On Thursday night, Shepard Smith broke into The O’Reilly Factor with “Breaking News.” But there was no breaking news. So was this the result of a new spate of advertisers suddenly fleeing the scandal-ridden Factor? Or something else?
Here’s what was on the air: O’Reilly teased a segment about spring break in Texas as if going to a break. But instead of advertisements, Shepard Smith Reporting came on with “breaking news.”
SMITH: Interesting developments today in foreign policy. This afternoon, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced from South Florida that the president of the United States had been deeply impacted by the Syrian strikes – uh, Syrian missile strikes, I should say “chemical strikes” that killed some 80 people in an attack there. The Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launching that attack on his own people, leaving more than a hundred people wounded. The president had previously said that the Syrian people should decide the fate of Bashar al-Assad. The secretary of state today suggested the United States might now be leaning in another direction. Here’s what he said about the chemical attack by the Syrian regime.
Smith then played a clip of Trump, not Tillerson.
All this happened as advertisers have fled The O’Reilly Factor in the wake of a New York Times bombshell about multiple allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against O’Reilly. Think Progress reported that "virtually all national advertisers abandoned" The Factor Thursday night, and that only seven advertisements aired on the nation's top-rated, but truncated, cable news show that night.
So what happened? Did a bunch of advertisers suddenly balk, leaving Fox with 15 minutes of unsold time?
Here’s my best guess, for what it’s worth:
Clearly, Fox knew that airstrikes against Syria were in the offing. Smith was in his studio ready for breaking news. He even said “Syrian missile strikes” when he meant Syria’s chemical attacks.
Smith also seemed a bit flustered. He referenced Tillerson’s remarks, then played Trump’s. In other words, Smith did not look ready for prime time.
It’s possible that some advertisers had pulled their ads at the last minute and given that O’Reilly’s show had been pre-recorded, Fox would have been left with some empty air time. So they put on Smith, ready or not, live for an uninterrupted 15 minutes.
Or Fox decided at the last minute that the spring break segment, sure to feature scantily-clad young women was inappropriate. So they put on Smith ready or not, live for an uninterrupted 15 minutes.
The other possibility (which does not preclude my first two guesses) is that Fox had received erroneous information from their BFFs in the Trump administration that the airstrikes would begin during The O’Reilly Factor time slot and that everything was set for breaking news coverage 45 minutes into the hour, only to find out very suddenly that the strikes either hadn’t happened or that the news was embargoed at the last minute.
At the top of the hour, the Tucker Carlson Tonight show began as usual but was later interrupted by the real breaking news of the missile strikes.
So that’s my theory: there was a sudden need to fill time during The O’Reilly Factor hour and/or Fox had reason to believe the missile strikes on Syria would have begun and discovered too late that they hadn’t.
What do you think?
Watch the bizarre happenings below, from the April 6, 2017 The O’Reilly Factor and Shepard Smith Reporting. Then share your thoughts.
(H/T NewsHound Brian)
Either the info wasn’t totally accurate, or Fox bobbled it and put Shep on right away.
It’s entirely possible this admin only notified Fox, but I wasn’t watching other channels so didn’t have a chance to spot signs of it.
Perhaps one of you can help me here. When it comes to boycotting sponsors I remember about 10 to 15 years ago Bill organized a boycott against Pepsi for using some rapper in ads. The reason? I hope you’re sitting down…Bill said the rapper’s lyrics were offensive to women.
The boycott worked and Pepsi pulled the ads. All I can remember is that the rapper’s name started with an L. Do any of you remember his name?
You’ll have to forgive me. My memory is fading. I’m old, I’m tired and I have to pee a lot.
It doesn’t give a reason for the weird cutoff, but says Oreilly had very few advertisers on Thursday before the show abruptly ended 15 minutes early. That’s my favorite part- I am hoping he’s going down.
Can you believe after his week, that O’Loofah was seriously going to put on a spring break segment to thrill his aged, white male audience with lots of bikinis, drinking, bikinis, twerking, bikinis, bikinis………Thanks for the info, Ellen. The man can’t even spell shame.