The O'Reilly Factor
A daily summary of segments aired on The O'Reilly Factor. A preview of the evening's rundown is posted before the show airs each weeknight.
Wednesday, January 4, 2006
The Factor Rundown
Talking Points Memo
Top Story
Impact Segment
Unresolved Problems Segment
Personal Story Segment
Back of Book Segment
Factor Mail
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Culture war on the Late Show
"Occasionally I will venture onto entertainment programs to try and reach a new audience and I usually enjoy the joust. Tuesday night I was prepared for just about anything with David Letterman. The interview focused on the two main issues dominating the culture war in America: the role of God in the public arena and the war on terror. The Christmas controversy was all about the ACLU and others trying to deemphasize Judeo-Christian tradition in America. Letterman denied knowledge of an attack on Christmas: 'I wasn't aware that this had happened ? I don't think this is an actual threat ? people like you are trying to make a stink that it's a threat ? I ignore stuff like that. It doesn't really affect me.

"Letterman also took shots at me for saying the Iraq war is 'noble' and for criticizing Cindy Sheehan, who called the terrorists 'freedom fighters.' And while Letterman admitted he doesn't watch The Factor, he had this overall assessment: 'I have the feeling about 60% of what you say is crap ? I don't think you represent an objective viewpoint.' The conversation concluded like this?"

O'REILLY: You have to give me an example if you're going to make those statements.
LETTERMAN: Well, I don't watch your show, so that would be impossible.
O'REILLY: Then why would you come to that conclusion if you don't watch the program?
LETTERMAN: Because of things that I've read, things that I know.

Fox News Video: O'Reilly vs. Letterman

Interpreting the Letterman interview
Guests: Fox News analyst Juan Williams & entertainment reporter Jeanne Wolf

For more on the O'Reilly-Letterman dustup, The Factor was joined by Fox News analyst Juan Williams and entertainment reporter Jeanne Wolf. Williams was astonished by Letterman's hostility. "I was surprised, given his antagonism toward you, that he had you on his show. This was a knife fight, and I do believe it was about the culture. He said some horrible things to you." Wolf agreed that Letterman was hostile, but denied that it had anything to do with a culture war. "I do not think this is the significant moment in television you think it is, because I don't think there is a culture war." The Factor worried that many young Americans get their news from entertainers like Letterman. "David deals in humor, I deal in facts. Letterman sincerely did not believe what I was telling him about Christmas. He doesn't know what we do here, and he admitted that. He's forming his opinions on what his crew tells him."

Later in The Factor, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich also commented on David Letterman. "I thought he was astonishingly lacking in information of any kind. This was like getting in a fight with a guy who has no idea what ring he is in."

One survivor in mine explosion
Guest: Geraldo Rivera

Friends and families of the trapped West Virginia miners endured a maelstrom of overwhelming emotions Wednesday. Reports that eleven of the miners were alive turned out to be wrong - in fact twelve men died and one remains in critical condition. Reporting from West Virginia, Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera elaborated on the debacle. "Every single newspaper and every newscast got it wrong. The governor got caught up in it, everyone was caught up in this amazing miracle. But then it was crushed three hours later. There will be an investigation into the mis-communication." Rivera added that residents were initially furious, but now seem resigned and mournful. The Factor questioned why there was not a representative assigned to inform the media. "There should be a spokesperson who delivers information in a responsible, deliberate manner. That did not happen here. Our prayers are with the remaining survivor."

Political corruption among lobbyists?
Guest: Fox News chief judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano

Now that lobbyist and political contributor Jack Abramoff has pleaded guilty to fraud, there is speculation that he could incriminate leading politicians from both parties. Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano laid out the details of the case. "He pleaded guilty to duping his own clients out of millions of dollars. These were Indian tribes who wanted him to lobby members of Congress so they could establish gambling on their reservations." Judge Napolitano predicted Abramoff will name politicians with whom he had questionable dealings, and The Factor concurred. "This guy's a weasel who is trying to save his own skin by telling the feds he gave money to different people. The buzz in Washington is that he will finger people."

NY Times and the wiretap story
Guest: Fox News analyst Newt Gingrich

The New York Times recently published revelations that President Bush authorized the NSA to eavesdrop on suspected terrorists without obtaining warrants. Fox News analyst Newt Gingrich accused the paper of harming national security. "We're engaged in a long war with terrorists, we want to track them down and find them. It's sadly inevitable that the American news media will attack the government under almost any circumstance. This makes it a little harder for us to defeat the terrorists." The Factor predicted a possible showdown between the Justice Department and the Times. "I think the Bush administration is furious with this newspaper and has compromised national security. It looks to me like this is going to get very nasty."

Dirty tricks in opposing gay marriage?
Guests: Tom Lang, & Kris Mineau, Massachusetts Family Institute

Opponents of gay marriage have proposed a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in Massachusetts, and have collected more than enough signatures to get the issue on the ballot. Kris Mineau, who opposes gay marriage, predicted victory. "We're ecstatic. We've had a major seismic shift in the commonwealth, and the people have clearly spoken." Mineau accused pro-gay forces of "intimidating" voters by posting the names of all the signatories on the Internet. Tom Lang, a gay marriage proponent, admitted that his organization is putting the names on the Internet. "We are posting the names - it's part of a public database. People need to know they are going to put discrimination into our constitution." The Factor urged a vote to decided the issue once and for all. "A poll shows that 40% of voters would vote for a law that would limit marriage to heterosexuals, and 55% would not. Why don't we just have a vote in Massachusetts and let the people decide on the issue? You both put forth your points of view and let the folks vote on it!"

Viewers sound off
Factor Words of the Day
Many of your emails were about the David Letterman show. Some excerpts:

Belinda Baumgartner, Bellingham, WA: "Letterman made you sweat, Bill. You looked nervous. You looked like you needed a cigarette or a valium."

Chuck Arcand, Canada: "Mr. O, I was mortified by Letterman's smug attitude towards you, an invited guest. You kept your composure despite being blindsided."

Michael Moore, Allen, TX: "Bill, your arrogance and rudeness did not play on Letterman's show. He stopped your spin."

Dawn Kearney, King of Prussia, PA: "Bill, I hope you left Dave a copy of the 'O'Reilly Factor for Kids' on the way out."

Al Stack, Marco Island, FL: "O'Reilly, what a difference when you can't shout people down."

Janice & George Scantland, Sarasota, FL: "We were proud of your appearance, Bill. David Letterman lives in an uninformed world and looked ridiculous."