During his appearance on CBS This Morning yesterday, Bill O’Reilly was asked about Megyn Kelly’s new book and the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News. O’Reilly, who claims to be “looking out for you,” said, “It doesn't pertain to my life ... I’m not interested in making my network look bad."
At about 4:40 in the video below, O’Reilly was asked about Megyn Kelly’s new book in which she talks about being harassed by Donald Trump (who happens to be O'Reilly's pal) and being harassed at Fox by Roger Ailes.
O’Reilly replied, “I’m trying to stay out of any of that kind of stuff. It doesn’t pertain to my life.” Later, he complained about it being “open season” on Fox. “’Let’s whack the Fox News Channel.’ I’ve had enough of it!" O'Reilly said. "It’s a good place to work, alright? We do good work. We do honest work there. So I’m not gonna buy into 'Let’s use the Fox News Channel as a piñata.' I don’t think it’s right.”
Putting aside what kind of work Fox does, O’Reilly’s boorishness is stunning. Even to someone well acquainted with his behavior toward women. If he wanted to be loyal to his employer, he could have simply said, “I don’t want to air our dirty laundry in public. It was a painful chapter in our history, I’m sorry for the people who were mistreated, I’m ready to move forward and continue with all the things we’ve done right.”
But no, he all but suggested that the women who have come forward since Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit (and there have been many), should have just shut up. As the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple noted, this is exactly the mindset that allowed harassing behavior to fester in the first place.
This very mentality enabled Ailes for decades. The message from O’Reilly here is this: Shut the heck up, colleagues. Don’t discuss in public unsavory matters that could lead to internal reform. Suppress dissent. Over his two decades atop Fox News, Ailes enforced just those rules, keeping allegedly harassed women and their colleagues from going public. Though Ailes is gone from Fox News, O’Reilly is working as his party apparatchik. A loyal soldier to the end.
It's as though O’Reilly would be happier going back to the bad old days because they were better for him and the heck with the women who got harassed. And maybe those days were better for O'Reilly than we know. Although nobody on CBS mentioned it, O’Reilly has been accused of harassment (though not named as a defendant) in Andrea Tantaros’ current lawsuit against Fox. In 2004, O'Reilly was also accused of sexual harassment, this time as a defendant in a suit he quickly settled.
I hate to say this, Bill, but your swipes at Megyn Kelly’s book did nothing to make you more sympathetic.
O’REILLY: I wish her well, she’s a very smart woman. It’s a very tough book environment. We’ll see if people respond to it. It’s not a dis. It just came out. So I don’t know. I’ll look at it.
…I want to be very candid here. I’m not that interested in this. No, I mean, it’s over. … I’m not interested in basically litigating something that is finished that makes my network look bad, OK? I’m not interested in making my network look bad at all. That doesn’t interest me one bit.
As Wemple also pointed out, Fox already looks bad. Swiping at Kelly for talking about it only makes Fox look worse, not better.
Watch the discussion below, from the November 15, 2016 CBS This Morning.
“How long has it been since O’Reilly settled with Andrea? I think maybe Ms. Mackris might consider talking about the terms of the settlement………”
Dear Joseph: As much as I’d love to agree with your sentiments, I honestly think you’d better face this fact:
THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!
For starters, I’ve heard wild rumors on the Internet that Andrea Mackris used some of her settlement $ to buy a VERY POSH PAD on Central Park West in New York City. She knows damn well that the instant she opens her mouth about the terms of the settlement, SHE WILL LOSE THAT $$$$ (and probably her VERY posh home) INSTANTLY!
1857, Atlanta, Georgia ought to just about do it. BOR would look good in one of those tall hats carrying a riding whip.
It’s quite strange to see him acting morally affronted when being asked simple questions about how he stood by when he has known for years that people were being harassed by his boss, and when he actually participated in the harassment. He does not get to hide behind a children’s book when the reality comes out.
His issues with Kelly at this point have nothing to do with morality. Those issues have to do with him feeling that she’s overstepping “her place” at Fox News by starting to openly challenge him there. But we should keep in mind that Kelly’s eventual victory there is not a win for anyone but her – she will prevail within another year, and O’Reilly will retreat, but I don’t know that this will signify any real change at the network, given what we’ve seen on the air. In the backstage areas, it will mean that we won’t likely see someone getting away with the piggish behavior that was indulged by both Ailes and O’Reilly. But on the air, the same vicious rhetoric will continue – as we have repeatedly noted from Kelly.
If Bill’s head should happen to explode as a result, well. not a big loss.
This old, frustrated coot really believes Mad Men was a documentary.