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.

9 comments

  1. There was a time about 15 years ago where I enjoyed O’Reilly, but it wouldn’t be long before his schtick became intolerable for me, along with a wide swath of conservative media. It was still early in my political awareness when I paid attention to him, and I think it was just something I outgrew when my disagreements started to mount up. It was similar for Rush and Hannity too. Though I still have a respect for Rush, I likewise just outgrew his schtick. Hannity…well, the dude went full red team (which over the years I moved away from) and then off the deep end with the rise of Trump. I am vaguely aware of this whole universe of conservative media pundits and figures, but their kind of discourse is just not my thing. I prefer a more reasonable discourse like we have here on RVS.

  2. The moral for culture warriors: Be sure to practice what you preach.

    As for O’Reilly, he already has a new podcast in the works and will probably find a home somewhere else. But he’s in his mid to late Sixties and I have to wonder how much longer he can go on before he really retires. I’d be more worried about Hannity losing his job because he doesn’t fit the “new direction” the Murdochs want to take Fox News in.

  3. We have Maddow, Olbermann, and Maher, Zoom. I’d say we’re not doing much better. In fact, I’d say that you and I have the same problem and have come to the same resolution to sideline that noise.

    I will say, on the Right, O’Reilly was the least offensive to me (excluding morality here — I’m not digging down deeper than the public persona with this statement). He was smart enough to go onto the Jay Leno show (repeatedly) and play to the audience. He was engaging and charismatic and knew which room he was in at all times. I could never say the same thing for Hannity, for example. I’m also not saying that I found O’Reilly’s positions agreeable often, but he knew how to present his argument and soften or harden the edges based on who he was talking to.

  4. It won’t be the orielly factor itself that drags fox down, I believe. Iirc the person they replaced orielly with in that time slot carried about the same number as bill did in the ratings. It could be a pretty serious impact if trump himself decides to stop dishing his eclusives to fox over it. I guess it would put trump in a “damned if you do” spot but ive read he was very close to bill and it may affect the relationship the administration has with fox, which would hurt them.

    Overall, though I think fox will be unharmed by this. They are leaps and bounds better connected to their audience than, say, CNN is to their audience. Whether you love it or hate it, fox has a very successful program that hits their target audience in a very receptive way and even amongst their competitor outlets they are distinguished for their ability to attack the issues correctly as their audience would like to see.

    O’rielly turned out to be a scumbag. It happens. He’s maybe not on par with bill Cosby but impact-wise I’m sure there are people on the right in denial or just as devastated as Cosby fans.

  5. Really dude? MAYBE NOT on par? Really? You compare O’reilly’s conduct with drugging and raping 20+ women? Wow dude, get a grip.

  6. Well, my context was more of “influential political figure who turned out to be scumbag, but will always have a devoted fan base” but it’s very telling that you seem to think distinguishing high ground in cases of sexual abuse toward women is warranted.

  7. Of recent pundits that I have appreciated, Megyn Kelly is a straight shooter. Fox was stupid to let her go.

    I think Tucker is a huge mistake to replace O’Reilly. I think giving him his own show was a mistake. The guy is an outright bully against those he disagrees with…which may be what they are going for in replacing O’Reilly. But his giggling drives me nuts. I won’t watch him, whereas I would occasionally tune into O’Reilly when traveling. His opening monologues were generally good.

    Another one I appreciate is Dana Perino. She’d be a decent replacement for the Kelly slot.

    I don’t understand how anyone could watch Rachel Maddow for more than 5 minutes. Even if I were liberal, the woman comes across as a condescending bitch in every single thing she says.

    If I were head of Fox News, I would pay whatever it took to get Dennis Miller to do a show.

  8. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Murdoch’s throw a ton of money at Kelly to come back in the future.

  9. Way to deflect your moral equivalence of drugging and raping someone to asking someone on a date and then being ACCUSED (not proven) of what amounts to firing the person over it. But it’s very telling that you seem to think they are one in the same, sorry your bias is showing.

    Personally I think he should have been at a minimum suspended while this played out, firing Bill O is totally within the rights of Fox as an employer and I have no problem with it.

    Here is a clue for you, one of the acts can lead to prison time, one cannot. You pick which.

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