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.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
The Factor Rundown
Talking Points Memo & Top Story
Stossel Matters Segment
Impact Segment
Personal Story Segment
'Is it Legal?' Segment
Back of Book Segment
Factor Mail
Pinheads and Patriots
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Still no winners in Wisconsin
"Americans are caught up in a very important conflict - cost-cutting vs. union benefits. According to a CBS poll, 37% of Americans favor cutting pay or benefits for public employees, but 56% oppose that. And a New York Times headline reads 'Majority in Poll Back Employees in Public Sector Unions.' But the poll is misleading because 27% of the respondents say they're from union households. So the American public seems to be split. Also, a USA Today study says public employees in Wisconsin make $1,800 more a year than their private sector peers. But the essential question remains: If the states do not have the power to control union costs, how will they ever balance their budgets? Many liberal Americans don't see it as a problem, and they continue to demand tax hikes on corporations and the affluent. But those things inhibit job creation. Talking Points believes most Americans are sympathetic to working men and women, but the cold truth is that the USA is going bankrupt, and union benefits and power - in both the public and private sectors - must be somewhat diminished for the good of everyone."

The Factor was joined by Fox News analyst Monica Crowley, who questioned the veracity of recent polls. "Both the CBS/New York Times poll and the Pew poll," Crowley said, "heavily oversampled Democrats and union households, so these results are somewhat skewed. American people understand that states are broke, there's no money. The American people are tapped out." FNC's Alan Colmes, not surprisingly, endorsed the polls' findings. "Almost every poll shows people overwhelmingly siding with the workers, and a new poll shows that Governor Walker would lose if the election were held today." The Factor reiterated that Americans are deeply divided over the Wisconsin situation: "I believe this is an issue where most Americans are conflicted, just like me. I'm a union guy, but the unions have abused their power by taking dues and endorsing candidates. I want to modify the power to buy politicians."
John Stossel takes to the streets
Fox Business anchor John Stossel set out to determine how much ordinary citizens know about the political battle in Wisconsin. "I would say half the people were clueless," Stossel reported, "but it's not that complicated - all you have to do is watch a few news shows and read a bit." Given the public's lack of knowledge, Stossel took issue with how recent polls are worded. "The polls game the language, and even you use the term 'collective bargaining rights. Who's to say it's a right? Let's call it collective bargaining power." The Factor contended that most Americans inherently sympathize with unionized workers: "There is a lot of suspicion that government is corrupt, Wall Street fat cats are corrupt, but workers just want enough to feed their families and send their kids to college."
Qaddafi still hanging on in Libya
Liberal talk show host Leslie Marshall entered the No Spin Zone and actually argued that U.S. ground troops should be dispatched to Libya. "The no-fly zone can only do so much in protecting the people of Libya," Marshall opined, "but it doesn't take care of the problem on the ground. I'm not talking about taking over oil fields, but I want the military to assist with refugees at the border with Tunisia. We have a humanitarian crisis and we would be going in to free people." The Factor reminded Marshall that sending troops would carry a heavy downside: "If we go into an Arab country there's going to be resentment and Qaddafi will take advantage of that. And this is inconsistent - you want U.S. troops to go in and protect some of the population of Libya, but you don't want them to protect the population of Afghanistan."
Is the media exploiting Charlie Sheen?
Media outlets are lining up to interview actor Charlie Sheen, whose bizarre behavior has raised questions about his mental capacity. The Factor explored the ethics of the situation with mental health experts Keith Ablow and Karen Ruskin. "Mr. Sheen is a newsmaker," Ablow stated, "and we don't want to be in the business of slicing and dicing the world according to who we think is making sense. When a person galvanizes public attention, that's a story you cover, and if Mr. Sheen's family feels he is incompetent, they can go to court and file a motion." But Ruskin accused the media of acting irresponsibly. "We are absolutely taking advantage of Charlie Sheen's emotional problems. You can see within ten seconds that he truly is declining and he needs help. Right now we are treating Charlie Sheen like a monkey in a zoo!" The Factor insisted that reporters are obligated to put Sheen on the air: "This is a business story, it's a social story, and Sheen is seeking this out. Doesn't he have the right to defend himself?"
Sheen threatens CBS over sit-com cancellation
Looking at the Sheen story from another angle, FNC legal analysts Lis Wiehl and Kimberly Guilfoyle assessed the actor's threatened lawsuit against CBS, which has suspended his comedy show. "This case is going nowhere," Wiehl declared. "Sheen wants the money, but any jury would laugh him out of the courtroom. He has a morals clause in his contract but he says being sober is boring. If you're an employer, how are you going to bring someone like that back?" Guilfoyle reached a far different conclusion. "CBS is in trouble here. When they signed Charlie Sheen, this wasn't someone we weren't familiar with. We knew had a propensity to engage in substance abuse. He was ready, willing and able to execute his portion of the contract. CBS can't just say they're going to dismiss him and they're not going to pay him."
President Obama and federal unions
While President Obama wants Wisconsin public workers to retain their collective bargaining power, federal workers are not allowed to bargain for wages or benefits. FNC analyst Charles Krauthammer explained why federal collective bargaining was outlawed. "There is no reason," Krauthammer said, "that a sovereign government should not determine compensation, particularly the federal government, where civil service protections are so strong. You know when you go to work for the government that you have a lifetime of protection from arbitrary firing and you'll have good benefits. That's the deal, and you don't get negotiating powers as you would if you were a steelworker." Krauthammer urged Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to stand his ground. "If he caves, his career will be finished. I think he's right - he can get a giveback that lasts a year two, but that's not the problem. The problem is a cozy and corrupt arrangement where the unions are helping elect the politicians that negotiate their contracts."
Viewers sound off
Factor Words of the Day
Tom Shaw, Midland City, AL: "Have to agree with Bernie Goldberg. I don't care for ambush interviews and Jesse Watters did not tell me anything about the anti-Fox protesters that I didn't already know."

Patrick Callahan, New Fairfield, CT: "I love that Jesse confronted the protesters. That is the journalism that I want to see."

Robin Fletcher, Chattanooga, TN: "O'Reilly, I was sickened to hear your call for compromise in Wisconsin. Governor Walker should not budge. What is going on with you?"

David Wilson, Loretto, TN: "Bill, you want us to pray for Charlie Sheen? I pray I never have to see him again."

Jim Bracken, El Dorado Hills, CA: "Bulls eye, Bill. Kudos for making Sheen's welfare the crux of the matter."
You decide who's who!
Tuesday's Patriot or Pinhead: Singer Nelly Furtado, who will donate to charity the $1 million she was paid for entertaining Muammar Qaddafi's family in 2007. Is she making a patriotic or a pinheaded decision? Cast your vote here on Monday's P or P asked about actor Jamie Foxx, who jokingly mocked President Obama's dancing ability during an event at the White House. 68% of you concluded that Foxx's barbs were pinheaded.