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A Holiday Message From Me to You

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thanks for watching us tonight. 

A holiday message from me to you.  That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.  This is my final broadcast of the year unless something big happens, which often  occurs when I take a vacation.

John Kasich and Tony Snow will be filling in.  And we'll have some "best of" programs, which I think you'll find very entertaining.

Now 2003 was a very big year for The Factor.  We continue to dominate cable news ratings.  The Radio Factor heard on more than 400 stations.  Who's Looking Out for You? was number one non-fiction book in America this week and on track to sell more than a million copies.  And millions of people use our Web site.  So across the board, things are going very well.

But with that kind of success comes fear and loathing by forces who don't much like us.  And those force cans be found on both the left and the right.  Since we do not support political parties or push ideologies, our base support  comes from regular folks, who think for themselves and who value traditionalism.  In a sense, they believe America is a good country and our system of free  enterprise is good.

As you know, we fight secularism, anti-Americanism, corruption, and  deceit.  We fight those things hard.  Thus we make enemies.  And some of those enemies are powerful.

I also make mistakes from time to time.  When you do news analysis every day, you're going to make some wrong calls.  I try to base my opinions on facts and our research is usually top notch.  In more than seven years on the air, we have never had to retract a story, although we have made a few factual mistakes.  We try to correct those mistakes quickly.

One big mistake I made this year was to engage some dishonest people and give them more publicity than they deserved.  That will not happen again.  We will continue to confront dishonesty in the public arena, but there are so many smear merchants operating right now, it's simply dumb to get down in the dirt with them.

Talking Points has always said that the success of The Factor concept lies with the regular folks, not the press, not the rich and powerful, but everyday Americans who work hard, look out for their families and friends, and appreciate straight talk, even though they may disagree at times.

This is our core audience.  And it is to you that I hold myself to account.  You are the reason The Factor has risen in power in this country.  So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, good health in the New Year.  If I could, I'd come to your house with presents.  I would.  What I can do is continue to look out for you.  And I will. 

And that's The Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."

No "Most Ridiculous Item" on December 19.

--You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points Memo and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com

Bill O'Reilly currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The O'Reilly Factor (weekdays 8PM/ET), the most watched cable news show for the past 13 years. He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York.