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.
Monday, December 19, 2005
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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Christmas hits keep coming
"The secular-progressive movement has taken a major bruising over attempts to marginalize Christmas, and as you know we have reported extensively on the controversy. That's angered the secular-progressive press, which has attacked me with glee. The latest is New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who wrote this: 'Let us all pray for Bill O'Reilly. Let us pray that Mr. O'Reilly will understand that the Christmas spirit isn't about hectoring people ? but about helping the needy. Let's pray that Mr. O'Reilly and other money-changers in the temple will donate the funds they raise exploiting Christmas.' While I always appreciate prayers, Mr. Kristof, you are sadly misguided. As everyone who watches this program knows, we donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to the poor each year through proceeds from I think it's safe to say that this year alone I've donated more money to help the poor than you have in your entire life. Kristof then goes completely off the rails, writing this: 'Perhaps I'm particularly sensitive to religious hypocrites because I've spent a chunk of time abroad watching Muslim versions of Mr. O'Reilly.' So I'm now Mullah Omar! The shame is that Kristof has done good work on Darfur and human trafficking, but he is a committed secularist and is seemingly happy to write distortions all day long. But in the spirit of Christmas, I've asked St. Nicholas bring our pal Nicholas a special gift - the wisdom to see what is really going on in this country and to do some honest analysis. By the way, we invited Mr. Kristof on the Factor this evening, but he is apparently too busy reading those left wing smear sites."

Fox News Video:

Bush under fire for wiretap decision
Guests: Jonathan Turley, George Washington University & Paul Rothstein, Georgetown University

President Bush is being criticized for authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans suspected of communicating with terrorists. The president claims he has the "legal authority" to order surveillance without a warrant, a point that was debated by legal analysts Jonathan Turley and Paul Rothstein. "I believe the president committed a federal crime," Turley said. "It is a crime to order surveillance or conduct surveillance unless you've gone to a judge. Federal crimes can rise to impeachable offenses." On the other side, Rothstein said Mr. Bush was probably within his rights. "It's a very close case, but the president is not entirely off the wall on this. The Constitution grants him 'executive power' and grants him the power to do things that are necessary to safeguard the country from foreign attack."

Newt Gingrich on terror tactics
Guest: Fox News analyst Newt Gingrich

The eavesdropping story was originally published by The New York Times, which earned the contempt of Fox News analyst Newt Gingrich. The former Speaker of the House claimed this story is "a thousand times more dangerous" than leaking the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame, and accused The Times of harming the war effort. "No one at The Times seems to think there is anything wrong with providing this information that makes our job a lot harder and the enemy's job a lot easier. Does the Times have the right to print this? Yes. Was it the right thing to do? I don't think so." The Factor laid out the paper's apparent rationale for publishing the story. "The New York Times and the Bush-haters are doing everything they can to undermine this administration. And they will stop at nothing."

Gingrich also commented on the Christmas controversy and the latest salvo fired by veteran reporter Sam Donaldson. This weekend Donaldson said this: "Bill O'Reilly wants ratings. He wants to stroke the yahoos in his audience by saying there's a war on Christmas." Gingrich described Donaldson's comment as unintentionally revealing. "I don't think I've ever heard a more perfect illustration of the mainstream media's elitism than what Sam Donaldson said. He describes all these people as 'yahoos.' It tells you how elitist some people are in the media. You're the first secular person I can remember who has had the courage to stand up and take on this issue." The Factor suggested that the Christmas controversy has actually had some salutary effects. "Two good things have come out of it. Number one, we've won. And number two, this has exposed the secular media for what it is. For people who didn't think there was an organized left-wing bias, here it is."

Investigating the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Guest: Heather Hedrick, Georgia Governor's office press secretary

Georgia's largest daily, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has been withering in its criticism of Republican Governor Sonny Perdue, most recently attacking the governor's call for Georgians to avoid travel to Aruba. According to the governor's press secretary Heather Hedrick, the paper is biased and out of touch. "The AJC's writing is so far left it has lost track of its readership. We think that is the reason it has lost 8% or its readers. That's more than every other newspaper in the country except the San Francisco Chronicle." The Factor specifically blamed the decline on editorial page editor Cynthia Tucker. "I think Ms. Tucker is dangerous. She has run the paper sharply left and is paying the price."

Investigating the afterlife
Guest: Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters, host of a two-hour ABC special about Heaven and the afterlife, joined The Factor with more about the program. "I think this is the most important special I have ever done," Walters said. "You will learn from leaders of every major religion what Heaven is like, and how you get there. It's a comforting thought, because no one wants to think life just ends here." The Factor pointed out the mystery inherent in the subject. "Nobody really knows what the afterlife is. I'm not going to say people don't believe what they're saying, but it is all speculation. But if there is a heaven, there has to be a hell."

Catholic silence on Christmas controversy
Guest: Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Catholic Church has largely refrained from commenting on the ongoing Christmas controversy, but Archbishop Michael Sheehan joined The Factor with his take on the subject. "There is an effort by the secular humanists to push religious values out of the way, and I am glad there is a strong commitment on the part of many people to emphasize the religious values of Christmas, and to be able to say 'Merry Christmas.' It isn't just limited to Christmas, but throughout the year many values that Americans believe in have been shoved aside."

Viewers sound off
Factor Words of the Day
Many of your emails focused on the exclusive interview with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Some excerpts:

Loretta Fitzgerald, Elk Grove, IL: "Bill, you did everything but get the pom poms out for Rumsfeld. Fair and balanced, not!"

David Blizzard, Gibbsboro, NJ: "Mr. O, I'd like to thank you for pulling no punches with Rumsfeld. The questions you asked gave me clarity on the Iraq situation."

Marvin Ensworth, Lee's Summit, MO: "O'Reilly, it was totally arrogant of you to tell Secretary Rumsfeld how to do his job."

Tim Hodsdon, El Paso, TX: "Bill, that was one of the most softball Q & A's I have seen. Rumsfeld didn't answer your questions."

Jeff Moore, San Antonia, TX: "Bill, outstanding interview with Rumsfeld! It's a shame some Democrats like Dean and Murtha won't stand for tough questioning."

Rebecca Herwig, Waco, TX: "Mr. O'Reilly, how could you be so rude to Donald Rumsfeld? I believe you were way out of line."