Tag Archives: Bill O’Reilly

Media getting the lashing they deserve

It hurts a bit to say this, but the so-called “mainstream media” are getting trashed — for the right reasons.

The media have been criticized for the slant of their coverage of news events, of politicians. Conservatives have labeled the MSM as tools of the liberal political establishment. I haven’t bought into that argument.

What’s happening now to the media, though, is an examination of a culture that seems to pervade it. We are witnessing the toppling of media heavyweights because of the way they behave toward women … allegedly.

Bill O’Reilly at Fox News: gone; Charlie Rose of CBS and PBS; he’s toast; Mark Halperin of MSNBC: he’s outta there; Glenn Thrush of the New York Times and MSNBC: he, too, is gone; Michael Oreskes of National Public Radio: see ya later.

What do these men have in common? They all were accused by women of making sexual advances on them, of committing acts of sexual harassment, of sexual abuse. The allegations include groping, prancing around in the nude, making inappropriate remarks … and some things I probably shouldn’t mention here because they’re in poor taste.

The word now is that media outlets are soul-searching. They are schooling their employees — the males at least — on how to behave, how to treat their female colleagues.

What gives this story its extra legs quite arguably is that the media have been covering the sexual misdeeds of others, namely politicians and entertainment tycoons. That coverage has exposed media companies — and the men who report and comment on others’ conduct — to the very revelations we have learned about their own behavior.

As Politico has reported: “We have robust policies in place and have become more focused on communicating those policies across the organization,” said New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha in an email. “In recent weeks, we’ve reminded employees of our Anti-Harassment, Equal Employment Opportunity, and Non-Discrimination policies and we’ve highlighted the many ways an employee can raise an issue or file a complaint, including through an anonymous hotline.”

That’s fine. Now it’s time for the Times and other media outlets to root out the bad actors within their ranks immediately.

Sexual harassment: the ‘norm’ at Fox News?

Eric Bolling has joined a growing list of Fox News talking heads to take a fall because of sexual harassment allegations.

I believe it’s a fair point to ask here what others in other forums have asked already: Is there some kind of corporate culture at Fox that promotes  — or perhaps condones — this kind of thing?

I’m going to go easy on Bolling, whose son has just died suddenly. The man is hurting.

But we’ve had the late Roger Ailes resign as the head man at Fox News in the wake of sexual harassment charges brought against him by the likes of former anchor Gretchan Carlson.

Then the big fish got caught on the sexual harassment hook: Bill O’Reilly was shown the door, again after sexual harassment charges were leveled against the prime-time star. Bill O denied any wrongdoing, even though he — and Fox — shelled out tens of millions of dollars in out-of-court settlements.

I don’t watch Fox as a rule, not because of the sexual harassment allegations, but because of its right-wing political slant, which I find objectionable.

However, I am a fan of at least a couple of the network’s shining stars: Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith both manage to seek and tell the truth reasonably and without outward bias.

I also used to be a huge fan of the late Tony Snow, with whom I was acquainted. I loved a story that Snow once told me about his “mission every Sunday” while he hosted “Fox News Sunday” was to get commentators Brit Hume and Juan Williams — who Snow described as his best friend at the network — to “get into a fight” on the air.

Well, that was then.

The here and now has the network reeling from yet another high-profile talking head tumbling out the door.

Sad, man. Sad.

See ya later, Bob Beckel

Bob Beckel’s dismissal from the Fox News Channel isn’t as big a deal as, say, Bill O’Reilly’s firing or that of the late Roger Ailes.

It’s still a big deal, however.

Fox canned Beckel today in connection with racially insensitive remarks he made to a fellow network employee. Beckel was one of the co-hosts of “The Five,” a network news talk show that airs weekday afternoons. He leans to the left politically and usually found himself on the short end of a gang fight with his co-hosts, most of whom lean to the right.

I always found it fascinating that Beckel was seen as a political “expert.” Why the fascination? Well, he shepherded Democratic nominee Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign to a 49-state landslide loss to President Ronald Reagan.

Fox’s quick dismissal of Beckel does suggest to many observers that the network has been sensitized to misbehavior by its on-air personalities. O’Reilly was canned after revelations came out about the sexual harassment settlements to which he agreed; several women accused O’Reilly of harassing them. And then there is Ailes, the network founder who was let go also for sexual harassment claims leveled against him; Ailes died this week at the age of 77.

I won’t miss Beckel. For starters, I don’t generally watch Fox News. When I have tuned in, I have found Beckel’s analysis to be seriously underwhelming.

Kudos go to Fox for its quick action. Heaven knows the network has taken a beating over the way it (mis)handled the sexual harassment matters.

May this firing signal a change in the corporate culture at the “fair and balanced” network.

O’Reilly gets the boot … then he gets a lot of dough!

I am not too proud to admit that I do not know about a lot of things.

The Bill O’Reilly story has me confused. I’m baffled, befuddled and bedeviled.

Some women accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment. He paid some of them with millions of dollars in settlements. Fox News Channel, where O’Reilly worked until just the other day, shelled out big money, too, to the women.

Advertisers bailed from O’Reilly’s show, costing the network millions of dollars in revenue. O’Reilly then goes on “vacation.” Fox decided this week to cut O’Reilly loose. O’Reilly has denied the accusations of harassment.

Fox felt the pinch from the revenue loss.

But then the network has decided to pay its former talk-show colossus the equivalent of a full year’s salary.

How much is that? It’s being reported to be in the neighborhood of $25 million.

If someone is let go for cause — which is how I am interpreting Fox’s decision to part company with O’Reilly — how does a former employer justify paying out that kind of cash?

What in the name of TV ratings am I missing?

Life isn’t fair, right, Bill O’Reilly?

We all can admit what we know, that life sometimes just isn’t fair.

It deals harsh retribution for some of us, while others seemingly get away with similar — if not even worse — behavior.

I present to you two cases of men who reportedly have treated women badly. One of them is a noted television news commentator/pundit/ correspondent/personality; the other is a well-known politician.

Fox News Channel has just cut Bill O’Reilly loose after revelations about allegations of sexual harassment became known. None of us can predict at this moment whether O’Reilly’s broadcast career is over. Suffice to say, though, that it doesn’t look good.

It is true that O’Reilly received a healthy severance from his former employer. It’s also true that the allegations from several women haven’t been adjudicated, even though O’Reilly and Fox have doled out substantial settlement payments to several of the complainants.

O’Reilly’s reputation is in tatters and will require substantial repair — if it’s even reparable.

The politician?

That would be Donald John Trump, 45th president of the United States of America.

What did this individual do? Oh, let’s see. He is heard on a 2005 “hot mic” recording collected by “Access Hollywood” actually bragging about how he has sexually assaulted women, grabbing them by their, um, genital area. What gave him license to do such a thing? Trump told Billy Bush that he could do it because he’s a “star” and that his status as a big-time celebrity somehow enabled him to act like an animal.

This recording became known during the midst of the 2016 presidential campaign. What price did Trump pay for it? Hardly nothing.

He got elected with 304 electoral votes on Nov. 8.

There you have it. The president of the United States is an admitted sexual assailant.

OK, the cases aren’t entirely parallel. Fox News suffered a serious decline in revenue as advertisers withdrew from O’Reilly’s nightly TV show. Trump didn’t have that particular staring him down as the chatter mounted over his “Access Hollywood” recording. All the Republican presidential nominee had to face was whether enough voters would be sickened enough by the revelation to turn to another candidate, such as Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Trump apparently felt immunized sufficiently by his victory in the election to offer a word of support for O’Reilly, calling him a “good person” while the sexual harassment allegations began piling up around him.

I have no solution to this dichotomy. I simply remain baffled beyond belief — given what he has acknowledged about his behavior — that one of the principals in this blog was able to ascend to the highest office in the land.

Is a ‘culture change’ in store at cable network?

21st-Century Fox made it official today: Bill O’Reilly, the company’s No. 1 blowhard and ratings juggernaut is gone.

He won’t be returning from his “long-planned vacation,” which commenced suddenly in the middle of this past week.

The reason for O’Reilly’s departure? A steady stream of negative publicity relating to sexual harassment complaints leveled against the veteran TV talk-show host.

O’Reilly paid out millions of bucks to women who had filed the complaints, all the while maintaining his innocence. Interesting, yes? Well, I think so. Fox News Channel coughed up a lot of cash, too, to women who had griped about O’Reilly’s treatment of them.

These media stories usually become the stuff of inter-network gossip. Competing networks — chiefly CNN and MSNBC — have had a field day covering this story for their audiences; Fox, meanwhile, hasn’t done much reporting at all on the difficulties that O’Reilly has brought to the network.

He’s gone now.

For me, it’s no great loss. I quit listening to O’Reilly a couple of Christmas seasons ago when he would allege that some phony “war on Christmas” was being waged by the “mainstream media” and assorted “left-wing pinheads.”

O’Reilly will get a big chunk of cash for, essentially, being fired for cause by Fox. That’s another part of these celebrity stories that baffles me. A big-ticket media talking head screws up, makes a big mistake — in this case, allegedly, several big mistakes — and he’s still able to walk away with a hefty severance package.

Whatever …

See ya in the funny papers, Bill.

As for the network, it lost its news boss — Roger Ailes — over similar accusations. Women have suggested there exists a “culture” of sexual harassment at Fox.

Perhaps we are witnessing a fundamental change in that culture and that female journalists and other “contributors” will feel more welcome and accepted for the talent they bring.

CNN vs. Fox over this O’Reilly matter

There’s little doubt I will tire of this story quickly, but for now I’m kind of chuckling at a media war that’s flaring up over the controversy surrounding a cable news star.

You’ve heard of Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News Channel’s main man who’s been accused by several women of behaving a boorishly, of committing acts of sexual harassment.

Meanwhile, CNN talking heads and commentators have been blazing away rhetorically over the troubles at Fox.

Fox is firing back, accusing CNN of ignoring a story regarding whether former national security adviser Susan Rice outed some Trump campaign officials who might have been monitored by, oh, someone. CNN denies ignoring the story. Fox, meanwhile, is sticking with O’Reilly.

The two main-event combatants appear to be O’Reilly and CNN’s Don Lemon.

I plan to watch this tempest play itself out from the peanut gallery.

Fox is ignoring the O’Reilly matter

CNN has been covering the Rice story. It’s pretty clear, though, that Fox is giving short shrift to the O’Reilly story. I get that the stories aren’t parallel; Rice is a former government official while O’Reilly is employed by one of the feuding cable news networks.

Fight on, cable news guys.

Cool the jail talk, Rep. Waters

Maxine Waters must still be angry over that tasteless joke about the “James Brown wig.”

The California Democratic U.S. representatives then popped off on her own, saying that Bill O’Reilly “needs to go to jail” over allegations that he sexually harassed several women.

Whoa! Let’s hold on here.

O’Reilly made a stupidly insensitive “joke” about Waters’ appearance, making some reference to her hairstyle as resembling the late singer James Brown’s hair.

He later apologized for the crass remark. OK. Fine.

Then came a flood of accusations from women contending that O’Reilly sexually harassed them. We’ve heard of settlements from O’Reilly and from Fox News to the women. From where I sit, a “settlement” implies a bit of fire under all that smoke.

Should the bombastic blowhard — O’Reilly — go to “jail” because of what he might have done? I don’t think so.

Do not misconstrue this as anything approaching an endorsement of O’Reilly. It isn’t. I cannot stand the sound of his voice, let alone the content that pours out of his mouth. He very well may deserve to be banished from TV airwaves. Fox execs aren’t likely to do a thing about it as long as O’Reilly’s loyal viewers keep watching him.

Rep. Waters, though, ought to show a bit of discretion when talking about this matter. Mentioning a jail term, instead, reveals a good bit of hysteria.

Should ‘Bill O’ accept Trump endorsement?

This is not an original thought from yours truly … it comes from a friend of mine.

My longtime pal Gary wonders whether Bill O’Reilly is smart enough to reject an endorsement from Donald J. Trump, who calls him a “good person.”

You see, O’Reilly — the loudmouth Fox News talk show host — is fending off accusations of sexual harassment from several women. O’Reilly has settled many of the complaints already; so has Fox News. The women have gotten a lot of money. The accusations have triggered many advertisers to pull their ads off of O’Reilly’s nightly program.

Trump weighed in recently with a defense of O’Reilly, who he has known for many years.

My friend’s question, though, concerns Trump’s own history with women. After all, the president actually admitted to grabbing women by their private area. If you think about it, the president of the United States has admitted to committing sexual assault.

This is an endorsement that Bill O’Reilly should welcome?

I’m waiting for O’Reilly to reject the president’s overture. I figure it’ll be a long wait.

Sexual Assailant in Chief weighs in on O’Reilly

Donald Trump has declared to the world that Bill O’Reilly is a “good person.”

O’Reilly and Fox News Channel are fighting off allegations that the media star and his employer have engaged in sexual harassment against several women who have filed complaints.

So, what does the president of the United States think? He says O’Reilly is getting a bum rap, that he shouldn’t have settled those complaints for millions of bucks, that he should have taken the accusers to court to make them prove what they have alleged.

All this comes from someone who in 2005 was heard to say how he groped women, how he grabbed them by their private parts, how his star status enabled him to start kissing women.

To be fair, O’Reilly’s settlements with the women, along with what Fox News has shelled out, does suggest there’s fire under all this smoke.

The president of the United States, though, has a lot more important matters to ponder than whether his buddy O’Reilly is guilty of doing things to which Donald Trump has already admitted doing himself.

Stick to matters of state, Mr. Sexual Assailant in Chief.