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Answering a question from fellow Foxer Geraldo Rivera—does the right-leaning network cut President Obama enough slack? —the cable outlet’s prime-time star didn’t seem especially worried whose toes he stepped on.“It depends on the hour,” the host of The O’Reilly Factor told a sold-out crowd at the 92nd Street Y on Wednesday night. Again, not an ideologue…Then you have the Republican show, Hannity, at 10”—a flippant observation that drew a couple of knowing chuckles from audience members who might suspect that there’s no love lost between O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.
“If you watch Fox & Friends, [Steve] Doocy is an Obama-basher. But the other two—Elisabeth [Hasselbeck] and Brian [Kilmeade]—they’d rather whip up a soufflé.” O’Reilly went hour by hour through the channel’s daytime lineup, claiming that morning hosts such as Bill Hemmer and Jenna Lee “have no ideology.” As for the noon offering, “Outnumbered or Outsmarted, those people, I don’t know,” he said with a dismissive shrug, prompting audience laughter. It’s difficult to say whether O’Reilly’s on-air coworkers, let alone Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, will embrace his characterizations of their work and his labels on their beliefs; I’m guessing not so much. Assessing Fox’s would-be competitors, O’Reilly said of left-leaning MSNBC, “They’ve radicalized themselves…I get a headache.
But they don’t have any flamboyant, obnoxious people like you and me. You expect the periscope to come down.” In any case, the crowd loved it.
Many them were in their 60s and 70s, O’Reilly’s core demographic these days, and clearly Factor fans, possibly secret Tea Partiers who seemed to bear little resemblance to the socially progressive Manhattanites who usually fill these seats.
Perhaps that’s why O’Reilly happily shared his distaste for “people on the dole,” i.e.
, you’ve already got Robin Roberts and Sam Champion, both of whom are out among colleagues, but not viewing audiences (at least, they don’t make it anyone’s business).
That leaves Diane Sawyer and Chris Cuomo as the resident heteros, making a refreshing half-gay.