FNC anchor Bill O’Reilly appeared on Studio B this afternoon to address TVNewser’s story about what else Rev. Jesse Jackson said when he was recorded chatting with a fellow guest prior to going live on Fox News July 6. The O’Reilly Factor aired portions of the tape last Wednesday.
Today, on Shepard Smith’s program, O’Reilly confirmed, “It’s one word, a disparaging word.”
“N-word?” asked Smith. “Yeah, and it’s trash-talking,” said O’Reilly.
O’Reilly went on to explain why his show didn’t originally play the full tape: “I’m not in the business of hurting Jesse Jackson, because it does hurt Jesse Jackson. And I’m not in the business of creating some kind of controversy that is not relevant to the general subject: one civil rights leader disparaging another, over policy. So we held it back.”
Then he turned his attention to the person who tipped off TVNewser. “Some weasel leaked it to the internet,” he said. “That person wants to hurt Jesse Jackson.”
And what about the setting Jackson went to give his first response to the tape?
After FNC informed Jackson of the tape last Wednesday, he decided to first go on CNN and was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer.
Said O’Reilly: “Do I care? Not really. You’ve got to understand Jesse Jackson is free to go on whatever he wants. He gets an easier ride over there, no disparagement to CNN but he does, then coming on to explain it to me. So he chose to do that.”
Smith and O’Reilly mentioned Jackson also went on CNN Election Center with Campbell Brown at 8pmET, but did not say he also called in to On the Record with Greta Van Susteren on FNC at 10pmET.
O’Reilly also rehashed the backstory of the tape, leading up to the “leak” to TVNewser today.
“Do we know who leaked it, and what’s happened to that person?” asked Smith.
“No, but I’ve got the waterboard right over here,” O’Reilly responded.