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O’Reilly – My take.

April 21, 2017

Although this blog is supposed to be about YOUR opinions, more than 20 people have asked what I think about Bill O’Reilly’s firing, and they deserve an answer.

First, I have to confess that I seldom ever watched his show, even when he had guests whose opinions interested me.

Why?  Because he never let his guests talk.  It was all Bill, all the time. If you’ve heard him once or twice, you pretty well knew what he was going to say, based on the identity of the guest. In short, I personally found his on-air persona to be that of an egotistical jerk.

That’s OK, though. That’s why TVs come with the ability to change channels. Personally, I preferred M*A*S*H™ reruns or even loading the dishwasher to watching O’Reilly.

As a matter of personal preference for show hosts, it didn’t matter to me if he stayed or went. Since he had the highest viewership of all the networks in his time slot, I was apparently in the minority.

That being said, I have to approach the question the same way I do everything else…what’s the motivation and where’s the proof?

Obviously, he is being accused of creating a hostile workplace environment and a longstanding pattern of sexual harassment, and no one could support him if that’s true.

And therein lies the rub. Is it true?  And, can the facts be separated sufficiently from emotions to discern that?

The as-of-yet undisputed reports that he personally paid off people to settle lawsuits over those issues doesn’t play well, and his excuse that he did it to protect his kids sounds flimsy. If he didn’t do it, why would his kids be embarrassed?

But then again, even seagoing shipping companies choose to pay ransom rather than fight.

There’s a very fine line to walk here, between acknowledging that rich and famous people are often targets for frivolous lawsuits and not marginalizing his accusers.

As a woman, I’ve certainly worked with men who were total, but indiscriminate jerks, and even one or two who unmistakably crossed the sexual harassment line.

The former were pretty much jerks to everyone. As far as the second category goes, I never stayed with the company long enough for it to be a problem.

After I reported the person to management, if the situation wasn’t immediately corrected, then WTH? I was looking for a job when I found that one.

And that’s the part that bothers me.

If you are continually being sexually or even emotionally abused, why the hell would you keep working for the company, sometimes for more than a decade?

I get that the news biz is a closed environment, and being labeled as a squealer doesn’t improve your job prospects anywhere. I also get that there are times in anyone’s life when any job, even a bad one, beats starving.

But where was the element of self-respect?  NO career should be more important than you are to yourself.

Also, niggling around the edges of the O’Reilly/Fox  story is the current political environment and the nature of the competition.

It’s no secret that Fox News is a target for the left. As the only conservative national cable news voice, the network has a lot of powerful enemies, and the glee with which they are celebrating O’Reilly’s downfall is telling on them.

Does that have any effect on the sudden proliferation of men at Fox being accused of sexual harassment?  Are all the other news outlets completely free of that vice?

Certainly the other networks are not short of jerks of both sexes, given their on-air personas and tweets, and racial bias and sexual harrassment are as easily practiced by women as men.

One thing that creates some doubt is that so far, most of the high-profile people under fire at Fox have been or are outspokenly conservative, and many of their accusers have quickly gone on to cushy high-paying jobs at liberal networks or well-paid book deals.

Maybe those things are simple coincidences, but maybe not.

In short, I can’t judge either side, because I have a lot of questions, but no facts.

For instance, in a world and an environment where video is king, did any of these women ever audio-record the incidents, save any emails, or use a hidden camera?  If not, it comes down to he said, she said. If they did, then by all means take it to court, with my blessing.

My take?  I would suggest that unless you have actual evidence to support one side or the other, you just consider the source and move on.

From → op-ed

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