Wednesday, April 19, 2017

N.Y. Times: Bill O’Reilly Is Forced Out at Fox News; commentary by Robert Reich

The news media’s abuzz over the probable firing of Bill O’Reilly has ended. Bill O’Reilly will not return to Fox News.

Today, 21st Century Fox issued the following statement: “After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

O’Reilly’s departure, apparently, is ending before he returns from an Italian vacation on April 24, and it is assumed he will not be allowed to say goodbye to his audience.

But the big question is who will replace him.

Rupert Murdoch, Chairman of Fox News Channel, built his media empire without paying much attention to corporate norms and rules, but his sons showed with the ouster of Ailes that they wanted to run a different kind of company. Apparently, Murdoch’s sons won “the intergenerational battle over 21st Century Fox.”

“Bill O'Reilly is being canned from Fox News. Why?” asks Robert Reich.

“Not because Rupert Murdoch (who owns Fox) is morally offended that O'Reilly and Fox paid $13 million to five women over the years to settle claims of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct.

‘Not because O’Reilly’s ratings have fallen as a result of the revelation (if anything, they’ve risen).

“O’Reilly is being fired because advertisers have deserted him. They don’t want to be associated with a sexual predator. It doesn't matter how many people tune in if companies refuse to book commercials.

“Never underestimate the power of enraged consumers.

“Fox News has had problems because of the predatory inclinations of several men on its payrolls. When the Republican Party convened in Cleveland in July to nominate Trump for president, Fox News was led by Roger Ailes, and its prime-time lineup was Greta Van Susteren, Bill O'Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity. Nine months later, only Hannity remains.

“I can’t say I’m upset by any of this. Fox News was almost singularly responsible for the election of Donald Trump, another sexual predator. Too bad advertisers can’t pull ads for Trump and get him fired, too.”

Bill O’Reilly Is Forced Out at Fox News

By Emily Steel And Michael S. Schmidt