Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Perfect poetic justice: Bill O'Reilly, one of the most popular of the right wing bloviators on Fox News, has been fired because he has a history of sexual harassment against several female coworkers. Rumors of his crude and unwarranted behavior have been floating around for almost a decade, with the network shelling out millions of dollars in damages to protect their profitable star. But apparently, the latest round of complaints, accompanied by advertisers pulling their commercials from his show, have pushed the network, (which had already forced out former news chairman Roger Ailes on similar charges), too far.
Part of me is thrilled by this: good riddance to a loud mouthed jerk who often held himself up as a paragon of moral rectitude (in a truly delicious bit of irony, he once co-authored a book for children entitled GIVE PLEASE A CHANCE [!]). Over the years O'Reilly has called for a terrorist attack on San Francisco's Coit Tower because he didn't like the way people there voted, shouted down anyone who disagrees with him, and sent camera crews to verbally attack people who didn't want to be on his show. Although he occasionally made feints to common sense to show he wasn't just a mouthpiece for the Republican Party (he admitted Barack Obama was born in America), he has mostly been an echo chamber for cranky old white men to hear him yell about how rap music is destroying the country, or whatever.
There is another part of me that is perplexed by this whole thing; while what O'Reilly is being accused of is certainly repulsive, none of the charges are any worse than what twelve separate women have alleged against our current president, who infamously was caught on tape bragging about sexual assault. Is it possible that the sudden, shocking election of Donald Trump, despite all those allegations, so outraged women's advocates that they are now hyper vigilant? Are they partly taking their anger at Trump out on one of his fanboys? While part of me says, good for them, another part of me wonders why they couldn't have pushed harder to convince the 53% of white female voters who went for Trump to not vote for him? Or at least have gotten more people to the polls in the first place? The sad fact of the matter is that O'Reilly, despite his popularity, had little to no actual political power, while Trump has already made decisions that deeply affect the world, and may do so for years. I guess what I'm asking is, if one person's career had to be destroyed by sexual assault charges, why couldn't it have been Trump's?