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William James "Bill" O'Reilly, Jr. (born September 10, 1949) is an American political commentator, and the host of the cable news program The O'Reilly Factor. Prior to hosting The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly served as anchor of the entertainment program, Inside Edition. O'Reilly also hosts The Radio Factor, a radio program syndicated by Westwood One, and has written six books.
O'Reilly is a self-described independent and has used several terms to describe his views. In his book Culture Warrior, he identifies himself as a traditionalist and a populist. Previously a registered Republican, O'Reilly has been registered as having no party affiliation since 2000.
After graduating from Marist College, O'Reilly moved to Miami, Florida at age 21, where he taught English and history at Monsignor Pace High School for two years. After leaving Miami, O'Reilly returned to school, earning a M.A. in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University in 1976. While attending Boston University, he was a reporter and columnist for various local newspapers and alternative news weeklies, including The Boston Phoenix. O'Reilly did his broadcast journalism internship in Miami during this time, and was also an entertainment writer and movie critic for The Miami Herald.
O'Reilly's early television news career included reporting and anchoring positions at WNEP-TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he also reported the weather. At WFAA-TV in Dallas, Texas, O'Reilly was awarded the Dallas Press Club Award for excellence in investigative reporting. He then moved to KMGH-TV in Denver, Colorado where he won a Local Emmy Award for his coverage of a skyjacking. O'Reilly also worked for KATU-TV in Portland, Oregon, as well as TV stations in Hartford, Connecticut (WFSB-TV), and in Boston, Massachusetts.
In 1980, he anchored his own program on WCBS-TV in New York where he won his second Local Emmy for an investigation of corrupt city marshals. In 1982, he was promoted to the network as a CBS News correspondent and covered the wars in El Salvador and the Falkland Islands from his base in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He later left CBS over a dispute concerning the uncredited use in a report by Bob Schieffer of riot footage shot by O'Reilly's crew in Buenos Aires during the Falklands conflict. (A 1998 novel by O'Reilly, Those Who Trespass: A Novel of Television and Murder, depicts a television reporter who has a similar dispute over a Falklands War report. The character proceeds to exact his revenge on network staff in a series of graphically-described murders.)
In 1986, O'Reilly joined ABC News as a correspondent for ABC World News Tonight.
In 1989, O'Reilly joined the nationally syndicated King World (now CBS) program Inside Edition, a tabloid/gossip television program in competition with A Current Affair. He started as senior correspondent and backup anchor for British TV host David Frost, and subsequently became the program's anchor after Frost's termination. In addition to being one of the first American broadcasters to cover the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, O'Reilly also obtained the first exclusive interview with murderer Joel Steinberg and was the first television host from a national current affairs program on the scene of the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
In 1995, O'Reilly was replaced by former NBC News and CBS News anchor Deborah Norville on Inside Edition. He then enrolled at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he received a master's degree in Public Administration. After Harvard, he was hired by Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of the then startup FOX News Channel, to anchor The O'Reilly Report. The show soon moved to a new time slot, and was renamed The O'Reilly Factor.
O'Reilly's radio program reaches 3.25 million-plus listeners and is carried by more than 400 radio stations. Conservative magazine NewsMax's "Top 25 Talk Radio Host" list selected O'Reilly to the #2 spot as most influential host in the nation.
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