Is Bill O’Reilly a victim of political correctness?
At this writing, the proverbial axe is falling on Bill O’Reilly at Fox News Channel — and many of his fans are blaming political correctness.
I beg to differ on that latter point.
The PC police have been howling about O’Reilly’s right-wing rants all through his 21-year career at FNC, always to no avail. But the fates began to turn against Bill-O when The New York Times recently ran a feature piece itemizing the lawsuits filed against him by women alleging sexual harassment. The paper said O’Reilly has paid millions of dollars to settle five such suits.
Then came the backlash from sponsors of O’Reilly’s nightly program. At first, only a few major corporations said they would no longer run commercials on the show. Then a few more followed suit, and soon it was a stampede. Network poobahs watched in horror as the cash cow grew thinner and thinner.
Finally, the network gave Bill-O the gate this afternoon.
Previous complaints about O’Reilly from the forces of political correctness had not alarmed the corporate folks at FNC in the least. Indeed, the whining among liberals seems only to have strengthened the man’s hand. Just recently, he signed a new contract guaranteeing him an even larger fortune for his labors.
But, of course, an indirect form of PC might be said to have done him in. When a few prominent sponsors pulled the plug, perhaps others suddenly feared that a negative light might soon shine on them. Let’s call their concerns Financial Correctness.
And, as I see it, there’s another factor that might merit consideration in this matter: Perhaps O’Reilly was a victim of the growing public disdain for Donald Trump. Think about it. The two are good friends and peddlers of outrageous political nonsense. And both have long had reputations as notorious womanizers. Millions of Americans have had their fill of The Donald — and perhaps Bill-O, too.
If FNC had stuck with O’Reilly, he likely could have maintained his big ratings, no matter the sex scandal. But the nervousness among prominent advertisers was more than the network could tolerate.