The Critical Crucifixion Of Bill O’Reilly: Were ‘Killing Jesus’ Reviews Politically Motivated?

Bill O’Reilly probably felt like his television movie Killing Jesus was going to be a critical success like his friend Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. According to Deadline, O’Reilly can at least take solace in knowing the ratings were good.

“National Geographic Channel’s adaptation of Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Jesus, nabbed 3.7 million viewers across Sunday night — the biggest audience in history. The channel noted that the 8 PM premiere’s 1.0 rating in adults 25-54 is the highest rating for that demo since the net’s November 2013 premiere of O’Reilly’s Killing Kennedy, which clocked a 1.1, and 300% higher than NatGeo’s Sunday 8-11 PM average this calendar year.”

Unfortunately, the critical reception was pretty bad — and that’s being nice. Critics tore apart almost every aspect of Bill O’Reilly’s pet project. Gail Pennington of the St. Louis Post Dispatch thought Killing Jesus was a “clunker.”

“Unfortunately, the movie opens with a sequence that feels like parody: Kelsey Grammer as King Herod, in terrible wig and fluffy fake beard, roaming around, seeming to channel Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. It’s hard to take Killing Jesus entirely seriously after that, despite the grim fact that it counts down to a crucifixion.”

Brook Wilensky-Lanford of the Guardian believes Killing Jesus can’t be trusted on being factual.

“A Catholic self-described ‘traditionalist,’ O’Reilly can’t be trusted not to confuse religious interpretation with historical fact. Thus, if we see Killing Jesus as a Bill O’Reilly film, that should remind us that it can’t be an impartial, historical film at the same time.”

The bad reviews seemed to really bother Bill O’Reilly, who believes his film is being judged with political lenses. O’Reilly talked about the reviews on his show.

“Any embrace of Christian tradition is a danger to the agenda of the left. It was easy to see that in the articles about Killing Jesus…There is a struggle in this country for power, for freedom, and for life-affirming behavior. Judeo-Christian tradition is under assault – there’s no question about that.”

It’s been a difficult two months for Bill O’Reilly, who is constantly being accused of lying about past stories. According to Yahoo, Bill O’Reilly‘s former cameraman is now saying he is a liar. Ignacio Medrano-Carbo, the man who Bill O’Reilly claims he saved during the 1982 riots in Buenos Aires, Argentina, completely denies that O’Reilly ever touched him.

There are many who believe that the attacks against Bill O’Reilly’s film and professional past are politically motivated. After all, many of the attacks have originated at left-wing outlets such as Mother Jones or the Guardian. Let’s hope Bill O’Reilly handles the attacks in a professional matter and doesn’t go off the deep end like he has been known to do.

[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]