Bill O’Reilly said he knew better than to talk to Politico about the ticket sales of his “History Tour” with former President Donald Trump way off in December.
“We knew when we announced the Trump show that I would be attacked. Sure, no doubt about it,” he said.
But having nothing to hide and wishing to be proactive, he said, “We decided rather than stay silent, because we knew that they were going to do, that I would talk” to the news site.
The story published last Friday that reported slow ticket sales for the still unpromoted event, said O’Reilly, was not only worse than he expected but included what he called an out-of-context threat to the reporter in a line repeated in other media stories.
Politico quoted O’Reilly arguing that sales weren't slow and warning, “You put one word in there that’s not true, I’ll sue your ass off, and you can quote me on that. You’re just a hatchet man, and that’s what you are.”
O’Reilly, who hosted the top-rated O’Reilly Factor on Fox, appears daily on his site BillOreilly.com, and whose Killing series of histories is the most read ever, told Washington Secrets that comment was not about ticket sales but came after the reporter raised legal issues in his past.
“He just wanted to get a provocative soundbite, I guess. It had no context,” he said. “He took that and then applied it to something else that had nothing to do with that,” he added.
A Politico spokesman rejected O’Reilly’s claim. “The story speaks for itself. As does Mr. O’Reilly’s quote. We stand by the reporting,” said Brad Dayspring.
In the long story, Politico cited anonymous sources in reporting weak ticket sales for the four-stop tour by O’Reilly and Trump. O’Reilly, however, said that sales of tickets have been better than expected, considering the marketing campaign hasn’t begun.
Plus, most high-dollar VIP slots have been sold, and $7 million has already been collected. “That should speak for itself. That should have killed any kind of ‘hit’ piece,” said O’Reilly.
The story cited other shows, mostly musical, that have sold out faster, though there is little comparison. The story cited the quick sales of artist “Bad Bunny,” which amused O’Reilly.
“This is six months away. So we are not going to burn marketing money until we get closer and we know what we’re looking at. But off the initial announcement of the Trump-O'Reilly History Tour, just the announcement, we have about $7 million in the bank and ticket receipts. So here's what the guy said, are you ready for this, Paul? He says, ‘Bad Bunny’ sold out Orlando in two days. I swear to God. I said, ‘Bad Bunny?’ Do you know how much he was charging for his tickets? Is Nasty Squirrel opening for him? What are you talking about? And the guy is now befuddled, had no idea what he's doing. I said, ‘Do you have any idea how concerts work?' So Live Nation controls Bad Bunny and all the other animals that go into the concert arenas. And they announce tickets, and then they back it up with $500,000 or $750,000 worth of advertising. And that's how they sell. That's what they do. In this show, we're not going to do that,” he said.
In an ironic twist, he said, sales of the History Tour tickets ($100-$300) picked up after the story appeared.
“We're thrilled about the position that we're in,” he said, adding, “This actually, ironically, this article helped ticket sales. They were very strong yesterday, Monday. It alerted some people that had not known about the show that, 'Hey, wow, there’s a show.' So they actually did us a favor by writing this smear piece.”