Bill O’Reilly’s baroque period

Nicholas Lemann in The New Yorker:

JoeoreillymadDuring what you could call Bill O’Reilly’s classical period, the first few years of “The O’Reilly Factor”—which débuted in 1996, at the same time as Fox News—O’Reilly seemed to be a recognizable member of the conservative-talk-show-host species, like his Fox stablemate Sean Hannity, or like Joe Scarborough, on MSNBC. He attacked Bill Clinton and Al Gore relentlessly; the Monica Lewinsky scandal was his signature subject. Now, ten years later, O’Reilly has become baroque, and “The O’Reilly Factor” is a complex affair, dense with self-references, obsessions, and elaborations, even though it still delivers a satisfying punch.

O’Reilly is the most popular host on cable news; his average nightly audience is about two million people, while Larry King, on CNN, has an audience about half that size.

More here.