There had been published speculation late last week that Fox News Channel’s marquee personality, Bill O’Reilly, was about to be let go from the network. It was reported by New York magazine Wednesday that their sources, albeit un-named, had confirmed that he was, for all intents and purposes, Elvis, as in “…has left the building.”
Drudge carried the news as a red headline, linking to The Washington Post; Fox’s website posted the story, almost unobtrusively, after 3:00pm Wednesday, April 19th. By 6:00, everybody except ScaleModelKits.com had it.
American media has flexed its muscles quite a bit historically; they can’t always bench-press like they could in the 1970s, but they still try. American withdrawal from ‘Nam, the ultimate purpose of which was to ensure a communist victory, was a direct result of constant badgering and harangue from the networks, newspapers and magazines of the day; Nixon’s resignation in August, 1974 took place because American media, who had hated him since he led an investigation of Alger Hiss, wanted Nixon gone. So two policy and leadership changes the professional left in America wanted desperately came to pass because media simply would not give up. Of course, they’re not 100% capable at all times or in all things, but they chalked up a huge victory by forcing the Murdoch’s to fire O’Reilly.
Make no mistake; there is no way that the kind of misconduct of which he was accused could possibly be quietly excused. But let’s be honest: Nobody accused him of rape; nobody accused him of groping, fondling or anything else that could be a criminal violation. (This stands in pretty stark contrast to the accusations against Bill Clinton, but, I digress.) And although Fox had made some seven-figure payouts to different women who said O’Reilly had offended or made improper advances to them, they remained accusations alone. The women retained counsel and then the network paid up.
The leftist media (which is to say 90% of media) has been desperate to silence O’Reilly for decades; like leftists everywhere, silencing their opposition is job #1. 21st Century Fox may think that they simply avoided a nasty tactical skirmish, but what they really did is provide ammunition to the professional left while surrendering a strategic bridgehead. The Murdoch’s may seek to avoid a raft of hostility from the leftist media, but the cost of doing so is to admit that they won’t keep complete control of their own product, and they’re allowing their ideological enemy and commercial competition to determine who their air talent is, and isn’t, from here on out. A mean-spirited, ongoing battle would have been preferable to allowing their key air talent to be de-selected by their strategic adversaries.
It seems it’s ultimately about spine, which is something that seems to be lacking on the right today.