O’Reilly on WND’s press gallery victory

By WND Staff

Editor’s note: This is a transcript of Bill O’Reilly’s interview with WorldNetDaily Washington bureau chief Paul Sperry last night on the Fox News Channel.

BILL O’REILLY: In the “Back of the Book” segment tonight, WorldNetDaily is an Internet news site that has broken some interesting stories. In fact, your humble correspondent writes a weekly column for them.

It seems, however, that some in the elite media don’t like the website’s reporting and have denied their Washington correspondent credentials to cover the Senate (Congress) for nearly two years.

One of the journalists on the credentials committee, Jim Kuhnhenn from Knight Ridder said, quote, “I cannot support their application because, if I do, I would be endorsing extortion journalism.”

Joining us now from Washington is Paul Sperry, the Washington bureau chief of WorldNetDaily.com, the guy in the center of the storm. They basically say you threatened them, and they don’t like you, but you won because you did threaten to sue them, and now they gave you the credential, right?

PAUL SPERRY, WorldNetDaily.com: That’s – well, that’s right. We – basically, this is the “Reader’s Digest” version of a battle that took place over about 19 months.

They tried to tie us to the vast right-wing conspiracy. They got contacted by our lawyers, and they back-pedaled when our lawyers threatened to sue them, and content-based discrimination is what they engaged in.

That’s unconstitutional. Essentially, they were censoring us from covering Congress.

O’REILLY: They think you’re a conservative group? Is that what they think?

SPERRY: Yeah. Our lawyer uncovered a document – it was a two-page – a research document they used to investigate us, and it was replete with references to conservative, conservatism, Bill Clinton, Richard Mellon Scaife, Judicial Watch, Larry Klayman, right wing, the new right.

O’REILLY: All right. So they think you’re hit men for the right, but, you know, I …

SPERRY: Well, that’s content-based …

O’REILLY: … read your site …

SPERRY: That’s content-based discrimination.

O’REILLY: OK. And they do allow in Red Chinese people and everybody else, right?

SPERRY: They – they have credentialed Beijing’s Communist newspaper, Xinhua. Its reporters double as spies on the U.S. And also other state-run organs.

They’ve also accredited, interestingly enough, Salon.com as a periodical. Now Salon …

O’REILLY: Yeah. Of course. Now, I mean, they’re the left-wing …

SPERRY: Salon.com …

O’REILLY: Right. If you’re right wing, they’re left wing, and – I say everybody should get credentialed that are – everybody that’s a legitimate journalist. Now we must …

SPERRY: Well, you can’t …

O’REILLY: I’ve got to …

SPERRY: You can’t engage in content discrimination. That’s what they did. That’s unconstitutional.

O’REILLY: OK. All right.

SPERRY: You can’t do that.

O’REILLY: That’s fine. Now you won, so I’m not arguing with you. But …

SPERRY: We won. We got our credentials last Tuesday.

O’REILLY: Right.

Now I want to just tell people that the committee to give you the access to cover the Senate is not (comprised of) senators. They’re journalists. Columbus Dispatch, Cox Newspapers, Knight Ridder, Reuters and Bloomberg News.

You’d think journalists would be sympathetic to other journalists. I would be. I don’t care what your point of view is.

SPERRY: Well, not in this town. It’s a club they’ve got going down there, and they’ve discriminated against a number of other applicants, working journalists, and they expect you to just – apparently, to just roll over and play dead.

We didn’t. We fought them for 19 – actually, the first 12 months, we jumped through all their hoops. They stonewalled us for 12 months. We were deferential. We had the patience of Job with these guys. And then finally, they denied us back in January.

And then we appealed. Our lawyer got involved and found the smoking gun document that they had.

O’REILLY: Yeah. And then they had to give it to you.

SPERRY: That’s right.

O’REILLY: Did Job get credentialed, by the way? Was he involved? Just a joke, Mr. Sperry.

All right. We wanted everybody to know that the press – there’s a war in the press, too. There really is. Rather to – and we see it all the time here on “The Factor.” But I’m glad you’re in there. You know, I hope you cause some trouble, and just …

SPERRY: Well …

O’REILLY: Just be accurate because I’ve had a lot of trouble, not with WorldNetDaily, but with a lot of other Internet sites because they just print whatever they want, you know.

SPERRY: Interestingly, all five members – the news outlets represented by all five members on that committee have picked up stories that WorldNetDaily.com has broken.

O’REILLY: All right. Mr. Sperry, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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