O'Reilly Responds to Brokaw: Networks Have Lost Power and Influence

Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 09:34 AM

By Courtney Coren

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Bill O'Reilly responded to former NBC 'Nightly News' anchor Tom Brokaw, who said that the Fox News host would finish "dead last" if he were competing with the network evening news hosts.

"It's a power thing," O'Reilly said. "When Brokaw, [Dan] Rather and [Peter] Jennings were in the chair . . . they had all the power . . . now there is no power at the network news, really. The anchormen are good and professional, but they don't drive the national debate."

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The Fox New host added that "since the rise of cable news, the network news has lost a lot of influence." He also said that the most powerful network broadcast is not the nightly news, but '60 Minutes.'"

O'Reilly took the network news broadcasts to task for excluding stories like the recent Benghazi revelations, while giving more airtime to stories such as first lady Michelle Obama's 50th birthday, adding that "without cable news, Americans would not be getting vital information."

The coverage on all three networks is "pretty much the same," O'Reilly added. "They don't provide much analysis or perspective, and all three networks lean left."

The former "Nightly News" anchor should be "overjoyed" at the success of cable news "because we provide a voice you would never hear on the network news," O'Reilly said.

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The Fox News host added that "Brokaw is a first-rate journalist, but he does see things through a liberal prism."

While O'Reilly said he agrees with Brokaw that the network news shows "have a larger audience than cable news," he contends that it's because "the three network news broadcasts are on all television sets in America with low dial positions."

By comparison, he explained, those who want to watch cable news channels like the Fox News channel, not only have to "pay for" it, but they also have to go looking for it in their cable channel line-up. O'Reilly also added that his show airs during primetime, and the network news shows are on when there is very little substantial competition.

"Bill O'Reilly would finish dead last, if he were on the evening news," Brokaw said about the Fox News host on Jan. 17, adding the evening news anchors each get 10 to 20 million viewers a night even though the viewership has declined in recent years. By comparison O'Reilly gets about five million viewers.

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