Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 7:21 AM

UPDATE: Fox Extinguishes Sex Pest Bill O’Reilly

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

I usually reserve updates for the annual book version of my commentaries. On occasions, though, my commentaries elicit such indignant criticisms from people I respect, I feel obliged to respond. This is one of those occasions.

Bill O’Reilly of Fox News has been the top-rated host on Cable TV for over 20 years. This is why news that a number of women had accused him of “sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior” broke like wildfire two and a half weeks ago.

Back then, reporters and commentators alike were all too eager to fan the flames. Their schadenfreude was palpable.

Yet none could even fathom O’Reilly’s demise. They were all convinced Fox would never fire its golden goose – who was reportedly generating over $200 million in ad revenues annually.

I was not so convinced.

These accusations against O’Reilly come on the heels of similar ones that forced Fox News to fire its founding chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes. …

[It would be] fairer and more accurate to assert that Bill O’Reilly is the Bill Cosby of cable television. Indeed, the number of women coming out of the woodwork suggests that O’Reilly has harassed just as many women as Cosby has assaulted.

This is why Fox News will fire O’Reilly in due course. It’s the only way it can prevent the continuing flight of advertisers and recapture those who have already flown the coop. It’s also the only way Fox can atone for the moral turpitude of resigning him to a very lucrative contract knowing full well that he was every bit as compromised as Ailes.

(“Sex Pest Bill O’Reilly of Fox, the Bill Cosby of Cable TV,” The iPINIONS Journal, April 6, 2017)

Thus, unlike CNN’s Jake Tapper and everybody else, I was not at all surprised today when news of his firing broke.

Bill O’Reilly has been forced out of his position as a prime-time host on Fox News, the company said on Wednesday, after the disclosure of settlements involving sexual harassment allegations against him. His abrupt and embarrassing ouster ends his two-decade reign as one of the most popular and influential commentators in television.

‘After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel,’ 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, said in a statement.

(New York Times, April 19, 2017)

I am an avowed liberal. Therefore, you might think I’m as happy to see the back of O’Reilly as anyone at Fox’s liberal counterparts, CNN and MSNBC. But I am not.

No doubt there should be zero tolerance for sexual harassment in the workplace. NBC sent an encouraging message in this respect when it fired Bill Cosby. Fox has done the same by firing Bill O’Reilly.

Unlike far too many commentators (and consumers of their commentaries), however, I see no value in the echo chamber of opinions that characterize so much of Cable news and public debate these days. O’Reilly was a committed champion of conservative opinion. And I often tuned in to the O’Reilly Factor; never mind that I invariably found him more entertaining than challenging.

But I will miss him. And I regret that he engaged in the reprehensible behavior that ended his reign today in such disgrace.

Related commentaries:
Sex pest Bill O’Reilly

*  This commentary was originally published yesterday, Wednesday, at 6:06 p.m.

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