Sean Hannity Freaks Out About ‘The Total End of the Fox News Channel as We Know It’

The past few weeks have been about as catastrophic for Fox News as they have been for Donald Trump. Both have been suffering devastating setbacks internally with key people leaving under clouds of scandal. And both have lost significant support among the public. With MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow overtaking Fox News in critical ratings demos, and Trump remaining the least popular first-quarter president ever, it seems their dire fates are intertwined.

Sean Hannity Dumbass

What’s more, both Trump and Fox News still have storm clouds on their respective horizons. For Trump it’s the unfolding revelations about alleged collusion with Russian agents interfering in the presidential election. For Fox News it’s the continuing fallout from their corporate culture of misogyny and racism.

With each passing day a new allegation is made against Fox. Many insiders are unsatisfied with the expulsions of CEO Roger Ailes and blowhard Bill O’Reilly, They believe the problems will persist until there is a thorough housecleaning. Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine has been breaking many of the stories about Fox’s troubles. He’s the author of the definitive biography of Ailes, The Loudest Voice in the Room. Yesterday he tweeted about a rumored management shakeup at the network:

Bill Shine is currently the co-president of Fox News. He was promoted shortly after the departure of Ailes. However, many people inside and outside of Fox regard him as not just an Ailes crony, but someone who actively covered up the vile behaviors of Ailes and O’Reilly. When talk of housecleaning is heard, it is generally Shine who is the prime subject.

Enter Sean Hannity. The last remaining prime time Fox Musketeer is profoundly disturbed. Before being elevated to network management, Shine was the producer of Hannity’s program. Consequently, there is an abundance of loyalty that reaches beyond just the network’s standard cult status. Hannity replied to Sherman’s tweet saying:

Of course for many Americans concerned about the media, the end of Fox News would be a welcome event. But that’s obviously not the way Hannity sees it. Fox News has spent twenty years degrading journalism with blatantly biased right-wing propaganda. Simultaneously, they trivialized reporting as nothing more than entertainment with eye-popping graphics and presenters in short skirts. Hannity himself has done annual week-long specials on the evils of Spring Break. But they were just a convenient excuse to show videos of drunken teenagers in bikinis. Now Hannity’s last protector in the management ranks is dangling by thread. According to the Hollywood Reporter’s sources:

“Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan, CEO and co-chairman of Fox News parent 21st Century Fox, have quietly put out feelers for a new head of Fox News. And the preference, according to two sources familiar with the Murdochs’ thinking, is that the new leader be female.”

OMG! That would be a fate worse than waterboarding to someone like Sean Hannity. Not only would he be losing a trusted superior, he would have to report to a lady boss. There aren’t very many female executives in the media business, but there are more than zero. And one obvious name would be Elisabeth Murdoch. Rupert’s daughter has already run a media company which she sold to 21st Century Fox (imagine that). But she may be a long shot to head Fox because she may have committed the ultimate sin: She was a Hillary Clinton supporter. If the Murdoch boys manage to hire a credible Female executive, the War on Women at Fox News could take a turn toward fairness and/or balance. That might apply to both the internal personnel situation, as well as the tone of their reporting.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

So there remains the question of whether Sean Hannity would stay on at Fox News under those circumstances. He can’t be happy about Tucker Carlson moving into O’Reilly’s time period, or The Five taking the prime time spot before his. He obviously would have preferred to move to one of those spots himself. He must be thinking that his star may be fading at Fox. The younger Murdochs are reportedly not fans. Only time will tell how all of this settles out. And there may be more scandalous shoes to drop. Which begs the question: How many damn shoes do they have?

Business as Usual: Fox News Fired Bill O’Reilly for Gross Misogyny, Then Promoted Four Misogynists

It’s been about a week since Fox News sent Bill O’Reilly packing over allegations of sexual harassment. But in the aftermath of the scandal, Fox News is demonstrating that they’ve learned absolutely nothing. The schedule changes they made to fill the gap left by Bill O’Reilly’s departure perpetuate what was worst about their fallen star. Let’s take a look at the characters Fox chose to remedy their O’Reilly problem:

Fox News/Playboy

Tucker Carlson

With his relentlessly confrontational blathering, Tucker Carlson has managed to rise up the Fox News food chain. Now he has taken over the time slot that Bill O’Reilly held for two decades. But Carlson is no improvement on O’Reilly when it comes to respect for women. He recently interviewed Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca. The discussion covered issues like Ivanka Trump’s role in the White House and Donald Trump’s efforts to “gaslight” America. But when he realized that he couldn’t outsmart her, Carlson resorted to demeaning her. He abruptly ended the interview by saying “You should stick to the thigh-high boots.” That should not be surprising coming from someone who once said that Democrats “made up the concept of sexual harassment.”

Eric Bolling

One of the smarmiest personalities on Fox News, Bolling has a long record of sexist remarks. Now the afternoon show he co-hosts, The Five, is being moved up to prime time. However, he’s staying behind to host his own new show. Bolling once derisively laughed at the notion that “Anything a guy can do, a woman can do better.” On another occasion he complained that a young girl wanting to play football was “the wussification of American men.” But he reached a plateau when reporting a story about a female pilot for the United Arab Emirates who was running bombing raids against ISIS. He denigrated her by “joking” about whether that would be considered “boobs on the ground.”

Greg Gutfeld

Gutfeld is one of the co-hosts of The Five who will stay with the program at its new prime time airing. Along with his colleague Bolling, Gutfeld insulted the UAE pilot with a tired cliche about women drivers. He said that “Problem is, after she bombed it, she couldn’t park it.” More recently, Gutfeld cracked a joke about another colleague, co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle. After she praised her dress designer and suggested he deserved a raise, Gutfeld remarked that Guilfoyle was “giving America a raise.”

Jesse Watters

Apprenticing under Bill O’Reilly for several years, Watters, also has his own weekend show. In addition to that he is taking over Bolling’s spot on The Five. As O’Reilly’s ambush reporter and stooge on the street, Watters delivered frequent segments that were either racist or sexist. He was thrown out of a National Organization for Women conference after mocking the participants. He once stalked a female reporter while she was on vacation. But this week he expanded his sexist routine by commenting on a recent appearance by Ivanka Trump.. Along with a hand gesture that implied oral sex, he said that he “really liked how she was speaking into the microphone.” Now Watters is on an unscheduled “vacation” himself, during the week that he premieres in prime time.

These are the people who Fox News selected to represent the network following the departure of Bill O’Reilly. Apparently Fox has learned nothing about why viewers and advertisers objected to O’Reilly. They appear to be committed to a corporate culture of contempt for women that has been in place for years. Carlos Maza of Vox perfectly captured this culture with a montage of Fox’s misogyny:

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

LMFAO: A New Fox News Promo for Tucker Carlson Portrays Him as a Major D*ck

Now that Bill O’Reilly has been exiled to sexual harasser’s purgatory, Fox News is pouring on the coals to heat up his replacement, Tucker Carlson. The story of Carlson’s career is one of a silver spoon elitist failing upward for years until he found a home at Fox. He has had programs canceled at PBS, CNN, and MSNBC before supplicating himself to his Fox masters.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

Fox News is clearly worried that their new prime time lineup isn’t going to hold up without O’Reilly anchoring the effort. Carlson’s record of failure continued even at Fox where he was losing to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow prior to his move into O’Reilly’s slot. So Fox put their marketing department into action to create a promotional video that they plastered all over Twitter the day after his premiere. Befitting the subject, it’s a festival of fail they call “Eight Reasons to Watch Tucker Carlson” (video below).

The video consists of eight soundbites from Carlson’s program that Fox seems to think will excite viewers into making his show appointment television. In reality, the video showcases what is most obnoxious and repellent about him. It’s a chronicle of what made his programs on other networks so unwatchable. Each clip is just a brief, but abrasive, remark that only succeeds in making Carlson look like a jerk. Let’s break down the eight reasons here:

  1. “You’re just repeating dumb liberal talking points.”
    Carlson spit this out at a Northeastern University student, Elan Axelbank, wearing a “Socialist Students” t-shirt. And the best argument that he could could muster was a vacuous insult that ignored the segment’s topic.
  2. “So much of this you don’t know. You pretend that you know, but you don’t know.”
    Carlson aimed this empty rant at Science Guy Bill Nye, a recognized expert in science and education. Those are two of the many fields about which Carlson is painfully ignorant.
  3. “If you want to make America great again, you’ve gotta make work cool again.”
    This was actually spoken by Carlson’s guest, Mike Rowe, a reality TV host of Dirty Jobs. And it manages to regurgitate Donald Trump’s airhead slogan with a Soviet style platitude intended to keep workers docile and productive.
  4. “You’re incapable of writing a clear sentence…I couldn’t understand any of them.”
    This was Carlson’s response to George Ciccariello-Maher, PhD., a Drexel University Associate Professor in the Department of Politics, Global Studies and Modern Languages. No wonder Carlson couldn’t understand him.
  5. “This is performance art. I’ve never had an interview like this in my life. Nobody’s getting anything out of this.”
    Here we see Carlson bragging that he can’t conduct an interesting interview. I’m sure his puzzled guest, Newsweek author Kurt Eichenwald, felt the same.
  6. “You have no principles…All the things you’ve been saying for the last eleven minutes are totally untrue.”
    Once again Carlson seems proud to have wasted eleven minutes of his viewers’ time. And New York University grad student Kouross Esmaeli must have been wondering what principles Carlson was demonstrating, other than being a dick.
  7. “I want to believe that the U.S. government is not secretly collecting information on me and then use it against me for political ends. That is what they have done. You’re fully aware of that.”
    Actually, Rep. Jim Hines (D-CT), was only aware that Carlson had ventured completely off the subject of Trump’s ludicrous tweet that accused President Obama of wiretapping him. Carlson had entirely ceased to address the subject, or make any sense.
  8. “The idea that people take a crackpot like you who would throw something out there with no evidence is distressing, and shame on the Huffington Post for promoting garbage. The interview is over, Alex. Done!”
    That’s how Carlson abruptly cut off his guest, Alex Mohajer of the Huffington Post, without allowing him to respond. It’s typical of Carlson’s style wherein he insults people, strays from the subject, and then kills any substantive discourse.

That’s what Fox News considers compelling television. It’s the cream of their programming crop. At Fox News mindless conflict and yelling is their idea of journalism. Although in the first promos for Carlson they posted ads on the Fox News website that labeled the show “entertainment,” not journalism. So maybe I’m expecting too much.

You’ll notice that not a single clip in the promo shows Carlson exhibiting any signs of intelligence or integrity. It’s just a montage of a bullheaded, petulant preppy lashing out like a cornered rat. Yet Fox thinks so highly of this sort of bombastic bellowing that they devoted the whole promotional video to it. They think these are affirmative reasons to watch their loathsome successor to O’Reilly. But then, in that context, Carlson seems like a good choice to follow The Factor. He should easily slide right into O’Reilly’s clown shoes.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Bill O’Reilly FIRED By Fox News: But the Lies and Disinformation Will Continue

BREAKING: 21st Century Fox just released a statement on Bill O’Reilly confirming that he will not be returning to the network:

“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.”

After twenty-one years that is the extent of the separation announcement. This breaking news draws to a conclusion a long-running drama at Fox.

Bill O'Reilly Fox News

Three weeks ago, the New York Times published a story that upended Bill O’Reilly’s career. It revealed attempts by the Fox News star and the network to cover up allegations of his sexual misconduct. Several women who had not previously been disclosed were identified as having been paid large settlements for their silence.

Since then The O’Reilly Factor has seen a mass exodus of advertisers. More than eighty have publicly stated that they will not permit their ads to be aired on his program. As a result, the board of directors at Fox News have put an end to the program.

Even before this announcement reports increasingly leaked out that O’Reilly was already doomed. The Wall Street Journal (also part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire) reported that:

“Initially, Fox News and parent company 21st Century Fox stood by their highly-rated host … However, as advertisers fled his show, debate inside company ensued over the pros and cons of keeping Mr. O’Reilly on the air.”

Then Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine weighed in. He has been covering the inside stories on Fox News for several years. He has reliable sources and published the definitive, unauthorized biography of the network’s former CEO Roger Ailes: The Loudest Voice in the Room. His latest article suggested correctly that “Fox News Has Decided Bill O’Reilly Has to Go.”

“The Murdochs have decided Bill O’Reilly’s 21-year run at Fox News will come to an end. According to sources briefed on the discussions, network executives are preparing to announce O’Reilly’s departure before he returns from an Italian vacation on April 24. Now the big questions are how the exit will look and who will replace him.”

Fox News will have to handle O’Reilly’s departure carefully. The network has already lost several high profile figures including disgraced ex-CEO Roger Ailes. On air personalities Megyn Kelly, Greta Van Susteren, and Gretchen Carlson have also departed recently. But O’Reilly is the highest rated host on cable news with a loyal following. Will his fans react to his termination by turning off Fox News? Or will they behave like good cultists and obediently tune in to his replacement?

Speaking of replacements, the names most often mentioned include Eric Bolling, Dana Perino, Jesse Watters, and Martha MacCallum. Tucker Carlson is also in the mix to move his current show into O’Reilly’s time period. None of these prospects have the fame or fan base that O’Reilly has. But the advantage for Fox is that their glassy-eyed viewers are glued to the network and will likely watch whatever comes on.

Fox would be wise to give extra consideration to the women on that list. Given the salacious circumstances that drove out Ailes and (perhaps) O’Reilly, it might serve as a form of redemption. But Fox also doesn’t have any minority hosts in prime time, and never has. However, none of their current staffers (Juan Williams, Harris Faulkner, Geraldo Rivera) appear to be under consideration.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The future for Fox News is not especially bright, but neither is it particularly dark. They have suffered some significant setbacks recently, but have a friend in high places. In that regard, Donald Trump’s support for Bill O’Reilly obviously didn’t have any effect. But when the President of the United States is calling in to Fox and Friends, and advertising the network on his Twitter feed, the news isn’t all bad. Well, except for the actual “news” as it’s practiced by Fox.

Rachel Maddow’s Brilliant Reporting on Trump and Russia Has Upset the Snowflakes at Fox News

For the past several weeks Rachel Maddow has been enjoying record ratings for her MSNBC program. Not only that, in the Key 25-to-54 demographic, Maddow is beating her direct Fox News competition, Tucker Carlson. The surge in viewers can be attributed to the “gift” of endless atrocities and absurdities courtesy of Donald Trump & Company.

Rachel Maddow Donald Trump

As a result of the program’s accelerating success, Fox News is exhibiting signs of anxiety and desperation. This week Fox News lashed out to criticize Maddow by featuring an analysis of her coverage published by The Intercept. Fox’s headline complained “Report Calls Out Just How Much Time MSNBC’s Maddow Spends on Trump & Russia.”

Oh my. We certainly can’t have that. In addition to beating Fox in the ratings she’s bringing attention to the most damaging scandal of the Trump administration. No wonder Fox is worried. It’s bad enough to be losing to a liberal network, but they’re also failing to protect their boss in the White House. A boss who regards the whole Russia thing as fake news.

The criticism that Maddow is spending too much time on Trump and Russia is ironic. It’s exactly that coverage that is propelling her ratings growth. Clearly there is an audience that’s thirsty for the truth on this subject. And Maddow is well aware of that. In a recent interview she told the Hollywood Reporter that:

“We’ve put a lot of effort into the Russia scandal and I don’t regret that, and I intend to be as aggressive as I possibly can on that story because here is a scandal that is of transcendent, historic importance and is existentially about whether or not this presidency should exist or whether it is the product of a crime.”

The article in The Intercept is actually a well researched and written examination of Maddow’s choice of topics. And reasonable readers can agree or disagree with its conclusions. While it does fault her for overdoing the Trump/Russia story, it does so from the perspective that other stories important to progressives were getting short shrift. For example immigration, the Obamacare repeal effort, and Trump’s Muslim ban.

That’s probably not the same position Fox News is coming from. After all, it’s unlikely that Fox wants Maddow to forgo Russia and spend more time on Trump’s other failures. Fox’s only interest is in bashing Maddow and taking back their ratings crown. That may be why Fox left out The Intercept’s acknowledgement that “Maddow’s focus on Russia has helped her ratings, which are at their highest level since 2008.” Or that Maddow is “A supremely gifted journalist who Vanity Fair has dubbed ‘the smartest person on TV.'”

That Fox News would cherry pick bits of this article that they could frame negatively is evidence of their nervousness. They obviously have little to support their position and are stretching for ways to disparage their competition. But linking to an article that’s largely complimentary in order to squeeze out a mild rebuke is a desperation move. Look for more of that going forward as Trump continues to be a fountain of material for Maddow and other liberal journalists. At the same time Fox is having to deal with the fall of serial sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly. The fate of the network’s star attraction is currently hanging by a thread.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Here’s a sample of some of the Trump/Russia coverage that Maddow has been doing so well:

The Fox News ‘Blame Obama’ Fetish Is in Full Effect with Lame Accusations About Syria

The media is once again falling for the meme of the moment on Donald Trump rather than producing thoughtful analysis. Just two months ago they flocked to praise his “presidential” demeanor during a speech before a joint session of Congress. They characterized it as a profound shift in personality. Of course, the next day Trump proved them all wrong as he reverted to his standard childishness and bluster.

Obama Fox News

Now, in the wake of his missile strikes in Syria, much of the media is at it again. They portray this as evidence of Trump’s evolution into the job of president. But it’s just another knee-jerk reaction that ignores both facts and history. Donald Trump can surely be depended on to act brashly and without consideration tomorrow or the next day. and the worst offender, as usual, is Fox News.

The network that serves as Trump’s PR division has gone out of its way to blame President Obama for the problems in Syria. Rather than assigning blame to Bashir al-Assad, the brutal dictator who gasses his own people, Fox News points their bony fingers at Obama. Here are some examples of the well coordinated assault on our former president:

Bill O’Reilly: President Trump is going to have much different foreign policy than President Obama’s “strategy of retreat.”

Sean Hannity: “Instead of weakness, we now have strength. […] Timidity has been replaced by bold action.”

Charles Krauthammer: “There is a new sheriff in town. There was an absence for eight years. America is back.”

Ted Cruz: “The honest answer is there’s no good answer to Syria right now after eight years of Obama’s broken red lines and weakness.

The problem with all of these displays of Obama Derangement Syndrome is that they fail to represent reality. President Obama took a hard stand against Syria and produced some real, albeit temporary, results. The famous “red line” remarks were followed up by an agreement that removed hundreds of tons of chemical weapons from Syria. The fact that some may have remained, or were re-acquired four years later, doesn’t diminish the magnitude of that achievement.

What’s more, Obama also ordered retaliatory bombing in Syria. At the time, conservative pundits and politicians castigated him for it, despite his having obtained pre-approval from Congress. Obama delivered a message to the American people that Fox News et al have apparently forgotten:

Trump was among those who criticized Obama’s actions in Syria. In fact, Trump repeatedly bashed Obama and insisted that it would be a mistake to engage with Syria at all. Now Obama is being falsely criticized for having done nothing, even though that’s what his critics wanted him to do. It’s a twisted logic that only right-wing partisans can comprehend.

It should also not be forgotten that Trump presciently unveiled what may be the real reason for his Syrian aggression. In yet another swipe at Obama, Trump tweeted this:

For the record, Trump’s numbers are in a death spiral. In just three months he has managed to sink lower in approval than any president before him. Could it be that now he is just taking his won desperate advice?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Will Fox News Fire Bill O’Reilly After Sexual Harassment Reports And Advertiser Exodus?

Fox News has been struggling with some serious blows to its reputation lately. That’s to be expected when its chief mission is running defense for a lying, ignorant, sociopath playacting at being president. But Donald Trump isn’t the only problem facing Fox News. The repercussions of a widespread misogynistic culture are having a profound impact on its business.

Bill O'Reilly Donald Trump

A recent investigation by the New York Times turned up several reports of sexual misconduct by Fox’s star, Bill O’Reilly. The story identified former employees who have received millions of dollars in settlements from O’Reilly or Fox News. Some of these were never previously disclosed. What’s more, the failure to report these payouts has landed Fox in some legal trouble. An investigation by the U.S. Attorney in New York is probing whether that non-disclosure violated securities laws.

Compounding the allegations in the Times is a new lawsuit filed by another alleged victim of the disgraced ex-CEO of Fox, Roger Ailes. Julie Roginsky is asserting that Ailes demanded a sexual relationship in exchange for professional help at the network. Roginsky’s charges echo those of previous victims in the Ailes affair.

All of this is causing a stir in the advertiser community. ThinkProgress is keeping tabs on O’Reilly’s advertisers and has already identified at least 27 companies that have pulled their ads from The O’Reilly Factor. They include some big names like Mercedes-Benz, Allstate, and Coldwell Banker. And it’s only been three days since the Times article was published. This suggests a severe level of anxiety that exists within the ad camp. There is a surprising willingness to flee controversy even with a show as highly rated as the Factor.

It would be naive to expect Fox News to fire or punish a star like O’Reilly just because he’s a wretched louse who preys on vulnerable women. In fact, given the corporate culture at Fox, that would just make him a welcome member of the club. The allegations against Fox extend to others in their ranks. Co-President Bill Shine and PR flack Irina Briganti have been accused of covering up offensive behaviors. And their most prominent club member, Donald Trump, has weighed in as well. He told the New York Times that:

“I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” Trump said, according to the Times. “I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally I think he shouldn’t have settled. Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”

Trump is notorious for opposing legal settlements. This despite his $25 million dollar payoff to settle lawsuits brought against his fraudulent Trump University. More importantly, he’s also notorious for his own resume of sexual harassment and assault. That’s something he shares with his close pal Bill O’Reilly. At least a dozen women have claimed that Trump sexual assaulted them. And during his campaign he promised to sue every one of them. Another broken campaign promise.

Club membership notwithstanding, when ad revenue is threatened the network bosses may think differently. The rapid response to O’Reilly’s reprehensible behavior demonstrates the risk Fox faces. Just ask Glenn Beck. He also had a highly rated program until his racist diatribes drove advertisers away.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Still, Fox News will not cast O’Reilly aside without a considerable push from both advertisers and viewers. And there’s a way for the audience to contribute to O’Reilly’s eventual fate. Sleeping Giants on Twitter recently conducted a successful campaign against Breitbart News resulting in the loss of dozens of advertisers. Now they are taking on O’Reilly. They use social media to pressure advertisers to do the right thing. It’s clearly having an effect. However, whether it will pressure Fox News to do the right thing and fire O’Reilly is still an open question.

New York Times Exposes Bill O’Reilly’s Pattern of Sexual Harassment And Cover Ups By Fox News

The New York Times just published an article online that is certain to rattle the executive suites at Fox News. It revealed new information about Bill O’Reilly’s long history of sexual harassment and abusive behavior. The hostile work environment at Fox has been the subject of recent news reports due primarily to the scandals surrounding its now ex-CEO, Roger Ailes. Following allegations from several female Fox employees Ailes was forced to resign. But Ailes was not alone.

Bill O'Reilly Megyn Kelly

Bill O’Reilly has had his own problems with accusations of harassment. One of the more infamous involved a producer who accepted a multimillion dollar settlement to end her legal proceedings. But that didn’t end the boorish behavior by O’Reilly toward the women with whom he worked. While rumors of promises and threats were rampant, details were often hard to nail down. And that’s where the new investigation by the Times comes in. The article’s opening paragraphs set the scene for a salacious workplace drama:

Behind the scenes, the company has repeatedly stood by Mr. O’Reilly as he faced a series of allegations of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior.

An investigation by The New York Times has found a total of five women who have received payouts from either Mr. O’Reilly or the company in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.

The article continues with disturbing descriptions of O’Reilly’s perverse assaults. The victims candidly disclosed the transgressions they suffered on the job:

“They have complained about a wide range of behavior, including verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and phone calls in which it sounded as if Mr. O’Reilly was masturbating.”

From the perspective of Fox News and its parent corporation, 21st Century Fox, these encounters were more than a PR nuisance. They were also a threat to the financial bonanza that O’Reilly represented. The Times noted that just in the past two years “the show generated more than $446 million in advertising revenues.” Consequently, the company stood behind their star. In a statement they defended O’Reilly saying that:

“We have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O’Reilly. While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility.”

That’s a deliberately confusing statement. If the claims have no merit, then what does “personal responsibility” mean? They appear to be trying to have it both ways. He didn’t do anything wrong, and he paid his debt for it. But what makes the Times story especially disconcerting is the discovery of victims not previously known. The list goes into some detail and includes the following:

  • Andrea Mackris – A producer on The O’Reilly Factor, Settlement date: 2004
  • Rachel Witlieb – Bernstein Junior producer at Fox News, Settlement date: 2002
  • Rebecca Gomez Diamond – A host on Fox Business Network, Settlement date: 2011
  • Laurie Dhue – Anchor at Fox News, Settlement date: 2016
  • Juliet Huddy – On-air personality at Fox News, Settlement date: 2016
  • Andrea Tantaros – On-air personality at Fox News
  • Wendy Walsh – A guest on The O’Reilly Factor

The first five of these women have already accepted settlements from either O’Reilly or Fox. Those settlements are themselves the subject of another budding scandal. There is an investigation into whether Fox purposefully hid those payoffs from stockholders. That would be a violation of securities laws. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was in charge of this investigation until he was fired by Donald Trump.

For his part, O’Reilly continues to deny any wrongdoing, despite the growing evidence. He released his own statement declaring his innocence that said in part:

“Most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children.”

That’s a peculiar line of defense considering that O’Reilly recently lost a custody battle for his children that included charges of battery against his ex-wife that was witnessed by his young daughter. The children both petitioned the court to live with their mother. And rather than demonstrating remorse, O’Reilly’s lawyer says he is “considering legal action to defend Mr. O’Reilly’s reputation.”

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

All of this suggests that Bill O’Reilly fits right in with the misogynistic environment at Fox News. What’s more, he seems to be aligned with the abusive attitudes toward women of his close friend Donald Trump. There will surely be more revelations to come regarding these sordid affairs. But for the time being, we have a pretty nauseating picture of what’s wrong with Fox News and the mindset that dominates the American right.

Serial Liar Bill O’Reilly Of Fox News Advises Trump To Stop Lying – No Really!

In the latest episode of Bill O’Reilly’s “Talking Points Memo” (video below), the Fox News host tackled a serious issue. Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia’s interference with the 2016 presidential election was the subject. However, O’Reilly’s focus, like most Republicans, was more on White House leakers than on Donald Trump’s allegedly treasonous behavior.

Bill O'Reilly Fox News

O’Reilly began by whitewashing Trump’s association with unsavory figures like Roger Stone and Paul Manafort. Stone is a long-time associate of Trump’s and Manafort was his campaign chairman. Both have disturbing connections to the unfolding Russian intrigue. But according to O’Reilly, they were merely incidentally associated with Trump. In fact, O’Reilly parroted Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice) who also downplayed those relationships.

The Trump messaging machine is trying furiously to distance him from potential criminal acts. O’Reilly’s mission was to dismiss the whole affair, saying he would “be surprised if anything comes of this Russia investigation.” Even so, he cited it as a reason for Trump’s reckless accusation that President Obama wiretapped him. That weasley excuse is an indication of how desperate they are for absolution. But it also leads O’Reilly to provide an ironic bit of counsel:

“In the future, the President would be wise to embrace only facts in his pronouncements.”

That’s a deceptively significant statement. First of all, it presupposes that this president doesn’t already embrace only facts. Of course, most clear minded observers are well aware that Trump is a pathological liar. But for a close personal friend like O’Reilly to concede that point is itself newsworthy. You have to wonder what other pronouncements of Trump’s O’Reilly believes are not factual. He certainly has never made a point of criticizing Trump’s honesty before this.

What’s more, having to advise a president to stop lying in the future ought to be a milestone of embarrassment. However, O’Reilly takes it in stride as if it were routine. That might be because O’Reilly himself has been a fount of lies for much of his career. For someone who calls his program a “No Spin Zone” he does more turns than a meth-addled ballerina. His show is a daily parade of dishonesty and misinformation. On a personal level he has “embellished” his resume as a war correspondent with provably false tales of heroism. And PolitiFact’s file on O’Reilly shows that 53 percent of his comments have been rated as “Mostly False,” “False,” or “Pants on Fire.”

With regard to the congressional hearings on Russia, O’Reilly managed to lie in the introduction of his first guest. In a summary of the hearings he said that FBI Director James Comey “couldn’t confirm an investigation” of Trump’s connections to Russia. But that is exactly what Comey did confirm at the outset of his testimony. Additionally, O’Reilly never mentioned that it was his colleague, Andrew Napolitano, who provided Trump with the phony allegations that Obama employed British spies to surveil The Donald. On Monday Fox News reportedly put Napolitano on an indefinite leave. That also went unmentioned.

O’Reilly exhibited little interest in the Russia story. He was far more concerned with finding and punishing leakers. That’s like having your neighbor tell you there’s a dead body in your backyard, but then only questioning him about how he found out. O’Reilly went even further to say that “These leakers, they gotta be arrested. And we’re gonna deal with whether the press should be arrested too.” So it’s not enough that O’Reilly is a lying, flunky for Trump and his Russian pals. He’s also intent on imprisoning journalists and abolishing the First Amendment.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Just Beat Fox News and Every Other Primetime Program On TV

For several weeks now Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC program has been picking up steam. Last Monday she rose into the ratings top ten in her time period. And that momentum continued for the rest of the week. As a result, she just snagged a victory over every primetime program for the week of March 6-10.

Rachel Maddow Donald Trump

The Hollywood Reporter noted the achievement saying that:

“Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s star player, is enjoying one hell of a ratings run right now.

“The cable news network’s 9 o’clock host outrated every other primetime show during the week of March 6. Not only did that make her show No. 1 among adults 25-54 in her time slot with an average 624,000 viewers, she even beat cable news’ perennial victor — Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly.”

A showing this strong is evidence of a titanic shift in the television audience. Bill O’Reilly has been the cable news king of the hill fairly consistently for years. He hasn’t seen any real competition since Keith Olbermann. In her time period, Maddow’s weekly average crushed her direct competition, Fox’s newest primetime host Tucker Carlson. And her victory included both total audience and the key advertising demographic of viewers 25-54. The smug superiority of Carlson was quickly embraced by Fox’s viewers. However, his bewildered and annoyed shtick seems to be wearing thin.

Maddow’s rise has occurred simultaneously with Donald Trump’s collapse. Trump’s approval ratings started in the cellar with the lowest numbers ever recorded for a new president. And they have just gone down from there. This week alone he sunk five points to a pitiful 39 percent.

Consequently, Fox News is pulling out all the stops to prop up their propaganda. Sean Hannity blasted Maddow on Monday for daring to report on Trump’s ties to Vladimir Putin and Russia. Ordinarily Hannity wouldn’t bother to speak her name aloud. But now he is featuring her in his rants. First he complained that she didn’t have “a shred of evidence” tying Trump to Putin. That’s true. She doesn’t have a shred, she has truck load. Then Hannity asked the most blitheringly ironic question ever: “Do these people have any intellectual honesty?” No comment on that is necessary.

As for Carlson, he just announced that he will be interviewing Trump on Wednesday. Given Trump’s toxic presence, that might not be a great programming move. Fox’s glassy-eyed loyalists will love it, but the broader TV audience will likely stay away. What could they possibly learn from television’s most sycophantic Trump fluffer spending an hour with his idol?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

That’s a problem that Fox News is going to have to contend with for the foreseeable future. Their star attraction is viewed by most Americans as an ignorant bigot who is intent on taking away their healthcare. During the campaign Trump was still a novelty and many people watched just to see if he would burst a blood vessel in his neck or slap an immigrant child. But the public knows Trump now and they’ve lost interest in his juvenile antics. And the more he is paraded out on Fox News, the better it will be for Maddow and MSNBC. Maybe CNN should start paying attention.