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Bill O'Reilly on The View

Reported by Chrish - October 18, 2006 -

Amended; now with VIDEO

Bill O'Reilly was a guest on The View on ABC this morning 10/18/06, with a panel of hosts Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Rosie O'Donnell, and Elizabeth Hasselbeck. The women put O'Reilly on the spot about his broad generalizations about "traditionalists" and "secular progressives" in his new book Culture Warrior.

Rosie O'Donnell prepared for the segment by bringing some props, small signs (like bidding paddles) that said "Disagree" and "Wrong," to try and prevent loud arguments. It was only partially successful, and at one point Barbara Walters had to raise her voice to bring the conversation back to topic. Here are the teasers:

Entering the stage, BOR shook hands with Hasselbeck, Behar, and O'Donnell and kissed Walters on the cheek. He made sure to mention - twice - "Barbara gets the kiss." As they were all seating themselves she said "Well I'm not so sure that's so great, but that's OK..." (He's literally kissing up to the woman he sees as most powerful.)

Asked by Walters what he is fighting, we're all trying to be united and get better, what is he mad about, O'Reilly put forth his by-now familiar simple black/white premise - there's a big culture war in this country between traditionalists and secular progressives. He said he believes Walters is a traditionalist, Hasselbeck is "certainly" a traditionalist, and Behar and O'Donnell are S-Ps (aka his enemy, no?)

Asked to define the two terms he said that traditionalists think the country is noble, we make mistakes but the Judeo-Christian philosophy on which we were founded is good, (Rosie was not holding up her "wrong" sign but I will - WRONG! This country was NOT founded on J-C philosophy.) and we are essentially a good country.

O'Donnell interrupted (she raised her hand, lol) and said "just so you know, we think America is a good country too. Joy and I believe it is a great country." The audience applauded loudly, temporarily silencing BOR, and Behar jumped in with to say she also objected to the inference she and O'Donnell don't adhere to a good J-C ethic - they are both Catholics. Good, said BOR, you're all on my side, it will make the interview go better, you all agree with me. Well, no, said ROD, and held up the "wrong" sign.

BOR continued, postulating that SPs believe the country is fundamentally flawed and needs big changes socially, economically, foreign policy-wise, in almost every area - that's secular progressives.

Walters listed some prominent targets of O'Reilly's SP label, culminating with Oprah, and asked if a person is liberal are they automatically secular progressive? O'Reilly names a few liberal traditionalists - Lieberman and Martin Luther King, not because the latter was religious but because he based his arguments on J-C philosophy and was holding the USA to a higher standard.

There was a lot of crosstalk and at the end of it O'Donnell asked if O'Reilly believes in the separation of church and state. When he said he did (what about the ridiculous war on Christmas, last year's divide and conquer issue?) ROD said they agreed on something, but she hadn't prepared a sign for that scenario.

Walters wanted to get back to the gripe with Oprah and asked BOR to name some prominent secular progressives. George Soros is the money-man, the ACLU is the "vanguard" (the leading units moving at the head of an army), and "many many Hollywood celebrities" - they want big big changes, income re-distribution...

There was overtalking and Walters again wanted to get back to Oprah, unfortunately before someone could ask an obvious question - why would fabulously rich Hollywood stars be agitating for redistribution of incomes? Is that what they're really all about, or is it more issues of privacy and personal choices - you know, what conservatives used to care about?

O'Reilly said he is going on Oprah's show next week, but he merely pointed out that she has many more SPs on her show than traditionalists. O'Donnell pointed out that he has more traditionalists than SPs on his show, which he strongly denied, claiming it's 50-50, "you're wrong, you're wrong!"(getting louder) and reached for her signs. She held onto them and said that, as Phil Donahue said to you, just because you're louder it doesn't make you right. Of course the mention of Donahue only frenzied BOR more, and he started bleating "SP, SP, he's a secular progressive !"

Joy Behar said to O'Reilly that he is pro-gay-marriage and he vehemently denied, saying he just doesn't care if Lenny and Squiggy want to get married, he just doesn't care. Behar opined that that is a progressive view, and O'Reilly said he believes in a democracy the will of the people should prevail - let there be a referendum. O'Donnell jumped in saying that 64% of the people disagree with Bush's position on the war - what does he say to that? He didn't really answer, instead asking her (badgering) if she wants America to win in Iraq. ROD said she doesn't think it's possible for us to win, and she wants us to get our troops home before any more are killed. (Loud applause.) When she continued that she wants America to be what the Founding Fathers envisioned, O'Reilly turned his head and said "you don't want America to win in Iraq." Walters jumped in and said "don't put words in her mouth!" He jabbed his pointer and demanded an answer, and Hasselbeck piped up that we have to win in Iraq for the Iraq people. There was much arguing and Walters tried to get them back on track.

She said that BOR had just interviewed Bush and was a big Bush-backer, which he immediately and vehemently denied, saying he's been very critical. Walters wanted to end on a secular progressive note, but O'Reilly jumped in and hawked the book. Walters made a face - resignation? disgust? exasperation? - and handed the book to o'Donnell, who said she would buy it and read it, and the audience was getting copies too.

She and O'Reilly shook and the segment ended moments later.

Comment: O'Reilly keeps trying to put people in boxes but refuses one himself. He claims to have independent opinions and a range of views on different issues but insists on labelling more liberal people based on their most liberal opinion.

And if Martin Luther King didn't want to change this country socially and economically, then nobody deserves the label secular progressive. King's stance was not based on his religion, it was based on basic human rights for ALL.

O'Reilly was in his usual state of denial. I hope Oprah nails him in a one-on-one for his generalizations and divisive tactics, good for book sales and bad for the country. And I hope she tells him she is PROUD to be secular, progressive, and a loyal American.

Here's the video of the whole segment: