August 3, 2002
A few months ago I was wondering what fascinating person was "out there" whom I hadn't 'discovered" yet. Well, it turns out to be Bill O'Reilly, who hosts "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News every weeknight from 8 to 9. He refers to his "territory" as a "no spin zone". And, he's convinced me that it is. He regards himself as neither a liberal nor conservative, but as an "independent", and he's made me believe that too. He's definitely not an idealogue. His views are all over the proverbial map. He thinks kids ought to have to say the pledge of allegiance, but is against capital punishment. He's a strong catholic, but wants (vociferously wants) Cardinal Law to resign, and hardly lets a program go by without mentioning that. He hates Clinton, yet wants to decriminalize marijuana.
What I like most about him is the way he handles his guests. He's very cordial and respectful of his guests, unless (and this is a big "unless") he perceives that they're trying to evade his questions. Then he "goes after" them, and it's a sight to behold. He's virtually the only "big name" journalist who will challenge his guests in such a vigorous way, and I find his intensity and honesty refreshing, even though I don't always embrace his opinions.
Update (March 10, 2012): Many people lump O'Reilly in with people like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. I think it is highly inaccurate to do this. After having watched his show for ten years now, I can assure you that he is not an ideologue, and really does try to be "fair and balanced". Sure, he's loud and sometimes overly aggressive. And sometimes I think his opinions are shallow. Other times I think he goes "off the rails" with indignation over an issue. But, I think he has a good heart, and that he's sincerely trying to "figure it all out". And, after ten years, still well worth watching.
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