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Bill O'Reilly "ready to make nice" with Dixie Chicks?

Reported by Chrish - May 22, 2006

Back in March Bill O'Reilly had Scott McKenzie from Billboard Magazine on The O'Reilly Factor to discuss the upcoming release of the Dixie Chicks' "Taking The Long Way" album. The album contains the unapologetic "Not Ready to Make Nice", an honest commentary on what the musicians have been through since 2003, when lead singer Natalie Maines said she was ashamed to be from the same state as Bush.

In the March segment O'Reilly seemed to be talking the sales down and diminishing the Chicks' ability to cross over genres to a wider audience than country. It seems as Amazon pre-orders have taken the CD to number 1 and the related video is playing on CMT O'Reilly may have to sidle on over and make nice with the singer.

The New York Times reports :

"Her remark was reported in Britain and quickly picked up. Right-wing blogs and talk shows vilified the Dixie Chicks as unpatriotic and worse, and the Incident reached the nightly news. On March 12 a Web site statement from Ms. Maines said: "I feel the president is ignoring the opinion of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world. My comments were made in frustration, and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view." On March 14, 2003, she apologized to President Bush for being "disrespectful" to his office, but added, "I just want to see every possible alternative exhausted before children and American soldiers' lives are lost."

At the Time 100 party a few days before this interview, the Dixie Chicks performed "Not Ready to Make Nice." Afterward Ms. Maines recounted, the Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly — who has regularly denounced her, and whom she pointedly calls "despicable" — rushed over to greet them. "It's like, 'Just want to say that was great!' " Ms. Maines said. " 'I really like that new song.' "

"And I go, 'But two million tops, right?' And he goes, 'What?' And I said, 'I saw your show when you said we wouldn't sell more than two million, tops.' And he was like, 'Oh, ah, well, two million's pretty good these days, right?' And I was just like, 'Right, yeah. You were saying it in a positive way.' "

Ms. Robison interrupted, laughing. "That's what you call a no-spin zone."

"So then he was just backtracking," Ms. Maines continued. "He says: 'We really respect what you did. And we really respect that you stand up for yourself and blah blah blah. We just wish you would say it over here.' And I said, 'I'll say it over here.' "

The complaint that she criticized the president on foreign soil has been a talk-radio talking point. Ms. Maines dismisses it. "It wasn't like we played 20 shows in America and I was saving up this comment for London," she said. "I was in London when the war was about to start. That's where I said it. I would have said it anywhere, because I didn't think that it was a bad thing to say or a controversial thing to say."

The next day on "The O'Reilly Factor," Mr. O'Reilly acknowledged that Ms. Maines had "chided" him. He mentioned the radio boycott but did not endorse it. "Not Ready to Make Nice" is 'a pretty good song,' he said. 'There's no reason not to play it.'"

The CD is being shipped today and will be in stores tomorrow.

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