Bill O’Reilly is out! How about that?
What a tragedy. I use “tragedy” in the classic sense, sort of, meaning a story of a person’s self-inflicted, predictable downfall. O’Reilly is the author of his own mess.
O’Reilly has been hit with numerous harassment complaints over the years, and he and/or Fox shelled out millions to shut them down. He admits no wrongdoing and claims the payoffs were motivated by a desire to protect his kids from scandal. There are two problems with that claim. First, as Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton demonstrate, a large number of accusations of bad behavior toward women, from credible accusers, is, in and of itself, strong evidence of guilt. Second, one plaintiff included transcriptions of recordings of his obscene phone calls in her complaint. Unless she and her lawyer were eager to face perjury charges, sanctions, bills from O’Reilly’s lawyers, and disbarment, those recordings exist, proving his guilt.
If O’Reilly isn’t guilty, it’s the best frame job in the history of frames. The logical conclusion is that he is an unrepentant serial abuser, upon whom punishment and disgrace make no impression at all.
What a victory for feminists, right? Wrong, of course. Feminism had nothing to do with this. If mistreatment of women in the workplace meant anything to feminists, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George Stephanopoulos, Dick Morris, and a whole lot of other Democrats and Democrat employees would have been taken down years ago. This crusade wasn’t about feminism. It was about silencing a conservative. It was 100% hypocritical.
Is it sad that the crusade worked? It’s sad that anyone would work so hard to prevent another person from exercising his right to free speech, but it’s not sad that O’Reilly got the boot. It’s not right to subject someone to constant verbal violation on the job. Harassment is bullying. It’s a big deal. No one in his right mind would want his sister or daughter to work with a powerful man who called her on the phone and told her about things he wanted to do to her in the shower, as O’Reilly apparently did. No one would want his sister or daughter to think her livelihood depended on sucking up and taking it.
I know, without checking, that many conservatives are up in arms today about this giant loss. I disagree. Conservatism doesn’t depend on one man’s television show, and a conservative who makes a mockery of Christian beliefs while carrying the standard of old-fashioned morality makes liars out of us.
For a long time, I’ve written about the conservative media zero-sum mentality. A few people have made it as conservative pundits and writers. Instead of bringing up new talent (apart from blacks, gays, and pretty girls who make us look inclusive), we protect the queen bees at the top and keep new talent down. The kingmakers who work behind the scenes aren’t interested in princes; they behead them in private. They direct too much of their energy to propping up relics who totter and wheeze on their thrones. It’s not about the cause; it’s about greedily hanging onto little bits of turf. Conservatives think there can only be so many right-wing successes, so they shoot down newcomers.
The O’Reilly mess is a great example of the zero-sum mindset in action. Many, many people can do what O’Reilly does, as well or better. He didn’t make the time spot. The time spot made him. Look at Tucker Carlson. For all his mediocrity, he is ruling in Megyn Kelly’s old spot. I thought he would flounder, but conservative viewers have nowhere else to go at 9 p.m. Put a reasonably competent conservative on at 8, and butts will still fill seats.
O’Reilly is a very good entertainer, but anyone who knows what Youtube is can turn on a PC and find ten individuals, working out of basements, who could do his job just fine. He’s not a great thinker. He’s not a great debater. He’s just a guy with a B+ wit and a talent for pleasing a crowd.
They say Eric Bolling might get Bill’s job. That will work fine. Gutfeld is smarter and funnier, but he’s annoying and immature, so I don’t see it happening. He would probably be a smash hit, though, because he’s a better troll than O’Reilly, and the 8 p.m. slot has been a troll slot for 21 years. Give him a sharp producer and a few strong lectures about manhood and gravitas, and he could be transformed into a prime time powerhouse.
I strongly suspect O’Reilly’s production team deserves more credit than he does. If that’s true, they can put just about anyone in that chair and make it work.
I wonder what happened to Andy Levy. He could do it. He would certainly get more respect than Gutfeld. Jon Scott could replace O’Reilly. Laura Ingraham wouldn’t be too bad, but she can be annoying.
How about Jeanine Pirro? Sometimes she seems a little off the wall, but then so does Bill. She’s confrontational without being off-putting. She’s smart, by journalist standards; she was a federal judge. She would be harder for liberals to pick on, because she’s a woman. Maybe she’s the best choice. I can really see that working.
Losing Bill O’Reilly is a positive. The only way this can hurt Fox is if they turn left. They should not put Shepard Smith in there. They should not kiss up to the left with a hire that will make conservatives retch.
I used to be a big O’Reilly fan, but some people do not grow on you. I don’t know if he got worse with age or if I just became more sensitive to his faults. He talked over people. He was a blowhard. He got way too emotional. He could not admit error. I think I stopped watching him regularly in around 2000. Watching him was a little like riding a motorcycle into a hailstorm without a helmet.
There is a religious angle to all of this. I used to wonder what Jesus meant when he said, “Agree with your enemy quickly, when he is in the way with you, or he may hand you over to the judge.” A preacher named Andrew Wommack gave me a good answer. He said it meant to admit fault when accused, instead of letting the matter fester until it comes up before God. We know the enemy can approach the throne with our sins and ask for the right to harm us. If we repent, we can avoid that. It certainly looks like O’Reilly handed himself over to his enemies by falsely maintaining his innocence. You don’t have to make gross remarks to your coworkers, and you definitely don’t have to continue doing it after being caught and sued numerous times.
Here is what Psalm 32 says:
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away
because of my groaning all day long;
day and night your hand was heavy on me;
the sap in me dried up as in a summer drought. (Selah)
When I acknowledged my sin to you,
when I stopped concealing my guilt,
and said, “I will confess my offenses to Adonai”;
then you, you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Selah)
This is what everyone faithful should pray
at a time when you can be found.
Then, when the floodwaters are raging,
they will not reach to him.
Waters are voices that rise against you. If you are honest with God, he will rebuke them and keep you safe. If not, sooner or later, you will start to sink.
This idea is on my mind all the time. God keeps showing me my disgusting problems. I work to confess them to him, and I ask him for his help with that. I used to think I was a pretty good guy, but I was deluded. I am not good at all. I am lucky so many things have been kept out of the light. I keep asking for patience and correction.
It’s like God gave me a relativey clean barn when I was born, and I spend decades shoveling manure into it. Now there’s a whole lot of hardened manure, and I can’t move it out without help.
I hope Fox makes a good choice, but I’m not going to get agitated, because the welfare of this country depends on our relationship with God, not the secular blather of TV commentators.
Once again, I’m glad I’m out of the conservative blogging mosh pit. If I were still getting 3000 visits per day, I would be buried in critical comments today. I don’t miss that nonsense at all.Stumble it! Save This Page