Bill O'Reilly attacked Texas Senator Ted Cruz for being too "paranoid" to appear on "The O'Reilly Factor" Thursday night -- even though Cruz has appeared multiple times on the Fox programs with which O'Reilly is increasingly in heated competition, including "The Kelly File" and "Hannity."
"Almost every politician feels that one news operation or another does not give them a fair shake," O'Reilly said. "Yesterday Senator Ted Cruz surprised me by saying, 'I'm sure that we'll see on every show on Fox today the shockingly impressive third-place finish of Cruz.'"
"The senator was being sarcastic, apparently believing that FNC favors Marco Rubio" -- who, not surprisingly, was O'Reilly's guest later in this very episode. "I can't speak for Fox News, but I can tell you that Senator Rubio has been much easier to book than Senator Cruz. We invited him on tonight, we invited him on tomorrow night, and we invited him on earlier this week. I don't really know what else to do."
"I want the candidates to complain if they feel aggrieved, but I don't want them to be paranoid," O'Reilly continued. "Here's how the campaign should be covered -- on the hard news side, just report the facts, we don't need any shading. Commentators like me are free to give opinions on just about everything. Morning hosts, they're opinion people, too."
"So while candidates like Hillary Clinton might feel Fox News is stacked against them, it's only true in some precincts," he added. "I go out of my way to keep it about issues unless a politician strays into dubious areas like the email deal" -- a "deal" he mentioned here without mentioning, of course.
Watch the entire Talking Points Memo below via Fox News.