Is O'Reilly's Firing Really About Trump?
Rupert Murdoch should sue his sons.
James and Lachlan seem intent on destroying Fox News or at least reforming it drastically, which in the final analysis comes to the same thing.
The sons think they're the new hip thing, but they're the opposite. They're terminally square. And not just because Fox was the only big-time conservative game in town and therefore could lap CNN and MSNBC, as the network has done for years, but because liberalism isn't nearly as cool as the boys think it is. It's actually stodgy and vastly more old-fashioned than conservatism and certainly libertarianism.
(I know that's hard to comprehend for some -- it's so contrary to conventional wisdom -- but think about it for two seconds.)
Nevertheless, if I were Sean Hannity, I'd be watching my back. Bill O'Reilly -- whatever his behavior -- may only have been the first to go.
The real target in the defenestration of Bill was not O'Reilly himself but very obviously Donald Trump. He's the Big Kahuna the obscenely named "Resistance" (hey, you idiots, that was about Auschwitz, not tax reform) is after and Bill was only a stop along the way. Indeed, several of Bill's accusers, represented by the daughter of Gloria Allred, appear to be people who find Trump particularly loathsome. And the original story was broken by the New York Times, the literary capital of the "Resistance."
The timing of the attacks on O'Reilly -- who everyone knew for years was not a saint, sort of like Bill Clinton and half the stars in Hollywood we hear pontificating on a daily basis -- is also far from coincidental. O'Reilly, although he pretended to even-handedness (no journalist is), was one of Trump's most staunch defenders in the media, arguably his most powerful one. For the "Resistance," he had to go.
If I were Fox talent right now, I'd be very nervous and especially careful about saying anything too positive about Trump. I'd remember to add a few negatives, maybe more than a few, to undercut any approving statements about the president or his policies, just like they do it on CNN. The Murdoch boys will be watching. Like characters in a Greek tragedy, the brothers have taken over and are maneuvering their aged father off stage. And Fox News is the big loser in this drama.
A possible winner, however, is Newsmax, the only other serious conservative television network on cable. Despite having some good shows and interesting guests (including yours truly, so I should recuse myself, but I won't), they haven't made much of an impact so far, in part because they have a degraded video feed that looks amateurish.
Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy has been dickering back and forth with the cable companies for years now about getting a full high-def feed. It would seem this would be the time to get the money together and take the plunge. He might even draft a certain Bill O'Reilly as his lead commentator.
Which leads me back to O'Reilly. Watching The (No O'Reilly) Factor on Wednesday night, hosted by Dana Perino, was an extremely odd, almost disembodied experience. Perino, an intelligent and attractive woman, appeared to be straining and barely mentioned O'Reilly until the end. Then all she said were no more than encomiums that sounded as if they were written by lawyers. Undoubtedly, they were. She gave absolutely no details on why O'Reilly was no longer there, even though much of America had been discussing the rumors for days. Evidently the Murdochs didn't want her to say anything. So Bill went to Italy, met the pope, and never came back. Actually Perino didn't even say the much. The elephant in the room not only remained the elephant in the room -- it multiplied.
Did what Bill supposedly did really amount to a firing offense or were his accusers just looking for money or fame, as O'Reilly himself has implied? Or was it just a political hatchet job by the seemingly endless legions who spend all their waking hours and seemingly most of their sleeping ones doing their best to oppose, discredit, and destroy all things Trump?
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn't Already. Follow him on Twitter @rogerlsimon.