Terry Gross Drags Bill O'Reilly

NPR’s Terry Gross: inquisitive, incisive... savage? One of media’s best interviewers was interviewed herself on last night’s episode of The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, and when Fallon asked her, “Do you have any stories where an interview just didn’t go well?” she shared this lovely anecdote:

Oh yeah, that happens and people have walked out on me too... Most famously Bill O’Reilly walked out on me. I asked him a few challenging questions about whether he used the microphone to settle scores or to get even with people. Before I was even done with the question, he accused me of throwing every defamation in the book at him and then made a little speech about, “This is NPR, I know what this is. I know what you’re doing. Thirty minutes of defamation.” And then he said, “If you think that’s fair, Terry, you should get out of this business.” And I’m thinking one of us still has a program.

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Gross’s interview with O’Reilly aired October 9, 2003. National treasure, that Terry Gross.

Some Pig. Terrific. Radiant. Humble.

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DISCUSSION

Her interview with Gene Simmons was also legendarily awful (though he never walked out).

One choice exchange:

Terry Gross: No. Let’s get to the studded codpiece.

Gene Simmons: Oh yes.

Terry Gross: Do you have a sense of humor about that?

Gene Simmons: No.

Terry Gross: Does that seem funny to you? Are you —

Gene Simmons: No, it holds in my manhood.

Terry Gross: [laughs] That’s right.

Gene Simmons: Otherwise it would be too much for you to take. You’d have to put the book down and confront life. The notion is that if you want to welcome me with open arms, I’m afraid you’re also going to have to welcome me with open legs.

Terry Gross: That’s a really obnoxious thing to say.

Gene Simmons: No it’s not, it’s being — why should I say something behind your back that I can’t tell you to your face?

Terry Gross: Wait, it — it — has it come to this? Is this the only way that you can talk to a woman? To do that shtick?