Atheists Groups Say They Profit Off Bill O’Reilly’s ‘War On Christmas’ Episodes
Bill O’Reilly has declared that atheists are waging a “war on Christmas,” but it seems that his words may actually be helping atheists groups more than hurting them. David Silverman, president of American Atheists Inc., confirmed that producers for The O’Reilly Factor have reached out to him again about appearing on the show later this month. He’s been on the program roughly 25 times over the years, but perhaps surprisingly revealed that O’Reilly’s criticism actually helps his organization in both membership and donations.
Silverman told the Erik Wemple Blog that his association generally receives “hundreds of e-mails” that are mostly “very positive” after appearing O’Reilly’s show. Many of these people are also interested in contributing to his work financially. “I will say that we get scores of donations on the day or two following an appearance on Bill O’Reilly or Hannity,” he said. “They’re the gift that keeps on giving.”
Part of the benefit in Silverman’s appearances is that many of the people in his organization also support O’Reilly’s brand of politics; he said that roughly 20-25 percent of atheists are either conservative or libertarian in their political views. He said that he doesn’t “think Bill O’Reilly understands how many atheists are watching.”
Even when an atheist group doesn’t appear on The O’Reilly Factor, just having the TV anchor slam them on-air also helps their business. Annie Laurie Gaylor, the co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, said that she was “very flattered” when O’Reilly attacked their group in 2008. “That was a big spike in membership,” she said. “Bill O’Reilly did us a favor that year.”