As Impact Tap has previously covered, Bill O’Reilly has a long history of controversy. From the many sexual harassment allegations to his racist attacks on black public figures, the classic “old school” conservative has only proven to the world that the glory days he claims to embody were pitifully filled with toxic masculinity and virulent bigotry.
Recently, things came to a head regarding the talking head’s behavior. Advertisers pulled out of the O’Reilly Factor left and right, unable to countenance their brand being associated with a misogynistic sexual predator. The host – who has been at Fox since the far-right propaganda outlet’s founding in 1996 – went on a “vacation” last week. This week, he’s out.
The most disturbing fact in all of this is that it took so long. Much as former Fox boss Roger Ailes held on despite his rampant sexual harassment, O’Reilly, too, managed to flex his selling power and retain his cherished primetime position. Indeed, now that he’s finally out, Fox News is facing a massive whole in its scheduling. O’Reilly was the biggest star. But now that star has fallen, and a potential ratings decline has the network squirming.
His departure is long overdue. The fact that it took this long shows that the culture of Fox News is enabling; that it’s the sort of boy’s club that inculcates the worst tendencies in reactionary men.
But Fox’s maneuvering has damaged its brand. As the Murdoch-owned media empire remains in a contentious relationship with Trump (which could, really, explode at any moment), and the general conservative movement imploding around this disastrous administration, there is plenty of room for progressives to point out the moral failings of the increasingly fractured right and embody a just and positive vision moving forward.