Millions of Americans are tuning in to Fox News Channel for campaign information.
As you may know, there's big buzz about my upcoming interview with President Bush (search), which will begin on Monday. Already I've been attacked by a writer at The Washington Post. I'll deal with in the most ridiculous slot later on.
But there's no question that Fox News is becoming a primary campaign stop for millions of Americans. Take a look at the top rated cable programs for the week of September 13. The Factor holds four positions, even beating out Sponge Bob and Jimmy Newtron. Wow, sorry, Jimmy.
As far as head-to-head is concerned, on Tuesday, The Factor had 10 times the audience MSNBC had at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. 10 times. But that makes me nervous because we're no longer the upstart underdogs. Now we're the big dogs, right in the middle of crucial stories.
For example, the swift boat deal, which I asked President Bush about.
O'REILLY: Do you think the swift boat vets charges against Kerry are unfair?
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that these ads -- first of all, I said clearly all these ads, these 527's where billionaires fund the campaigns ought to be gone.
O'REILLY: But the swift boat guys against Kerry, do you think that was fair?
BUSH: As I said, I was asked about whether or not Kerry lied. I said no, he didn't lie. That was my judgment. Now I don't know enough about the swift boat people. I do know that they've got strong opinions. And I believe that those ads, as well as other types of ads, shouldn't have been on the air.
O'REILLY: You didn't know anything about the swift boat ads before they went on the air, did you?
BUSH: No, I didn't.
And I pressed him a bit further on the issue, which you'll see next week. Everybody's beginning to notice what's going on here at Fox News. And that makes things more difficult, as I mentioned. Americans are looking to us for reason in this political season, not bomb throwing.
Even "60 Minutes" has noticed. This Sunday, Mike Wallace and I go head-to-head on many things.
So the moral to this memo is that I'm very aware of the increased responsibility we have here, with so many people watching us. I hope I'm up to the task. We'll find out next week.
President Bush will come in and "60 Minutes," I may have to leave the country. And that's the memo.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
As I told you earlier this week, the Kool Aid people are not going to like the Bush interview, which begins on Monday. Already, there's been criticism of it, even though nobody's seen it except me. We expect that criticism, but when it shows up in The Washington Post, then I have to deal with it.
Some guy named Dan Froomkin wrote this: "Don't expect hardballs. President Bush sat down with Bill O'Reilly yesterday for what Fox News is billing as an interview. But even President Bush said it was just a visit."
Well, this Froomkin has got to be the moron of all time, with all due respect, of course. He has no idea what's in the interview, but he doesn't care. He is a Kool Aid person.
The question is, what's he doing writing for The Washington Post, a paper I praised recently for trying to be fair in its campaign coverage? But Froomkin has now set that paper back, and it is ridiculous.
—You can watch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org