Bill O’Reilly, cable news’ most successful nighttime anchor, has been removed from his post at Fox News. The news comes on the heels of a New York Times article reporting that since 2005 Fox News has paid out $13 million in settlements for sexual harassment lawsuits directed against Bill O’Reilly. That report set the Liberal media machine into action, with a boycott of O’Reilly’s corporate sponsors.
In no time, O’Reilly found himself on the losing end of a battle for his reputation. What’s important to note here is that the New York Times story referenced very old accusations against O’Reilly. While the extent of the money paid out to O’Reilly’s accusers was not previously known, the purported lechery of O’Reilly in the workplace was common knowledge (after all, who hasn’t made a joke about Bill O’Reilly’s love of falafel?).
align=”right” This represents yet another “Great Pile On” in our celebrity obsessed culture. And, while it can happen to any public figure, it most often happens to conservative public figures. The Great Pile On, in my opinion, is the most pernicious and destructive weapon that the Left has in its ceaseless war against popular right-wing figures or even those who just seem to represent conservative ideals.
In recent days, more women have come out and accused O’Reilly of sexism. An African-American woman who worked for a different broadcaster (but who shared office space with Bill O’Reilly) claimed that O’Reilly referred to her as “Hot Chocolate.” Meanwhile, Kirsten Powers, the former Fox pundit-turned-CNN-analyst, told Anderson Cooper this week that O’Reilly made sexist comments about her during a 2014 interview. Powers in 2014 penned an op-ed headlined, “Bill O’Reilly Is Not A Sexist,” This column, we must suppose, is no longer operative. Of course, the time for O’Reilly to promote her book has also elapsed. So the change of heart is understandable.
This represents yet another “Great Pile On” in our celebrity obsessed culture. And, while it can happen to any public figure, it most often happens to conservative public figures. The Great Pile On, in my opinion, is the most pernicious and destructive weapon that the Left has in its ceaseless war against popular right-wing figures or even those who just seem to represent conservative ideals.
Of course, I don’t know whether O’Reilly is guilty or innocent of the charges against him, but that’s beside the point. And, as American Greatness managing editor Ben Boychuk wrote recently, I too have lost interest in most television news programming for the simple reason that the news business is more infotainment than information—let alone edification. O’Reilly was was the greatest infotainer on the Right. And any successful Right-wing infotainer with an audience the size of O’Reilly’s is a direct threat to the left-leaning legacy media. O’Reilly’s effectiveness as a conservative commentator is the primary reason why his character is being assassinated. In other words, it’s business.
Had O’Reilly been a Leftist spouting on MSNBC, those now arrayed against O’Reilly likely would have rushed to his defense.
Fact is, “The O’Reilly Factor” was not only the most popular cable news show in its timeslot for the last two decades, it was also responsible for much of the overall dominance of Fox News in the ratings over the years. From his perch at 8 p.m., Bill O’Reilly solidified Fox News as the most important cable news network on television. For instance, in 2015 alone, the success of “The O’Reilly Factor” brought in $178 million worth of revenue for the Fox News Channel. And, by the way, Fox News accounts for an increasing share of its parent company, 21st Century Fox’s revenue.
The loss of “The O’Reilly Factor” means Fox News will lose its flagship show at a time when it had unquestioned dominance. Oh, sure, Fox has several excellent hosts. Tucker Carlson, for example, is quickly becoming a favorite. And, since his arrival as a host for Fox’s primetime lineup (first he came to replace Greta Van Susteren at 7 p.m., then he replaced Megyn Kelly, and now he is poised to move to 8pm), Tucker’s ratings have been solid. But, they have not been consistently high the way that O’Reilly’s has been over two decades. O’Reilly has a built-in rapport with his audience which makes removing him an even more absurd business move for the Fox network (though an obvious cause to pounce for Fox’s competitors).
For a corporation—whose primary responsibility is a fiduciary one—O’Reilly’s removal is totally irrational. Sure, he was suffering a loss of advertisers. But the real strength of O’Reilly was his consistently high ratings. With this consistently large audience, Fox News was able to charge top billing not only for advertising during its 8 p.m. slot, but for all of its slots. After all, the logic went, even if a portion of that audience stayed to watch the other Fox News programming, they would have the highest rated news network on the air right now.
O’Reilly’s unceremonious removal threatens all of that. The Great Pile On is not about rationality, however. It is about emotionalism. It is about a small band of plucky Social Justice Warriors coordinating a media insurgency aimed at silencing one of their greatest foes. The Left had tried (and failed) for years to take on Bill O’Reilly. In the face of their efforts his popularity continued to grow while left-leaning news organizations such as MSNBC and CNN continued to see their profits drop (along with their credibility). O’Reilly was one of the main reasons for this. As to substance—if we may speak of substance in the context of television cable news—left-leaning outfits do not enjoy the same kind of loyalty from viewers who share their political predilections that Fox does.
The irrationality of the Great Pile On continues now as former O’Reilly allies like Powers seek to burnish their own stars in the burn out of O’Reilly’s. Or, as women with absolutely no case level charges not only of sexism, but also of racism, against O’Reilly. The Left is never satisfied. They have gotten their scalp. But they have not yet sufficiently damaged their great rival, Fox News. So, just for good measure, they continue pushing more accusations from more people (accusations that are legally groundless) to ensure that O’Reilly’s character and reputation is fully—and permanently—destroyed.
The last several years have proven (and Fox helped to prove this) that the Left is but a small movement relegated only to the hallowed cosmopolitan coastal areas and college campuses. Yet, when the Left coordinates, it can be loud and devastating in its all-out ruthlessness for the Right. Rumor has it that Rupert Murdoch’s sons, who are very liberal people, may have been behind O’Reilly’s ouster. Or, rather, Rupert Murdoch’s daughter-in-law, a Manhattan socialite, insisted that her husband, Lachlan, remove O’Reilly from his position at Fox because it made the family “look bad.” This, more than anything, explains O’Reilly’s ouster (at least from the corporate side of things).
The Great Pile On continues and it takes many, pernicious forms. So long as the Left controls what Lenin once referred to as the “transmission belts” of society: the news media, pop culture, academia, and high society, no conservative endeavor is safe. Let us hope Donald Trump keeps this in mind as he seeks to address tax reform and anthropogenic climate change legislation in the coming days.