Last week, Fox News finally shooed Bill O’Reilly out the door. It seems that the Murdoch family simply couldn’t handle any more falafel-related sexual harassment mishaps.
I can’t say I have any strong feelings about his departure, one way or the other. It has been years since I watched The O’Reilly Factor or read any of his books. O’Reilly’s not somebody I consider to be a significant ideological influence, but I always have respected his skills as a communicator.
His show was always very simple. He presented two sides; one composed of “the folks” and the other of evil partisan nutjobs. The latter were always out to let illegal immigrants overrun the border, institute mandatory abortion, and cancel Christmas. Whether he was right or wrong, O’Reilly was very good about boiling down complex policy issues into simple terms for a broad audience. It’s no wonder that he was so popular and so polarizing at the same time. Maybe he’s the best influencer of his generation.
Many of his fans are pissed off that a well-orchestrated left-wing campaign took him down by targeting his advertisers. Well, don’t be. He clearly had a problem with his behavior in the workplace. I mean, settlement after settlement over sexual harassment. Fox News didn’t just kill its golden goose for no reason. O’Reilly did himself in and made himself and Fox News vulnerable to that pressure.
Anyway, he’s not gone completely. He’ll be churning out podcasts and tweets for years more to come. I wouldn’t much worry about his future. I’m more curious to see what this means for Fox News.