Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Perhaps not just the 'O'Reilly factor'

In light of the recent firing of Fox News Channel talk-show host Bill O’Reilly amid accusations of sexual harassment and large out-of-court settlements resulting from such, some folks have complained that what they might call “strong conservative voices” are being systematically removed from the airwaves.

I don’t believe that kind of comment has any basis in fact. Indeed, it may not simply be a problem with O’Reilly — recall that longtime chairman Roger Ailes was canned for similar reasons a few months ago, and Sean Hannity, another FNC pundit, had an accusation leveled against him just this week. With all this going around, it seems to be an institutional problem with Fox, which is now costing the network millions.

Why do I suspect this? Well, the book “Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative” by David Brock, formerly a right-wing journalist who probably appeared on the network but who worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign last year, made several references to “blond pundits” on Fox, several of whom he said “were not above reproach themselves, taking moral offense at adultery” in reference to President Bill Clinton’s tomcatting 20-some years ago.

In other words, you had a lot of pretty female faces on that network feeding that audience with red meat, likely with the intention to grab the attention of male viewers, but who Brock knew had, shall we say, improper relationships in their personal lives.

Does that kind of thing happen at other places? Oh, sure. But make no mistake: Money’s talking here, and when you lose too much of it heads have to roll. I sometimes wonder just how many of those “blond pundits” are being hit on by their bosses or coworkers just because of their beauty — and perhaps some even go along with it to keep their jobs.

We may be seeing even more of this in the future. Stay tuned ...

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