Bill O’Reilly was never particularly liked here, nor was he disliked. While we disagreed with many of his positions he was viewed as being more reasonable and having more substance than say, Sean Hannity or Judge Judy. At least we could tolerate listening to him for longer than two minutes.
O’Reilly, given his millions of faithful viewers, was obviously a voice worth listening to. There is a reason he was so popular and respected for 21 years. Perhaps if the democratic party understood why he appealed to so many, and tapped into the feeling and fears of O’Reilly’s viewership, they might have been able to win the 2016 presidential election. But that is water under the dam, and, I digress.
Whatever respect folks like me had for Bill O’Reilly started to evaporated as allegations of sexual harassment became public. Where there is smoke there is usually fire. Given the number of allegations, six, and the subsequent 13 million dollar settlement, it is more likely than not the allegations are true. Apparently that is the same conclusions the Murdochs came to.
From New York…
The Murdochs have decided Bill O’Reilly’s 21-year run at Fox News will come to an end. According to sources briefed on the discussions, network executives are preparing to announce O’Reilly’s departure before he returns from an Italian vacation on April 24. Now the big questions are how the exit will look and who will replace him.
Wednesday morning, according to sources, executives are holding emergency meetings to discuss how they can sever the relationship with the country’s highest-rated cable-news host without causing collateral damage to the network. The board of Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, is scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss the matter.
Sources briefed on the discussions say O’Reilly’s exit negotiations are moving quickly. Right now, a key issue on the table is whether he would be allowed to say good-bye to his audience, perhaps the most loyal in all of cable (O’Reilly’s ratings have ticked up during the sexual-harassment allegations). Fox executives are leaning against allowing him to have a sign-off, sources say. The other main issue on the table is money. O’Reilly recently signed a new multiyear contract worth more than $20 million per year. When Roger Ailes left Fox News last summer, the Murdochs paid out $40 million, the remainder of his contract.
The Murdochs’ decision to dump O’Reilly shocked many Fox News staffers I’ve spoken to in recent days. Late last week, the feeling inside the company was that Rupert Murdoch would prevail over his son James, who lobbied to jettison the embattled host.
Spokespersons for 21st Century Fox and Fox News did not respond to requests for comment, nor did O’Reilly’s agent, Carole Cooper.
Given the experience FOX has had first with Ailes and now O’Reilly, the Murdoch organization would be very wise to analyze the corporate culture that allowed these two individuals to feel safe acting as they apparently did.
Full story BENEATH THE FOLD.
From MEDIA MATTERS