If the rumors spreading like wildfire on social media are true, then the long reign of Bill O’Reilly as the premier host of The O’Reilly Factor on the Fox News Network is rapidly coming to an end. And none too soon.
O’Reilly represents what is worst about the new era of self-righteous “journalism.” While claiming to be “fair and balanced” he manages through innuendo, condescension, or ingratiating flattery to project his own viewpoint as somehow free and objective. Hence, the “no spin zone.” Rightly, it should be termed the “O’Reilly Spin Zone.”
Somehow he manages to impress his viewers with his own sense of self-importance by using esoteric terms such as “bloviate” as though he were a new incarnation of William F. Buckley. The difference between the two is that Buckley used the English language as a precise tool, carefully selecting words that conveyed his thoughts. One could rarely read one of his columns without picking up a new word or two to add to one’s vocabulary. O’Reilly, on the other hand, picks out obscure terms in an effort to impress the less educated members of his audience.
Ironically, one of his favorite words “bloviate” is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as meaning “To speak or write verbosely and windily.” There is no more perfect example of a bloviating than an episode of The O’Reilly Factor.
Perhaps his faults, pride, and ego could be overlooked if he were a nice person. Alas, as recent reports reveal, that is not the case. A video clip of him in his earlier days surfaced recently and revealed an angry and profane man, who took out his frustrations on those who were unable to fight back. Now that he finds himself on the receiving end of accusations of sexual misconduct, it is difficult to find any sympathy for the man.
Similar allegations about Mr. O’Reilly had been made in the past and settled out of court. But newer charges, coming on the heels of the ignominious departure of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes who was also charged with sexual harassment by female employees of Fox proved too much for advertisers to bear. Beginning with prestige companies such as Mercedes Benz and BMW, they began dropping their advertisements from his show like fleas jumping off a dead dog.
Within a matter of days the flagship program of Fox News was left only with companies like My Pillow and PCMatic that were willing to associate their names with that of Bill O’Reilly. Ironically, O’Reilly’s ratings increased, but even a freshman econ major could tell you that ratings are meaningless if no one is willing to spend money to advertise.
To further complicate matters, Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the Fox Network has been engaged in delicate negotiations to increase his ownership in the British network Sky. Tales of a pervasive atmosphere of sexual harassment at Fox News are not helping his cause.
It seems the only person who has come to O’Reilly’s defense is Donald Trump who has publicly stated that he didn’t believe Bill had done anything wrong. Considering Trump’s own track record of misogyny – “women, you gotta treat them like shit” and the infamous “Pussygate” tapes, he probably believes that O’Reilly really didn’t do anything wrong.
In the meantime, Bill O’Reilly is on vacation while the Murdoch family decides what course to take. The growing consensus is that his vacation is going to be a permanent one. Now, if we could just find a way to send Donald Trump on a permanent vacation with him.