Home July 19, 2008

NewsMax's Top 25 Radio Talk Show Hosts

2. Bill O'Reilly

REACH: 3.25 million-plus listeners per week via more than 400 radio stations.
The O’Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel is the highest-rated show on cable television, with about 3 million viewers nightly; he is a widely distributed syndicated columnist — his column appears regularly in NewsMax magazine; he publishes www.billoreilly.com and is the best-selling author of several books, including the newly released Culture Warrior (Broadway Books, 2006).

FAVORITE TOPIC: Hypocrisy of establishment elites

MOST CONTROVERSIAL MOMENT: In 2001, O’Reilly charged that the money actor George Clooney raised during a telethon to benefit 9/11 victims wasn’t reaching the actual victims. When Clooney publicly objected, O’Reilly invited him to come on his show and debate the issue. Clooney refused. O'Reilly charged that Clooney was making a fuss "to get press."

PET PHRASE(S): "about to enter a no-spin zone … where we’re looking out for you."

WEB SITE: http://www.billoreilly.com/

O'Reilly has established himself as one of the nation's top media personalities.

O'Reilly’s influence and power derive from being able to throw a double punch — the most-watched cable TV host and a widely syndicated radio host. His syndicated column is published by over 300 newspapers. Few hosts can claim the reach O’Reilly enjoys across a broad range of media. The veteran journalist spent more than 20 years at ABC, CBS, and Inside Edition and follows old-fashioned journalism rules of eschewing partisanship.

His twist: He covers world events from a working-class populist perspective. He is iconoclastic: opposing the death penalty, addressing global warming as a legitimate concern, and admiring Bobby Kennedy, but has been anti-government, pro-business, and pro-Bush when it comes to the war on terror. Every week he finds occasions to agree with something a prominent Democratic politician has said, although O’Reilly has also remarked that “the Democratic Party has been hijacked by the far left.”

“I don’t want to fit any of those labels” like “conservative or liberal,” O’Reilly has said, “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.” It’s a formula that works well on TV, but talk radio is the bastion of the right.

O’Reilly is sensitive to put-downs and quick to defend his honor. Although lesser hosts like Franken and MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann have tried to enhance their own fame by goading him into public feuds, his ratings dominance remains unchallenged.

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