If You Think You Know Bill O'Reilly....Think Again.
"Better to fight for something than live for nothing." - George S. Patton
I had the privilege of sitting down with Bill O'Reilly at Mohegan Sun Arena this past weekend. We arranged to meet between back-to-back performances of his sold-out tour "Who Wants To Be President?" and Bill didn't disappoint. In fact, he surpassed all expectations in that "Bill O'Reilly" style that comes natural to him.
With enormous graciousness and endurance - having just returned from the first performance and follow-up "meet-n-greet" ready to chat - Bill took a seat across from me and began answering my questions with a certainty and clarity that could have easily rivaled that of any of the great men he had chosen as the subjects for his books.
The hallmark to his success combined with his unbridled commitment to a larger purpose and realistic approach to "personal and professional" life and longevity is what has made Bill O'Reilly a household name and Fox News icon. It's also what has made the "Who Wants To Be President?" tour one of the most entertaining and 'talked about' tours to-date. Bill O'Reilly and Dennis Miller could not be more brilliant...except maybe in the interview below.
Read on, my friends, and learn more about the man you "think you know" but have barely scratched the surface...till now.
What made you want to do the “Who Wants To Be President?” tour?
I wanted to take the temperature of the country. One of the best ways of accomplishing this is to visit locations I have not been to in some time. The tour gives me the opportunity to do this.
Who came up with the name for the tour?
I did. I own a production company that is incredibly talented, innovative, and skilled, but decisions like this, generally, fall to me as it feeds from the initial concept of the show, which originated with me.
How many hours did it take to put the tour together?
Even uncomplicated shows takes hours-upon-hours to put together. Thankfully, my team does most of the regular “heavy lifting” when it comes to the tour. My role, primarily, is to ‘show up’ and ‘carry through’ in the way my team and the audience depend upon me to do.
What greater understanding about you will viewing the tour bring to your audience?
The “live” nature of the tour provides a more casual and fun atmosphere than audiences are use to viewing me in. They get to see a lighter side of me as a result.
Is there a particular social cause that benefits from the proceeds of the tour?
The Winifred and William O'Reilly Foundation benefits and, subsequently, all of the causes we support through the foundation.
What one thing have you learned about Dennis Miller that you had not known prior to commencing on the tour together?
How enormously “disciplined” Dennis is. It is not something made obvious through a five minute nightly segment. It became quite obvious through this tour.
If you were given the opportunity to construct our next "President of The United States" pulling a characteristic from each of the following, what characteristic would you pull from each of these people:
Donald Trump - Ambition
Secretary Hillary Clinton - Persistence
Senator Bernie Sanders - Dedication
Speaker Paul Ryan - Intellect
Newt Gingrich - Sincerity
President Barack Obama - Passion
Roger Ailes - Wisdom
President Vladimir Putin - Sense of Purpose
How has the rise of the internet impacted what you do each night on 'The O’Reilly Factor', given that so much of what is currently circulated seems to be more Op-ed than true journalism?
The O’Reilly Factor is “Op-ed,” but it’s Op-ed based upon facts that are confirmed. Every opinion or commentary I offer is formulated around solid facts. This is vitally important to who we are and what we do at The O’Reilly Factor.
What is the main criteria you use to choose the subjects of your books? Do you keep a checklist of some sort?
The checklist is simple. I must be interested in the subject -- first and foremost. Then, I must have a sense that the subject will appeal to the audience as well. That combination makes for an interesting and exciting process and book.
What does the success of the new show “Legends & Lies” in which you Executive Produce say to you about the nation?
I’ve always believed that a certain percentage of Americans want to know the truth about our country. This belief became the catalyst for Legends & Lies (Fox News, Sundays, 8pm Est). The series is as entertaining as it is educational, which includes the introduction of ‘little known’ yet ‘highly enlightening’ facts.
With all that you do and the fast pace that you go, share with us what drives you and keeps you going?
To begin with, I have a lot of energy. That doesn’t mean I plan to keep this pace up forever. The “hard work” my team and I put in to meet the seriousness of which we take our audience and our commitments is undeniable and extensive. The 'high standards' we keep, however, demand appropriate adjustments over time. That said, there are no immediate plans or announcements to share that would indicate we will be changing course anytime soon.
General Colin Powell once said “Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, your ego goes with it.” How do you, personally, keep from doing this?
I don’t view life through the “Bill O’Reilly” prism. "Living up to" my commitments and achieving them in a way I can be proud of is where my concentration lies.
What’s the biggest public misconception about you?
That I am the same person ‘on-air’ as I am ‘off’.
Who has been your favorite and most difficult interview?
The Presidential interviews are the toughest as you must respect the lines of the office while carrying out these interviews. I’ve been fortunate, throughout my career, to be able to interview many Presidents, including President Barack Obama, President George W. Bush, and President Gerald Ford but none of these interviews were what you would consider “easy.”
When all is said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
I haven’t given too much thought to this. I can imagine my tombstone reading - “He finally stopped talking”. Past that, I can’t say.
No doubt, Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar will disagree with me...but Bill, I hope you never stop talking and I'm not alone. Each new syllable you express provokes 'thought' in a country that has gone too long devoid of solid thinking or effective listening skills. And where has it gotten us? Existing in a country where we have 'lived so long for nothing" that we are now forced to fight for "something" less we lose, basically, "everything."
Not a great position to be in. Best you stay put, Bill, for a very, very, very long time!
Many thanks to Bill O'Reilly and Fox News for making this interview possible