If you’ve been watching Fox News this week (and, for God’s sake, why would you?), you will have noticed some blaring promotions mixed in with your daily dose of right-wing propaganda. Sean Hannity just moved to 9:00pm, taking over for The Five, which moved back to 5:00pm. Prior to that this time slot belonged Megyn Kelly who left Fox News in part due to her personal experience of sexual harassment from Bill O’Reilly.
Speaking of which, Bill O’Reilly was fired by Fox News earlier this year. The termination followed a string of accusations that he sexually harassed women colleagues and guests. The tipping point was when news broke that he and/or Fox News paid millions to settle and silence those claims. Thereafter, O’Reilly’s advertisers began to peel off and Fox gave him the boot. It was another in a growing list of Fox News perverts who were jettisoned, including founder and CEO Roger Ailes. The network acquired a reputation for fostering a corporate culture that protected sexual abusers and gender and racial discrimination.
Now Fox News is welcoming back their former star. Sean Hannity will be featuring Bill O’Reilly on his program Tuesday night. It’s the first time that O’Reilly will appear on Fox since his April departure. Apparently the punishment for sexually harassing women at Fox News is a five month suspension from the network. After that, you are greeted with open arms as a respected confederate and news analyst. Maybe Hannity can book Bill Cosby for next week.
A preview of sorts was available on Monday when O’Reilly was a guest on Hannity’s radio show. He spent a fair portion of the time attacking the women who courageously came forward to report his sexual misconduct. The rest of the time was spent promoting the latest book in his terminally repetitious “Killing” series. His guest spot on Hannity’s TV program will likely be more of the same. Except that O’Reilly is already hyping the show with a promise of a “big announcement.”Maybe he landed a gig with his buddy Donald Trump, or a spot on Dancing with the Stars.
In fear of Rachel Maddow, this week’s guest lineup on Hannity is front-loaded with big names from the GOP and wingnut media. He began on Monday with Breitbart’s Steve Bannon. Tuesday is O’Reilly. Wednesday is House Speaker Paul Ryan. And Thursday is “dittohead” king, Rush Limbaugh. These conservative heavyweights will likely deliver good ratings for Hannity. However, he can’t be expected to maintain that pace. And Maddow, who has been scoring the top spot in cable news for several months, should continue to outperform her new competition.
Fox News has some interesting dilemmas with the O’Reilly booking. They are tempting the advertisers who ditched O’Reilly to leave Hannity’s program as well. They already have some incentive due to his irresponsible coverage of the conspiracy theories surrounding the murder of Seth Rich. Advertisers should also be wary of Hannity because of his close relationship with Donald Trump. He has been unabashedly promoting the President and serving as his most prominent media defender and spokesman. In addition to those matters, Fox News is trying to purchase a European network, but they are running into regulatory obstacles due to their dishonest and sleazy reputation. Booking a former host who was fired for sexual harassment is not likely to help Fox over those hurdles.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
So there doesn’t appear to be any long-term upside to embracing O’Reilly and providing a platform for his revenge. Hannity seems to be poking a finger in his network’s eye to see how much he can get away with. But rest assured that his advertisers will hear about this atrocious booking. They want nothing to do with O’Reilly and may make the same determination about Fox News. The movement to Stop Hannity is gaining steam and O’Reilly’s return will only shovel more coal on that fire.