Bill O'Reilly vs Joshua Gotbaum (The Transcript)
Mr. Gotbaum Exposes O'Reilly as Mis-Informed


11-30-2001, This is a transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, it has not been edited in any way. I have added some comments in a few places where it says NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER: but I did not edit one word from the orginal transcript. When you read this you will see that Bill O'Reilly was mis-informed and confused when he attacked Mr. Gotbaum in his talking points and in his interview of Mr. Gotbaum. You would think someone who claims to have a no spin zone and claims to be fair and balanced and only deal in facts would check those facts before he wrongly attacked Mr. Gotbaum with bogus stats and mis-information. What is with all the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) comments after Mr. Gotbaums name ? None of Mr. O'reillys answers have (UNINTELLIGIBLE) except one. Aint this spin Bill ? Why doctor the transcripts ?

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight. President Bush says the capture of Usama bin Laden may take years.

But some Americans are already running lotteries on which day will be his last on earth. Despite Mr. Bush's words, it looks as if bin Laden's time is dwindling.

A report coming up. But first, the Talking Points memo. Bad news concerning the United Way. Buster Sappenfield, who lives in Lawrenceville, Georgia, writes,"Bill, thanks for getting the Red Cross to do the right thing. Now, please get the United Way straightened out." Not easy, Mr. Sappenfield.

We've given the United Way enough time to sort things out, and they have let us down. The September 11 Fund has now collected close to $300 million,half of that from the TV telethon. At this point, just 15 percent of the money has been disbursed,and there are some very questionable organizations getting some of the donations. As we've been telling you, the United Way does not give money directly to people,they give it to other nonprofit agencies who then decide what to do with it. So with your donations, the United Way has lent the Brooklyn Philharmonic,for example, $200,000. The Institute for the Development of Earth Awareness got a grant for $5,000. The Jennifer Muller Dance Troupe got a grant for $25,000.

NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER: WRONG BILL: That money came out of the general 9-11 fund not the victims families fund, The telethon money (300 million) is only going to victims and their families. You were wrong, you should do a retraction of this now !

And the New York Scandia Symphony got as much as $20,000. The Mothers' Voice AIDS prevention program got a grant for $100,000. Harvestworks got a loan for $30,000.

NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER: WRONG BILL: That money came out of the general 9-11 fund not the victims families fund, The telethon money (300 million) is only going to victims and their families.

That organization makes production facilities available for filmmakers and composers. A digital art operation called Three-Legged Dog got almost $33,000 of your money.

Now, the United Way says that these and other organizations like them were all adversely affected by the terror attack, and we have no argument with that.

But that's not what Americans were told by the Hollywood celebrities who pitched us on TV. We were pitched helping the families.

NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER: WRONG BILL: And thats what we got, the families have a seperate 9-11 fund. The money that went to the digital art company etc. came out of the general 9-11 fund not the victims families fund, The telethon money (300 million) is only going to victims and their families. If you had verified your information you would have known that. You could have checked it out in 2 minutes at the united way 9-11 web site, aren't you the facts guy ? What happened ?

And there's more. The United Way has given $60,000 to the Arab American Support Center, almost $60,000 to the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest organization,which dabbles in environmental justice. And the United Way has given $30,000 to the Asian American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Again, these organizations may be very worthy of support, but they should be under the banner of the 9/11 fund. Should they be under that banner?

The fact is that the United Way has changed the mandate in midstream, saying now the entire 9/11 fund will not go directly to the grieving families, as was the telethon pitch.

NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER: WRONG BILL: That money came out of the general 9-11 fund not the victims families fund, The telethon money (300 million) is only going to victims and their families.

In the new turn, the fund will go toward, quote, "immediate and longer-term needs of the victims, their families, and communities affected by the tragedy."

So now the canvas is much wider, and some Americans believe they've been snookered. So the right thing to do is for the United Way to give refunds if people want them.

A canceled check or credit card slip would be proof. If the United Way is not willing to do that, it will be forever marked as an outfit that cannot be trusted.

And that's the memo. Now for some reaction. Joining us from Washington is Joshua Gotbaum, the CEO of the United Way's September 11 Fund.

What say you, Mr. Gotbaum?

JOSHUA GOTBAUM, CEO, SEPTEMBER 11 FUND: I say, Bill, that you have got it half right.

Millions of people contributed to the September 11 Fund so that we would provide financial security for the victims and their families, and we're doing that.

We have written -- we've funded organizations that have written more than 20,000 checks covering mortgages, tuition payments, et cetera.

But -- and this is an important but -- other donors contributed to the September 11 Fund because they wanted to make sure that we would support the nonprofit institutions,the cultural institutions and cultural institutions, health care institutions, et cetera, that also make up part of the community. And we are honoring their...

O'REILLY: Well, why didn't you make...

GOTBAUM: ... wishes too.

O'REILLY: Two separate funds then? What say you, Mr. Gotbaum?

GOTBAUM: We (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'REILLY: Why, why is it fair for...

GOTBAUM: From (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'REILLY: ... a guy from Lawrenceville, Georgia, to respond and give $50 to a movie star,and then see that $50 go to an organization like EarthWorks or whatever it is that he doesn't particular like?

GOTBAUM: actually, Bill, his contribution to the telethon is not going to any cultural institutions.

The telethon money was specifically reserved for victims and their families, and not one dime of that money is going to cultural institutions.

However, we do have another fund, the General September 11 Fund, which, from day one, it was announced would have a broad purpose,which from day one they said it will cover the victims, their families, and the...

O'REILLY: All right, I'm confused now.

GOTBAUM: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and it's with that money...

O'REILLY: You have a September 11 Fund...

GOTBAUM: ... Bill, that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that money...

O'REILLY: Right. Wait a minute...

GOTBAUM: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we are providing support to nonprofit organizations whose facilities were devastated on September 11...

NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER: Whats up with all the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on Mr. Gotbaums answers ? I thought this was the no spin zone ? Why is it none of o'reillys questions or answers have (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on them except one ? Coincidence ? No way. Hmmmmm, o'reilly is confused and Mr. Gotbaums answers have been edited with (UNINTELLIGIBLE) everywhere. Looks like spin to me from o'reilly and his transcription people.

O'REILLY: I'm very confused.

GOTBAUM: ... or operations were disrupted.

O'REILLY: I'm very confused. how many September 11 funds do you have, how many?

GOTBAUM: There are two.

O'REILLY: There are two ? GOTBAUM: There's the September 11...

O'REILLY: This is the first I'm hearing about this. There's the September 11 telethon fund, is that right?

GOTBAUM: That's right.

O'REILLY: And then there's the September 11 what fund?

GOTBAUM: There is the General September 11 Fund,whose doors were opened on September 11. There is a separate fund, also administered jointly by the United Way and the New York Community Trust,that was set up specifically to receive the contributions...

O'REILLY: So no telethon money's...

GOTBAUM: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'REILLY: ... going into that.

GOTBAUM: Pardon?

O'REILLY: No telethon money's going into that general fund.

GOTBAUM: The telethon money is not going into the general fund. The telethon money is reserved specifically for the victims and their families.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, is all of it going to go to the victims and their families?

GOTBAUM: One hundred percent.

O'REILLY: That means you're not taking any administrative costs off that at all?

GOTBAUM: Yes, actually,thank you for (UNINTELLIGIBLE) enabling me to make that point too. One of the things that the United Way and the New York Community Trust said from day one is,the administrative costs of the September 11 Fund are not going to be borne by contributions to the September 11 Fund. We will raise those costs separately.

So as a result, my rent, my salary, that of my staff, et cetera, does not come out of the September 11.

Every penny that goes into the September 11 Fund goes out as grants to help the victims and their families, and to the General Fund affected communities.

O'REILLY: Do you have a database with all the victims' names and addresses in it?

NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER: Notice how once o'reilly has been caught in his lies he changes the subject to where is your database ? It's an old republican trick, as soon as you are caught lying change the subject as fast as possible.

GOTBAUM: not yet, but we are working very hard to get one up. We have encouraged our grantees to work together to get up a common database...

O'REILLY: But that's your responsibility.

GOTBAUM: ... so that we can do -- Pardon?

O'REILLY: That's your responsibility.

GOTBAUM: Actually, Bill, no one can -- right now, no one has a definitive list. We don't have a definitive list.

What we've done is, we've worked with Elliott Spitzer, the attorney general of New York State, we've worked with the frontline charities, and we've said to them,

You must get this done. They're working on it, and we've said, Cost will not be an object. If cost is an issue, we'll pay for it.

O'REILLY: Well, look, we're now going into three months after this attack, and you still don't have the names and the database of the people,that means obviously you haven't contacted the people. You've given 15 percent of the money out from the September 11 Fund. I don't know whether that's both funds,because I'm just hearing tonight now there's two funds. I just thought there was one. Everybody else in my organization just felt there was one fund.

Now you're telling me there's two. This is confusing, very confusing to people. Now.

NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER: Maybe they cant contact them without a data base and they have not contacted the united way ? Maybe the red cross has already helped them, the rule is you cant double dip, your boy ridge said no double dipping. Hey Bill, I am not confused, Mr. Gotbaum has told you 3 or 4 times there are two 9-11 funds. You (Mr. O'Reilly are the only one who is confused) not anyone else. I went to the united way web site and saw everything, it is not that confusing.

GOTBAUM: Well, then I think it's very important that we set the record straight.

O'REILLY: All right, fine. But, I mean, we've been trying to get information out of you guys for a long time,and it's not been easy, Mr. Gotbaum, it has not been easy. Now, you say...

GOTBAUM: Well, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Bill, let me, let me say this, Bill...

O'REILLY: ... you say -- Hold it, hold it, hold it. Hold it.

GOTBAUM: ... this is the single most -let's be clear -- this is the largest disaster in American history...

O'REILLY: I -- all right.

GOTBAUM: ... this is the largest...

O'REILLY: But if the Red Cross can straighten themselves out...

GOTBAUM: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the most (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'REILLY: ... so can you, OK?

GOTBAUM: And (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'REILLY: And you're still much more confused than they are at this juncture.

Now, you don't give money directly to the families, as you've admitted a million times before.

GOTBAUM: And that...

O'REILLY: You use other organizations to do that, right?

GOTBAUM: That's exactly right, and...

O'REILLY: Well, how can you guarantee me and anybody else that that money is all going to get to the families? Because those organizations,and we've listed a whole bunch of them, they have overhead costs, and, and, and they're going to take a slice of that money. So it's not going to all get to the families, is it?

GOTBAUM: Bill, let's be clear. The administrative costs of the September 11 Fund are not -- don't come out of the September 11 Fund.

We fund frontline organizations that deliver services to people, and the reason we do that is because that way we don't have to wait to build up a large organization to help people.

O'REILLY: All right, but you're telling me...

GOTBAUM: We fund (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'REILLY: ... that those organizations that you funded...

GOTBAUM: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'REILLY: Mr. Gotbaum, hold it.

GOTBAUM: ... Safe Horizon, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'REILLY: Mr. Gotbaum!

GOTBAUM: We funded Safe Horizon, which was an existing organization,because they could write checks for people on the spot. We gave them the money, and they have written over 20,000 checks...

O'REILLY: All right. Mr. Gotbaum, are you telling me...

GOTBAUM: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE). That's the (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'REILLY: ... that all of the -- all of the organizations that you fund, they're not taking a penny for administrative costs? Is that what you're telling me?

GOTBAUM: No, that is not my point. I'm saying the September 11 Fund is taking not a penny from the fund. We are...

O'REILLY: All right, now, look, you're dancing, and I'm getting steamed. You say you're not taking any administrative costs, and I believe you.

NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER: O'Reilly is confused so he gets mad at Mr. Gotbaum because he is confused ? What O'Reilly is really mad at is himself and his staff for being mis-informed and just flat out wrong on all these issues. O'Reilly is really mad because Mr. Gotbaum is showing him to be a mis-informed blowhard moron on national tv. That is really why he is mad.

GOTBAUM: That's right.

O'REILLY: But that's a shell game, if you're giving it to other people who are taking administrative costs out.

GOTBAUM: Bill, I got to tell you, I don't agree with you, and here's why.

O'REILLY: You don't agree? It's a fact.

NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER: Why is it a fact ? Because you say so Bill ? So far you have been wrong on everything in this interview, aren't you listening to this interview ? Mr. Gotbaum has tried to explain it to you 4 or 5 times and you wont let him or you just wont listen.

GOTBAUM: Here -- no, sorry. It is a fact that we fund the cost of delivering services to the victims and their families. And the reason we do that is because if we said,

We won't pay for the rent to deliver this, or for the people to -- the payrolls of the people who do it,if we waited until we had volunteer people and volunteer facilities and volunteer computers, the victims would be waiting till kingdom come.

O'REILLY: That's fine. Just say that.

NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER: He has, 4 or 5 times, you dont want to hear it because then it proves you wrong and you just cant believe you are ever wrong. Earth to Bill. you are wrong.

GOTBAUM: If we don't do that, and...

O'REILLY: Just say that. Don't say...

GOTBAUM: And Bill, I am, and I will...

O'REILLY: ... it's all...

GOTBAUM: ... and I just said it again, OK?

O'REILLY: All right, but listen, Mr. Gotbaum, you're pettifogging this issue like crazy. I'm going to take a break,we're going to bring in another person on who's an expert in this nonprofit stuff. But you're doing a dance, and I don't think you should be doing that.

NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER: The only person doing a dance is you Mr. O'Reilly, Mr. Gotbaum has honestly answered every one of your questions. You are doing the dancing not him.

GOTBAUM: Bill, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'REILLY: I think everybody wants...

GOTBAUM: ... Bill, let me say, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'REILLY: ... we didn't know there were two funds, now we think -- now we know there are two.

NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER: Now you think ? Now you know ? there are 2 funds, I knew it after Mr. Gotbaum said it the 1st time, How you say ? Because I went to their web site and looked.

GOTBAUM: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'REILLY: You said all the money's going to go, now you say, no, we have to pay administrative costs. Come on!

GOTBAUM: All right, Bill...

O'REILLY: Let's take the break, let's take a deep breath, I got to take one, you got to take one,we'll bring on another guest in a moment. Let's take a break, we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'REILLY: Continuing now with a look at the United Way's September 11 Fund, joining us is the CEO of that fund, Joshua Gotbaum from Washington,and now from Los Angeles, Renata Rafferty, a charity consultant and author of the book "Don't Just Give It Away: How to Make the Most of Your Charitable Giving."

Now, to be fair to Mr. Gotbaum, I'm going to try to stay out of this discussion, and let you, Renata, take the opening,and then we'll let Mr. Gotbaum reply to that and then go back and forth. So what had -- what say you?

RENATA RAFFERTY, CHARITY CONSULTANT: I guess what disappoints me is that the United Way and the September 11 Fund,in an effort to try to avoid the traps the Red Cross got into, is trying to be very specific about what it's doing with the money,but it is not being clear with Americans who donated the money about what happens to that money once it leaves the United Way.

I think it's a bit disingenuous to say none of the money in the September 11 Fund...

GOTBAUM: Renata, that's -- Renata, that...

RAFFERTY: ... is going to go to overhead costs when it will be going to overhead costs at those charities to whom you're disbursing the funds. That's simply a fact.

GOTBAUM: Renata, that is just plain not true. This is the single most open and visible charitable effort in history.

Name me one other charity that puts up every single grant on its Web site within a week of the time it makes it. We have been very clear...

RAFFERTY: All I'm saying is...

GOTBAUM: ... if -- very clear what we do...

RAFFERTY: I -- Mr. Gotbaum...

GOTBAUM: ... fund and what we don't fund.

RAFFERTY: ... as I have said on Mr. O'Reilly's show before, there is nothing wrong, and it's quite standard,that charitable organizations take a portion of the funds they receive to do the -- to pay for the things that aren't necessarily direct program and services but necessary overhead.

What I'm having a problem with is the September 11 Fund not being straight out and letting people knowthat that's how at least some small portion of the money will be used once it gets to the...

O'REILLY: Miss Rafferty, were you aware that there are...

RAFFERTY: ... to these other charities. That's, that's (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

O'REILLY: ... were you aware, Miss Rafferty,that there are two September 11 Funds? Were you aware of that?

RAFFERTY: Absolutely not. And I'll tell you that concerns me,because I am someone who is highly involved and highly visible in the sector and have made a point of being as aptly informed, certainly more so than most of the public...

GOTBAUM: Renata, Renata, take...

RAFFERTY: ... and that was not clear.

GOTBAUM: Renata, take a look at our Web site.

RAFFERTY: I have looked at the Web site, sir.

GOTBAUM: It's there.

RAFFERTY: Your Web site...

GOTBAUM: Take a look at our Web site.

RAFFERTY: ... your Web site suggests that there is one fund, the money will go to victims, their families,and other organizations' short- and long-term needs. Now, I don't have a problem and I don't think the American-public has a problem with money going to relief-based organizations. But tell me whether you believe it was truly donor intent that the money should go to, for example,the Brooklyn Philharmonic versus going to a homeless or food shelter in southern Californiathat also had to cancel its fund-raising efforts and has been (UNINTELLIGIBLE) hit substantially by contributions.

NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER, aka Stewert: Miss Rafferty is either stupid or a liar, I went to the United Way 9-11 fund web site and it is pretty clear there are 2 funds. They could explain it a little better like saying 9-11 fund #1 and 9-11 fund #2 etc. but after about a minute of looking it's pretty clear there are 2 funds. One is for business donations and one is for the victims families fund. When you click on the business fund page it lists the foundations who have donated and it tells what will happen to that money. When you clik the donation page to the victims 9-11 fund it asks you where you want the money to go etc. They even have 2 seperate links to donate to the 2 different funds, they could make the links a little clearer but it is pretty obvious if you look for a minute.

Then she implies that money from the victims fund is going to the Brooklyn Philharmonic, this is totally untrue and she knows it. She just heard Mr. Gotbaum tell O'Reilly that money came out of the 2nd business 9-11 general fund. Miss Rafferty was spinning as much as o'reilly. They were both confused and wrong and the only thing I agreed with them on is that to have only paid out 15% of the money and IF thats true it seems low to me. I think at least 30 to 40 percent of that money should have been paid out by now.

GOTBAUM: Renata, it was...

RAFFERTY: The Web site does not clearly state the money is only going to go to New York. If it's not only going to New York,

I'm going to say that there are other charities in this country that have been (UNINTELLIGIBLE) hit a lot harderthan some of those few arts organizations that have been noted on your Web site and in your press release.

O'REILLY: All right, let Mr. Gotbaum reply.

GOTBAUM: Renata, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)..

RAFFERTY: That's what I'm concerned about.

O'REILLY: Go ahead, Mr. Gotbaum.

GOTBAUM: OK. Do we have an equal time (UNINTELLIGIBLE) here?

O'REILLY: Yes, go ahead.

GOTBAUM: Thanks. From day one, the United Way and the New York Community Trust, which created the September 11 Fund, said,

We want a broad fund to meet the needs of the victims, their families, and the affected communities.

RAFFERTY: No, I...(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: ... let him finish, Renata, Renata...(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: ... let him finish.

RAFFERTY: OK.

GOTBAUM: ... from day one, it's been very clear that we -- that there would be a special focus on New York and Washington, D.C.,which were the communities that suffered the greatest damage. And from day one, it's been clear that we had donors who wanted us,in addition to dealing with the financial needs of the immediate victims -- and they're doing that -- we had donors who said,

You should take a look at the non profits that are an essential part of this community too. Folks like the Ford Foundation, which gave $5 million to the September 11 Fund,said, We want this grant to cover non profits. Folks like the Ma Foundation, which gave...

RAFFERTY: Sure.

GOTBAUM: ... more than a million dollars, said, We want to do that.

O'REILLY: Then you should have sliced it off...

GOTBAUM: And that's the reason why...

O'REILLY: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE) then though.

GOTBAUM: ... we have two 9-11 funds.....

O'REILLY: You should have sliced it off with them.

GOTBAUM: ... with both needs. I'm sorry, Bill?

O'REILLY: You should have sliced it off and had them give what they wanted, and, look, the problem here,and I got to wrap this up, and I appreciate both of you coming on, especially you, Mr. Gotbaum, because you knew you were going to go into a firestorm,the problem here is confusion and chaos. And I've had enough of it, personally, and I think the audience has had enough of it too.

You've had enough time, Mr. Gotbaum, to get a database list of who needs the money, to get a clear picture of what the September 11 Fund is. Now we know there's two.

This is the first time that me or my staff has known that. We've been investigating it for two months. Renata didn't know it, she's in the business.

So it's your fault...

GOTBAUM: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'REILLY: ... the onus is on you...

GOTBAUM: ... It's all on the Web site...

O'REILLY: Web site, shmeb site...

NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER: Here Mr. Gotbaum tells Mr. O'Reilly to actually go look at the web site and you will see everything he said is true, what does o'reilly say ? Web site, shmeb site... O'Reilly dont even want to know the truth he just wants to look like a big shot by hammering some charity guy to feed his own overblown ego. Go look o'reilly you dummy.

GOTBAUM: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'REILLY: ... the onus is on you, with all the money that you have, more than $300 million, to get the word out to the folks.

It's not the folks's responsibility to try to figure out this Web. It's your responsibility.

NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER: O'Reilly probably dont even know a url from a browser. Anyone with half a brain would have checked their web site before the interview.

GOTBAUM: And Bill, that's why I came on.

O'REILLY: And -- OK, and we respect that.

GOTBAUM: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), OK, because...

O'REILLY: We respect that.

GOTBAUM: ... that -- because this is public...

O'REILLY: And we'll let the audience decide...

NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER: Yeah and we decided you unfairly attacked Mr. Gotbaum on a number of issues with bogus information that you were totally wrong on. I have decided you are a moron with a lame cable tv news/entertainment show that is mostly right-wing spin.

GOTBAUM: ... and we are accountable.

O'REILLY: ... who's doing the job. Miss Rafferty, Mr. Gotbaum, thanks very much.

GOTBAUM: Thanks.

RAFFERTY: Thank you.