Known for his confrontational style, political commentator Bill O'Reilly's career in journalism begun in the 1970s, when he worked as a reporter and columnist for several newspapers and local publications during his college years at Boston University. A far cry from his later position as a key figure in mainstream conservative media, some of O'Reilly's early years in broadcasting were spent as a movie critic and entertainment writer for The Miami Herald. After working as a news correspondent for television stations in Pennsylvania and Texas, CBS sent O'Reilly to Argentina to cover the wars in El Salvador and the Falkland Islands.
O'Reilly's career continued to grow throughout the 1980s, but his "big break," so to speak, came in the form of Inside Edition, a tabloid gossip and news program in the same vein as A Current Affair. After replacing David Frost as Inside Edition's anchorman, O'Reilly went on to cover various historic milestones, including the Los Angeles riots and the fall of the Berlin Wall. O'Reilly chose to further his education in the mid-'90s, ultimately earning a master's degree from the prestigious Harvard University. Shortly afterward, O'Reilly met a pivotal figure in his career: Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of the Fox News Channel. Ailes hired O'Reilly to anchor The O'Reilly Factor, which quickly became the standard in a growing arena of political media, particularly among conservatives. The Factor's popularity spawned numerous book deals and contributed heavily to the popularity of O'Reilly's similarly formatted radio show. Perhaps the surest mark of success, Bill O'Reilly's trademark aggression toward his interviewees and a multitude of government figures eventually served as inspiration for Stephen Colbert, who modeled his television persona on the highly popular Colbert Report after O'Reilly. Colbert affectionately referred to O'Reilly as "Papa Bear." ~ Tracie Cooper, Rovi