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Bill O'Reilly: Hollywood Insider?

Reported by Marie Therese - March 1, 2005

Last Friday (2/25/05) Bill O'Reilly interviewed actor-producer-director Clint Eastwood. (You can read a transcript here.) Then, on yesterday's O'Reilly Factor, he replayed part of that interview and continued to sing the praises of Mr. Eastwood, even including him in his Talking Points Memo as follows:

BILL O'REILLY: Rush Limbaugh versus Clint Eastwood, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo".

The nation's culture war was on display at the Oscar telecast last night. Chris Rock's anti-Bush jokes offended a lot of people, as did the cutaway shots of Hollywood liberals yucking it up at the flat material. It wasn't funny. But Rock wasn't really that bad and the partisanship was kept to a minimum, thank God.

The big story of the evening was how conservative radio guys like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Medved may have helped Clint Eastwood's movie, "Million Dollar Baby" win best picture.

Once the show biz voters heard that some conservatives were angry about the euthanasia theme, that was it. Hollywood continues to be very upset by the Bush re-election. And dissing Eastwood was the last straw, so the votes poured in for him.

For my money, "Million Dollar Baby" deserved the award, although I haven't seen "The Aviator" because I don't care about Howard Hughes. But "Baby" was an excellent film, fair and balanced in its presentation. And Mr. Eastwood wasn't trying to advocate anything, in my opinion. We'll replay some of my talk with him later on.

But the Hollywood backlash against the euthanasia stuff is interesting and a lesson for conservatives -- pick your battles. There's no question that the secular progressives want to change this country. And conservative traditionalists are fighting against that change. That's a fair fight. But pounding issues unfairly hurts both sides. My column this week, available on billoreilly.com, examines the Buster the Bunny controversy. Certainly PBS was wrong in allowing a cartoon for preschool kids to contain a "gay is OK" message. This is simply inappropriate for the age group. And PBS has paid a price for its dumbness.

But equally dumb was labeling SpongeBob a gay guy. And that diminishes the valid point that America now sexualizes children at a young age, intruding on their childhood.

SpongeBob is a sponge. He's not cruising the bars in West Hollywood. Culture warriors on both sides have got to get a grip. There's danger in fanatical policy. But paranoia makes a danger harder to illuminate. You won't be taken seriously if you cry wolf too often. SpongeBob is no threat. "Million Dollar Baby" is a worthwhile drama that examines human feelings. Those situations are now part of the culture war, but shouldn't be. Those battles are simply not worth fighting.

And that's The Memo.

COMMENT

Last summer O'Reilly fell all over himself in support of Mel Gibson and his religious epic, "The Passion of the Christ." He intereviewed Gibson and played it over two nights. At that time, in the interests of full disclosure, he said he was negotiating with Gibson to produce the screen version of O'Reilly's detective potboiler, "Those Who Trespass." Since then, there has been no further mention of this project.

Last week, The O'Reilly Factor was broadcast from Los Angeles, where he interviewed Clint Eastwood.

Which got me to speculating.

Is the Gibson deal still a go or did it fall through?

If the Gibson deal is off, is O'Reilly courting Eastwood, hoping to find a new Hollywood money man?

It's got to be a humbling experience for the Billster to hawk his book in a town he routinely hauls over the coals. There can't be that many producers who would even talk to him!

Here's Bill's own synopsis of the plot of his novel:

"Those Who Trespass" is a white-knuckle thriller. A killer is on the loose, and out for revenge - and television executives and correspondents are his prey. Can New York City Detective Tommy O'Malley crack the case - or will he scooped by sultry tabloid reporter Ashley van Buren? And do they have more in common than a knack for solving crimes?"

Will "Those Who Trespass" ever makes it to the big screen?

And, if it does, do you think there'll be a steamy falafel-and-loofah scene?

Inquiring minds want to know!

SPECIAL NOTE TO OUR READERS: While I know it's tempting to get carried away with the off-color remarks, especially where O'Reilly's concerned, PLEASE keep it funny and a bit risque, but not hard core. I WILL delete inappropriate comments.

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