Factor of 100


You can't deny Bill O'Reilly's success. On Tuesday, the fiery host of Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor" marked his 100th consecutive month with the No. 1-rated cable news show. A former schoolteacher who gained national prominence as the host of "Inside Edition," O'Reilly boasts three Emmys and several best-selling books.Bill O'Reilly: That's a tough one. I think it's the three interviews I did with President Bush. That's the hardest interview for any journalist, to interview a president, because you can't cross a certain line, and presidents all come in with what they want to say. To get them out of that rehearsed deal is very hard. The three interviews I did with Bush were instructive because I went up to that line. And then my interviews with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during the campaign were fun because it was a chess match.

O'Reilly: I could be wrong, but I think Obama is not a confrontational guy. So why would he get in a confrontational interview situation where he knows he'll be challenged? Look at his interview history: Very rarely has he done that. He did it with me because he wanted to disrupt the Republican convention and get a lot of attention. He succeeded in doing the latter.

O'Reilly: My job is to watch the powerful. A performer has a forum that other people do not, and all we ask is that they be fair. If they believe something and use their TV show, movie or concert to spout off about it, that's fine. But if we have some questions about their beliefs, I think they should answer them — and not be drive-by people.

O'Reilly: I take it case by case. We took on George Clooney over the 9/11 charities, and we were absolutely right, but Clooney does a good job with Darfur. We took on Bruce Springsteen for things he has done at concerts because we want to know what his frame of reference is. These are powerful people, and we're not going to give them a free ride. If there was somebody screaming right-wing stuff, we'd do the same thing. But there is no one like that because if they do that in Hollywood, they're not going to work, which is an interesting story in and of itself.

O'Reilly: The best one is Ron Silver, who went on the record saying as soon as he got out of the liberal mind-set, it was more difficult for him in Hollywood. And that's the perception.

O'Reilly: Just Sean Penn.

O'Reilly: Not at all — he's a great actor, and if you hire him, you'll get a good performance. I'm just not going to give a guy who gives aid and comfort to people like (Iran president Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez and Saddam Hussein, when he was alive, my 10 bucks. That's my right as an American.

O'Reilly: No, it's a personal decision. I don't tell people how to vote or how to spend their money. I don't tell people how to do anything. In America, you decide for yourself. We don't endorse anybody here or promote a political party, which is why we've been so successful.

O'Reilly: I get preferential treatment, though I don't want that. I very rarely have problems. Look, I'm 6-foot-4, and I don't look like I'll be receptive to bad behavior.

O'Reilly: Nothing — never in 121/2 years of doing this. We have had death threats here, and Fox security people are excellent. We know that the far-left loons bait on the Internet, and they would do damage if they could.

O'Reilly: We've had a few people convicted of crimes. I'm not going to get into descrip- tions. (partialdiff)