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Friday, April 21, 2017

Bill O'Reilly

The media news this week has been all about Bill O'Reilly losing his gig at Fox News, which he's had for over twenty years. It seems that Bill has some antediluvian ideas about treating women in the workplace, which cost the network millions of dollars in settlements with women suing for sexual harassment. O'Reilly claims they have no merit, but settled anyway. Advertisers left in droves, and women picketed the offices. His only supporter seemed to be Donald Trump, who thinks he's a swell guy.

We shouldn't weep for Bill O'Reilly. He somehow gets 25 million in severance, and he will probably continue to make millions from those books ghost written for him And some other conservative niche place, like InfoWars or The Blaze, will hire him. He won't go away completely. But at least he's been shamed.

Of course I don't watch Bill O'Reilly. I'm aware of him, like one is aware of flesh-eating virus, without actually experiencing it. Most of what I've seen was on the old MSNBC Keith Olbermann show, when he was regularly one of Keith's "Worst Persons in the World," and clips on The Daily Show, used for comic effect. The most lasting image I have of him, other than his temper tantrum when he was a news reader, is featured on the film Outfoxed, when he has the son of a 9/11 victim on his show and tells him to shut up.

O'Reilly is perhaps the person most responsible for the current discourse on "news" channels. He bullies his guests, ignores facts, and his opinions are formed by the viewers of his show. Once I read a question posed by someone who asked, if they were offered twice the money, would they go 180 degrees from their current position. Limbaugh probably wouldn't, Glenn Beck would do it in a heartbeat, and Sean Hannity wouldn't understand the proposition. O'Reilly would also spin in a minute. Maybe MSNBC will hire him to follow Rachel Maddow.

It's both easy and hard to understand O'Reilly's success. Easy, because he speaks to white Americans who feel disenfranchised by minorities and poor people who are supposedly getting something for nothing. That was his stance when Obama won his second term--people want things for free. It's difficult to understand how such a repugnant man could be so popular--clearly he's the kind of guy no one would want to be friends with, but conservatives are full of people like that, such as Ann Coulter and Alex Jones (who has now revealed it's all an act). Conservatives just seem to like nasty, ill-informed people.

So, Bill O'Reilly, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. May more women come against you, so you can settle more lawsuits that don't have merit. Maybe Donald Trump will make you ambassador to Ireland. Just please go.

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