Bill O'Reilly fiercely clashed with George Will Friday evening, blasting the conservative columnist for recent criticism of his new book "Killing Reagan."
Earlier in the week, Will published a column challenging the historical accuracy of the bestseller, writing that the "book's perfunctory pieties about Reagan's greatness are inundated by its flood of regurgitated slanders about his supposed lassitude and manipulability."
"This book is nonsensical history and execrable citizenship, and should come with a warning: 'Caution — you are about to enter a no-facts zone,'" Will concluded in his Washington Post column.
O'Reilly didn't take the criticism lightly and invited Will on his program so the two could discuss things face-to-face. He opened the segment going directly after him.
"Let's talk about the facts," O'Reilly said. "Fox News hard news chief Mike Clemente told us that you told him you would call me before the column was published. Did you call me?"
"No, and I didn't promise to call you," Will shot back. "You have my phone number and if you wanted to call me you could."
"I couldn't care less about it, I didn't know what you were doing. Are you calling Mr. Clemente a liar?" O'Reilly bluntly asked.
"No, I'm not. I'm saying either you got it wrong — it would not be the first time you've got something wrong — or it was a misunderstanding," Will replied.
"Okay, I have it in writing from Mr. Clemente ... our hard news chief said that you told him that you would call me. Are you denying that tonight?" O'Reilly asked.
"Do you want to talk about Bill O'Reilly or Bill O'Reilly's book?" Will quipped back.
"Do you want to deny that Clemente — do you want to say that he's not telling the truth?" O'Reilly pressed again.
"I'm saying that there was a misunderstanding if he said that. Mr. Clemente is a tremendously honest man," Will replied.
That was only the beginning of the heated segment. O'Reilly repeatedly quizzed Will on various aspects of his book and accused him of "actively misleading the American people."
"You are something of an expert on misleading people," Will shot back.
"You are lying!" O'Reilly countered.
The two continued to battle each other throughout the remainder of the interview. O'Reilly insisted his book was historically accurate and Will assailed him for "doing the work of the left," arguing he did not accurately portray President Ronald Reagan.
"All of what we write in 'Killing Reagan' is true. You're a hack!" O'Reilly shouted toward the end of the interview. "You are in with the cabal of the Reagan loyalists who don't want the truth to be told. 'Killing Reagan' is a laudatory book. It praises Ronald Reagan. Yet, you did not call me when yo said you would, that's a fact."
O'Reilly contended that certain individuals wanted him to deify Reagan and "tried to get the book killed before it was even published."
"That is a lie," Will said. "That by the way is a lie."
"That isn't a lie and we can prove it and you are a hack! Bye!"
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