Monday, 24 April 2017

Bill O’Reilly: That nasty host of a talk show                                                   

There are at least four ways a human being can be a nasty person. They are as follows: being a bully, being rude, possessing a hatred of women and/or other races and being a molester of women.  Do these faults fit O’Reilly? The answer is yes.

Bill O’Reilly’s fate was in the hands of the Murdoch family, which controls 21stCentury Fox. In the end, according to two people familiar with the decision, Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, made their decisions after reviewing the results of an internal investigation that found that multiple women had reported inappropriate behavior by Mr. O’Reilly.

During an appearance at an event in New York on the evening of the 19th of April 2017 when James Murdoch (the owner of Fox) stopped to answer a question about the decision as to whether or not Bill O’Reilly was to remain with Fox, he said, “We did a thorough investigation, a thorough review, and we reached a conclusion.” Subsequently O’Reilly was fired from his $25,000,000 a year as host of the Bill O’Reilly Fact0r. It wasn’t because the show didn’t have enough viewers. It had approximately 4 million viewers who tuned into O’Reilly’s show each night. It was one of the most viewed talk shows in the United States.

He was fired  because his conduct with Fox News was so bad.  Fox was losing millions of dollars. Fox reached settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by him. The agreements totaled almost $13 million. Then there was the sixty advertisers who choose to jump from O’Reilly’s ship while it was sinking below the waves even though O’Reilly’s show’s viewership had previously increased.

 in 2004, Fox approved a $9 million dollar settlement with The O’Reilly Factor producer Andrea Mackris, who had accused him of talking to her about his own sexual encounters over the phone, and sharing his fantasies about her, with her, all the while masturbating audibly.

For a generation of conservative-leaning Fox News viewers, O’Reilly, 67, was a populist (1) voice who railed against what they viewed as the politically correct message of a lecturing liberal media. Defiantly proclaiming his show a “No Spin Zone,” he produced programming infused with patriotism and a scorn for feminists and what he called “the war on Christmas,” which became one of his signature themes.

(1) populista member of a political party claiming to represent the common people.

Bill O’Reilly’s reign as the top-rated host in cable news came to an abrupt and embarrassing end on April 19, 2017 as Fox News forced him out after the disclosure of a series of sexual harassment allegations against him and an internal investigation that turned up even more. This particular hate whisperer, the nightly normalizer of misogyny, racism and xenophobia, is out of his job as prime time news anchor for Fox News, losing his recently signed $18 million (U.S.)-a-year contract some three weeks after a New York Times investigation exposed how he and Fox News had settled five sexual harassment allegations over a period of the last 15 years. O’Reilly continued to deny any wrongdoing in a statement hours after he was fired.

O’Reilly lost his job on the same day he was photographed in Rome shaking the hand of Pope Francis. That photo op isn’t going to cleanse O’Reilly’s reputation or his image.

O’Reilly, who was denied a chance to say goodbye on his show said to his Fox viewers  via this statement. “It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality that many of us in the public eye must live with today. I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers.”

If you have ever watched O’Reilly’s show and also watched U.S. President Donald Trump  on TV, you will notice the similarities of both men when they speak. They are both “crowd-pleasing showmen who know how to send a signal to loyalists in their audiences that they are not taking themselves quite as seriously as their detractors are. Half of the fun that they have with their audiences comes from watching the outrage that they manage to provoke. Another similarity with these two creeps is that they both abused women.

Mr. O’Reilly and his employers came under intense pressure after an article by The New York Times on April 1 revealed how Fox News and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, had repeatedly stood by him even as he and the company reached settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by O’Reilly.

Inside Fox, women expressed outrage and questioned whether top executives were serious about maintaining a culture based on “trust and respect,” as they had promised last summer when another sexual harassment scandal led to the ouster of Roger E. Ailes as chairman of Fox News.

Bill O’Reilly on one occasion on his TV show said to Marc Lamont Hill, who was then a Columbia University professor and who was also a black guest.  “Say you’re a cocaine dealer, and you kinda look like one. The professor responded, “Two can play the game, Bill. You kinda look like a sexual predator. He was right on the mark with that reply.

When these women experienced O’Reilly’s harassment on the phone, you might wonder, why didn’t they just hang up their phones? Simple answer: fear of the consequences.

A woman told her lawyer that she was punished for rebuffing O’Reilly’s advances. That is definitely the actions of a bully. That is because O’Reilly was in a position of control over the woman and the other women working in Fox.

Office romances in themselves are problematic for potential power imbalances, but sexual harassment and unwanted lewdness with women is definitely a bigger problem for them female employees.

Sometimes, when women are ambushed by men in power like O’Reilly and Trump, they don’t know how to react. Other times, for all their revulsion, they know that outright rejection is untenable to the fragile ego of the women who are under the power of these men because they believe that it will be futile  or damaging to their careers if they show signs of rejection.

The scandals that have dogged O’Reilly for years have included allegations of rage and violence at home. In 2015, the website Gawker reported that his teenage daughter told a court during a divorce custody hearing how she saw him choking her mother and dragging her down a few stairs with his fingers around her neck.

Why did viewers continue to watch his show when he made outrageous statements such as the one in the summer of 2015, as he defended the right of bakers to not bake wedding cakes for gay weddings. He created a ludicrous comparison by asking, “Should bakers be forced to bake for Nazis even if they didn’t agree with their philosophies?” Was he comparing Nazis with gay people?

Many viewers watch these kinds of shows for two reasons. They agree with what the host of the show says or they find the statements ludicrous which in their minds makes then superior to that the host and that makes them feel good.   

Businesses are finally reaching a point where workplace sexual harassment is starting to stigmatize and punish the perpetrator and not the victim.


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