Bill O'Reilly



William James "Bill" O'Reilly, Jr. (born September 10, 1949 in New York City) is a journalist, commentator, television personality, syndicated columnist and best selling author. O'Reilly is best known as the host of the cable news program The O'Reilly Factor, broadcast on the Fox News Channel. His work frequently appears on the radio and in print. Between 2003 and the first half of 2006, it ranked #1 among cable news programs, averaging 2.2 million viewers daily in 2005. He has been described as "one of the most provocative news figures in America" by competing journalist Mike Wallace.

O'Reilly also hosts a radio program, syndicated by Westwood One, entitled The Radio Factor, and has written six books, mostly featuring his own social-political views.

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 an accountant. In 1951, his family moved to a home on Long Island, in Levittown, New York. After graduating from Chaminade High School in 1967, O'Reilly attended Marist College, a small, co-educational private institution in Poughkeepsie, New York. While at Marist, O'Reilly played punter in the National Club Football Association, and was also a columnist and feature 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 has deleted this information from his official biography at FoxNews.com. O'Reilly received his B.A. in History in 1971. 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. After college he worked for two years as a high school teacher.

O'Reilly married Maureen E. 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 some of 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. He and his family now live in Manhasset, New York.

After graduating from Marist College, O'Reilly moved to Miami, Florida at age 21, where he taught English and History at Monsignor Pace High School for two years. After leaving Miami, O'Reilly returned to school, earning a M.A. 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 critic for The Miami Herald.

O'Reilly's early television news career included reporting and anchoring positions at WNEP-TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he also reported the weather. At WFAA-TV in Dallas, Texas, O'Reilly was awarded the Dallas Press Club Award for excellence in investigative reporting. He then moved to KMGH-TV in Denver, Colorado where he won an Emmy for his coverage of a skyjacking. O'Reilly also worked for KATU-TV in Portland, Oregon, as well as TV stations in Hartford (WFSB), Connecticut, and in Boston, Massachusetts.

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. (A 1998 novel by O'Reilly, Those Who Trespass: A Novel of Television and Murder, depicts a television reporter who has a similar dispute over a Falklands War report. The character proceeds to exact his revenge on network staff 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 King World (now CBS) program Inside Edition, a tabloid-style current affairs television program in competition with A Current Affair. He started as senior correspondent and backup anchor for celebrated British TV host David Frost, and subsequently became the program's anchor after Frost's brief tenure. 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 television host from a national current affairs program 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. He then 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, O'Reilly was hired by Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of the then startup FOX News Channel, to anchor The O'Reilly Report. 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.

O'Reilly's television show, The O'Reilly Factor, is routinely the highest-rated show of the three major American 24-hour cable 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 p.m. Eastern Time.

The Factor gained its notoriety in the late 1990s through O'Reilly's reporting on the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal.[citation needed] O'Reilly has repeatedly claimed throughout the years that Bill Clinton had the IRS audit him.

At the conclusion of each episode of The Factor, O'Reilly ends the show by reminding viewers to visit his two websites, providing his email address, and requesting that they "opine", being sure to include their "name and town, name and town, name and town" and to keep it "pithy". His final words are always marked by telling his viewers that if "they wish to opine, then please do not be a (colorful descriptive noun---see next paragraph)". Sometimes, O'Reilly reminds the viewers not to "bloviate", because in his words, "that's my job." After this, he usually announces the imminent upcoming episode of Hannity & Colmes, and then signs off, saying "the spin stops here, because we're looking out for you."

Some of the colorful descriptive nouns mentioned above include "popinjay", "jackanapes", "blatherskite", "scaramouch", "makakka" and "clinchpoop." He occasionally will spring a new word on the viewers, and such an action often results in a barrage of e-mails commenting on his new "word".

In the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, O'Reilly devoted substantial time on his television show and wrote pieces alleging that the United Way and American Red Cross failed to deliver millions of dollars in donated money, raised by the organizations in the name of the disaster, to the families of those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. O'Reilly asserted that the organizations misrepresented their intentions for the money being raised by not distributing all of the 9/11 relief fund to the victims. Actor George Clooney defended the United Way from O'Reilly's criticisms of a telethon which ended up raising $129.5 million, plus an additional $12 million in CD and DVD sales, according to Jeannette Reed, spokeswoman for the United Way of New York City. The funds were given to victims and surviving families in the form of cash assistance, she said. Congressional hearings were called on the matter and an investigation by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, forced the president of the Red Cross to resign for her role in the situation, and then the Red Cross pledged that all funds would go to directly benefit the victims of the September 11 attacks. In the aftermath, O'Reilly helped the Red Cross develop a revised policy regarding how donations would be distributed. In sworn testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee in November 2001, Congressman J.D. Hayworth asserted that media pressure, most notably from O'Reilly, helped cause the Red Cross to increase payments to affected people and helped cause other charities to participate in an oversight database established by Spitzer.

On January 6, 2005 about three years after the Red Cross revised its policy on distributing its funds for the 911 families, O'Reilly claimed that a fund raising telethon by the United Way for the 2004 tsunami victims would end up the same as the 9/11 funds raised by the Red Cross. On January 10, 2005 George Clooney sent an e-mail to O'Reilly which pointed out that the United Way, not the Red Cross, sponsored the telethon and claimed that O'Reilly's comments were for personal gain and would cause fewer people to donate to the cause. Clooney also invited O'Reilly to present at the event and personally oversee and help the fund raising. O'Reilly responded later on his nightly show, "That sounds good to me, but I have to see what the format is." O'Reilly did participate in the telethon.

On October 13, 2004, O'Reilly filed a preemptive lawsuit against O'Reilly Factor producer Andrea Mackris, her lawyer (Benedict P. Morelli), and Morelli's law firm for extortion contending Mackris had privately demanded more than $60 million (USD) to settle a claim of sexual harassment. Mackris filed her complaint of sexual harassment later the same day. In her complaint, she alleged that O'Reilly had made numerous references to "phone sex, vibrators, threesomes, masturbation, the loss of his virginity, and sexual fantasies." The complaint also sought additional damages and described alleged actions of retaliation by Fox, et.al. O'Reilly filed an answer to the complaints, and the two cases were settled out of court.

Both parties agreed to keep the terms of settlement confidential, and to withdraw their claims of wrongdoing, which each has done. According to the Post, the settlement amount was likely in the millions of dollars. 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." O'Reilly has not commented since.

On his January 10, 2000 show, O'Reilly claimed he was an independent, but 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. After the Daily News questioned O'Reilly on the matter, he re-registered as an Independent in 2001. He claimed that Nassau County would not allow him to register as an Independent, but that the form did allow him to register with "no party affiliation".[citation needed]

O'Reilly disagrees with a common claim that he is a conservative, preferring to call himself a traditionalist and a populist. He has also used the term Independent. 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."

Speaking on ABC's Good Morning America on 18 March, 2003, O'Reilly made the following promise: "If the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again."

In another appearance on the same program on 10 February 2004, O'Reilly responded to repeated requests for him to honor his pledge: "My analysis was wrong and I'm sorry. I was wrong. I'm not pleased about it at all." With regard to never again trusting the current U.S. government, he said, "I am much more skeptical of the Bush administration now than I was at that time." He has continued to publicly support the U.S. invasion of Iraq, while criticizing the Bush administration's handling of it, often giving rhetorical advice to the administration in areas in which he feels they are failing.

After reading a poll showing that only 2% of the Iraq people viewed the US Forces as liberators and 55% preferred that they leave, O'Reilly said they are a prehistoric group and he has no respect for them. He added: "we cannot intervene in the Muslim world ever again. What we can do is bomb the living daylights out of them (...) no more ground troops, no more hearts and minds, ain't going to work."

O'Reilly supports coercive measures to extract information from detainees at Guantanamo Bay. He believes such measures protect the lives of thousands and that such measures are effective. He agrees that some may view such measures as torture, but in comparison to torture procedures used under the regimes of dictators such as Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot, but he believes the non-lethal and mostly psychological tactics used by the U.S. are not torture and are beneficial.

He also thinks that detainees should be judged under military tribunals, but not protected under the Geneva Convention because the convention expicitly states that the soldier must be wearing a uniform.

He has been critical of so-called "far left individuals" like Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and George Soros for wanting to try terror suspects in civilian courts.

O'Reilly said of the Bill Clinton impeachment that it "was not about sex. This is about honesty and cruelty. For Mr. Clinton, it was about undermining the justice system." In the same article he points out that Gary Condit a conservative Democratic congressman, who had an affair with Chandra Levy prior to her disappearance and death, should be held at the same standard when it comes to inappropriate behavior.

In the 2004 presidential election he implied his support for Bush but also called John Kerry a patriot and worth listening to. He felt the Swift Boat attacks were "terrible" and unjustifiable. He is also cited as saying that most of those who voted for Kerry did so as a vote against Bush, stating that the Democratic party has been "hijacked" by the left and that they suffer losses because of this.

O'Reilly will not endorse any candidate directly, but he will advice viewers and listeners not to vote for a candidate that he opposes. In 2004 he urged his viewers to vote against Democratic senate candidate Betty Castor in Florida because of her attack of the show for their investigation of Sami Al-Arian,an instructor at the University of South Florida where Castor was president. Al-Arian was later arrested by the FBI.

O'Reilly has been critical of former attorney general Janet Reno calling her "perhaps the worst attorney general in history" for allowing the FBI to become a "disorganized mess" and not prosecuting corporate criminals. He also was critical of Attorney General John Ashcroft for CIA blunders in intelligence over weapons of mass destruction. But, He later praised Ashcroft for going after the Arthur Anderson accounting firm, Enron, WorldCom, Sam Waksal of Imclone and Martha Stewart.

O'Reilly has expressed criticism of Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton and her presumed intention to run for president in 2008. In an interview with Jay Leno he said, "I just feel that Hillary is a socialist, and I'm paying enough tax. Hillary wants to take my money and your money ... and give it to strangers. There's something about that that offends me." pointing out that she voted for every single spending bill that year. In the same interview he criticized her for running as a political carpetbagger as well as her intentions of abolising the Electoral College in favor of popular vote, noting that it would be done only to give her an advantage in the presidential race.

In 2003 O'Reilly criticized the Los Angeles Times for endorsing then governor Gray Davis who was running against Arnold Schwarzenegger in a recall election. He said that he "has never seen a newspaper try to destroy someone as aggressively as the Times is doing." He made the claim that Californians have canceled their subscriptions due to the extreme left wing bias of the newspaper. At the same time, he felt that Davis and the "Democratic machine" was equally corrupt and had to be removed. However, in the same segment, O'Reilly mentioned that the "corrupt GOP" that was once in power in his home of Nassau County, New York also had to go and that the new Democrat in charge has been doing OK.

He has criticized the funding of far left interests by George Soros and Peter Lewis using California Proposition 73 as an example of liberal ideals gone too far. He feels the proposition undermines parental authority by allowing girls of any age to have an abortion without telling parents. "The left-wing media has been able to convince millions of Americans that the government knows what's best for families, not the parents."

He feels that traditionalists are not doing enough to fight against the secular agenda. He cites the gay marriage issue that erupted in San Francisco and blames Governor Schwarzenegger and President Bush for not speaking out against the illegal act of the mayor saying they "just hide whenever the culture war issues appear.

He claims when Bill Moyers retired from PBS the press did not describe Moyers as a liberal, but "if I retire, from THIS program, the word conservative would be used 18 times..."

He has supported the mention of intelligent design in schools and considers the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science opposition to be fascist. He does not advocate the telling of the story of Genesis, and does not think it should be presented in equal standing to evolution. He did get upset when reporter Ron Hutchinson reported President Bush's stand on the issue "essentially endorsed efforts by Christian conservatives to give intelligent design equal standing with the theory of evolution in the nation's schools" when in fact the president said that he favored an exposition of intelligent design so "people can understand what the debate is about". This, to O'Reilly is another example of media spin.

He has been critical of the ACLU calling it "the most dangerous organization in the United States of America". He feels their agenda is taking away freedoms and called them a fascist organization. This was in response to their threatened lawsuit against Los Angeles County for failing to remove a cross from its official seal.

He criticizes "activist judges" whom he claims try to supersede the will of the people. He uses the issue of gay marriage to support his point. "The folks decide that by voting and, in the case of gay marriage, the folks have decided. And that decision should be respected." He said this issue shows how progressives like Ted Kennedy try to change America so that everyone is nurtured and all individual needs are catered to.

Bill O'Reilly feels that the current American prison system is too lenient, and that criminals have too many privileges like television, cigarettes as well as easy access to drugs and sex. He has commented on support for military style labor camps for hardened criminals as an alternative to the current prison system. He proposes a gulag style prison located in Alaska where criminals would be forced to work eight hours a day, six days a week. Visitation would be limited to a few visitors a year. Punishment would be enforced through food rationing and solitary confinement. This could also replace the death penalty as many criminals don't really care whether they live or die and that innocent convicts would not be put to death.

He has supported stricter border controls including placement of the National Guard troops on the US-Mexican border and has criticized Bush for not allocating enough resources to make border security effective. He also criticized Ronald Reagan's act of amnesty claiming that it made the immigration problem worse. He believes that liberals, and particularly the New York Times, have an agenda to bring in as many foreign nationals into the the U.S. citizenry to "save" America through a diverse demographic.

O'Reilly is a supporter of gun control. However, he also voiced support for private gun ownership after Hurricane Katrina.

Bill O'Reilly is a strong proponent of stricter pentalties for child molesters. He has vehemently supported Jessica's Law and criticizes what he believes to be lenient treatment of those convicted of child molestation. He has criticized liberals for their criticisms of Jessica's Law because it tracks predators after their release from prison. He feels that the only way to pass Jessica's Law nationally is to remove from office governors who will not support it. He has endorsed politicians like Republican Doug Forrester in the 2005 New Jersey gubernatorial election, suggesting that Jon Corzine, a Democrat, would be less likely to support a national version of the law.

O'Reilly has been particularly critical of the Debra LaFave case, in which she was convicted of having sex with a 14-year-old boy but was only sentenced to house arrest and seven years probation. He considers it an addition of insult to injury that the Florida judge in the case, Wayne Timmerman, allowed LaFave to appear on NBC to discuss her crime.

He continues to call various politicians villains for not supporting mandatory minimum sentences for child predators. Specifically, he points out Massachusetts House Speaker Sal Dimasi, Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal, Senator Brian Frosh of Maryland, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, former Idaho Governor Kenpthorne as well as Vermont, Hawaii, Montana, Maine and Utah as child predator-friendly states.

Bill O'Reilly claims that the far-left is trying to create a "monstrous central government" to take care of the poor. He argues that this social engineering is bad for America and will not work. He claims that government does not use money wisely, and cites the large amount of money used for education, arguing that the results do not match the effort. He is particularly critical of the Estate tax (United States) which takes up to 46 percent of estates which are valued over $1 million. This, he believes, is not only unreasonable but unconstitutional. Although taxes are necessary, he argues, they should not be used to ensure lifestyles.

O'Reilly has cited French unemployment and subsequent riots as an effect of socialist thinking. He claims the unemployment rate is high because of entitlements sanctioned by the French government, and that these entitlements make employers hesitant to hire young employees for fear that they will be stuck with an underperforming worker while being required to give them benefits and extensive vacation time regardless of merit.

He says he supports income-based affirmative action as opposed to race-related affirmative action.

He claimed that much of the tragedy in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina was because roughly 10 percent of the population cannot sustain itself no matter what. The government has an obligation to help these people, but because it is given in entitlements, it is wasted on alcohol and drugs. He sites their absence of personal responsibility as a large factor in their plight.

Bill O'Reilly believes that there is strong evidence to support global warming, although he has said that it is not entirely certain that fossil fuels are the cause. Nonetheless, he has expressed support for a long-term strategy to curb fossil fuel use. He would not support the Kyoto Treaty for economic reasons, but supports the use of fewer polluting agents, more conservation, and "tons more innovation" as well as tax credits for alternative fuels.

O'Reilly has also stated his belief that the United States is not doing enough to make it independent on foreign oil. "If Brazil can develop an ethanol industry that makes it completely independent of foreign oil, then the USA can."

Over the years, there have been several controversial issues highlighted in O'Reilly's print and broadcast work. He has been involved in many disputes with figures and sources including Al Franken, Michael Savage, George Clooney, Keith Olbermann, David Letterman, Neal Boortz and Ludacris.

O'Reilly has also been challenged by his critics, who have questioned his accuracy on issues such as the Malmedy massacre, his erroneous claim (which he corrected when brought to his attention) that a show for which he had worked, Inside Edition won two Peabody Awards when it was actually a single Polk award, where he grew up, etc. He has also discussed controversial topics like the "War on Christmas."

He has been quoted as saying that Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer and should not be cited for hard facts, whereas he is journalist.

In addition, the Comedy Central program The Colbert Report, hosted by Stephen Colbert, parodies the O'Reilly Factor.

On the Australian show, The Chaser, a parody of him is "The Firth Factor".

O'Reilly is a columnist for the New York Post and Newsmax website and magazine.

He has written five non-fiction books and a novel:

* Those Who Trespass Bancroft Press (288 pages) ISBN 0963124684 April 1998),a novel.
* The O'Reilly Factor: The Good, the Bad, and the Completely Ridiculous in American Life. Broadway Publishing (224 pages) ISBN 0-7679-0528-8 (2000) reached number one on The New York Times' Non Fiction Best Seller list.
* The No Spin Zone Broadway; 1st ed edition (208 pages) ISBN 0767908481 (October 16, 2001) also reached number one on The New York Times' Non Fiction Best Seller list.[59]
* Who's Looking Out For You? Broadway (224 pages) ISBN 0767913795(September 23, 2003)reached number one on The New York Times' Non Fiction Best Seller list.
* The O'Reilly Factor For Kids: A Survival Guide for America's Families HarperEntertainment (208 pages) ISBN 0-06-054424-4 (September 28, 2004) co-authored with Charles Flowers was 2005's best selling non-fiction children’s book,
* Culture Warrior. Broadway Publishing (240 pages) ISBN 0-7679-2092-9 (Sep 25, 2006)Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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