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Bill O'Reilly (political commentator)

Bill O'Reilly
Bill O'Reilly at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia (cropped).jpg
O'Reilly at the World Affairs Council in 2010
Born William James O'Reilly Jr.
(1949-09-10) September 10, 1949 (age 67)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Alma mater Marist College
Boston University
Harvard University
Occupation Podcast host, political commentator, author
Years active 1975–present
Political party Independence Party of New York (2001-)
Republican Party (until 2001)
Spouse(s) Maureen McPhilmy (m. 1996; div. 2011)
Children 2
Website billoreilly.com

William James O'Reilly Jr.[1] (born September 10, 1949) is an American journalist, author, and host of the No Spin News podcast.[2] He was a television host for Fox News from 1996 until he was dismissed in 2017.[3] He hosted the political commentary program The O'Reilly Factor (1996–2017).[4][5][6] During the late 1970s and 1980s, he reported for local television stations in the U.S. and later for CBS News and ABC News. He anchored the tabloid television program Inside Edition from 1989 to 1995. O'Reilly is considered to be a conservative commentator,[7][8] although some of his positions diverge from conservative orthodoxy.[9][10] He is registered as a member of the Independence Party of New York,[11] and was formerly registered as a Republican.[12] He is the author of several books and hosted The Radio Factor (2002–2009).[13]

During his tenure at Fox News, O'Reilly was accused of sexual harassment by at least seven women who worked for him or who appeared on his show, and Fox News and O'Reilly paid out more than $13 million to five of these women to settle accusations and to prevent the women from making their names public.[14][15] After a New York Times investigation revealed the existence, volume, and details of accusations and settlements, Fox News abruptly terminated O'Reilly's employment,[16][17] paying him approximately $25 million in severance.[18]

Contents

Early life

O'Reilly was born on September 10, 1949,[1] at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, to parents William James, Sr., (1924-1985) and Winifred Angela (Drake) O'Reilly, from Brooklyn and Teaneck, New Jersey, respectively.[19] He is of Irish descent, along with a small amount of English (Colonial American) ancestry.[20] Some of his father's ancestors lived in County Cavan, Ireland, since the early eighteenth century, and on his mother's side, he has ancestry from Northern Ireland.[21] The O'Reilly family lived in a small apartment in Fort Lee, New Jersey, when their son was born.[22] In 1951 his family moved to Levittown, on Long Island.[23] O'Reilly has a sister, Janet.[24]

He attended St. Brigid parochial school in Westbury, and Chaminade High School, a private Catholic boys high school in Mineola. His father wanted him to attend Chaminade, but O'Reilly wanted to attend W. Tresper Clarke High School, the public school most of his closest friends would attend.[25] He played Little League baseball and was the goalie on the Chaminade varsity hockey team.[26] During his high school years, he met future pop-singer icon Billy Joel, whom O'Reilly described as a "hoodlum". O'Reilly recollected in an interview with Michael Kay on the YES Network show CenterStage that Joel "was in the Hicksville section—the same age as me—and he was a hood. He used to slick it [his hair] back like this. And we knew him, because his guys would smoke and this and that, and we were more jocks."[27]

After graduating from Chaminade in 1967, O'Reilly attended Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York.[28] While at Marist, he was a punter in the National Club Football Association[29] and was also a writer for the school's newspaper, The Circle. An honors student, he majored in history. He spent his junior year of college abroad, attending Queen Mary College at the University of London.[30] He received his bachelor of arts degree in history in 1971.[31] He played semi-professional baseball during this time as a pitcher for the New York Monarchs.[32] After graduating from Marist College, O'Reilly moved to Miami, where he taught English and history at Monsignor Pace High School from 1970 to 1972.[33] He returned to school in 1973[34] and earned a master of arts degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University.[31] While attending Boston University, he was a reporter and columnist for various local newspapers and alternative news weeklies, including the Boston Phoenix, and did an internship in the newsroom of WBZ-TV.[35] During his time at BU, he also was a classmate of future radio talk show host Howard Stern, whom O'Reilly noticed because Stern was the only student on campus taller than he was.[27] In 1995, having established himself as a national media personality, he was accepted to Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government; he received a mid-career master of public administration degree in 1996.[31] At Harvard, he was a student of Marvin Kalb.[36]

Broadcasting career

Early career

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, O'Reilly was awarded the Dallas Press Club Award for excellence in investigative reporting. He then moved to KMGH-TV in Denver, where he won a local Emmy Award for his coverage of a skyjacking.[37] O'Reilly also worked for KATU in Portland, Oregon, from 1984 to 1985,[38] WFSB in Hartford, Connecticut, and WNEV-TV (now WHDH-TV) in Boston.[citation needed]

In 1980, O'Reilly anchored the local news-feature program 7:30 Magazine at WCBS-TV in New York. Soon after, as a WCBS News anchor and correspondent, he won his second local Emmy, for an investigation of corrupt city marshals. In 1982 he was promoted to the network as a CBS News correspondent.[citation needed]

For CBS, O'Reilly covered the wars in El Salvador on location, and in the Falkland Islands from his base in Buenos Aires, Argentina. O'Reilly left CBS over a dispute concerning the uncredited use in a report by Bob Schieffer of footage of a riot in response to the military junta's surrender, shot by O'Reilly's crew in Buenos Aires shortly after the conclusion of the war.[39][40]

In 1986, O'Reilly joined ABC News as a correspondent. He had delivered a eulogy for his friend Joe Spencer, an ABC News correspondent who died in a helicopter crash on January 22, 1986, en route to covering the Hormel meatpacker strike. ABC News president Roone Arledge, who attended Spencer's funeral, decided to hire O'Reilly after hearing the eulogy.[41] At ABC, O'Reilly hosted daytime news briefs that previewed stories to be reported on the day's World News Tonight and worked as a general assignment reporter for ABC News programs, including Good Morning America, Nightline, and World News Tonight.[42]

Inside Edition

In 1989, O'Reilly joined the nationally syndicated King World (now CBS Television Distribution)-produced Inside Edition, a tabloid-gossip television program in competition with A Current Affair.[31] He became the program's anchor three weeks into its run, after the termination of original anchor David Frost.[43] In addition to being one of the first American broadcasters to cover the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, O'Reilly 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.[citation needed]

Former NBC News and CBS News anchor Deborah Norville replaced O'Reilly on Inside Edition in 1995; O'Reilly had expressed a desire to quit the show in July 1994.[44] He then enrolled in September 1995 at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University,[45] where he received a master's degree in public administration.[31] His graduate thesis, which he researched in Singapore, was titled Theory of Coerced Drug Rehabilitation. In his thesis, O'Reilly asserted that supervised mandatory drug rehabilitation would reduce crime, based on the rate of prison return for criminals in Alabama who enrolled in such a program.[46]

Viral video

On May 12, 2008, an outtake of O'Reilly ranting during his time at Inside Edition surfaced on YouTube.[47] The video depicts O'Reilly cursing at his co-workers while having issues with the closing lines on his teleprompter.[48][49] Immediately after the video surfaced, O'Reilly acknowledged the video's existence, claiming that he was amusing his co-workers and said "I have plenty of much newer stuff... If you want to buy the tapes that I have, I’m happy to sell them to you."[50][51] The rant was later parodied by Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report[50][52] as well as Family Guy and by Trevor Noah on The Daily Show,[53] and was named one of Time's "Top 10 Celebrity Meltdowns".[54] On October 2008, Wednesday 13 named their first live album after a line in the rant.[53][55] In 2009, a "dance remix" of O'Reilly's rant was nominated a Webby Award for "Best Viral Video"[56] but lost to "The Website is Down: Sales Guy vs. Web Dude."[57] After O'Reilly was fired from Fox News, Theresa McKeown, one of O'Reilly's co-workers, talked about her experience in an interview with The Huffington Post on April 2017.[58]

The O'Reilly Factor

After Harvard, he was hired by Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of the then startup Fox News Channel, to anchor The O'Reilly Report in October 1996.[59] The show was renamed The O'Reilly Factor, after his friend and branding expert John Tantillo's remarks upon the "O'Reilly Factor" in any of the stories he told.[59][60][61] The program was routinely the highest-rated show of the three major U.S. 24-hour cable news television channels and began the trend toward more opinion-oriented prime-time cable news programming.[62] The show was taped late in the afternoon at a studio in New York City and aired every weekday on the Fox News Channel at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time and was rebroadcast at 11:00 p.m.

His life and career have not been without controversy. Progressive media watchdog organizations such as Media Matters and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting have criticized his reporting on a variety of issues, accusing him of distorting facts and using misleading or erroneous statistics.[63] In 2008, citing numerous inaccuracies in his reporting, MediaMatters for America awarded him its first annual "Misinformer of the Year" award.[64]

After the September 11 attacks, he accused the United Way of America and American Red Cross of failing 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 attacks.[65] He reported 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 responded, accusing him of misstating facts and harming the relief effort by inciting "panic" among potential donors.[66]

On August 27, 2002, O'Reilly called for all Americans to boycott Pepsi products,[67] saying that lyrics of Ludacris (then appearing in ads for Pepsi) glamorize a "life of guns, violence, drugs and disrespect of women."[68] The next day, O'Reilly reported that Pepsi had fired Ludacris.[67] Three years later, Ludacris referenced O'Reilly in the song "Number One Spot" with the lyrics "Respected highly, hi, Mr. O'Reilly/Hope all is well, kiss the plaintiff and the wifey," in reference to his well-publicized sexual-harassment suit with Andrea Mackris while married. In an interview with RadarOnline.com in 2010, Ludacris said the two had made amends after a conversation at a charity event.[69]

Speaking on ABC's Good Morning America on March 18, 2003, he promised that "[i]f the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean [of weapons of mass destruction] ... I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again."[70] In another appearance on the same program on February 10, 2004, he 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."[71] With regard to his trust in the government, he said, "I am much more skeptical of the Bush administration now than I was at that time."[72]

Beginning in 2005, he periodically denounced George Tiller, a Kansas-based physician who specialized in second- and third-trimester abortions,[73] often referring to him as "Tiller the baby killer".[74] Tiller was murdered on May 31, 2009, by Scott Roeder, an anti-abortion activist.[75] Critics such as Salon.com's Gabriel Winant have asserted that his anti-Tiller rhetoric helped to create an atmosphere of violence around the doctor.[76] Jay Bookman of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that he "clearly went overboard in his condemnation and demonization of Tiller", but added that it was "irresponsible to link O'Reilly" to Tiller's murder.[77] O'Reilly responded to the criticism by saying "no backpedaling here ... every single thing we said about Tiller was true."[78]

In early 2007, researchers from the Indiana University School of Journalism published a report that analyzed his "Talking Points Memo" segment. Using analysis techniques developed in the 1930s by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis, the study concluded that he used propaganda, frequently engaged in name calling, and consistently cast non-Americans as threats and never "in the role of victim or hero."[79][80] He responded, asserting that "the terms 'conservative', 'liberal', 'left', 'right', 'progressive', 'traditional' and 'centrist' were considered name-calling if they were associated with a problem or social ill." The study's authors said that those terms were only considered name-calling when linked to derogatory qualifiers.[81] Fox News producer Ron Mitchell wrote an op-ed in which he accused the study's authors of seeking to manipulate their research to fit a predetermined outcome. Mitchell argued that by using tools developed for examining propaganda, the researchers presupposed that he propagandized.[82]

He was the main inspiration for comedian Stephen Colbert's satirical character on the Comedy Central show The Colbert Report, which featured Colbert in a "full-dress parody" of The Factor. On the show, Colbert referred to him as "Papa Bear".[83] He and Colbert exchanged appearances on each other's shows in January 2007.[84]

On May 10, 2008, he was presented with the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Governors' Award at an Emmy awards show dinner.[85]

On April 19, 2017, Fox News announced that O'Reilly would not return to their primetime lineup amid sexual harassment claims. The show continued, rebranded as "The Factor", with substitute host Dana Perino.[86] On the same day, Fox announced that Tucker Carlson's show would be airing an hour earlier to take over O'Reilly's position, and that The Five will replace Tucker Carlson's usual time at 9 p.m. with a new co-host Jesse Watters.[87] After O'Reilly was fired, the financial markets responded positively to the decision by Fox News, and its parent company 21st Century Fox rose over two percent in the stock market the next day.[88]

Disputed claims

George de Mohrenschildt claim

In his bestselling 2013 book Killing Kennedy and on Fox and Friends, O'Reilly claimed he was knocking at the front door of George de Mohrenschildt's daughter's home at the moment Mohrenschildt committed suicide and that he heard the shotgun blast:

In March of 1977, a young television reporter at WFAA in Dallas began looking into the Kennedy assassination. As part of his reporting, he sought an interview with the shadowy Russian professor who had befriended the Oswalds upon their arrival in Dallas in 1962. The reporter traced George de Mohrenschildt to Palm Beach, Florida and travelled there to confront him. At the time de Mohrenschildt had been called to testify before a congressional committee looking into the events of November, 1963. As the reporter knocked on the door of de Mohrenschildt’s daughter’s home, he heard the shotgun blast [Emphasis added] that marked the suicide of the Russian, assuring that his relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald would never be fully understood. By the way, that reporter’s name is Bill O’Reilly.

This claim has been disproven by former Washington Post editor Jefferson Morley, who cites audio recordings made by Gaeton Fonzi indicating O'Reilly was not present in Florida on the day of Mohrenschildt's suicide.[89][90]

War coverage claims

On February 19, 2015, David Corn from Mother Jones broke a story reporting a collection of inconsistencies of O'Reilly when recalling his experience covering the 1982 Falklands War.[40] On April 17, 2013, O'Reilly said on his show "I was in a situation one time, in a war zone in Argentina, in the Falklands, (...)".[91] In his book The No Spin Zone, he wrote "You know that I am not easily shocked. I've reported on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands."[92] On a 2004 column on his website he wrote: "Having survived a combat situation in Argentina during the Falklands war, I know that life-and-death decisions are made in a flash."[93] Corn claimed O'Reilly was not in the Falklands, but in Buenos Aires and that no American journalist was in the Islands during the conflict. Also he pointed out that according to O'Reilly's own book The No Spin Zone, he arrived in Buenos Aires soon before the war ended.[40] On February 20, 2015, O'Reilly said on his show "David Corn, a liar, says that I exaggerated situations in the Falklands War" and that he never said he was on the Falkland Islands. O'Reilly went on to describe his experience in a riot in Buenos Aires the day Argentina surrendered.[94] David Corn replied that they didn't claim O'Reilly "exaggerated" but rather that there were contradictions between his accounts and the factual record, and that the 2013 clip from his show proves O'Reilly did in fact say he was on the Falklands.[95] David Corn told The New York Times “The question is whether Bill O’Reilly was stating the truth when he repeatedly said that Argentine soldiers used real bullets and fired into the crowd of civilians and many were killed.”[96]

In March 2015, Ignacio Medrano-Carbo stated that he was the cameraman O'Reilly referred to and that at no time was he knocked down or bleeding from the ear. Sound man Roberto Moreno corroborates this fact. Medrano also stated "I do not even recall Mr. O'Reilly being near me when I shot all that footage nor after I left the unrest at Plaza de Mayo that evening."[97][98]

On September 2009, during an interview he said he covered the riots in Buenos Aires on the day Argentina surrendered.[99]

During an interview with The Blaze, O'Reilly said "And if that moron [Corn] doesn’t think it was a war zone in Buenos Aires, then he’s even dumber than I think he is."[100] This characterization by O'Reilly was disputed by former CBS colleague Eric Engberg who was in Buenos Aires at the time and challenged his (O'Reilly) description of the riot as a "combat situation". Engberg went on to say it was a moderate riot and he heard no “shots fired” and saw no “ambulances or tanks” in the streets.[101] The following week O’Reilly contradicted Engberg’s claims presenting archived CBS video of the riot that ensued after Argentine’s surrender. The video appears to show riot police firing tear gas and plastic bullets toward the crowd, additionally former NBC bureau chief Don Browne referred to the riot as an “intense situation”, with many people hurt and tanks in the streets of Buenos Aires.[102]

The fallout from the coverage generated by the questioning of O'Reilly's Falklands War coverage saw claims made by O'Reilly regarding his reporting in El Salvador and Northern Ireland questioned. Writing in his 2013 book Keep it Pithy, O'Reilly stated: "I've seen soldiers gun down unarmed civilians in Latin America, Irish terrorists kill and maim their fellow citizens in Belfast with bombs." In 2005 O'Reilly claimed to have "seen guys gun down nuns in El Salvador" and in 2012 said "I saw nuns get shot in the back of the head". O'Reilly and Fox News clarified that he had been shown images of the murdered nuns and Irish bombings but was not an eyewitness in either case.[103][104]

Radio and podcast ventures

From 2002–2009, he hosted a radio program called The Radio Factor that had more than 3.26 million listeners and was carried by more than 400 radio stations.[105] According to the talk radio industry publication Talkers Magazine, he was No. 11 on the "Heavy Hundred", a list of the 100 most important talk show hosts in America.[106] Conservative Internet news site NewsMax's "Top 25 Talk Radio Host" list selected him to the No. 2 spot as most influential host in the nation.[107]

O'Reilly hosts a podcast called "No Spin News".[108]

Newspaper column and film appearances

O'Reilly wrote a weekly syndicated newspaper column through Creators Syndicate[109] that appeared in numerous newspapers, including the New York Post and the Chicago Sun-Times.[110] He discontinued the column at the end of 2013.

O'Reilly made cameo appearances in the films An American Carol, Iron Man 2, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.[111][112][113]

Sexual harassment lawsuits and ouster from Fox News

On October 13, 2004, O'Reilly sued Andrea Mackris, a former producer for The O'Reilly Factor, alleging extortion. O'Reilly claimed that Mackris had threatened a lawsuit unless he paid her more than $60 million. Later the same day, Mackris sued O'Reilly for sexual harassment, seeking $60 million in damages.[114] Her complaint alleged that in phone conversations, O'Reilly had "advised her to use a vibrator and told her about sexual fantasies involving her",[115] and an allegation that he threatened that if she reported his behavior, "Roger Ailes... will go after you... Ailes operates behind the scenes, strategizes, and makes things happen so that one day BAM! The person gets what's coming to them but never sees it coming." On October 15, 2004, Fox sought judicial permission to fire Mackris, but she was never dismissed. On October 19, 2004, Mackris filed an amended complaint seeking further damages for illegal retaliatory actions by O'Reilly, Fox News, and the News Corporation-owned newspaper the New York Post.[116] On October 28, 2004, O'Reilly and Mackris reached an out-of-court settlement in which Mackris dropped her sexual-assault suit against O'Reilly, and O'Reilly dropped his extortion claim against Mackris. The terms of the agreement are confidential,[117] but in 2017 The New York Times reported that O’Reilly had agreed to pay Mackris about $9 million and that they would issue a public statement that there had been "no wrongdoing whatsoever".[14]

After Ailes was the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former Fox News coworker Gretchen Carlson, O'Reilly said in July 2016 that Ailes was a "target" as a "famous, powerful or wealthy person" and called him the "best boss I ever had."[118] After Ailes was fired and the network settled the lawsuit with Carlson, O'Reilly declined to comment further, saying that "for once in my life, I’m going to keep my big mouth shut."[119]

Shortly after Ailes was fired, Fox News settled a sexual harassment claim against O'Reilly with former Fox host Juliet Huddy. Huddy alleged that O'Reilly pursued a romantic relationship with her, made lewd remarks, including a telephone call during which he appeared to be masturbating, and tried to have her fired when she rejected his advances. Legal fees in this case were settled and paid for by Fox News.[120] The New York Times reported the settlement to have been worth $1.6 million.[14]

In August 2016, former Fox host Andrea Tantaros filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News, claiming that O'Reilly made sexually suggestive comments to her.[121]

In April 2017, The New York Times reported that O'Reilly and Fox News had settled five lawsuits against O'Reilly dating back to 2002. Previously, only the settlements to Mackris and Huddy were publicly reported; The Times reported that Fox hosts Rebecca Diamond and Laurie Dhue settled sexual harassment lawsuits in 2011 and 2016 respectively and junior producer Rachel Witlieb Bernstein settled with Fox in 2002 after accusing O'Reilly of verbal abuse. The amount paid to the women filing the complaints was estimated at $13 million. The Times also reported a claim by former O'Reilly Factor guest Wendy Walsh, who declined an offer from O'Reilly to go to his hotel suite and was subsequently denied a job as a Fox News contributor.[14] Walsh appeared on The O'Reilly Factor for a few months after the hotel incident, and at one point asked producers for more airtime on the show.[122]

After Walsh's complaint, 21st Century Fox hired the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct an investigation into at least that allegation; that firm also conducted an investigation into the allegations against Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, which led to his ouster from Fox.[123]

After the five settlements were reported, the O'Reilly Factor lost more than half its advertisers within a week;[124] almost 60 companies withdrew their television advertising from the show[125] amid a growing backlash against O'Reilly.[126][127] On April 11, 2017, O'Reilly announced he would take a two-week vacation and would return to the program on April 24; he normally takes a vacation around Easter.[128] On April 19, 2017, Fox News announced that O'Reilly would not be returning to the network.[129][130] The program was subsequently renamed The Factor on April 19.[131]

Political views and public perception

 
O'Reilly at Camp Striker, 2006

On The O'Reilly Factor and on his former talk-radio program, O'Reilly focused on news and commentary related to politics and culture.[132] O'Reilly has long said that he does not identify with any political ideology, writing in his book The O'Reilly Factor that the reader "might be wondering 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."[133] On December 6, 2000, the Daily News in New York reported, however, that he had been registered with the Republican Party in the state of New York since 1994. When questioned about this, he said that he was not aware of it and says he registered as an independent after the interview.[134] During a broadcast of The Radio Factor, O'Reilly said that there was no option to register as an independent voter; however, there was in fact a box marked "I do not wish to enroll in party."[135] Despite his being registered as an Independence Party member, many view him as a conservative figure.[132] A February 2009 Pew Research poll found that 66% of his television viewers identify themselves as conservative, 24% moderate, and 3% liberal.[136] A November 2008 poll by Zogby International found that O'Reilly was the second most trusted news personality, after Rush Limbaugh.[137]

In a 2003 interview with Terry Gross on National Public Radio, O'Reilly said:

I'm not a political guy in the sense that I embrace an ideology. To this day I'm an independent thinker, an independent voter, I'm a registered independent ... [T]here are certain fundamental things that this country was founded upon that I respect and don't want changed. That separates me from the secularists who want a complete overhaul of how the country is run.[138]

On a September 2007 edition of The Radio Factor, while having a discussion about race with fellow Fox News commentator and author Juan Williams about a meal he shared with Al Sharpton, O'Reilly said "You know when Sharpton and I walked in, it was like... big commotion and everything. But everybody was very nice. And I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's Restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship." He commented that no one in Sylvia's was "screaming 'M'Fer, I want more iced tea.'" He further added, "I think that black Americans are starting to think more and more for themselves, getting away from the Sharptons and the Jacksons and people trying to lead them into a race-based culture. They're just trying to figure it out. 'Look, I can make it. If I work hard and get educated, I can make it.'"[139] The statement drew criticism from a number of places. Roland S. Martin of CNN said that the notion that black people are just now starting to value education is "ridiculous" and that the notion that black people let Sharpton or Jackson think for them is "nuts".[140] Media Matters for America covered the story on a number of occasions.[141][142] O'Reilly responded, saying, "It was an attempt to tell the radio audience that there is no difference—black, white, we're all Americans. The stereotypes they see on television are not true" and also called out Media Matters, claiming that "Media Matters distorted the entire conversation and implied I was racist for condemning racism."[143] Juan Williams said the criticism of O'Reilly was "rank dishonesty" and that the original comments "had nothing to do with racist ranting by anybody except by these idiots at CNN." Williams went on to say it was "frustrating" that the media try to criticize anyone who wanted to have an honest discussion about race.[144]

O'Reilly has long said that his inspiration for speaking up for average Americans is his working-class roots. He has pointed to his boyhood home in Levittown, New York, as a credential. In an interview with The Washington Post, O'Reilly's mother said that her family lived in Westbury,[24] which is a few miles from Levittown. Citing this interview, then liberal talk-show pundit Al Franken accused O'Reilly of distorting his background to create a more working-class image. O'Reilly countered that The Washington Post misquoted his mother[145] and that his mother still lives in his childhood home, which was built by William Levitt. O'Reilly placed a copy of the house's mortgage on his website; the mortgage shows a Levittown postal address.[146] O'Reilly has also said, "You don't come from any lower than I came from on an economic scale"[147] and that his father, a currency accountant for an oil company,[148] "never earned more than $35,000 a year in his life." O'Reilly responded that his father's $35,000 income only came at the end of his long career.[149]

Personal life

O'Reilly was married to Maureen E. McPhilmy, a public relations executive. They met in 1992, and their wedding took place in St. Brigid Parish of Westbury, New York on November 2, 1996.[150] They have a daughter, Madeline (born 1998), and a son, Spencer (born 2003).[151]

The couple separated on April 2, 2010, and were divorced on September 1, 2011.[152] Each currently resides in suburban Manhasset, New York.[153][154]

Domestic violence accusation from daughter

In May 2015, court transcripts from O’Reilly's custody trial with ex-wife Maureen McPhilmy revealed signs of domestic violence within the household—O’Reilly's daughter testified to a forensic examiner that she witnessed O’Reilly choking McPhilmy and dragging her down the stairs of their home by her neck, apparently unaware that the daughter was watching.[155][156][157] In light of the allegation, O’Reilly issued a statement through his attorney describing the account as "100% false" and declined to comment further in order “to respect the court-mandated confidentiality put in place to protect [his] children”.[157][158] In February 2016, O'Reilly lost a bid for custody of both of his children.[159]

Books by O'Reilly

O'Reilly has authored or co-authored a number of books:

References

  1. ^ a b "The Irish Factor". Finding Your Roots. Season 3. WETA-TV. January 12, 2016. PBS. Retrieved January 12, 2016. 
  2. ^ http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-oreilly-podcast-20170424-story.html
  3. ^ "Bill O'Reilly's 'Culture Warrior'". Fox News Channel. October 3, 2006. Retrieved November 21, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Bill O'Reilly's Bio". Fox News Channel. April 29, 2004. Retrieved August 9, 2009. 
  5. ^ Boedeker, Hal (July 28, 2009). "Fox News dominates July ratings; Bill O'Reilly again tops – and Nancy Grace makes impressive gains". The Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on August 4, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2009. 
  6. ^ "The State of the News Media". Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism. 2009. Archived from the original on July 3, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2009. 
  7. ^ Bill O'Reilly to Interview President Obama. The New York Times.
  8. ^ Kurtz, Howard (January 15, 2007). "Bill O'Reilly And NBC, Shouting to Make Themselves Seen?". The Washington Post. p. C01. 
  9. ^ "Brit Hume". NewsHour with Jim Lehrer Transcript. PBS. January 31, 2002. Archived from the original on September 30, 2008. 
  10. ^ "Bill O'Reilly: "No Spin"". 60 Minutes Transcript. CBS News. September 26, 2004. 
  11. ^ Green, Jon (February 23, 2015). "Bill O'Reilly is registered to vote as a member of the Independence Party". Americablog. 
  12. ^ James, Brendan (March 2, 2015). "O'Reilly's Greatest Hits: 7 Times The Fox Host Had Trouble With The Truth". Talking Points Memo. 
  13. ^ Hinckley, David (December 5, 2008). "Bill O'Reilly is really quitting radio gig". The New York Daily News. Retrieved April 4, 2009. 
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