Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly returned to the network where he appeared for over 20 years as a guest on the Sean Hannity program. He plugged his new book, “Killing England,” decried the protesting Football Players, and hinted at some kind of more permanent return to cable news. Not everyone was happy with the appearance.

Vintage O’Reilly

O’Reilly was feisty and nonchalant, referring to his forced absence as a summer vacation. He plugged his new book, “Killing England,” an account of the American Revolution. He characterized his book as a response to the current characterization of the founding fathers as immoral slaveholders who created an irredeemably flawed country.

O’Reilly reserved his greatest ire for the protesting football players. He suggested that athletes who take a knee for the national anthem are expressing disrespect for American soldiers serving in Afghanistan and other places. He also accused the NFL of holding to a double standard, noting that football players who had wanted to honor 9/11 first responders were denied by the league.

Finally, O’Reilly hinted at a return to cable news in some capacity. He may have been bantering with Hannity as a way to troll his critics. It is unlikely that he would get his old show back on Fox News, but certainly, an FNC contributor spot would be a possibility. In any event, he blasted left-wing groups for being, in his view, responsible for his forced retirement from cable news.

The Washington Post is not pleased

O’Reilly’s critics were not happy. The Washington Post, for example, referred to the venerable former host’s appearance on Hannity as a “clown show,” noting that the two longtime TV personalities had a rivalry at one time. However, the rapprochement served the purpose of both men pretty neatly.

O’Reilly gets a platform to flog his new book. He was able to sell his previous books on his own show. Now, however, he has the hustle, sometimes on unfriendly venues. Hannity was a rare, friendly interviewer who did not assume that he was guilty of sexual harassment, the reason for which he was terminated. O’Reilly was also able to hit back at his critics, something he says he wishes he did around the time of his firing.

Hannity gets a high-profile guest to help him in his ratings war with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, for which, in part, he was moved to the 9 p.m. Eastern timeslot. Maddow had been surging ever since the turmoil at FNC had begun. Fox New management would like to put her back in her place. Thus far, Hannity is beating her soundly in the ratings. Next, on tap, Rush Limbaugh is due to be a guest on Thursday.