Editor’s Note: Arguably one of the most fascinating television personalities on the air, Bill O’Reilly has gone from a “dead man walking” at CBS to being the most watched personality in cable news. WorldNetDaily’s talk-show host Geoff Metcalf interviewed O’Reilly on the success of his new book, “No Spin Zone,” and the art – or cancer, depending on your viewpoint – of “spin.”
Metcalf’s daily streaming radio show can be heard on TalkNetDaily weekdays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time.
Q: Before we get into discussing your book, “No Spin Zone,” I recently caught part of your interview with Bill Press. I’ve met Bill on various occasions when I worked for ABC in San Francisco. As liberal sycophants go, Press is at the top of the list. How difficult was that interview?
A: I don’t have anything against Bill Press because of his liberalness. He’s entitled to his opinion, and if it’s well thought out, I’ll take a listen. He got me – he didn’t get me – I went into the interview with a strong point of view about his book, calling me a right-wing shill. Basically, what they do there is that they try to put a label on you so that everything you say will be dismissed.
Q: They try to marginalize you.
A: Yes, and diminish whatever evidence you bring or whatever facts you bring. That’s the game that the elite media plays all the time. And that’s a game that Press plays. I mean, he came on – basically, he said, “Everything that you say, O’Reilly, is spin. Everything.” It is so erroneous. It is so deceitful and so condescending that it just makes my blood boil.
Q: For the last 10 years, I have been using a line (too much): Some people (and Press is one of them) just don’t want to be confused with facts that contradict their preconceived opinion.
A: That’s right. But it goes deeper than that. He believes firmly that his doctrine of liberalism is the only way to go. That if you don’t think the way that he does, then you are wrong. That there can’t be two solutions to the problem, or there can’t be two ways to look at it. But it’s dangerous in the sense that, here’s a really good example: We came up with a story this week on “The Factor” that said Hillary Clinton had not gone to one funeral in New York state of any of the common people who were killed – the everyday people that were killed on Sept. 11.
Q: That is a fact!
A: It’s a fact. And that she did not visit one of the families. Now this is outrageous. Now instead of denying the story or explaining the story or whatever, immediately here spinners said, “Oh, O’Reilly hates Hillary! O’Reilly is unfair to Hillary!” Forget about the story, which is rock solid firm. “O’Reilly hates Hillary.” We’re not going to take that seriously. That’s the game they try to play – the Bill Presses of the world and the other people, and there are legions of them, who try to label people as a demagogue, a McCarthyite, really vicious stuff they throw out there. A “bigot” – that’s Jesse Jackson’s game. If you are against him, you are a bigot.
Q: Same as Willie Brown and a gaggle of others.
A: Yes. And I think, and I pray, that most Americans are now seeing this for what it is. Because it is very dangerous in a free society to label somebody with whom you disagree with a pejorative. I mean, that’s just outrageous.
Q: I recently interviewed a lady, Tammy Bruce, who has a book called “The New Thought Police.” She is a fascinating woman. She is a lesbian and the former president of the Los Angeles chapter of NOW, and yet she articulates some very, very traditionally conservative views and opinions. They hate her. They won’t even appear on a panel with her.
A: I don’t know the woman, but all I know is there is intolerance on the right and there is intolerance on the left. They both play the same game, and it is wrong. And Americans should rebel against it. I brought Bill Press on for that reason only. I wanted him to expose this, and he certainly did.
Q: In your newest book, “No Spin Zone” you have a fascinating, eclectic collection of people you have interviewed – one of my least favorites, James Carville. Comments?
A: I like him. He’s a charming guy off camera. But he is the top spinner in the world. He gets paid to take facts, look at the fact, the truth, and then to distort it in a way that makes the person caught up in the facts look better. The best example of this – and I have spoken twice with Carville on forums that have really been funny and interesting – is that there is no question that Bill Clinton committed perjury. No question. The Supreme Court had ruled that he had, the bars ruled that he had. He did. He committed perjury. Yet Carville took that fact – that Clinton committed perjury – and spun it into, “Well, it wasn’t really perjury because he lied about sex, and everybody lies about sex.” And that was the spin.
Q: That dog don’t hunt.
A: So by the time he got through saying that about ten thousand times, a portion of Americans said, “Oh yeah, it really wasn’t perjury.” That’s spin! That’s what spin is – taking a fact, distorting it and coming out and saying, “It really wasn’t perjury because it was about sex.” That is ridiculous; it is absurd. That’s why Carville is someone to watch, because you can always see him doing it. And again, Americans should be very alert to spinners on the right as well.
Q: You also include splices of one of the guys I personally think was one of the most brilliant talents in the entertainment business, Steve Allen.
A: Right. Allen, at the end of his life, changed his whole position. He was a roaring liberal – an Ed Asner, Alec Baldwin liberal throughout his whole life. Which again, there’s nothing wrong with that. Allen would go around and champion all these causes …
Q: Both he and his wife.
A: Yes, but then at the end, in his last five years on earth, it dawned on him that the permissiveness and moral relativism that goes along with “Hey, there’s really no right or wrong. You don’t have a right to be judgmental of anything. We don’t have a right to confront anything. There’s always an excuse,” was harming children. It dawned on him that this kind of “anything goes, we can justify anything, we can spin anything, nothing is really wrong, if it feels good do it,” was hurting children. On television. So Allen became a rabid, rabid, anti-sex/smut/violence television guy. And his Hollywood friends turned on him. He couldn’t get on Leno, Letterman, these kinds of things. Of course, we put him on “The Factor” a couple of times. But it was hard for him to get a forum to do this, and people were stunned in Hollywood. I mean, he was turning on his own industry.
Q: It is fascinating. I have talked to folks in L.A., and there are guys and girls in the closet who are afraid to articulate their genuine political philosophy for fear of somehow being blackballed.
A: Oh, there is no question about that.
Q: James Woods is one of the few guys with the stones to actually say what he thinks. But a lot of them, and you’ve bumped into this recently by taking on Clooney and company over the charity controversy. And God bless you for that, because a pet peeve of a lot of people has been, you contribute to all these big charities with guys pulling down these huge salaries and limousines et al – where is the money going? That is a question that needed to be asked.
A: The charity thing is very, very illuminating on a number of different levels. The Hollywood stars feel that they should not be held accountable for anything. They are going to do what they do, and how dare you …
Q: They are royalty!
A: Yeah. How dare you question their motives or their activities or anything? How dare you? Hey, I don’t play that game. You know that, Geoff. We look at everybody, and everybody is held accountable. We’re not holding the Hollywood stars accountable for the Red Cross and United Way’s inefficiencies. We’re just saying, “Hey listen stars, if you are going to go out there and ask Americans for money – working Americans – then you have a responsibility to use your power to encourage charities to be more efficient. And you’re going to tell me that the United Way and the Red Cross have been efficient getting money to the families. I’ll laugh right in your face, because that’s just not true.”
Q: The “No Spin Zone” book is available through WorldNetDaily.com. So is your hand hurting yet?
A: Yes. I’m signing a lot of books, that’s for sure. But the “No Spin Zone” got to No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list in two weeks, and it’s been there for five weeks now. So we’re thrilled, and I always tell everybody if you buy the book, the least I can do is sign it for you.
Q: I was recently on a panel, and they asked me a question. I’ve been doing this a long time, and I personally hate this question, so I figured I’d ask it of you. What was your best interview?
A: It is impossible for me to really say that. I enjoyed interviewing President Bush. I like some of the back and forth we’ve had with various people on the program. It’s always good to get someone who is bright and fast on their feet. But I do so many interviews in a week. I do 36 interviews. We have six segments on “The Factor” every night …
Q: You do that many in a week?
A: Yeah. So it’s impossible for me to list them. The “No Spin Zone” has some really good ones: Dan Rather, Susan Sarrandon, Al Sharpton …
Q: Puff Daddy …
A: Puff Daddy, John McCain … So I tried to put the ones that were really meaningful, and then give you the behind-the-scenes stuff that you didn’t see on television. A lot of people love that kind of stuff in the “No Spin Zone” book, and it’s working out pretty well.
Q: The collorary to that is probably a little easier. What is the worst interview?
A: We’ve pulled a couple of plugs. I’d say the worst interview I’ve done in the five years I’ve been on “The Factor” was Mary Frances Berry. Who is one of the officers of the NAACP. Look, Kwesi Mfumi, he’s brilliant …
Q: He is a bright, articulate guy. Wrong, but a bright articulate guy.
A: Well, he’s not wrong on everything, I don’t think. I think he has some major points that are worth considering. But Berry is a fanatic! Again, if you don’t see it her way, you’re a racist. She filibustered on “The Factor,” which we don’t permit.
Q: How the hell does anybody filibuster with you?
A: Well, yeah, that’s right! I tried to do it with my questions and stop her from spinning, and she wouldn’t stop talking. So I pulled the plug on her. I just pulled the microphone out and said, “Okay, that’s the end of her.”
Q: How often have you had to do that?
A: It’s only happened three times in five years on “The Factor.” But we’re just not going to permit propaganda to be spewed. That’s not going to happen.
Q: How was Dr. Laura?
A: I like her. I feel kinda bad that she got buzzed up in this gay thing. I think she made a mistake going fundamentalist on it. We live in a secular society, and if you are going to say you are going to hell because you are gay, you are going to run into a lot of problems with that kind of stuff. I think she made a big mistake there, and it hurt her. But I’ve interviewed her twice, and she is a strong personality, and I like strong personalities.
Q: You’ve interviewed some entertainment types. We’ve mentioned Puff Daddy, but there were two clowns that I never heard of. They were rappers, white guys, fat with beards?
A: Insane Clowns Posse.
Q: What’s the deal with those guys?
A: They’re working-class guys who basically have made a lot of money by telling, basically, white kids who are not well raised, who have trouble at home and at school …
Q: How to get into more trouble?
A: Well, how to say “screw you” to society. And that’s a message that has resonated throughout the beginning of time. So we had them on “The Factor,” and I confronted them with it, and it was a very interesting discussion.
Q: One of your lines is, all that you ask of powerful people is that they respond honestly to questions, and if they can’t, explain why.
A: Correct. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
Q: That should be carved in granite. How often do you find it difficult, because come on, most of these people know by now what they are going to get on “The Factor.”
A: Yes, so they won’t come on. See, the guys that come on “The Factor” now, the people that come on, I usually get what I want out of them because they know. One of the recent interviews with Arthel Neville of all people, she wouldn’t answer the question. I just looked at her and said, “Listen, I’ve asked you seven times. You’re not going to answer this question?” See, that’s the kind of stuff that people at home know.
Q: A similar thing happened to me with Newt Gingrich.
A: Then you have to say, “Why are you not answering the question? Is there something about it that is offensive? What’s the deal?” And sometimes, even then you won’t get an answer, but at least the audience knows that there’s some spinning going on and some dancing going on.
Q: My audience wants to know, Bill, this flap between you and Matt Drudge. I finally heard it. I didn’t hear it contemporaneous – someone sent me a copy of the tape. But at the conclusion of it, it sounded like Matt had himself a new friend. Did you kiss and make up?
A: I don’t know him. And all I want anybody to do is to report accurately about what is going on. It hurt me deeply.
Q: I heard you when you called into John Kasich, who was sitting in for you, and you were p.o.-ed!
A: Can you imagine someone saying to you, Geoff, that you are taking this job to capitalize on somebody’s infirmity? Come on! I mean, I don’t need to do radio. Let’s face it. People have been asking me to do radio for three years. If there comes a time that I can fit it into my schedule and it works for Fox, maybe we’ll do a small radio show. But to say to the audience that here’s O’Reilly, he wants to take Rush Limbaugh on now that Limbaugh is going deaf, I mean, that’s just terrible. I’m not going to sit for that.
Q: I think frankly that both of you were used by some of the smarmy suits in the background.
A: I haven’t been used, I tell you that right now, because I haven’t done anything. I believe he was used, and I told him that. But you can explain to me, Geoff, how I’ve been used. I’d like to hear it.
Q: Let me ask you this, because we are going to get bit on time in a brief moment. You admit in your book that once upon a time, when you were with CBS, you were a “dead man walking,” right?
Q: You are king now. You da man! You are into the big, big bucks. Matt Drudge underestimated your salary. You are at the top right now. How has it changed you?
A: I don’t think it’s changed me at all. It certainly made my life more complicated logistically. I have to protect myself now and watch everything that I say and watch what I do. I have security problems, and I have to measure and weigh every, everything that I do in public. People are looking at me all the time. So I can’t walk into “Harry’s Dirty Bookstore” … I mean, that’s not going to happen. I have to watch kooks. I have to protect my family. The up side of success is you do have a forum to tell people what you think. The downside is, if you do what I do, which is hold powerful people accountable, powerful people are going to try to destroy you. And that’s what that Matt Drudge thing was all about. Somebody who doesn’t like me, who does not want me on the radio, fed him some stuff, and Drudge ran with it. You were right, I thought that was deadly wrong. I don’t mind him reporting about maybe I’ll do a radio show, but to say the reason I’m doing that is because Rush Limbaugh is going deaf … That’s a cheap shot.
Q: That’s beyond a cheap shot. That’s going where you live. Drudge had a quote in the piece, allegedly from you, saying you weren’t talking politics, so you’d take him on and beat him. Did you say that?
A: No. I didn’t say that to anybody. And these made-up things are … look, I told him, “You didn’t even call me before you wrote this article. You didn’t even ask me for a comment on it.” I straightened it out with Drudge. I went on his program, and he gave me my say. That’s all that I ask, and we’ll let the audience decide as always.
Q: The success of the “No Spin Zone” and “The Factor” has been remarkable. And I think one of the reasons is physics. Nature abhors a vacuum, and you are filling a vacuum that the mainstream media has created, and you do a superb job of it. One last question. Who would you like to get on to interview that flat out won’t come on?
A: The most dangerous politician in the country is Hillary Clinton. There is no question she is a dangerous woman. And I need to get with Hillary Clinton. We need to talk.
Q: Ain’t no way, no how that is going to happen!
A: You’d be surprised. You’d be surprised. She’s not going to come on voluntarily and sit in the chair. But there may be a time when there’s a camera right over my shoulder and she’s standing right in front of me. Last week I walked into a party, and who bumped right into me? Bill Clinton. First time I ever met him. Charming as hell. Knew everything about “The Factor,” had read the “No Spin Zone” book. These people know who I am. I’d love to talk to Bill Clinton, but more than anyone, Hillary Clinton. She wants to be president; she’s going to do anything she can to get there.
Order by tomorrow to receive an autographed copy of Bill O’Reilly’s best-selling book “No Spin Zone” by Christmas! Unabridged, audio-cassette recordings of the book are also available.
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