why it's not.

Bill: Not to mention the whole thing with Clinton getting a [ bleep ] was irrelavant too.
But let's just --
let's go past that.

[ Cheers and applause ]

O'Reilly: Here's why the question was relevant.
It goes to honesty of the candidate.
Now, if you believe that Hillary Clinton didn't know that her husband was fooling around, that's fine.
And you may be right.
But it's not like there wasn't a history there.
There was a history of Bill Clinton being linked with other women and his wife being put in a very difficult position, okay?
So Russert says, "Mrs. Clinton, do you feel that you should" --
should -- "apologize to the conservatives for saying it was a right-wing conspiracy, when it was proven, in that instance, that it was not?"
That was the question.
Now, Mrs. Clinton's got a free ride from the press so far.

Bill: The question was, do you think you should apologize to the American people for misleading them about something that, of course, neither one of them should have been asked in the first place.

O'Reilly: But the right-wing conspiracy was at the Brunt of his question.
See, she came on and she said, "This is all a contrived nonsense.
This is all a contrived nonsense."

Joey: I'm with him now.
He sold me.

O'Reilly: I'm winning them over.
I'm winning them over here.

[ Cheers and applause ]

He's gonna be dressing like me before the end of the program.
I guarantee it.
I'm winnin' them over.

Bill: Kids, quiet.
Daddy's speaking.
Let daddy talk.

O'Reilly: Russert says, you accuse, you accuse conservatives vast right-wing conspiracy.
Shouldn't you apologize because what was alleged was factual?

[ Joey feigning snoring ]

So that's a fair question.

[ Laughter ]

Bill: Yeah, I know.
Yeah, yeah.
I'm with you.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Joey: I'm representin' the kids.
It's the suit.
I'm sorry.

Bill: No, you know what?

Joey: If I had suit on, I'd understand what you're saying.

Bill: I felt the same way about that answer.
Because all you did was rehash the question, because you have no answer.

O'Reilly: It's a legitimate question.
It's about honest of the candidate.

Bill: About her marriage!
Why is that legitimate --

O'Reilly: Across the board, honesty, for people running for the president, Senate, and Congress is important.

Bill: Really?
You wanna answer questions about your private life, about you marriage?

O'Reilly: If I'm gonna run for office --

Giselle: It was the president that made that a public issue.

Bill: No, no.
Ken Starr made that a public issue.

Howard: Fairly, or unfairly?

[ Cheers and applause ]

Giselle: We're not debating whether --
of whether or not it should've been in the press or not.
I think the real debate is was Tim Russert fair in asking that question?
I think the American public did wanna hear finally from Hillary Clinton.

Bill: Finally?

Giselle: It appeared you could've lied.
It appeared that you could've been defending your husband, or were you accusing wrongly the right wing in a conspiracy against her husband?

Howard: Also, fairly or unfairly.
It was Hillary Clinton's role as victim in the whole Monica affair that essentially launched her Senate candidacy.
Without that having been happened, without the impeachment, she would not be running for office in the state of New York.

Bill: Right, and so the moral of the story is, just like the impeachment nonsense itself, it only helps the Clintons because the people are on the side of privacy.
And it always backfires.

[ Applause ]

All right.
We gotta take a break.
We'll be right back.

[ Cheers and applause ]


Bill: Big day in international news.
The Senate finally approved normal trade status with China.
U.S. companies have been eager to do business with China for a long time.
Now they finally can.
In fact, today, Firestone offered the Chinese a terrific deal --

[ Laughter ]

-- on 3 million slightly used tires.

[ Cheers and applause ]

All right, I wanna follow up this discussion we were having --
really about whether it's appropriate to ask a politician or anybody about their marriage.
And I think I know why you hold the feeling you do.
Because, I was reading your book -- which I'd be happy to plug again.
There it is, "The O'Reilly Factor."
And you say right here on page 108 --
"Marriage is vitally important to having a successful life."
And, you know --

[ One audience member claps ]

Giselle: There's one.

O'Reilly: It paid off for one person up there.

Giselle: I think Martha Stewart, Oprah, might disagree with you.
And perhaps 50% of the American public.

O'Reilly: Well, good.
If those are the people disagreeing with me, I know I'm right.

[ Audience oohs ]

Giselle: Well, Bill, excuse me, in all due respects --

Joey: Oh, hey, whoa.

Giselle: In all due respect --

Joey: Hey, ho, ho.
Hey, ho.

Giselle: At nearly 39 years old, I've never been married.
And I have enjoyed a fair amount --

Howard: You acknowledge it --

Giselle: I acknowledge it.
Thank you.
God bless you.

Howard: But, there are always exceptions to the rule.

Giselle: Well, I think there are many exceptions.
I think I ascribe to what Katherine Hepburn said.
"Why give up the admiration of many for the criticism of one?"

[ Laughter ]

It somehow applies.

[ Applause ]

But, I think if you define marriage as a partnership of love and respect, where the sexes are considered equal, partnership, then perhaps --

O'Reilly: A whole Lotta rules already.

Giselle: Then perhaps it can be a wonderful ideal.
But, obviously, I think that's the kind of self-righteous judgmentalism that causes rifts in our society.
And I think that's not cool.

Joey: Can I -- can I take it from a point of view.
You know, I've lived the rock-style life.
Everybody thinks I might live that -- it's really not true.
However, it seems like the single lifestyle.
But then you turn on, like -- I was watching the Emmys.
That wasn't an ABC plug at all, by the way.

Bill: That's okay.

Joey: I was watching the Emmys, and when I got verclempt the most --

Bill: Joey.

Joey: When I got a little verclempt was when all the actors got up, like Jack Lemmon, thanked his wife and, like, he got teary-eyed.
And I agree with you, Bill.
I think that after -- it's meaningful.
It really creates a foundation.
And it makes me think, like, well, maybe it's not the single life that's gonna make it for me.
It's really --

Bill: Joey, that's a bad example, 'cause what people say publicly to their wives are things they're saying so they don't get beat up when they go home.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Of course you have to say --
at an awards ceremony you have to thank God and your wife.
And then you're covered.

O'Reilly: Al Gore may be elected President for one reason, because of the kiss he laid on Tipper Gore.

Bill: Right.

Joey: Ah.

O'Reilly: Now, what I wrote in my book --
Giselle, I was single for a long, long time.
Nobody wanted to marry me.
And you can understand why.

[ Laughter ]

Actually, it's pretty apparent why.
What I'm saying in the book is, that if you can somehow get a successful marriage and you can have children and have stability, this will add to your life immeasurably.

Bill: No, that's not what you say in your book.
I'm reading your book.
"Marriage is vitally important to having a successful life."
That's what you say.

O'Reilly: And then there are five other pages.
You're not gonna read all the other pages.
You're reading one sentence.
There's a backup to this.

Bill: Well, what does that say?
It's written in invisible ink?

O'Reilly: Look, am I saying if you're a priest or a nun you're a failure?
I'm not saying that.
Come on, give me -- you know?

Joey: Hey, guys, come on, man!
Chill out.

Howard: When I was growing up, girls were getting the message -- subliminally as one candidate would say -- that you couldn't really have a full, complete life unless you had a husband.
That has changed.
Nobody believes that anymore.
And I think that's a healthy thing that we don't have to -- if marriage is vitally important in my life, at least according to the talking points my wife gave me before the show, some people have tried it two, three, four times.
But it's not for everybody.
And for you to suggest that it's kind of a --
you know, you can't lead a successful life without it --

O'Reilly: I didn't suggest that at all.

[ Talking over one other ]

Giselle: Unless of course --

O'Reilly: I did not make that suggestion in the least.
I said --

Giselle: But, he has a point.
You wanna know what the point is?

Howard: What is the point?
I need a translation here.

Giselle: The point is this.
If I had taken up on the passes of all those happily married executives, maybe my career would be would be much more successful than it is today.

Joey: Yeah!

O'Reilly: You would've had to marry 'em, though.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Joey: I hear that!

Bill: I think what people are doing now is going ahead with a life of commitment to people without the marriage.
Marriage is to family life what religion is to spirituality, a bureaucracy people are saying, "We don't need."
"We don't need the paper, the lawyers, the B.S."

Howard: I'm big on living in sin.
That's what you're saying.

Bill: Well, let me give you some statistics here.

[ Joey singing ]

"Send the Makeup"

[ Laughter ]

Joey: It just brought to mind the song, and I saw Bill singin' it.
Go ahead.
I'm sorry, Bill.

Giselle: I mean, but, in essence, wait a second, who would disagree?
I mean, of course the ideal of marriage, of two people committing to each other --

O'Reilly: But, Bill is disagreeing.
Go ahead.
I wanna hear the stats.

Giselle: It's a wonderful thing.
It's just that you have to come together for the right reasons.
Not because society says it's okay and this is how you define success.

O'Reilly: I believe that a little tradition in this country is good.
I'm sorry.
Stone me to death.
I think a little tradition is good.
It's good for society.
It's stable.

[ Cheers and applause ]

It helps the children.
It helps the kids.

Bill: Yeah, but tradition --
I think a much bigger problem is people not examining traditions.
Like those morons who were building that bonfire at the school.
When the bonfire fell and killed them all, they went, "We have to find a way to keep building bonfires in safety."
How about just saying, "Building bonfires is stupid"?

O'Reilly: How many of those people were married?
You know, come on.
If they had all been married and home, it never would've happened.

[ Laughter ]

[ Applause ]

Howard: It sounds like, however you dress it up, that you're kinda worshiping at the altar of the nuclear family.

O'Reilly: I'm not worshiping anybody!
I said a little tradition's good for the country.
But, if you wanna go out and have 18 wives, go ahead.
I don't care.

Howard: What about gay people, who, for many years, were made to feel outside the mainstream because they couldn't get married?

O'Reilly: I didn't make anybody feel anything.
If they wanna get married, I don't care.
Go to Vermont.
Beautiful state.

Joey: Not all of you.
Just some of you.
The one's that wanna get married.
He's a good man.

O'Reilly: The rest can stay in West Hollywood.
It's okay.

Giselle: Well, I think that's absolutely deplorable --

O'Reilly: What?

Giselle: Tradition is a wonderful thing.
But how do you define then the traditional family?
That has obviously been redefined by Americans today.
And I think we have to embrace that in a very responsible way so that we can be -- we can except exactly who we are and be happy -- if happiness and success is your criteria.

O'Reilly: This book says, if you're happy and you wanna have any kind of alternative relationship, fine.

Bill: Well, no --

O'Reilly: But the country is well-served by tradition --
if you read the book -- or are you just reading the inside?

Bill: I'm reading the book!
One line!
I could rewrite that one line.

O'Reilly: And you'd be in prison.

Bill: But, what, so the rest of the book says, "You know that one line back on page 108?
Forget about it.
Here's what I really think."
Okay, we gotta take a break.
We'll be right back.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Announcer: Join us tomorrow when our guests will be Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura, the Godfather of soul James Brown and "Third Rock from the Sun's" French Stewart and actress Andrea Abbate.

Bill: In the latest polls, George Bush is way down trying to get the women's vote.
So he did what politicians do in that situation.
He went on "Oprah" today, and boy was he pandering for that women's vote.
He promised that his health care plan would be extended to cover that not-so-fresh feeling.

[ Applause ]

Joey: So what?

Bill: Speaking of that.

Joey: So what do we do?
What's next?

Bill: Speaking of that, let me get back to Hillary Clinton for a second, because she has been accused now of reselling, I guess, the Lincoln bedroom to get donations for her campaign.
We all know that this was a big issue back a few years ago.
They said the Clintons were evil 'cause they were renting out the Lincoln bedroom to get people to donate money.
And I say good.
Compared to what politicians usually sell in this country, like Timberland and Exxon getting the right to have another oil spill, who cares about the Lincoln bedroom?
If you wanna get naked on a piece of old furniture, so what?

[ Applause ]

Giselle: Well, but, wait, depending on the mattress, it gives whole new meaning to soft money.

[ Laughter ]

Howard: But it's not mutually exclusive that if you get to sleep and get White House mints on the pillow that you also can't come back -- given your access, given the money you've given --
and ask for those legislative favors.
I mean, the sheer stupidity here, whether you think the Lincoln bedroom's an important issue or not, this was the preeminent symbol of the '96 fund-raising scandal involving Mrs. Clinton's husband.
To allow anybody who had given any money anywhere near the White House to sleep over -- they used to say, "Well, these are just friends," sure, they're friends with a lot of money -- is not good politics.

Giselle: I totally disagree.
It's her home.
Rick Lazio entertains --

Howard: It's the people's home.

O'Reilly: Yeah, it's our home, Giselle.

Giselle: But it's also her home.

Howard: She's just there.

Bill: Oh, it's not your home!

Joey: Yes, it is.

O'Reilly: I'm paying the lighting bills.
You're paying the water bill and I'm paying the lighting bill.
They're not payin' a dime.

[ Applause ]

Joey: They are.
They pay taxes.

Giselle: And we voted for them to be able.
And it's been done before.
And besides, let me ask a question.
What's the big deal --

O'Reilly: It's tacky!
It's tacky!
That's the big deal.

Giselle: No, what's the big deal about the Lincoln bedroom?
The guy had one kid.
The Kennedy bedroom.
Now, that I'd like to at least --

[ Cheers and applause ]

You know?

Bill: But, again, it's this case of misplaced outrage.

O'Reilly: Can't we have any dignity?
Can't we have any dignity in this government anymore?
Does everything have to be for sale?

Giselle: Oh, it's their home!

O'Reilly: Does everything have to be?

Bill: It's what you're worried about that's for sale.

O'Reilly: What am I worried about?

Bill: I'm much more worried about what the oil men, who are running on the other ticket, are selling, which is our real resource.

O'Reilly: So you're telling me the Clintons, that's all they do.
They don't sell the other stuff?

Bill: Oh, no.
I'm not saying that at all.

O'Reilly: 'Cause they can be ambidextrous here, Bill.

Joey: They got the best stuff on the market.
They got the good stuff --
politics, freedom, things like that.

[ Laughter ]

I'm having my own show as we speak.
The young kids are watching me and everyone else is watching you.

Bill: Joey's getting his information from "The Weekly Reader."

[ Laughter ]

Joey: I'd like to see --

Bill: Joey, I told you --

Joey: See, I was so young that went right over my head.
So it doesn't matter.

Howard: But Joey, let me explain this in terms anyone can understand.

Joey: Thank you.
I'm on your side.

Howard: The Lincoln bedroom, which Bill thinks is so unimportant, is a symbol.
What is it a symbol of?
It's a symbol of a political system that is choking on money, where donors get their way in a way that millions of ordinary Americans who can't afford the big bucks can't.
And anybody that's in the Senate, I listened to 50 speeches by John McCain, whose candidacy was fueled by outrage at this special-interest money, talk about President Clinton turning the White House into a Motel 6.
And, certainly, his wife should understand the political dangers.
Even if it's just symbolic.

O'Reilly: To be fair, it didn't start with the Clintons.
You know, President Bush had Rush Limbaugh in the Lincoln bedroom.
And why?
See, it didn't start with the Clintons.
This sleazy stuff has been going on --

Bill: But sleazy.

O'Reilly: It's sleazy.

Bill: I know it's sleazy.
But is sleazy really as important as evil?

O'Reilly: I don't want --

[ Laughter ]

Bill: How about getting your priorities in order, Bill.

O'Reilly: I'm agreeing with you.
I want evil and sleazy away from the White House.
I want 'em both out of there.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Bill: I know.
But you just seem madder about the sleazy.

O'Reilly: No.
If you watch my television program, I'm really mad about the evil.

Bill: Okay, well, as Joey will back me up, you know what the definition of sleazy is?
Someone who's getting more sex than you are.
We gotta take a break.
We will be right back.

[ Applause ]


Bill: We've been talking about Hillary Clinton.
And as I said, every time she looks like the man is attacking her, she goes up in the polls.
Now, they talk about October surprises.
Don't you think, if Clinton really loved Hillary, he'd have an affair in October?
Don't you think that would put her over the top?

O'Reilly: How do we know --
no, I'm not gonna do it.
I'm not doin' it.
I'm gonna --
Here's how clever Maher is.
He set me and wanted me to fall into that trap.
I'm not gonna do it.

Giselle: Cigar?

Joey: You already did.

O'Reilly: But look, Rick Lazio almost did enough for Hillary by his charge over.

Howard: Whatever happened to taking the high road?

Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher


Executive Producers
Bill Maher
Nancy Geller
Jerry Nachman
Marilyn Willson

Co-Executive Producer
Kevin Hamburger

Sheila Griffiths

Created By
Bill Maher

Directed By
Michael Dimich

Writing Supervised By
Billy Martin

Kevin Bleyer
Brian Jacobsmeyer
Bill Kelley
Bill Maher
Billy Martin
Jerry Nachman
Ned Rice
Danny Vermont
Eric Weinberg

Coordinating Producer
Joy Dolce

Associate Director
Bob Staley

Stage Manager
Patrick Whitney

John Cramer

Executive in Charge of Production
John Fisher

Brad Grey
Bernie Brillstein
Marc Gurvitz

© 2000 Follow Up Productions

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