Commentary

And That's That: 'The O'Reilly Factor' Is No More

By Thursday morning, the Fox News Channel Web site had been freshly scrubbed.

“The O’Reilly Factor,” the network’s No. 1 show for 20 years, had morphed into just “The Factor” -- minus “O’Reilly.”

Click on the show title and you got nothing -- no “O’Reilly Factor” landing page, no “Talking Points Memo” video, no O’Reilly opening the show with a big grin, dramatically pointing an index finger at the camera and announcing, “Caution! You are about to enter the No Spin Zone! The 'Factor' begins right now.”

They’re nothing if not thorough over at 21st Century Fox Television. And so it’s good-bye to all that, and hello to next December’s end-of-the-year lists of the top stories in television -- on which the O’Reilly dethroning will likely be item No. 1.

After 20 years, this is how it ends, with the star fired during his vacation. When these things happen, the firee is often barred from reentering the place of his employment even to collect his things. O’Reilly -- once Big Man on Campus at Fox News Channel -- is now suddenly left outside with his nose pressed against the lobby window.

O’Reilly issued a statement denying the sex-harassment charges that have been leveled at him. “It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims,” the statement said. “But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today.”

If he is taking a defiant position in public, in private it is probably not the case. It is being reported that he stands to collect severance payments in the neighborhood of $40 million. That will certainly soften the blow.

But it’s also true that for men like O’Reilly, their shows -- and the public forum they represent -- are everything.

I barely know Bill O’Reilly, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to guess that he would have rather had his run at Fox News end differently than this -- with honors, thank yous, congratulations all around, a celebratory banquet, a laurel and hearty handshake.

Now he must live with the fact that everywhere his story is told forevermore, his firing under a cloud of sexual harassment allegations will be mentioned in the first or second sentence.

There are plenty of people gloating over O’Reilly’s dismissal. There are many who are taking the “he had it coming to him” point of view, and they aren’t entirely wrong. If he is guilty of boorish behavior at the office, then he has only himself to blame for it.

Defiance is one way of dealing with such an embarrassing public debacle. Adopting some humility through the process of learning from one’s mistakes and owning up to them would be another way -- and possibly the better way, in the long run.

Many of the gloaters are going so far as to suggest that the dominance of Fox News Channel in the cable-news arena is finished without O’Reilly. That’s wishful thinking on the part of the Fox News haters.

Fox News is a very strong brand. And for millions who share the network’s right-leaning point of view, there is no alternative on TV. They will continue to flock to Fox News whether Bill O’Reilly is there or not.

6 comments about "And That's That: 'The O'Reilly Factor' Is No More".
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  1. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, April 20, 2017 at 3:12 p.m.


    "Owning up" to mistakes? ... "Humility"? ... Bill O'Reilly?

    Yeah, right. 

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 20, 2017 at 7:34 p.m.

    Couldn't happen to a nice guy. Don't cry for him Argentina.

  3. Kenny Kurtz from creative license, April 20, 2017 at 9:01 p.m.

    Really glad that O'R got blown out for his behavior.

    It became clear to me that there was something fundamentally wrong with the guy many years ago when he dismissed an obese woman on his show as "ridiculous" when she claimed she was a "food addict", and regaled his audience with her travails, including all her classic symptoms of addiction, not the least of which was her share that she couldn't just have a small bowl of ice cream, rather, once exposed to even a single spoonful, would be compelled to consume a whole gallon, and then go back for more (all while hiding it from her family, and lying to them about it).

    O'Reilly posited that there is no such thing as "food addiction." His reasoning was that he could have a small bowl of ice cream, and stop there.

    The audacity. His proclivity for harassment, and mistreatment of women has been well known in media circles for many years. He deserves to be GONE.

  4. John Motavalli from Freelance, April 21, 2017 at 5:08 a.m.

    Very well said, Adam. I interviewed O'Reilly once, when he was anchoring Inside Edition. He was all the arrogant things people say, but he also had a sense of history, from his background as a teacher, and a sometimes thoughtful independent streak. Recall that he condemned the swift boat types taking on John Kerry. One could see why he was popular. But Tucker Carlson has all that as well, plus he is not so full of himself. I think he will end up doing as well as O'Reilly, much to the chagrin of Fox News haters, and they are legion.

  5. PJ Lehrer from NYU, April 21, 2017 at 1:26 p.m.

    Witness the power of the boycott.  More here...

    http://pjlehrer.blogspot.com/2017/02/all-boycotts-and-bumps-are-not-created.html

  6. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, April 21, 2017 at 2:50 p.m.


    The dangerous part of O'Reilly's impact on his audience/mob was that he knew, but ignored the difference between "insight" and "incite."  

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