Good riddance to O’Reilly
It is only fitting that the long career which made Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly a fabulously rich man and enabled the network to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising revenue should end in disgrace (“Bill O’Reilly out at Fox News after 18 years hosting No. 1 prime-time program,” Web, April 18).
Mr. O’Reilly portrayed himself as a culture warrior and a humble correspondent, laughable characterizations for the media king who bullied and denigrated his guests, yet had the audacity to write books for children, including ones with themes on how important it is to be polite, respectful and to use the word please. It was quite obvious to Mr. O’Reilly’s viewers that the man they saw on the air did not display the traits of the gentleman he sought to convince us he was.
Only recently did we learn that over the years several women had alleged Mr. O’Reilly had insisted they engage in sexual activity with him — or see their careers suffer the consequences. Mr. O’Reilly’s explanation for the raft of complaints is that he was a target as an influential and prominent media figure and that settlements were agreed to in order to protect his children. Hogwash.
Fox News Channel shamefully signed Mr. O’Reilly to a lucrative new contract with the knowledge that millions of dollars in hush money had been expended to pay off those who were victimized. How foolish to believe that Mr. O’Reilly’s tracks could be forever covered, papered over with lots of money, and how outrageous that the network which preached equitable and respectful treatment of its employees was continuing to engage the man who was the antithesis of those values. Now the network has had to choose the least bad option, to cut loose the kingpin of its empire. Better late than never.
It is just deserts for the man with the big mouth and matching ego that he should leave with his reputation in tatters and no opportunity to say goodbye to his loyal audience.
I used to enjoy “The O’Reilly Factor” for many reasons. Today that fact embarrasses me. I will not miss the show or its host.
OREN M. SPIEGLER Upper Saint Clair, Pa.