Bill O'Reilly: TV's Angriest Man

ByABC News
October 22, 2001, 5:22 PM

Nov. 8 -- To the uninitiated, Bill O'Reilly could be just another middle-age white guy on TV, his tie perfectly knotted, and making the most of his thinning hair. Until he opens his mouth.

Five nights a week on The O'Reilly Factor, the Fox News Channel show that he hosts, he unloads on some of the biggest names in politics and pop culture.

"I've taken the biggest sacred cows down in the last four years," he says.

He's been called "arrogant," "obnoxious," a "know-nothing blowhard" and a whole lot worse. But in five years, O'Reilly has overtaken CNN's Larry King with the top-rated primetime news program on cable.

Attacking Celebrities' Response to Sept. 11

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, O'Reilly has been blasting charities for not getting money to survivors fast enough. And last week he unleashed a blistering attack on Hollywood celebrities who participated in fund raisers, but wouldn't talk to him about the alleged problems.

"The majority are phonies," he said on his show, "much more interested in their own images than solving any social problems."

That drew a scathing letter from actor George Clooney, who participated in the America: A Tribute to Heroes telethon, which raised $266 million for the September 11th Fund.

"Your accusation that the fund is being mishandled and misused is nothing short of a lie," Clooney wrote. "The money is going out to the right people, and to make certain of this, the United Way is taking some time."

That the United Way is taking its time is precisely O'Reilly's beef. "Many of the grieving families, most of the ones we've spoken with, have heard nothing from the September 11th Fund and confusion is everywhere," he responded to Clooney, adding, "Are you getting the picture here George?"

Negativity and Anger Seem to Sell

With one No. 1 best-seller under his belt, O'Reilly is out with a follow-up entitled The No-Spin Zone, the term he uses to describe his show.

"The no-spin zone means you come in and talk to me," says O'Reilly. "Don't lie. Answer the question."