Excerpt: Who's Looking Out For You?

In his new book, Who's Looking Out For You?, popular Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly unleashes his trademark sharp criticism, taking aim against politicians, Hollywood and the media, but he also offers readers some personal advice.

He asks readers to question how much their closest friends, families and lovers do for them, and he discusses the personal responsibility that we all have in these uncertain times.

Here is an excerpt:


"It ain't me, I ain't no millionaire's son." — John Fogarty, "Fortunate Son"

Let's immediately tee off a few sensitive souls out there by beginning with some "racial profiling." Here goes: If you have started to read this book, the chances are that you're an independent type, but your skin color and ethnicity are not predictable. I don't actually know you, but I know a lot about you. That's because there's a certain profile that O'Reilly watchers, listeners, and readers fit most of the time. Sure, there are drive-by viewers who watch The O'Reilly Factor as they would a gruesome accident, fascinated but repelled at the same time. And there are snobs who tune in just to shake their heads over the boorishness of it all.

But the everyday American who understands what the Factor concept is all about is generally a person who wants to live life honestly and make his or her own way. That person is often responsible, generous, aware that others around them also have lives to live, and unabashedly patriotic. You, very likely, are one of those people. In the beginning of the show, the fall of 1996, the elite media tried to marginalize the Factor concept by assigning it a "conservative" label. That's how they tagged us, hoping that label would frighten away those not on the right. But as millions of Americans of all political persuasions watched on television and read my first two books, The O'Reilly Factor and The No Spin Zone, the establishment press fled, dazed and confused. How could a cable TV news show have such a robust impact when network TV news was losing audience every quarter? The so-called elite scribes couldn't figure it out, and they still can't.

The warfare between the folks who liked The Factor and the eggheads in the press who looked down upon it became quite intense at times, but finally the numbers got too big. Millions of Americans tuned in daily to watch and also listen on the radio, causing many in the media to finally wave the white flag. The American people had made The O'Reilly Factor into a powerful entity-and the momentum the folks provided resulted in The Factor being nominated by the American Television Critics Association for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information in 2002. In 2003 your humble correspondent, me, was chosen by the industry magazine Television Week as the second most powerful person in TV news! Yikes! (The NBC news chief, Neil Shapiro, was first.)

So now it's time for me to try to give you something more concrete than a big thank-you. This book is an attempt to zero in on one of the most important parts of life: the ability to recognize who really cares about you as a person — and who does not. If you can master the art of determining that, your life will be much happier and probably much longer. If you fail to understand who is looking out for you, get a good lawyer right now. You're going to need one.

Trust-fund babies and corporate weasels are not allowed to read this book. If you try, I will find out and come to your house, thereby ruining your phony reputation. I will seize your copy of the book and mock you for disobeying the rules. Why would a child of privilege need to waste time with my words? You don't need anyone looking out for you-because you have resources and power already. This book is for everyday Americans who are fighting the good fight.

If you are in this category, here's my first piece of advice: You must learn to become a problem solver, not a problem creator. Problems are one of the few things in life that one can count on. Enough problems will find you so that you do not need to drag unnecessary ones into the house. If you are going to drink a quart of bourbon a day or smoke crack, this book is not going to help you. In fact, if you are in the above category, you've probably stolen this book. Give it back. Now.

Problems are the reason human beings are at the top of the food chain. We are the only ones with the brainpower to solve dilemmas. If our ancestors hadn't developed problem-solving skills, they would have vanished like the dinosaurs. In the beginning, before cable, our ancestors the primates lived a marginal existence until a giant animal ate them. That was it. Then we evolved and learned to stick a fiery torch in the giant animal's face. Problem solving separates the successful humans from the ones in the penitentiary. This book is going to help you learn how to solve the inevitable problems that visit every single person on this earth. And don't believe those self-help books that tell you some problems will go away forever. That's a lie. Problems will hunt you down, slap you around, and leave you disillusioned and sometimes broke. That is, unless you meet them at the door and knee them in the groin. Most problems can be neutralized with smarts and sometimes help from others. Your biggest advantage will be knowing just who is looking out for you and who is getting a kick out of seeing you suffer. Develop that knowledge, and you're on your way to being a kick-butt problem solver.

But even armed with the knowledge that this book will give you, the struggle to succeed will be intense because you are running uphill against those who have more of everything. But we have the numbers. According to Michael Zweig, a professor of economics at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, 62 percent of the labor force in the United States are working-class people. There are many definitions of the working class, but Zweig has come up with a good one: People who do not have much control or authority over the pace or the content of the work and are not the supervisor or the boss. That means you can be a high-priced lawyer billing hours or a sanitation worker cleaning up. If you are not calling your own shots, you are working class and you need every edge you can get.

This book will get you that edge both in the workplace and at home. We'll analyze the personal part of your existence — your family, friends, teachers, pastor, and so on. These people often have incredible access to your life. They can really help or really hurt you, sometimes without you even knowing about it. And unfortunately, there is no rule that says you are entitled to great parents and relatives and a solid support system. Some lucky Americans get terrific love and guidance from the beginning. Most don't. Instead, many of us have to put up with all kinds of destructive nonsense at home, and much of the time we don't even know what's going on until the damage is done.

But when you finish this book that will all change. You will know what's going on.

Who's Looking Out for You? will also deal with external forces that are unleashed against us: the government, the media, the legal system, and others. These powerful entities can crush you unless you understand them and take measures to protect yourself and your family.

Finally, throughout the book I have frankly named the names that need to be named, much as I do on television, on the radio, and in print. Please understand that the examples I provide are based solely on my own instincts. Sometimes I'm wrong about things. And sometimes I even admit it.

But often I'm right because I observe closely and consult widely. Before I blister somebody, I analyze the person carefully, because I do not want to abuse any power I might have. But ultimately, judgments are made in the No Spin Zone. Take this example: I think Bernard Cardinal Law of Boston is a villain. I think he allowed children to be hurt to protect his own reputation in Rome. Based on the evidence I've seen, Law allowed perverted priests to go unsupervised because he couldn't be bothered with such an inconvenient and potentially embarrassing problem. His main concern, again in my judgment, was holding on to power and avoiding any kind of public scandal that might have tarnished his image with the Pope. The way I see it, Law put his own career above the welfare of little kids. The shepherd of the flock was looking out only for himself.


So while reading this book, please keep that in mind. I will state my case and back it up as best I can. I will lay it all out for you, but, in the end, it is you who must make the final judgment. Only you can determine who is trustworthy and who is not in your life-but you need information and guidelines in order to do that. You need a no-spin road map, pardon the cliché.

And here it comes. However, there is one more point to make before the journey begins. Self-delusions can negate even the best advice and most accurate observations. In order to be truly successful you have to be brutally honest with yourself. Excuses and rationalizations have to be put aside. You must define your own life and not let others do it for you. You must evaluate people and situations the way they are, not the way you want them to be. And you must evaluate yourself honestly and absorb the pain that will inevitably cause.

So onward. Let's find out just who is looking out for you.

Excerpted from Who's Looking Out for You? by Bill O'Reilly, Copyright© 2003 by Bill O'Reilly . Excerpted by permission of Broadway, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

For more information you can go to www.broadwaybooks.com or www.billoreilly.com.