MIKE WALLACE WAS A FACTOR IN MY CAREER SAYS BILL O'REILLY,
STAR OF "THE O'REILLY FACTOR," ON "60 MINUTES" SUNDAY
Wallace Looks Behind the Fox News Front Man and Finds Even More Surprises
Mike Wallace's aggressive interviews in the early days of television made a strong impression on a young Bill O'Reilly, helping to form the attack-dog personality he's known for on the Fox News Channel's top-rated show, "The O'Reilly Factor." O'Reilly sits for a humorous and sometimes combative interview with Wallace, full of surprises, to be broadcast on the 37th season premiere of 60 MINUTES, Sunday, Sept. 26 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
"You know, you're responsible for this O'Reilly deal," O'Reilly says to Wallace. "When I was growing up�.I had no interest in the news, but my father liked you�.And I said, 'That guy, he's pretty interesting because he's giving people a hard time,'" O'Reilly tells Wallace, referring to Wallace's interrogations on "Night Beat" and the "The Mike Wallace Interviews" in the late 1950s. O'Reilly also mentions sports announcer Howard Cosell and talk show host Tom Snyder as other influences, but says he tells people that Wallace is the one mainly responsible. "If you don't like me, you go to Wallace," he says.
A surprised Wallace asks O'Reilly if he is serious. "No spin," replies O'Reilly, echoing his program's "No-Spin Zone" nickname. "I mean, I'm serious about everything."
O'Reilly is candid about himself and his program, a show criticized for his combative interview style. "It's not a free country. My house," he says of his program. "You're disrespectful in my house, you're putting things out there that are defamatory in my house, you're going to get taken to the cleaner," he tells Wallace.
Long a favorite of conservatives, O'Reilly's stances on big issues came as a surprise to Wallace, as did his answer to whether he would vote for George W. Bush. O'Reilly states he is pro-gun control, against the death penalty, for civil unions, for gay adoption (as a last resort instead of state custody) and mindful of the environment. But when asked if he would vote for President Bush, O'Reilly left open the possibility he would vote for John Kerry. "I've known Kerry for 25 years. He's a patriot. I'm listening to what he has to say," he tells Wallace.