Bob Costas Blasts Conservatives Over ‘Cut-and-Paste’ Putin Olympics Comments on ‘O'Reilly Factor’

NBC Olympics anchor dismisses “flimsy pretext for a controversy” over what some had painted as his defense of Russia's president during the Sochi Winter Games

NBC Olympics anchor Bob Costas appeared on Fox News Channel's “O'Reilly Factor” Monday night to address head-on the controversy that had brewed in some conservative media circles over how the veteran sportscaster characterized Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Sochi Winter Olympics last month.

Costas came under fire after a segment during NBC's Feb. 6 opening night coverage in which conservative blogs like NewsBusters say he praised Putin as a statesman “superior” to U.S. President Barack Obama.

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Fox News host Bill O'Reilly asked the sportscaster whether he thought the criticism was fair.

“No, because it was entirely out of context,” Costas said.

He went on to say that he was actually hesitant to appear with O'Reilly — who actually defended Costas at the time — for fear of continuing to call attention to a “nonissue.”

“I was reluctant to come on,” Costas said. “I come on out of respect to you; you've always been fair to me, but I run the risk of amplifying what should be a nonissue.

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“This is a controversy only for those looking for the most flimsy pretext for a controversy and a kind of cut-and-paste thing that isn't even journalism,” he added.

Costas said that all of his coverage was available on the NBC Olympics website and chastised critics who he says deliberately misinterpreted that Feb. 6 segment on Putin and ignored the fact that Costas regularly contextualized “Putin's Olympics” against the backdrop of an oppressive, nondemocratic Russian regime.

O'Reilly, for his part, played several clips of Costas doing just that.

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“What you're saying is, you were critical of Putin even while discussing his influence on the games,” O'Reilly said.

Watch the second half of Costas’ interview here:

  • Lou

    Costas said it best. Right wing nuts looking for a controversy where none existed. People should be ashamed of the “journalism” that was used here.

  • John

    WOW O'Reilly listening to a Liberal? Instead of putting him down? WOW WOW WOW

    • The Grimace

      Maybe you should watch it more instead of just believing everything you hear about his show.

  • skunk smirch

    Whatever Mr. Custas says about Putin, it is up to the majority of Russian people to say, vote or support. Mr. Cockstas’ opinion is just another opinion of another moron who endeavours to keep his job stinking out loud, otherwise he I will be threw out on his neck. Thus, to shit a great deal is the only method to be known yet and to get bonuses. Ok Mr. Cuntstas, go on, collect the money, don't be afraid of showing your real face. There are a lot idiots on the planet so you are not alone.

    • Neeoo

      That comment was nearly incoherent.

      • Jay Ramos

        Nearly incoherent?

  • denver41

    If the Russians what freedom they have to fight for that freedom like we will have to fight again for ours in the US where the wealthy rule the poor and vilify them while they STEAL MORE then any of us ever could.

  • Lou9999

    Lou…journalism died a long time ago. Each news organization/blog/newspaper, etc. is politically leaning left or right. Fox does it, CNN does it, MSNBC does it. It is everybody and if you don't believe that, then you have your head in the sand. As for Bob Costas,…he needs to stay in the sports world and get some eye drops.

  • Pete Joachim

    Many people say Costas should should stick to sports. Well guess what folks, you can't just separate sport from life. Sport is not performed in some vacuum of purity that we seem to desire. The Olympics has never been free from politics or death or corruption (just like sport has not be free of racism). So I respect Costas for tackling real life issues head on rather than putting his head in the sand just to appease your soul – to allow you to ignore reality in your fake dream land.

    Its for the same reason all the PED athletes (and Pete Rose) should be put in the HOF. It represents the reality of the times in which they played. Its not like it didn't happen. Erasing stats, wins, etc. is just so blatantly wishful thinking – an attempt to purify our non-perfect world. As if Lance Armstrong didn't win the TDF 7 yrs (huh?). He won with PEDs – thats the fact – deal with it. Put them in the HOF based on their performance and include all the facts, stories, investigations – history – surrounding their performance so history can judge them accordingly. Lets live in reality – lets deal with it – not hide behind some idealogical pedestal of human purity.

  • Jesse G

    Reps during the Olympics: How dare Costas say that Putin is superior to Obama.
    Reps during Putin's invasion of Ukraine: How dare people say that Obama is superior to Putin.


  • dave

    Bring back general Patton!!

  • John Boy

    You stupid ass I watch the show I still see a Mad White man that feeds off other very mad white men. Called Supremist!