Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, host of the O’Reilly Factor, said at Long Island University’s Tilles Center Thursday he had to work hard to become the number one news show on cable television.
“That was a result of Catholic school,” he said. “When I got an assignment, I did the assignment.”
O’Reilly, who lives in Manhasset, was joined on stage by Brian Kilmeade, a host of the morning variety show “Fox and Friends”, and Megyn Kelly, the host of “The Kelly File,” for a fundraiser that would benefit St. Mary’s schools and churches in Manhasset, of which O’Reilly is a parishioner.
“Since the pagans up in Albany aren’t helping the Catholic schools, it’s up to me,” O’Reilly said at the event.
The event was promoted as an inside look at how “TV news works,” but also featured several controversial comments made by the trio throughout the night.
O’Reilly said he wanted to “beat up” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, to which he was applauded.
“Give him a little Levittown,” Kilmeade said.
O’Reilly also insinuated that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was high when she met him at a White House event late last year.
Kilmeade and Kelly took shots at competitors CNN and MSNBC during their speeches.
“[Fox News] is number one...and we didn’t have to pretend to find a plane everyday,” Kilmeade said early in the evening.
The event was proposed by O’Reilly to a school administrator, according to St. Mary’s President Grace Cavallo.
“I think he had one for his alma mater [Chaminade High School],” she said. “He said he’d like to be able to do one for St. Mary’s as well in the spring.”
Cavallo credits the success of the event to the three hosts promoting it on their respective shows.
“We saw a bump in ticket sales whenever O’Reilly would promote it on his show,” she said. “That was one of the main reasons why it was so well attended. There were also a lot of walk-ins.”
Kilmeade, whose father ran the Kilmeade’s Manhasset Hill bar and restaurant on Plandome Road through the late 1970s, attended Long Island University and graduated in 1986.
Kilmeade started his career as a correspondent for Channel One, a daily television show that was shot in Great Neck and screened nationwide in high school classrooms.
“And it was terrible,” he said.
Cavallo said she enjoyed getting to hear the story of the news anchors.
“I learned a little bit about them,” Cavallo said. “It was great to hear that. It’s kind of the mission we like to give [at St. Mary’s].”