Burns used to host Fox's media program, "Fox News Watch," from which he was let go in 2008. He now works as an author and playwright.
Responding to the ongoing criticism of O'Reilly for embellishing and in some cases manufacturing his reportage from years ago, Burns said that O'Reilly's ratings had actually seen a boost since reports began questioning his integrity last month.
"I know what the audience loyalty was like when I was there," Burns said, adding that O'Reilly is "not held to the same standards" as other media figures.
He called the Fox News audience "cultish," and said that O'Reilly was "the head of the cult."
"He's lied so many times," he said, pointing out the ex-MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used to have a running segment calling out O'Reilly on "complete fabrication."
"To the Fox News cult, this kind of thing doesn't matter," he said. "It's a lie from the liberal media — who cares what it is, it doesn't matter."
In February 2008, Burns told AdWeek that Fox News had abruptly notified him that his contract would not be renewed.
“Fox News has told me that my contract will be terminated within the next 2 months, perhaps sooner. I was given no reason,” he said.