Factor Viewers and the Republican Race
By: Bill O'ReillyMarch 7, 2016
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So I spent hours this weekend reading your emails about last Thursday's debate and my interviews with the candidates afterward in Detroit.

Opinions are all over the place, which makes things very interesting.

Talking Points values perspective from the folks, so this is a good time to analyze that.

We begin with Dennis Dreher who lives in Calgary, Canada:

"The three debate moderators claim to want to hear about policy but then instigate a hatchet job.  Do you agree?"

I do not.

All four candidates were asked legitimate questions about policy and their political history.  Inconsistencies on the part of the candidates about their policy records are fair game.

How the candidates answer the questions is not up to the moderators.  It is certainly instructive to see how those seeking power handle themselves under pressure, so sometimes what looks to be out of control is actually giving the viewer insight.

I saw no sign of any hatchet at the debate.

Max Suzich, Simi Valley, California: "I am 9 years old, and if I talked the way those men at the debate did, my mom would ground me."

Politics is a rough business, Max.  But some of it is acting.  Remember Governor Christie criticized Donald Trump earlier in the campaign and vice-versa?  Now they're pals.  I'm glad you are paying attention to your country.

Angie Sims, Chicago: "We were disappointed because you promised you would tell us who won the debate.  We stayed up late, but you never gave your opinion."

At the beginning of the Kasich interview I stated to the governor that he had the best policy arguments, so that was my pick.

His problem-solving rhetoric was superior in my opinion.

Mike Porter, Flat Rock, Michigan: "I see a concerted effort by Fox News to eliminate the Republican front runner.  The post-debate interviews by O'Reilly appear to be a set up.  Standing up next to Trump so he could appear taller than he is.  Then sitting down with the rest of the candidates."

Simply a matter of logistics.  We opened The Factor on stage because our set was in the balcony and it would have taken Mr. Trump too much time to get up there.  During the first commercial break, the other guys had time to make the trek as I did.

But let's address the more important question: political paranoia.  It makes no difference whether an interview is conducted standing or sitting.  What is said is what's important.  Your view of a contrived anti-Trump set up speaks to a fantasy that FNC seeks to manipulate its viewers.  It doesn't.

Alan Neubauer, Kittredge, Colorado:  "Bill, your post-debate interview with Trump was excellent, serious journalism.  You should go back to being a reporter and forget about commentary."

Never left being a reporter.  All good analysis should be fact-based and that's what we do here.  My interviews are based on what has actually happened, cause and effect.  That's what I bring and it is based on my decades of reporting experience.

Randy Furnas, Coupeville, Washington: "Everybody knows why Kasich hasn't had the attention of Fox News and other media.  You and others want a circus to entertain the masses.  It's all about ratings."

Don't need a circus to get ratings.  Was the murder of Kate Steinle a circus?  How about the rise of ISIS?

TV news does give air time to the sensational but not exclusively.  Governor Kasich has chosen to run a retail campaign where he meets with as many folks as possible, outlining his experience and accomplishments.  We have reported and analyzed that.  We can't do it over and over.

A guy like Trump says something new and provocative nearly every day.  So obviously he's going to get more coverage.  We are in the news business, accent on the word "new."

Kent Carroll, Prospect, Connecticut: "I don't care what they say about Trump.  He has never lied to me.  The Republican establishment has."

That's the cornerstone of Trump's support, that his point of view echoes that of Americans fed up with phony politicians who fold on major issues.  Also, that he rejects political correctness which has battered the nation and suppressed opposing points of view.  There is a powerful anger directed at the politics as usual crowd, and Mr. Trump has harnessed that anger into votes.  It has been a brilliant strategy.

Ed Zeglarski, New Port Richey, Florida: "Bill, I saw your baiting of Trump after the debate.  It was negative."

Michele Parkenham, Wisconsin: "O'Reilly, it pains me to say it, but your fawning interview with Trump after the debate was cringe worthy."

Now I get opposite assessments every time I interview any politician -- I baited Trump, I fawned over Trump.  Can't be both.  

But here's the danger: Increasingly in America, folks are hearing what they want to hear, not what's actually being said.

We live in a time where you can create your own world by using high-tech gizmos.  Outside of making a living, society no longer demands rationality on your part.

You have to perform in the workplace and at school or else you'll live in poverty.

But in your private life you can create any scenario you want and lose complete touch with what is actually taking place.

That new wave of behavior is now sweeping over the political process, and canny power seekers are harnessing emotion to achieve success.  That kind of presentation has become the rule rather than the exception.

Power can be a very dangerous thing and Americans should think long and hard before bestowing it on anyone.

It is my job to keep it all real and fair.

I believe I am doing my job.

And that's the memo.