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Talking Points

Bill O'Reilly: 'Factor' viewers and the Republican race

So, I spent hours this weekend reading your emails about last Thursday 's debate. Hundreds of them. It could have been thousands of them. And, my interviews with the candidates afterward in Detroit.

Opinions were all over the place, which makes things very interesting. Talking points values perspective from you. So, this is a good time to analyze that. We begin with Dennis Dreher, who lives in Calgary, Canada: "The three debate moderators claim to want to hear about policy but then instigate a hatchet job. Do you agree?"

I do not agree. All four candidates were asked legitimate questions about policy and their political history. Inconsistencies on the part of the candidates about their policy records are, of course, fair game. How the candidates answer the questions is not up to the moderators. It is certainly instructive to see how these people, who are seeking power, handle themselves under pressure.

So, sometimes what looks to be out of control is actually giving you some insight. I saw no sign of any hatchet, at the debate. Max Suzich, Simi Valley, California: "I am 9 years old and if I talk the way those men at the debate did, my mom would ground me."

Politics is a rough business, Max. But, I agree maybe they should be grounded. Some of it is acting, though. Remember Chris Christie criticizing Donald Trump earlier in the campaign and vice versa? Now, they are pals. I am glad you are paying attention to your country.

Angie Sims, Chicago: "We are disappointed because you promised you would tell us who won the debate. We stayed up late, but you never gave your opinion." At the beginning of the Kasich interview, I stated to the governor that he had the best policy argument, so that was my pick. His problem-solving rhetoric was superior in my opinion.

Mike Porter, Flat Rock, Michigan: "I see a concerted effort by Fox News to eliminate the republican frontrunner. The post debate interviews by O'Reilly appeared to be a set-up, standing up next to Trump, so O'Reilly could appear taller than he is. Then sitting down with the rest of the candidates."

Simply a matter of logistics. We opened "The Factor" on stage because our set was up in the balcony. It would have taken Trump too much time to get up there. During the first commercial break, the other guys had the time to make the trek as I did. But, let us address the more important question here. Political paranoia.

There is no difference whether an interview is conducted standing or sitting. What is said is what is important. Your view of a contrive anti- Trump setup, because I am taller than he is speaks your fantasy that FNC seems to manipulate that viewers. It does not.

Alan Neubauer, Kittredge, Colorado: "Bill, your post-debate interview with Trump was excellent, serious journalism. You should go back to being a reporter and forget about commentary." I never left being a reporter. All good analysis should be fact base.

And that is what we are doing here. My interviews are based on what is actually happened, cause and effect. That is what I bring, and it is based on my decades of reporting experience.

Randy Furness, Coupeville, Washington: "Everybody knows why Kasich has not had the attention of Fox News and other media. You and others want a circus to entertain the masses. It is all about ratings." We do not need a circus to get ratings. Is the murder of Kate Steinle a circus? How about the rise of ISIS?

T.V. News does give airtime to the sensational but not exclusively. Governor Kasich has chosen to run a retail campaign, where he meets as many folks as possible, outlining his experience and accomplishments. We have reported and analyzed that. We cannot do it over and over and over.

Now, a guy like Trump says something new and provocative nearly every day. So, obviously, he is going to get more coverage. We are in the news business. Accent on the word, "New."

Kent Carroll, Prospect, Connecticut: "I do not care what they say about Trump. He has never lied to me. The republican establishment has." And, that is the cornerstone of Trump's support, that his point of view echoes that of Americans fed up with phony politicians, who fold on major issues.

Also, that he rejects political correctness, which is battered the nation and suppressed opposing points of view. There is a powerful anger directed at the politics as usual crowd, and Mr. Trump has harnessed that anger into votes. It has been a brilliant strategy.

Ed Zeglarsski, New Port Richey, Florida: "Bill, I saw you baiting of Trump after the debate. It was negative." Michelle Parkenham, Wisconsin: "O'Reilly, it pains me to say it, but your fawning interview with Trump after the debate was cringe-worthy."

Now, I get opposite assessments every time I interview any politician. I baited Trump. I fawned over Trump. It cannot be both, but here is the danger. Increasingly in America folks are hearing what they want to hear, not what is actually being said. We live in a time where you can create your own world by using high tech gizmos. Outside of making a living, society no longer demands rationality on your part.

You have to perform in the work place, and at school, or else you live in poverty. But, in your private life, you can create any scenario you want and lose complete touch with what is actually taking place. That new wave of behavior is sweeping over the political process and canny power seekers are harnessing emotion to achieve success. The kind of presentation has become the rule rather than the exception.

Power can be a very dangerous thing. Americans should think long and hard before bestowing it on anyone. It is my job to keep it all real and fair. I believe I am doing moo my job. And, that is “The Memo”.

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. Click here for more information on Bill O'Reilly