Bill O’Reilly: ‘I Have More Power Than Anybody Other Than the President’

By Alex Weprin 

Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly gets profiled by Newsweek, timed to coincide with the release of a new book he co-wrote, Killing Lincoln, about the nation’s 16th President.

O’Reilly tells interviewer Peter Boyer that given his platform on Fox News, he is a force to be reckoned with:

Fifteen years into the role, O’Reilly’s success—his primetime cable competitors don’t come close to his ratings—has brought wealth and, as he is happy to assert, the power of influence. “I have more power than anybody other than the president, in the sense that I can get things changed, quickly,” he says. “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 also reveals that his “white whale” is former Vice President Dick Cheney, who refuses to come on the program, and that he likes President Obama on a personal level, even as he dislikes his politics. Newsweek also makes an effort to paint O’Reilly’s ideology in terms that contrast it with some of his FNC colleagues:

O’Reilly’s liberal critics tend to cast him as the biggest bogeyman of the Fox News–Republican conspiracy, but he insistently disclaims ideology—asserting an independence that, in a relative sense, has some merit. Where Sean Hannity’s positions on a given partisan issue can be reliably predicted (“He has a Republican show,” O’Reilly says, “and Republicans should have a show”), O’Reilly is not strictly doctrinaire except for a slavish adherence to what might be called the Ideology of Bill: a set of certainties derived from his Roman Catholic upbringing in a working-class home in Levittown, on Long Island, where the values of the 1950s and early ’60s were indelibly imprinted upon him.