Who's Looking Out for You?

Who's Looking Out for You?

by Bill O'Reilly

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From the mega-bestselling author of The O'Reilly Factor and The No Spin Zone, a no-holds-barred exposé of the people and institutions who are letting Americans down – and what we should do about it.

Bill O’Reilly is mad as hell – and he’s not going to let you take it anymore. In his most powerful and personal book yet, this media powerhouse and unstoppable truth-teller takes on those individuals and institutions in American life who are failing in their duties – big-time. In his inimitable style, mixing wit, pugnacity, and plain common sense, O’Reilly kicks butt and takes (and also names) names – from crooked corporate weasels to venal politicians to lazy and/or politically correct bureaucrats to sexually predatory priests and the Church hierarchy that protects them to a media establishment rife with political bias and economically hooked on violence and smut. At the same time that he calls the famous and powerful to account, he dares to get personal, questioning just how much our closest friends, families, and lovers do look out for us, and delivering a powerful message about personal responsibility and self-reliance in an uncertain world. He forces us to ask just how much genuine altruism is left in a society that thrives on self-indulgence and ruthless competition.
Who’s Looking Out for You? is a book that boldly confronts our worst fears and biggest problems in a post-9/11, post-corporate-meltdown world. Its sage, candid advice on regaining control and trust in these troubled times will resonate with the millions of readers and viewers who have come to believe in Bill O’Reilly as the man who speaks for them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767917124
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 09/23/2003
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 412,457
File size: 271 KB

About the Author

BILL O’REILLY, a two-time Emmy Award-winner for excellence in reporting, served as national correspondent for ABC News and as anchor of the nationally syndicated news magazine program Inside Edition before becoming executive producer and anchor of Fox News's wildly popular The O'Reilly Factor. Also the author of the novel Those Who Trespass, he holds master’s degrees from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Boston University.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Folk Music

Papa don't preach

I'm in trouble deep

But I've made up my mind,

I'm keeping my baby.

—Madonna, "Papa Don't Preach"

It is brutally unfair to the children involved, but there are almost 12 million one-parent families in the U.S.A.

Single mothers run the majority of those families, and most of those mothers are poor. According to the U.S. census, about 70 percent of all African-American babies are born out of wedlock, as opposed to 27 percent for whites. So do the math and face the result: Millions of American kids are getting hosed from day one.

And there is little any of us can do about it. We live in a free society. If irresponsible people have kids, there is nothing any American authority can do to stop it. In China they kill babies. In some Islamic countries they'll kill a woman who gets pregnant without a husband, or even has sex outside of marriage. These policies, of course, are barbaric and constitute major human rights violations because, believe it or not, women and babies are human beings too.

Here in the good old U.S.A. our Constitution gives careless, foolish citizens all the leeway in the world to bring children into the world and then not care for them. Millions of fathers abandon their kids--and it is rare that any of them sees a day in jail. We all know people who are absolutely awful to their children, just as we all know heroic parents, single and otherwise, who raise successful, happy children despite heavy odds.

There is no question that our society has now embraced the casual approach when it comes to having children. Columnist Kathleen Parker nailed it. "Today having a baby is like swinging through McDonald's for a burger. One baby all the way, hold the dad."

And the damage is incalculable. Over the next two years, about 40 percent of American babies will be born out of wedlock. One million teenagers are likely to have a child this year, and only three in ten will be married. Half of all the mothers who have kids in their teens will be poor the rest of their lives. The government spits out these stats like baseball players spit out sunflower seed shells. The politicians use these poor children as pawns in the never-ending game of government entitlements. Society recognizes the problem but can't solve it. Almost all of our social ills can be traced back to chaotic homes.

Luckily, most of us are born into a home with two parents. And thanks to Norman Rockwell and Walt Disney, there is an ideal embedded in many of our minds. Two loving parents, clean clothes, nice toys, a picket fence around the yard, and a dog named Barney.

Does that sound like your household?

My home was a mixture of tradition and chaos. My father wasn't Ozzie Nelson, the TV ideal dad in the '50s and '60s, but he wasn't Ozzy Osbourne either. I wrote about my late father in The O'Reilly Factor, the book, and I think it is safe to say that I had a rough-hewn upbringing. Simply put: There was plenty of tension in my house. Along with a lot of yelling and martial arts. My father was the Kung and I was the Fu. The perceptive writer James Ellroy, writing in GQ magazine, had an interesting take on my upbringing.

[O'Reilly's] old man died of melanoma. He was a rough-edged guy. Fear ran him. He peaked in World War II. He was a naval officer. He did important work in the Jap Occupation. He settled in Levittown, New York. He raised his son and daughter strict. He worked as an accountant. He hated said work. He stuck with it. Fear made him stick. He lived through the Depression. He fed off pix of hobo shantytowns and bean lines. He stayed spartan middle class. He was class bound by fear. He bought the implicit American line. Stick where you are and wish your kids more.

O'Reilly pere held his mud. O'Reilly pere cracked a bit on his deathbed. He told his son that he never fulfilled his promise. Bill O'Reilly vowed to do it for him.

The old man gave him some tools. His strict legacy served more than hindered. The old man was a moral exemplar. His preachings were sound. He erred only in this rigid enforcement. The old man ruled by fear. O'Reilly hated it as a kid. O'Reilly gained respect for it years on. The old man emerged as a teacher. He taught by positive and negative example. He was responsible for his own failures. He was complicit in sustaining the American class system.

Ellroy understood my dad's basic resume but left out one important item: Despite his ordinary life he was an extremely perceptive man. My father was Abe Lincoln: honest and also knew instinctively who could be trusted and who was auditioning for the role of Judas. But this knowledge did him little good because he was afraid to act on it.

The upside in my house was this: There were standards. There was no binge drinking, no drugs, no cursing, no weird displays of inexplicable behavior (except by me). My folks were like their folks before them--reactors. If I acted like a jerk, the reaction was Allen Iverson quick. My parents did not spare the rod, they brooked no disrespect, and they had no concerns at all about my "self-esteem."

There were times when I hated my father. I admit it. He knew it. The punishment that descended upon me was mostly uncalled-for and born of the frustration of his life. But even in my teens I realized that my parents wanted me to do well and succeed. As dim as I was, I knew that there was love in the house.

So now when I see children at risk, it makes me furious. Take four-year-old Rilya Wilson, for example. I told her story on The Factor and it is heartbreaking. She was born in East Cleveland, Ohio, and her father split soon after her birth. Her mother was a drug addict and lost parental rights. So little Rilya went to live with her "godmother," Geralyn Graham, in south Florida, a situation that was paid for and supposedly supervised by the state of Florida.

Trouble is, the caseworker assigned to Rilya, Deborah Muskelly, did not make the state-ordered mandatory visits, although, in the state files, she falsely recorded that she had. When Rilya turned up missing from her "home" in early 2001, nobody seemed to care. It took sixteen months for the state of Florida even to find out about it.

Now, you would think the authorities would be all over the case once the facts came to light. A defenseless four-year-old missing and possibly murdered! You would think everyone in power would rally to see justice done.

On television I asked Florida Governor Jeb Bush to get directly involved in the case. He would not. I asked for the resignation of the head of the children's services department. She stayed on for almost a year until the pressure finally forced Bush to sack her.

I asked for the caseworker, Muskelly, to be immediately arrested. She was not, and neither Bush nor anyone else offered an explanation. To say the situation was disgraceful is insult-light.

Finally, just before the election of 2002, Governor Bush had to act because he was slipping big in the polls. Both the caseworker and the "godmother" were finally charged. But the hard truth is that nobody in the world cared for little Rilya Wilson. Nobody looked out for her even though a number of adults were being paid to do that. And so she's still missing and most likely dead. Next time you have parental issues, think about Rilya.

Poverty is an enormous problem for children, but even having money often doesn't solve the parental dilemma. Let's take a look at Julio and Enrique Iglesias, the father and son singers. These guys are fabulously wealthy, so it is hard to believe that with all their talent and fame, a smooth relationship did not evolve. But according to Parade magazine, the two are now rivals in the world of pop music. Enrique Iglesias is quoted as saying this about his famous father: "It's not a normal relationship. After I sold millions of records he [Julio] would say 'but you'll never win a Grammy.'"

Nice. Julio Iglesias has been blessed with enormous material success but apparently is competing with his own son for outside adulation. Does that make sense? Of course not. As everybody knows, money and privilege can screw a kid up fast. Enrique Iglesias was the product of a very messy divorce. As a young child, he lived with his mother in Spain. But her journalism career caused him to be left often in the care of a nanny. When Enrique turned seven, he was sent to live with his father in Miami. But according to friends, the child had to learn music outside this house because he was afraid Julio would put him down. Enrique has become a music superstar, but his road was tougher than some might think.

In a perfect world, every parent would love, nurture, and protect his or her children. If anyone should be looking out for you, it is your mother and father. But as we know, there are no parental guarantees in this life. You can ask Enrique Iglesias, or, if you get to heaven, you can ask Rilya Wilson.

Many of us are deeply conflicted about our parents. My father and mother certainly provided for me and made damn sure I got educated and was taught the essentials of life. But can I say that my father was always looking out for me? No, I can't. My mother's instincts were much more in that direction, but my father had demons that intruded on his parental duties. As with millions of other American parents, my father set a terrible example by inflicting unnecessary pain on his children. He did not do this on purpose. He simply could not control himself.

And therein lies the big parental dilemma. Just like everyone else, a parent might have to do battle with a powerful inner demon--that part of the mental makeup that is self-destructive and evil. If those demons win the battle, the child as well as the parent takes the hit. Abandonment, abuse, addiction, and apathy can scar a child for life. And there's little the kid can do about it.

Ask psychiatrists and they will tell you that children who are mentally or physically abused often grow up to be abusers themselves. In the ongoing scandal in the Roman Catholic priesthood, for example, it's become clear that many of the abusers were themselves abused when they were young.

This is not an excuse, but it may be a partial explanation. And once understood, the cycle of emotional or physical abuse that spins down from one generation to the next has a better chance of being stopped. It takes awareness. It takes courage. It takes discipline.

Most of us have unresolved problems with our parents. Some of these problems are trivial, some much more intense. For your own welfare it is important that you get to the root of the parental issue and ask this question: Did your parents really look out for you? Did they want you to have a happy and successful life? The question is a bear, frightening and unpredictable. It can be painful even thinking about it. But here are a few guidelines to clear the air a little.

Call them the Ten Commandments of Effective Parenting.

1. A parent who is looking out for you will make time for you if he or she possibly can. Hint: Serial golfing is no excuse.

2. All punishments will fit the crime. Discipline is essential, but no parent should inflict frequent physical or mental pain on a kid. Childhood is supposed to be a wondrous, joyful period. Parents are the grown-ups and have to be patient, within reason. Words can deeply wound a child. Parents must display kindness and understanding. Corporal punishment should be a last resort, and used within guidelines that have been clearly established before any physical punishment is administered.

3. Parents who are looking out for their children will be under control in the house. There will be no random violence, intoxication, sexual displays, uncontrolled anger, or vile language (sorry, Ozzy). The house should be a refuge, a place where the child feels protected and loved. If it is a chaotic mess, the parents are not looking out for the kids.

4. If a parent is looking out for the child, he or she will educate that child in the best possible way. That includes paying college tuition if at all possible. Parents owe it to the kids to give them the tools to compete, and those tools are often expensive. But they come before the vacation, the Harley, the leaf blower. If you don't want to sacrifice for your children, don't have them.

5. Parents should be available at all times for emergency talks. "All access," as the rock stars say. No excuses here. Ditch the meeting, get back from the mall, get off the phone. There is nothing more important than dealing with a child's crisis immediately, even if it seems trivial to the parent.

6. If a parent is looking out for the child, then that child's friends will be screened, the kid's whereabouts will be known at all times, and scholastic progress will be monitored daily. Homework will be looked at and questions about school will be asked. That's how trouble is spotted before it gets out of hand; that's how you bring out the best in your child. Children know you have a strong interest in their lives. They may bitch, but kids badly want that kind of attention. All the research shows that close parental monitoring is the leading factor in whether or not adolescents will engage in high-risk behavior.

7. Rules will be enforced but explained. Parents who truly look out for their kids understand that there are rules in society and that high standards of behavior are the key to a successful life. Rules are good. But rules must have a logical objective. "Because I say so" can be effective when the kid gets stubborn, but before that conversation stopper is trotted out, try connecting some dots with your child. It doesn't always work, but the effort is worth it.

8. Parents will be honest at all times. Lead by example. No lying, no cheating, no nasty gossip, no cruelty, no manipulating, no jealousy toward your kids, no competing with them, no overindulging their various whims, and no overprotecting.

Parents who are looking out for their children will prepare them for the rigors of this world. They will educate them after school, encourage generosity and spirituality, and generally do the right thing all the time. Or at least in front of them.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“No-nonsense, no-spin advice on the basic matter of succeeding in life.”
New York Daily News

“An appealing and occasionally moving book. [O’Reilly] emerges here as a feisty . . . defender of the little guy.”
Denver Post

“A self-described regular guy granting good-sense respite from others’ baloney and lies.”
Newark Star-Ledger

“Surprisingly personal . . . an inspirational guide to life’s most basic quandaries.”
Publishers Weekly

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Who's Looking Out for You? 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 103 reviews.
GeorgeBarr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pretty good book by the surprisingly moderate Bill O'Reilly. He uses some material you may have read in one of Michael Savage's books concerning the NAMBLA. However, it is overall, a good book.
kkirkhoff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Oct 8, 2003: As I've said before, I always enjoy reading O'Reilly's books. Some things he says I say, "Boy, you got that right", other things I have to shake my head and say, "Bill, you really don't get it". Same with this book.The purpose of this book is to determine who really has your best interests at heart. According to Bill, not too many people. Although I don't think he specifically says it, he gives me the impression that a lot of people have an entitlement attitude and truly feel that lots of people are out to take care of them. Among the people and entities that don't care one bit about you are: politicians, the court system, corporate America (specifically those that want to sell you stuff), celebrities, and the church.I understand his arguments, but where he misses the boat is that he expects corporations, politicians, and celebrities to be moral, ethical, and social beacons from which we (and our children) to learn. Not so, Bill. That should be taught at home and at school. I do expect it from the courts and churches. He's right about that.In each chapter he gives examples of what's right and wrong about that particular topic. As I said, he does make you think. He made my case for why I disagree with him much stronger, but he gave me some good examples of things I agree with him on. Good book.
badgenome on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Like Bill's past books, Who's Looking Out for You? isn't wretched or anything. There's just not really any deep insight in it- unless you really didn't already know that corporations are out to make money hand over fist, ethics be damned, and politicians are mostly self-serving scumbags whose actual concern for the citizen is inversely proportional to how much they profess to care (i.e. Hillary). I bought this at the airport, and it got me through the flight; it did, so I guess it was a success to that extent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I respect any and every religion you choose to belong to. I am an atheist, but what if I do good? Does that mean I will be sent to hell.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I'd call this a must-read, even if you dislike Mr. O'Reilly for ideological reasons, or simply think he's a blowhard. This is not a conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican book. He outlines exactly what's wrong with those who are supposed to be looking out for us -- the courts, large corporations, Presidents Bush and Clinton, and your family. It's great for discussion with friends and family, and O'Reilly adds a nice personal touch to the book by reviewing his own mistakes in life and what he has learned from them. It's a great read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In his usual straightforward style Bill lets it all go and lowers the boom on many of those who thrive on the weak, unlightened and uninformed in our society. He names names tells it like it is. If you want to know who does not have your best interest at heart read this fabulous book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. O'Reilly points out the facts without an idealogical bias, just the way it should be. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know the truth about the corruption in America, and anyone who believes in God.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bill O'Reilly analyzes people in power and determines it they have the general public¿s interest at heart. He presents two sides of the debate and lets the reader determine which side has the best argument. The facts are given and the outcome is a logical one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When 911 happened, American began to really pull together, a sense of 'one nation' began to surface again, it felt nice. But the cry of civil unrest via the libeal politicians running for president, (too early), teaching us disrespect is okay, low blows, spins etc are okay, (and they are leaders?) So unity & healing took back seat while many still had open wounds and fears. O'Reilly mentions those in our lives, those around us .. and he helps us ask ourselves the question of 'who's looking out' for us... This is a good solid book of advice for BOTH parties, good for America. It would be nice if this book was read by all, but the left seem to jump on the book reviews w/ conservative writers (or even those who are not one or the other as Bill O'Reilly), who threathen them, don't see things as they demand we do (or call us names)... parrots who are told that this author is all bad, all right wing... So, they jump in the reviews slandering and dogging a book, when it is so apparent that A. They did not read the book.. B. They did not know what was in the book and C. They more than likely cannot read a book or have not cover to cover. (see: 'bob jenkins, a professor of math, December 23, 2003' or 'James, book lover in Baltimore' and others, some using the exact sentances and/or spell the same mispelled words wrong. It's sad. This book is a good read for all Americans who are more interested in the truth, the knowledge and then the safety that will come to them after they are done ... PS I hope too that bill does outsell the book of hillary's... she has really nothing to offer in her book, except to paint some pictures that she wants to for her 'image' -and she did not even write most of the book, had ghost writers.. she accomplished nothing except to show woman that it is better to stay with a playboy with fears and hang ups and affairs since pre-white house... than to drop your political edge ... especially if you want to be president one day and have really got no remarkable things to say about accomplishments.. that vs. Bill, who clearly shows that he does care, his program does too and he is a man who stands by his believes... he has conviction, (is that a word you don't understand you folk who claim to read, the liberal vanilla doggers? Okay, here: He has morals... Oh, you don't get that word either huh, okay, He has values... no, still don't know the words... shoot.. okay, 'He has good stuff in him that he really thinks is nice and so do nice Americans who care about people and want to know the truth and take care of their families... and they say the nice stuff, even when it is not popular, what ever party, he is nice and plays nice in this book' How is that ya scholars you?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the entire book for it's honesty and clarity. Like O'Reilly's 'No Spin Zone', his book cuts straight to the chase backed by facts. Those of us who enjoy Bill O'Reilly do so because he stands on his convictions which are based on facts. Read this book and you will begin to wonder about our apathy. Thank you Bill O'Reilly - - keep up the good work. You help give the apathetic a voice!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The great irony at issue in this book is that it's really all about Bill. If O'Reilly could fashion himself as the messiah (and Roger Ailes might be willing to produce that show), he would undoubtedly do so. While this book apparently showcases his best work, its arguments and insights are ultimately as poor as the rest of O'Reilly's verbosity. As always, Bill is a talented rhetorician and a below average thinker. Complememnt this fact with his willingness to forsake any notion of cogent analysis and lower the standard of public debate in order to champion his own celebrity, and you have one really lousy book. Conservatives should be embarrassed; this may be the best of the bunch (Coulter, Limbaugh, Savage), and its still a sham. For God's sake, change the channel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This an excellent book and a very good example of what you will find if you watch the O'Reilly Factor on FOX News. Bill has a way of unfolding some disturbing truths concerning our society while still entertaining us.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is more from Rubert's lil' machine. Perports to be an 'advice' book. Only advice is 'give me your money'. There must be a maket for this kind of mindless right wing dreck. The sad thing is it preys on fear of white middle class having $ taken awy and given to non-white people and others who do not know that 'Everyone in America gets what one deserves'. Save your money just get tapeloop that says 'Class wars are started with redistributed wealth' over and over.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book, I like the fact that their wasn't a whole lot of talk about politics, but when there was, it wasn't partisan politics. I would recommend this book to anyone, even if your not an O'Reilly fan. Thanks a lot Bill
Guest More than 1 year ago
He brings up some pretty good points on the topics that he writes about. You may not agree with everything, but read it to find out. Last chapter is the best (no not because it's close to the end).
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book should accompany every American's trip to the voting booth. You may not agree with every word, but Bill's honesty provides the reader with insights even the most partisan of persons will concede and agree to. Refreshing and real.