Bill O’Reilly made a rather bold declaration during a recent interview with Newsweek.
The Fox News host was promoting his new book (a historical thriller about the Lincoln assassination), and he clearly had the presidency on his mind, because he told interviewer Peter Boyer that he was almost as powerful as the holder of that office.
“I have more power than anybody other than the president, in the sense that I can get things changed, quickly,” he said. “I don’t have to go through the legislative process; I don’t have to do any of that. I can just bring it to the people, and say, look, this has gotta be dealt with.”
O’Reilly has a history of making grand statements about his reach. Who can forget, for instance, his prediction that his Super Bowl interview with President Obama would be the most watched in “the history of mankind” ? Or his attempt to draft himself as the key negotiator in the debt ceiling crisis?
There a bunch of good nuggets in the Newsweek profile. For instance, O’Reilly says he “likes” Obama personally, and that he warned Glenn Beck not to turn into “Elmer Gantry” when the two went on tour together. But that “power” statement stands out. (Interestingly, it’s a bit of a step back from a statement O’Reilly made in 2010, where he said definitively that he had “more power doing what I’m doing” than he would as president.)
It’s certainly true that, as the nation’s leading cable news host by some length, O’Reilly has a very large reach and influence. And the relative power of a television host versus, say, the Speaker of the House could be arguable, in a sort of sociological sense. Nevertheless, we are throwing the question open to you, the reader. Do you agree with O’Reilly’s statement?
- Bill O’Reilly Makes A Really, Really, Really Bold Statement About Himself (huffingtonpost.com)
- Bill O’Reilly: ‘I Have More Power Than Anybody Other Than The President’ (mediaite.com)
- A Great Argument For Raising Taxes From Bill O’Reilly (outsidethebeltway.com)
- O’Reilly: Only Obama more powerful (politico.com)
- Bill O’Reilly And NYT’s Tom Friedman Clash Over The Jobs Crisis (mediaite.com)
- Bill O’Reilly Explores Controversial Comments In New Jackie Kennedy Interview (mediaite.com)
- Bill O’Reilly Attacks Mitt Romney for Attacking Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy (slog.thestranger.com)