Bill O’Reilly On MSM Bias Against His Books, Interviewing Pope Francis, and “The Last Days of Jesus”
HH: Joined now by Bill O’Reilly. Bill, welcome back, and congratulations on The Last Days Of Jesus. Fabulous book. I mean, it’s a gorgeous book.
BO’R: Thank you, Hugh. I appreciate that very much.
HH: I’ve got to ask you, I was just covering this terrible story out of Pennsylvania. You were a high school history teacher. And so you’ve been with students. Did anything ever like this happen in your years in high school?
BO’R: No. There were some brawls at dances and football games, but the alienation of the kids these days and the torture that some of them have to endure on the internet and by the phones and the texting, I mean, this has changed the equation.
HH: It has, and I wonder, do you think in your day, a high school teacher tackled this kid today along with a security guard. Thank God Sam King was on the campus. He’s a hero, because he stabbed 24 people.
HH: Do you think that most teachers are disposed to act that way now?
BO’R: It’s individual. I don’t think teachers are any different than other groups of people. You know, some people have courage, and some people do not. So that’s the only way I can answer the question.
HH: All right, now I want to go to The Last Days Of Jesus. You’re a Catholic guy. Which high school did you go to, by the way, the name of the high school?
BO’R: Chaminade High School, Minneola, Long Island.
HH: Okay, so you’re a Catholic high school guy, Sean Hannity’s a Catholic high school guy, Roger Ailes went to my Catholic high school in Warren, Ohio, so I’m a Catholic high school guy. The Last Days of Jesus, I mean, is this a Catholic version of The Last Days of Jesus? Or is this, you actually write that it’s not?
BO’R: No, it’s a history book. You know, Killing Jesus, the adult book, bestselling book of 2013, still in the top ten after seven months, just a history book. No divinity, no discussion of, we don’t even use the word Christ in the book, because Christ connotes Messiah. So we decided to do a children’s book, because if you are a kid in America, and you live in a secular home and go to public school, you know nothing about Jesus of Nazareth. The only time you hear the word Jesus is when somebody’s yelling at you – Jesus, okay? So we made it a history book for children, lots of pictures, an easy to follow story, and it’s opened very big.
HH: It is gorgeous. I go back to using this word. I went to Israel for the first time a couple of years ago, and I wish I’d actually had this beforehand, because the layout of the Temple that you provide, and the graphics that you provide of the Temple Mount, probably better than any guidebook you pick up in an airport coming or going. And so how much did you have to do with the illustrations and all these photographs? You wrote the book, but I mean, who did the graphic design here?
BO’R: Well, we worked together with the people at McMillan, and basically said look, you need to illustrate this for the kids, and I think they would like that. And you know, we provide an entertainment for adults and for children when we do our books. We’re reader friendly, and that’s why I want to put these books out, so everyone can read them, even if you’re not a book person. So we work with them, and they’re very creative in their selection of the material, so we were real happy with it.
HH: I mentioned, you call it a children’s book. I actually think this is an adult book. I think that a whole bunch of people in Sunday School don’t know this level of detail about the Holy Week events.
BO’R: Yeah, I mean, I would encourage adults to read Killing Jesus, because you get a little bit more of the flavor of the times. We had to take out a lot of the Roman stuff for the kids and a lot of the rough stuff that was going on that Jesus had to deal with. But I agree with you. I mean, adults will enjoy it, and they’ll learn from it.
HH: Are you going to Bobby Kennedy next?
BO’R: No, I’m not going to do Bobby. The next book is in September. It’s a big World War II book. And it’s going to spin a lot of people’s heads around, because we’re doing the last five months in Europe and what happened, and what these people were really like. And so we’ll announce the title of the book in June, but I think it’s going to be another big one.
HH: That’s an interesting departure. When you have a franchise, and you’ve got a franchise now with Lincoln’s last days, Kennedy’s last days, the last days of Jesus. It’s interesting to depart from the franchise.
BO’R: Well, it’ll be a Killing book, the World War II book. There is somebody in there that we’re focusing on, and I think people will be interested to hear what happened to that person. It’ll be hard to get a kids book, but we’ll do it about World War II, because it’s really rough. I mean, you know, Jesus was rough at the time, but World War II was brutal. But you know, this franchise now is the biggest one in the world as far as history and non-fiction is concerned. So we’re going to roll with it.
HH: Why do you keep working this hard?
BO’R: You know, somebody was asking me that today. You know, I like what I do, but you know, it is a lot. There’s no doubt about it. So I do things that no one else does. I mean, I kind of have a responsibility, I think, to my viewers and readers. But you know, inevitably, I’ll have to slow down a little bit.
HH: But you don’t have to do book tours. You don’t have to do radio interviews. You don’t have to do any of that stuff. Why are you doing it? It’s sort of like when Ken Follett showed up in my studio one day, and he spent three hours. Ken Follett doesn’t have to do a minute of radio. Why do you do it?
BO’R: I do radio to bring awareness of the book, because it’s so hard to get people dialed into it now. They have so many distractions with the personal computers and all of that. So I do select shows like yours that I feel would be receptive to this kind of a book. You know, we’ll do the Today Show tomorrow. I did Fallon Friday night. We’re just trying to get the word out. Marketing is important for any project. I don’t do a book tour, standard book tour anymore. I don’t do that.
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HH: Coming up after the break, Dylan Byers of Politico joins me. Right now, I continue my conversation with Bill O’Reilly, of course of the O’Reilly Factor, the author of many New York Times number one bestsellers, and just out now, The Last Days of Jesus: His Life and Time, a special illustrated edition of the number one New York Times bestselling Killing Jesus. As I said last segment, it’s a beautiful book, not just a children’s book. Adults who want to sort of revel in the detail of the era and of Killing Jesus will like it. So Bill, when I get a media reporter like Dylan on, do you think that media reporters treat you fairly and your books fairly?
HH: Why not?
BO’R: There’s a number of reasons. I mean, a lot of them are liberal people. Here’s an interesting thing, and Killing Jesus, most, bestselling non-fiction book in the world in 2013, okay? Not one newspaper, major newspaper, reviewed it, not one.
HH: Now what do you think goes on? I can ask Dylan this. I will ask Dylan this. In the mind of a media reporter, when an O’Reilly book comes out and they don’t mention that it’s, because I’ve run into this a lot about number one…
BO’R: Yeah, I mean, it’s, look, they, the media reporters who are ideological, not all of them are, but a lot of them are. They’re going to say well, we’re not going to give him any publicity.
HH: That’s exactly it. That’s it.
BO’R: And I mean, they do it with news stories, too. It’s not just me. I mean, look, has the media covered the scandals and Benghazi and the IRS? No. They haven’t covered them at all.
HH: No, but it’s just too bad, because a beautiful book deserves to be judged on its own merits, not because they don’t like Fox News or Bill O’Reilly. Now I’ve got to ask you, my favorite O’Reilly book is your memoir of growing up Catholic. How Catholic are you now?
BO’R: Well, the book, and you’re very kind to mention it, it was A Bold, Fresh, Piece of Humanity.
BO’R: And I go to church. I mean, I can’t really get behind in the atoning, you know, or I’ll never catch up. I’m not a proselytizer. I’m comfortable with the Catholic…
HH: Were you an altar boy?
HH: Did you do the whole Holy Week stuff?
BO’R: Yes. I was Latin, I was the Latin altar boy.
HH: Oh, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima…so you served Stations of the Cross and all that stuff?
BO’R: All that stuff, yeah. Yeah.
HH: And now having written two books about Jesus, because this is kind of a second book. It’s an adapted book. What do you think of Pope Francis?
BO’R: I like him so far. I’d like to interview him. I think he is a guy who comes from a certain place in the world, and that shapes how he processes things. He’s like a liberation theology guy, but I think that what he’s done is focused the Catholic Church where it should be – on the poor.
HH: Now he is going to be probably in Philadelphia next year when they have Archbishop Chaput, is probably going to, well, they haven’t committed to that, but it’s almost certain that he’ll go there next year. Would you go up to Philadelphia and you sit down with Francis…
BO’R: Sure, absolutely.
HH: What would you ask him?
BO’R: I’d go to Rome to sit down with him. He doesn’t speak English very well, I understand. But he’s the guy that I’d really like to interview. Everybody asks me well, who do you want to interview that you haven’t, and I’ve pretty much interviewed everybody. But he is the guy that I would, that he’s number one on my list.
HH: And what would you ask him?
BO’R: Well, I want to know certain things. I want to know why he thinks the Catholic Church got so corrupted with the pedophilia and all that, why, what happened there. Number two, we have a lot of villains in the world, all right? And the Catholic doctrine says turn the other cheek, the Christian doctrine. But if you turn the other cheek, you could be annihilated. So when is it justifiable to defend yourself and take aggressive action in that regard, like dropping drones on people, those kinds of questions.
HH: Oh, that would be a fascinating interview. Now do you think there is a chance in the world that the Pope will let Bill O’Reilly near him?
BO’R: If anyone can do it, Hugh…
BO’R: Did I get Barack Obama to sit with me for three times?
HH: Okay, well, last question, O’Reilly. Give me a lead for my slug tonight. Who’s going to be the Republican nominee to take on Hillary? And what did you make of Thomas Friedman’s softball interview with her last week?
BO’R: You know, look, the Democratic establishment is going to get behind Hillary Clinton, so don’t expect anything other than that. The Republican field is wide open, in my opinion. I think a number of people could get the nomination.
HH: Is Chris Christie done?
BO’R: No, I don’t think he’s done. I think that if he, nothing comes out further on this Bridgegate, that he’ll be a contender. I don’t think he’ll get it, but I think he’ll be a contender.
HH: Why not, 30 seconds, why won’t he get it?
BO’R: I just think that right now, his style is not what the Republican establishment is looking for. I think they go for Jeb Bush over Chris Christie.
HH: Always a pleasure, Bill O’Reilly. The Last Days of Jesus: His Life and Times, a grandly-illustrated, beautifully-organized book for kids and adults. It’s in bookstores everywhere. You will enjoy it for Holy Week. Thanks for stopping by, Bill, good luck on the Today Show tomorrow. That’s not exactly friendly turf.
End of interview.