Fox News announced on yesterday’s Special Report that Bill O’Reilly had left the network due to what Howard Kurtz called “mounting allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct.” But on the newly-renamed “The Factor” show that was formerly “The O’Reilly Factor,” the news about the host’s departure sounded more like a eulogy than any stock taking.
The announcement on Special Report was fair enough. First, anchor Bret Baier reported that O’Reilly was leaving after what Fox’s parent company called “’an extensive review of sexual harassment allegations against him,’ allegations that O’Reilly again today called ‘completely unfounded.’”
Fox’s Howard Kurtz provided some more facts. He noted the “mounting allegations” and that “more than 50 companies” had pulled their advertising from O’Reilly’s show. Kurtz also noted that O’Reilly’s ouster came nine months after Fox chairman Roger Ailes’ forced resignation, after he had been accused of sexual harassment multiple times.
But there was no indication of a network taking stock of why and how such a climate came about and was tolerated for so long.
But that was an encyclopedia on the subject compared to what Dana Perino read from her scripted announcements on what had been “The O’Reilly Factor.”
At the beginning of the show, after we saw that the title graphic had been changed to “The Factor,” Perino made a brief statement.
PERINO: Before we get to the other big stories of the day, we want to address the situation many of you may already be aware of. Bill O’Reilly, who hosted this program for 20 years, is leaving the Fox News Channel. We know that you, his very loyal viewers, will have a lot of feelings about this and we will talk more about it later on in the program.
At the end of her show, Perino returned to the subject of O’Reilly’s departure.
PERINO: It is the end of an era here at the Fox News Channel. As we mentioned earlier, Bill O’Reilly is leaving this chair and this network after more than 20 years. Bill has been the undisputed king of cable news and for good reason. He is an incredibly talented broadcaster who raised the bar for interviewers everywhere.
Really? I'll bet Jeremy Glick would disagree.
PERINO: He has also held his staff to exacting standards in his quest to put the best possible program on the air and they are great. And you, his audience, responded in record numbers, making The Factor the number one cable news show for more than 16 years. You have also been loyal and we can’t tell you how much that means to everyone on The Factor.
In a memo to the staff today, Rupert, James and Lachlan Murdoch, who run Fox News, described Bill this way: “By ratings standards, Bill O’Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. In fact, his success, by any measure, is indisputable. We wish him the very best.
Given O’Reilly’s huge fan base, I suppose it’s appropriate to salute him in some way. But Factor viewers deserve to know why the guy is gone and from just watching this show, they’d have no idea.
The New York Times report that precipitated O’Reilly’s downfall found that two of the five settlements paid by O’Reilly or Fox News to his accusers came after Ailes’ departure “when the company said it did not tolerate behavior that ‘disrespects women or contributes to an uncomfortable work environment.’” Yet, his contract had recently been renewed.
Let’s not forget O’Reilly and Ailes are not the only abusers. Tamara Holder reportedly settled a $2.5 million harassment suit against another Fox executive and there is currently a racial discrimination suit pending over behavior from a comptroller who was at Fox for 19 years. Furthermore, there are questions as to whether Fox hid settlement payments from its shareholders.
The fact is Fox has some serious ‘splaining to do: to its viewers, its staff, its shareholders and everyone else. We should not allow the company to pretend that firing O’Reilly is the only answer we need.
Word of the day? Accountability.
Watch Baier, Kurtz and Perino below, from the April 19, 2017 Special Report And The Factor, respectively.
What is the tune- up for raw naked lies out of Faux?? There is none.
I’m sure there’s going to be a small percentage of Bill’s fans who won’t watch in protest.
NBC felt the reason why The Today Show beat the morning news shows on CBS and ABC for so many years during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s was because of the popularity of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The belief was that after turning off their sets at night on NBC, they then turn on in the morning to the station they turned off last. We’ll see if that theory holds up today.
No male employee either. Although I would like to hear from the Faux employee who let Bill O’Reilly read that one letter from the viewers. The one from Jack Mehoff. Keith Olberman still laughs at that one. He’s sooo Bart Simpson.
See? No anecdotal stories about Bill. No" Remember that time in the hallway when Bill said,… ".
Bill, for all the money making for Faux, comes to naught.
All the time logged in spewing hate is not worth one remember when, Ha Ha!!
The statement scripted for Perino sounded very much like it was aimed at viewers who probably don’t turn on the TV until O’Reilly time, and didn’t know that he’d been fired. Given that O’Reilly himself refused to discuss the matter, this group of viewers were left wondering what the heck happened to the usual hijinks they were expecting to return next week – what with the opening smug monologue, the cozy chats with Lou Dobbs and Dennis Miller, the back and forth with Charles Krauthammer, and the usual scoldings O’Reilly would inflict on lesser lights on his show like Juan Williams and now-deceased Alan Colmes.
Instead, they’ll be looking at a prime-time lineup of Martha MacCallum continuing her cheerleading section, and then they’ll get Tucker Carlson’s snide meanness in O’Reilly’s slot, followed by The Five and finally the usual viciousness from Hannity. I have a feeling that the ratings won’t quite be the same for Carlson as they were for O’Reilly.
Bill O’Reilly will be paid $25 million in an exit deal with Fox News, sources confirm to The Hollywood Reporter.
That is equivalent to one year of a rich new four-year deal that O’Reilly finalized earlier this year. The network and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, completed the deal with knowledge that a New York Times story would reveal settlements with women who accused The O’Reilly Factor star of harassment after the ouster last summer of founding CEO Roger Ailes amid his own sexual harassment scandal.
Ailes left last July with a $40 million payout, the remainder owed on his contract.