O'Reilly says Fox News only held back Jackson’s ‘trash talk’


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NEW YORK -- Fox News host Bill O’Reilly tonight defended the network’s decision to hold back some footage of Rev. Jesse Jackson disparaging Sen. Barack Obama that was caught on tape this week.

The Fox News host, who on Wednesday showed a clip of Jackson saying he wanted to cut the candidate’s “nuts off,” said tonight that the unaired material included “trash talk” that was not “relevant to public policy.”


“You got the entire story concerning Jackson and Obama,” O’Reilly told viewers.

Earlier today, a Fox News executive said the cable news channel was considering whether to run more of the footage of Jackson’s comments, which the civil rights leader made Sunday morning while waiting to be interviewed on ‘Fox & Friends.’

Here’s an excerpt of O'Reilly’s remarks on tonight’s “The O’Reilly Factor”:

We held back some of Jackson’s comments because they were not relevant to public policy. If we were trying to hurt the man, or the Democratic Party, we surely would have used those comments. The fact that we did hold back some of Jackson’s remarks has angered some viewers, like Steven Graham, who lives in Laramie, Wyo. He writes, ‘Bill, you only reported half of the story. Do you think NBC or CNN would have reported half the story if Bush or Cheney had been overheard?’ Well, you’re absolutely right about the president and vice president, sir. The left-wing media would have used every damaging thing they had, especially NBC News, which routinely lies about conservatives and Republicans to its everlasting disgrace. But we are not like them. You got the entire story concerning Jackson and Obama. Nothing was held back on that. We didn’t run some trash talk that had nothing to do with policy. As most people know, the ‘Factor’ has been tough on Jesse Jackson, holding him accountable for what he does in the public arena, and even investigating his finances. But we are not out to hurt the man in personal ways. Again, that separates us from the vicious media that we deplore. We hold nothing back about policy. We are tough but fair to everyone, but the personal stuff we reject, unless it affects your life. That policy has served us well over the past 12 years. No spin analysis. It holds the powerful accountable and protects the folks, especially the kids and the elderly. But no personal stuff, unless it is absolutely necessary.

-- Matea Gold