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Bill O’Reilly (commentator)

Bill O'Reilly
William James "Bill" O'Reilly, Jr. (born September 10, 1949) is an American commentator, editor, author, syndicated columnist, and journalist. While his work frequently appears on television, radio and in the print media.

O'Reilly is best known as the host of the cable television editorial program The O'Reilly Factor, broadcast on the Fox News Channel. Between 2003 and 2006, it ranked 1st among the most watched cable news programs, averaging 2.2 million viewers daily in 2005. The O'Reilly Factor offers O'Reilly's often opinionated point of view on national and international events through his self-described "no-nonsense" commentary and interviews.

O'Reilly also hosts a radio program syndicated by Westwood One entitled The Radio Factor, and has written five books of his own social-political views. One is a novel, Those Who Trespass. The four non-fiction books, including The O'Reilly Factor and The No Spin Zone, have all reached number one on The New York Times Best Seller list. His views, and conservative political ties, are frequent sources of controversy in various media outlets, including his own programs.


Personal background
Private life
Broadcasting career
The O'Reilly Factor
Political beliefs and point of view
Controversies
Sexual harassment lawsuit
See also


Personal background

Private life
O'Reilly was born in New York City, to Irish Catholic parents William and Angela O'Reilly, from Brooklyn, New York and Bergen County, New Jersey respectively. His father was initially a bookkeeper, then later an accountant, and his mother was a homemaker. He and his family moved to a house built by William Levitt as part of the Levittown development on Long Island in New York.. In the early 1950's Levittown and William Levitt gained fame as examples of the mass produced suburban homes and neighborhoods Post-War America. In 1963 National zip codes were introduced, the borders between Levittown and neighboring towns were redrawn The home is now situated in Westbury NY.

After graduating from Chaminade High School in 1967, O'Reilly attended Marist College, a small, co-educational institution in Poughkeepsie, New York. While at Marist, O'Reilly played punter on the school's football intramural team, and also was a columnist and features writer for the school's newspaper, The Circle. As an honors student majoring in history, he spent his junior year of college abroad, attending Queen Mary College at the University of London.  O'Reilly went on to receive his master's degree from Boston University's college of communications. He played semi-professional baseball during this time as a pitcher for the Brooklyn Monarchs, leading him to try out to play for the American professional baseball team, the New York Mets. O'Reilly received his Bachelor of Arts in 1971.

O'Reilly married Maureen McPhilmy, a public relations executive, in 1995. They have one daughter, Madeline, born in 1998, and a son, Spencer, born in 2003. According to an October 2005 interview in Newsday, O'Reilly hired bodyguards and is very sensitive about the general public taking pictures of him, calling them "stealth paparazzi".  O'Reilly has requested that no photographs of his home or family be made public — citing a desire to protect his family's privacy and security.
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Broadcasting career

After graduating from Marist, O'Reilly moved to Miami, Florida, where he taught English and history at a high school for two years. After leaving Miami, O'Reilly returned to school, earning a Masters in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University in 1976. While attending Boston University, he was a reporter and columnist for various local newspapers and alternative news weeklies, including The Boston Phoenix. O'Reilly did his broadcast journalism internship in Miami during this time, and was also an entertainment writer and movie reviewer for The Miami Herald.

In 1980, he anchored his own program on WCBS-TV in New York where he won his second Emmy for an investigation of corrupt city marshals. He was promoted to the network as a CBS News correspondent and covered the wars in El Salvador and the Falkland Islands from his base in Buenos Aires, Argentina (1982). He later left CBS over, amongst other tensions, a dispute concerning the uncredited use in a report by Bob Schieffer of riot footage shot by O'Reilly's crew in Buenos Aires during the Falklands conflict. (In 1998, a novel by O'Reilly,Those Who Trespass: A Novel of Television and Murder, was published, in which a television reporter has a similar dispute over a Falklands War report and proceeds to exact his revenge on network executives in a series of graphically described violent ritualistic murders).

In 1986, O'Reilly joined ABC News as a correspondent on ABC World News Tonight. In three years, he appeared on the show over one hundred times, receiving two National Headliner Awards for excellence in reporting.

In 1989, O'Reilly joined the nationally syndicated Fox Network's Inside Edition, a tabloid-style current affairs television program. He started as senior correspondent and backup anchor for celebrated British TV host David Frost, and subsequently became the program's anchor. In addition to being one of the first American broadcasters to cover the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, O'Reilly also obtained the first exclusive interview with murderer Joel Steinberg and was the first national anchor on the scene of the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

In 1995, O'Reilly was replaced by former NBC News and CBS News anchor Deborah Norville on Inside Edition and enrolled at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he received a Master's Degree in Public Administration. Upon leaving Harvard, Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of the then startup FOX News Channel, hired O'Reilly to anchor The O'Reilly Report, which aired weeknights. The nascent channel's most popular show was renamed to The O'Reilly Factor when it moved to a later time slot in 1998 since the host was the main "factor" of the show.
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The O'Reilly Factor

O'Reilly's television show, The O'Reilly Factor, is routinely one of the highest-rated shows of the three major American 24-hour news channels (CNN, FOX News and MSNBC). The show is taped late in the afternoon at a studio in New York City and airs daily on the FOX News Channel at 8:00 PM Eastern Time.

On the air since the advent of the Fox News Channel in 1996, The Factor gained its popularity in the late 1990's through O'Reilly's reporting on the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal.


Political beliefs and point of view

Most of O'Reilly's views are self-described "traditional" beliefs, including his stances on American foreign policy (the war in Iraq), support for President Clinton's opposition to Slobodan Milošević, and support of low taxes.

Some of O'Reilly's more liberal viewpoints include his criticism of free-market economics in the oil industry and support for a windfall profits tax on oil companies, and his support for civil unions, however he has not taken a clear position on this issue, and supported a measure to stop the Rhode Island legislature from legalizing civil unions in 2006 and criticized Sweden for legalizing civil unions. He has also falsely claimed that Sweden has legalized same-sex marriage, and that a study (which he cannot find sources to back up) has shown that marriage has collapsed in that country. He supports voter-decided marriage definitions whether homosexual, polyamory, etc, and he says he opposes capital punishment, but at times has argued in favor of it. His conservative critics (and moderate supporters) also note that he opposes corporal punishment for children (i.e. spanking), has shown some support for gay adoption, and opposes prostitution on grounds of "laziness" rather than any moral problem with it

O'Reilly said in a 2003 NPR interview that he favored "decriminalization of marijuana."
O'Reilly disagrees with a common claim that he is a conservative, preferring to call himself a traditionalist and a populist. In his book The O'Reilly Factor, he describes his political affiliation this way: "You might be wondering if whether I'm conservative, liberal, libertarian, or exactly what... See, I don't want to fit any of those labels, because I believe that the truth doesn't have labels. When I see corruption, I try to expose it. When I see exploitation, I try to fight it. That's my political position."

O'Reilly describes much of his work as a non-partisan approach to politics and analysis, however, his columns have been carried by the conservative/libertarian Townhall.com (they stopped appearing by 2004), his books are availiable from the Conservative Book Club, he has supported the Thomas More Law Center, an organization that litigates for a variety of conservative Christian causes,, and he appeared at David Horowitz's conservative "Restoration Weekend" event, that took place in Absecon, NJ a week before the 2000 Republican convention.

In September 2004, the CBS news program 60 Minutes described The O'Reilly Factor as "must-see-TV for the conservative right." They noted O'Reilly is a "favorite of conservatives", such as Trent Lott and Newt Gingrich, who welcomed him "with open arms" at the 2004 Republican National Convention. O'Reilly has explained that some of these relationships were inadvertent on his part, such as when Republican Congressman Chris Shays asked him to speak at a charity benefit in Greenwich, Connecticut, without telling him that it was for a Republican-backed cause.

In addition, critics feel that The O'Reilly Factor too frequently features conservative commentators such as Gingrich, and spends most of its broadcast time criticizing left-leaning politicians, organizations, and newspaper columnists who in turn spend a lot of their time criticizing him. O'Reilly defends his primary focus on the "far-left" and progressives because he feels that the "progressives, not conservatives, want to curtail the free speech of those with whom they disagree"..

60 Minutes said that some of O'Reilly's views "sound more like they're coming from a Democrat", noting his views on gun control and same-sex civil unions, the adoption of children by gay parents (which he supports as a "last resort"), and global warming (which he considers an established fact.)

O'Reilly opposes the estate tax, supports a flat tax, opposes homosexuals in the military, opposes affirmative action, supports intelligent design taught in public schools, domestic surveillance programs, banning most forms of abortion, deporting illegal immigrants, placing higher taxes on vehicles that consume more gas and using the American military to enforce the United States-Mexico border. He also vigorously opposed the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, claiming that "no one should trust" Michael Schiavo, and has also vigorously defended controversial statements by Rick Santorum that homosexuality should be outlawed, saying that people who criticized Santorum for these statements are "the real haters, witch hunters and we're watching them very closely". However, he did point out that he didn't agree with Mr. Santorum, but believed his criticisms from the press were too exploitive and unfair.
He said that he was an Independent voter on his January 10, 2000 show. The New York Daily News reported on December 6, 2000, that he was registered as a Republican in Nassau County, New York from 1994 to 2000. O'Reilly then registered as an Independent for 2001. He claimed that Nassau County would not allow him to register as an Independent. The form did allow him to register with "no party affiliation".

O'Reilly's position on "extremists" in politics is divided between the "far left" and "far right". He personally considers "Nazis, American militia groups, Ku Klux Klan members, David Duke and the Ayn Rand Institute" to be on the far-right, whereas on the far-left he has identified politicians such as "Al Gore, Richard Durbin, Russ Feingold, Tom Daschle, Barbara Boxer, Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd, Bruce Springsteen, Bill Moyers, Chuck Schumer, Howard Dean", the ACLU, the AARP, Air America Radio and moveon.org O'Reilly has rejected the notion that Ann Coulter is a member of the far-right, or Rick Santorum, and has thus far not named any politicians on the political right that he considers to be far-right.
 Though O'Reilly has stated that he does not endorse politicians for office, on the September 24, 2005 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, he advised his viewers to vote for Republican Doug Forrester in the 2005 New Jersey gubernatorial election, suggesting that Jon Corzine, a Democrat, would not be as tough on child molesters.. O'Reilly also urged his listeners on The Radio Factor to vote against Democratic Senator Tom Daschle in the 2004 Senate election.  In 2003, O'Reilly also urged his viewers on television and his listeners on the radio in California to vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 2003 California gubernatorial election. Two years later, on the day of the citizen initiatives elections in California, as well as the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, he urged his listeners to vote for the Republican governor's proposals on the ballot.

O'Reilly recently sided with parents who were against reinstating the transgendered teacher, Lily McBeth, to the Eagleswood Elementary School in New Jersey. In an O'Reilly Factor interview, Mark Schnepp, a parent at the school said the talk on the playground was "about how much it would hurt to have your penis cut off".
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Controversies

Over the years, there have been several ongoing controversial issues highlighted in O'Reilly's print and broadcast work. O'Reilly has been accused by various media personalities and groups of spreading misinformation, showing pompous and aggressive behavior, and portraying biased viewpoints as fact.He has been involved in many disputes with figures and sources including Al Franken, Keith Olbermann, Media Matters, Neal Boortz, and various Iraq War critics.


Sexual harassment lawsuit

On October 13, 2004, O'Reilly sued former O'Reilly Factor producer Andrea Mackris, her lawyer (Benedict P. Morelli), and Morelli's law firm for what he claimed was a politically motivated extortion attempt against him.

O'Reilly's lawsuit contended that Mackris had privately demanded more than $60 million (USD) to settle a yet to be filed sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News, O'Reilly, and Westwood One. A few hours after O'Reilly filed his lawsuit, Mackris filed her complaint against Fox, et al., alleging that, in numerous conversations, O'Reilly made inappropriate comments.. Andrea Mackris's Verified Complaint filed on October 13, 2004 to the Supreme Court of the State of New York included what many presumed to be a partial transcript of their phone conversation. In it O'Reilly made sexually explicit statements involving a loofah and a falafel.. This has since been satirized by numerous individuals, publications and websites.

On October 19, Mackris filed an amended complaint, providing further details of O'Reilly's alleged sexual harassment, asking for additional damages, noting no formal O'Reilly denial, and describing alleged actions of retaliation by Fox, et.al., for filing her original complaint. Mackris revealed a partial transcript of a telephone call (thought to be based on an unreleased audio tape) in which O'Reilly allegedly made lewd sexual suggestions towards her. Fox contended that Mackris was still on payroll without appearance for over two weeks and moved for court permission to dismiss Mackris.

On October 28, Mackris' case was settled out of court when O'Reilly agreed to pay her an undisclosed sum; both parties withdrew their claims of wrongdoing, and agreed to keep the terms of settlement confidential. After the case was settled, O'Reilly's only public comment was "this chapter is behind me and I will never talk about it again".

See also
Christian Right
Conspiracy theory
Secularization of Christmas
Culture of the United States
PC – Political Correctness

meditations
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