Monday at the end of his “The O’Reilly Factor” program on the Fox News Channel, host Bill O’Reilly read viewers’ responses to his heated exchange with Washington Post columnist George Will over alleged inaccuracies in O’Reilly’s best-selling book “Killing Reagan.”
O’Reilly offered a mix of the 10,000 letters he claimed to have received the segment. But he also took some shots at Will, calling him an “elitist” and vowed to “confront deceit head on.”
Transcript as follows:
No tip today because we got many, many letters about the interview with George Will on Friday.
Henry Jeulch, Bluffton, SC, “O’Reilly, long time viewer. Your aggressive reaction to George Will was disgusting. How about a bit of civility?”
You know, there are two kinds of people in the world, Henry. Those who confront deceit head on, those who take other avenues. If you do indeed watch me, you know which kind of guy I am. Every word of “Killing Reagan” is true. George Will chose to attack the book, “The Factor” and me and I called him on it.
Lance Neibauer, Bend, OR. “Bill, it’s not easy to make Will look like a fool but did it. His comments were bizarre.”
Janet Bruner, Houston, TX, “O’Reilly, your conversation with Will made you look strident and Trumpian.”
Lynn McGinnis, Glendale, CA, “Wow, Bill, your passion for the truth and Will’s body language told the tale. Best interview ever.”
Bill Adams also from Houston, “I will never watch ‘The Factor’ again.”
George Sargent, Berlin, NH, “Bill, I take issue with Will. If anything `Killing Reagan’ depicted Ronald Reagan in an honest way and I think you showed courage in doing that, but you should not have called will a hack.”
Joel Scharnk, Myerstown, PA, “Bill, are you aware that George Will and Nancy Reagan were frequent luncheon pals at a quaint little restaurant in Clifton, Virginia?”
We are aware, Joel. Also, Mr. Will’s wife worked for President Reagan.
Dennis Cuchiara, Colorado Springs. “Bill, both you and Will are admired by the same people. Please don’t make us have to take sides.”
Too late, Dennis. Too, late. You may have in the Mr. Will does not appear on “The Factor,” that’s because I believe his elitist presentation doesn’t fit our format, nothing personal. Based upon his remarks over the years he sees me as a vulgarian — word of the day, vulgarian — who does not deserve the forum I have. So there is little common ground between us.
Larry Schwarz, Thailand. “O’Reilly, I’ve read all your `Killing’ books and after seeing your evisceration of your books I want to read `Killing Reagan’ more than ever.” Well, do so.
Dave Winfield, Auckland, New Zealand, “I’m pleased that `Killing Reagan” raised the president to the status he deserves. Reagan and Thatcher are among the great leader of our time, and I appreciate you setting the record straight, O’Reilly”.
Nino Sutcliffe, Pasadena, CA, “O’Reilly, your classless takedown of Will was a shameful exhibition of your insecurity.”
Charles Rink, LaGrange, OH, “Bill, I think the Will interview was the most fervid disagreement I’ve ever seen on ‘The Factor.'” The Barney Frank topped it, Charles.
Tom Holmes, Lutherville, MD, “Mr. O’Reilly, your interview with Will was disgraceful. Just because you say something doesn’t make it gospel.”
I backed up everything I said with facts, Tom, everything. “Killing Reagan” is true. First page to the last page.
Lee Chauncey, Live Oak, FL. “Will lost me. I read `Killing Reagan’ and found it to be an exceptional tribute to the man who overcame weakness to become one of the greatest leaders of all time.” You nail the book, exactly, Lee. Thank you.
Cindy Clark, Kihei, HI, “Mr. O, you came at Mr. Will with the facts and pulverized him. You are definitely not doing the work of the left as he accused.”
Well, I appreciate everybody who wrote in about the Will segment. Close to 10,000 letters.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor