During an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in connection with his new illustrated version of the New York Times bestseller “Killing Jesus” titled “The Last Days of Jesus: His Life and Time,” Hewitt asked O’Reilly about media bias and its coverage of his books.
Hewitt asked “do you think that media reporters treat you fairly and your books fairly?”
“No…There’s a number of reasons. I mean, a lot of them are liberal people. Here’s an interesting thing, and Killing Jesus, most, bestselling non-fiction book in the world in 2013, okay? Not one newspaper, major newspaper, reviewed it, not one.”
The Fox News host went on to say that effectively reporters collude to ignore certain books, tying this into the media coverage (or lack thereof) of events potentially damaging to their political interests, noting:
“the media reporters who are ideological, not all of them are, but a lot of them are. They’re going to say well, we’re not going to give him any publicity…And I mean, they do it with news stories, too. It’s not just me. I mean, look, has the media covered the scandals and Benghazi and the IRS? No. They haven’t covered them at all.”
In a subsequent segment with Politico’s Dylan Byers, who covers media for the website, Byers confirmed O’Reilly’s assertions, stating:
“His point about the bestselling book not being reviewed by many of the major newspapers is probably a fair one…I think a lot of people probably from newspapers that lean progressive or at least have editorial boards that lean progressive probably don’t spend as much time worrying about Bill O’Reilly’s book as say they do about [New York Times correspondent] Mark Leibovich [author of "This Town" discussed here]…”
In response to Hewitt’s hypothesis “that generally speaking conservative personalities who write books…don’t get coverage…I think the books just get thrown in the corner because they’re from conservatives,” Byers went further, commenting:
“Sure, I’d say that’s absolutely true and as an example of that you can take maybe the foremost primetime personality on MSNBC Rachel Maddow, who wrote a book about how we got into the Iraq War, and if my memory serves me correctly, that was, you know, front page of the New York Times Book Review…So it’s certainly not an unfair complaint at all, and I think that, you know, it’s always a struggle for news organizations to wrestle with how they cover what they themselves feel is important and relevant versus what the American public thinks is important and relevant, and judging by book sales that would certainly have to go to O’Reilly.”
Perhaps lending credence to this argument, previously, we noted the New York Times’ apparent bias against conservative authors, finding that of the New York Times Book Review staff’s 100 recommended books for 2013, none of them were written by conservative authors or had conservative themes.
The Times excluded conservative authors and themes from their annual list despite the fact that we counted over 20 books written by right-leaning authors or containing right-leaning themes that were bestsellers on the New York Times’ Combined Print and E-Book Non-Fiction Bestseller list during 2013.