The Eliot Spitzer affair has thoroughly dominated cable news coverage. There isn’t a single island of respite from the story. So, of course, Bill O’Reilly is included in the list of programs discussing Spitzer’s infidelity and immorality. It is interesting to note, however, that O’Reilly has yet to disclose his own episode of infidelity and immorality. Undeterred, he continues to report on the matter without advising his audience of this significant detail.
In 2004 O’Reilly was sued by Andrea Mackris, a producer on his show, for sexual harassment. The suit was eventually settled out of court for a sum reported variously to be between $10 and $20 million.
In his coverage of Sptizer, O’Reilly arrogantly psychoanalyzes him as self-destructive, but never draws a connection to his own behavior, or even acknowledges what occurred. It should also be noted that, although both Spitzer and O’Reilly are alleged to have engaged in acts that are unlawful, Spitzer’s encounters were between consenting adults, while O’Reilly’s actions were coerced and unwelcome.
Another Factor ethical failing concerns one of his frequent guests, Dick Morris. Some folks may be wondering where Morris has gone. He has not appeared on the program since the Spitzer story broke. Could it have something to do with the fact that Morris himself was caught up in a prostitution scandal of his own? Not only has Morris been absent from The Factor, he has not written a single item about Spitzer on his web site.
On another note, the newest Fox News contributor, Karl Rove, is also a demonstrating ethical lapses with his recent appearances on The Factor. Despite having contributed to John McCain’s presidential campaign, and assuming a role as an adviser, Rove still appears as an election commentator and neither he, nor O’Reilly, bother to disclose this conflict of interest.
I suppose that the best we can say is that O’Reilly, Morris, and Rove are living up to our expectations of them.