Fox News said goodbye to the face of its franchise this week Bill “Papa Bear” O’Reilly following immense backlash resulting from a slew of sexual harassment allegations that ultimately proved to be too much for the cable news host to overcome.
“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.
The allegations of sexual harassment against O’Reilly were not new. Over the years, Fox had paid out $13 million to five different women to settle sexual harassment lawsuits against the 67-year-old.
What ultimately did O’Reilly in was money. No, not the $13 million Fox spent to pay off his accusers nor his crazy $18 million yearly salary, but the ad dollars. After a recent New York Times investigation put a spotlight on those settlements as well as new accusations from more women, sponsors started dropping him like a bad habit.
It had to be tough for Fox News because “The O’Reilly Factor” was the most-watched and top-rated program on cable news for almost two decades. It was a major cash cow. But when 50 sponsors suddenly pull ads from the show, it doesn’t really matter how many people tune in.
As someone once told me, “Success in media isn’t about the number of eyeballs, rather it’s how much money you can generate selling against those eyeballs.” Three million viewers, more or less the size of his audience, is irrelevant if you can’t sell ads against those viewers.
Sure, it didn’t help that his old chum former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes was fired last summer for similar improprieties. Following the Ailes’ sexual harassment scandal, the Murdoch family who owns 21st Century Fox had promised to clean up the culture of Fox News and restore “trust and respect.” That’s sorta hard to do when the centerpiece of your network has a documented history of hitting on the help.
But yeah, the main reason he got axed was money. Ad dollars — not because the Murdochs wanted to shut down the Boy’s club atmosphere at Fox News.
Shortly after the announcement of his departure, O’Reilly said in a statement on his website, “Over the past 20 years at Fox News, I have been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history, which has consistently informed and entertained millions of Americans and significantly contributed to building Fox into the dominant news network in television.”
“It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims,” he continued. “But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today. I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.”
From the gun community’s perspective, the loss of O’Reilly on cable news is no big deal. When it came to the 2A he proved himself time and time again to be an ignoramus. Consider this 2012 video from one of his famous “Talking Points” segments:
To sum up the video O’Reilly says: We should be compelled to report the sale of a “heavy weapon or ammo” to the FBI. Nobody “reports the sale of heavy weapons, like AK-47,” to the Federal government. “Terrorists can just move in here and buy bazookas.” You can “buy a machine gun” and the feds don’t know.
Geez. See, what I mean? He really never had a clue.
In another “Talking Points” segment in 2016, O’Reilly called for “reasonable gun registration laws” as well as universal background checks.
“On the other side, the NRA and the gun owners should be reasonable,” said O’Reilly. “The FBI should background check anyone buying a firearm in America. That just makes sense. If you are paranoid and believe the government is stockpiling information so they can come to your house and take your guns — that’s your problem, your problem.”
What O’Reilly doesn’t understand is that the 2A is really about the powerless. It’s the one safeguard the little guy has to use to keep a spree killer from murdering his family or a tyrannical government from taking away his freedom. O’Reilly doesn’t understand this because he hasn’t been the little guy in decades. He’s become a major player in a powerful, self-congratulating media elite.
That’s why I’m not too surprised that the guy who backs the government over the people in the fight for 2A rights is the same guy who, allegedly, calls an African-American clerical worker “hot chocolate” and “grunts at her like a wild boar.” O’Reilly has shown that he doesn’t respect the rights of the little guy or gal in the face of the establishment. That’s because for far too long he’s been the establishment.