Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly was back on camera Wednesday night in the debut of a 30-minute webcast called No Spin News, which could become a regular feature for premium subscribers to his website.
During the live webcast, which featured commercials and a resurrection of his “Talking Points Memo,” O’Reilly welcomed his “Philadelphia bud” Michael Smerconish, a SiriusXM host and Inquirer columnist, to discuss several topics, including the North Korea situation and last month’s FBI raid at the home of Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman.
Manafort is “entitled to the presumption of innocence, but that meeting at Trump Tower with Russians is troublesome,” Smerconish said. “I’m not in the ‘there’s collusion’ camp, but the emails that preceded that meeting are problematic.”
O’Reilly also brought up CNN, which he described as part of the “Hate Trump media” overflowing with “hour after hour of speculation” involving claims of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Smerconish, who hosts a weekend program on CNN, said he thought some personalities on the network and at other news outlets may go overboard at times.
“I think there have been people out there who have been lying in wait for this president since before the inauguration,” Smerconish said, “I think there are some who go after him and make it their livelihood to do so.”
But Smerconish stopped short of saying CNN as a network was attempting to undermine Trump, as O’Reilly and others have claimed.
“No, I don’t believe that,” Smerconish said.
Despite his views of the network, O’Reilly said he had agreed to be a guest on Smerconish’s show in September.
“Smerconish is a fair man,” O’Reilly told his audience. “Just because he works for CNN doesn’t mean anything.”
O’Reilly’s return to a familiar format comes nearly four months after the popular host was fired by Fox News after the New York Times reported the network paid $13 million to five former Fox News personalities to settle claims of sexual and verbal harassment. O’Reilly left Fox News with a $25 million settlement, and denied any wrongdoing.
“It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims,” O’Reilly said at the time. “But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today.”