I actually heard the interview and spat between Bill O'Reilly and Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air last night. This was not a hatchet job on O'Reilly. He wasted this opportunity for him to have a genuine dialogue with some of his critics on the left ...
Before he walked out of the interview, O'Reilly said more than once that he paid attention to all of his published critics. But he must have neglected to research how Terry Gross' interview with Al Franken went the other week. Had he done this homework, he wouldn't have been at all surprised by questions which Terry Gross asked him last night. He did not appreciate that this was his chance to reply to some of the damaging things which Franken and other critics have said about him. I'm astonished that instead of being glad of the chance to set the record right (in his view), he was infuriated that anyone would dare think that he had anything to answer for. I heard most of the Franken interview too, and I would agree that Terry Gross asked more challenging questions to O'Reilly than to Franken. But such a thorough researcher as O'Reilly (or so he claims to be) should have known the relative sympathy that Terry Gross gave to his arch-critic and prepared accordingly.
I think that this was another instance of O'Reilly losing his temper. I think that he handled himself pretty well during most of the interview. For a moment, I gained a little understanding of his point of view. However he will complain about this interview, Terry Gross did not do a hatchet job on him. Unfortunately, in the last few minutes before he walked out of the interview, he undid all the good spin he may have generated for himself by fixating on the idea that he probably received a tougher time of it than Al Franken. It severely detracted from the other things which he had said. O'Reilly must hate Franken so much that this very thought made him go quite ballistic, when he was in the final stretch - so to speak - of this interview.
It is ironic that what triggered O'Reilly's anger was a question of whether O'Reilly's villification of his critics from his big bully-pulpit had a chilling effect on political discourse. O'Reilly claims to attack bad ideas, and eschews personal attacks at people who hold these bad ideas - but he will does a very bad job of living up to this goal. Terry Gross is now going to join Al Franken and others on O'Reilly's Enemies List because she asked this question. I wonder how O'Reilly will vent his bitter spleen at Terry Gross.