Buckle your seat belt and get ready to read a positive piece about Bill O’Reilly. This is written by a longtime fan who faithfully watches “The O’Reilly Factor,” reads O’Reilly’s books, enjoys the movies made from those books, and even once attended his stage show. But, unlike “regular folks” (O’Reilly speak) I have had the opportunity to interview him twice, here and here.
First, allow me to clarify and define what I mean by a “positive piece.” Or conversely, what this piece is not. It is not a specific defense of Bill O’Reilly’s alleged behavior summarized in the following paragraph from the April 1 New York Times report which started the national left-wing pitchfork, “take him down” movement:
An investigation by The New York Times has found a total of five women who have received payouts from either Mr. O’Reilly or the company in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.
The Times piece also stated that O’Reilly “denies the claims have merit.” OK, done. Now let’s move on.
As a proud and loyal O’Reilly viewer, I believe that he is an extremely important contributor to the national political dialogue. Proof that millions of Americans agree, is this headline from Ad Week: “The Top Cable News Programs of 2016 Were…”
And the answer was: “Bill O’Reilly once again had the No. 1 show in cable news in terms of total viewers…”
His TV show’s top 2016 rating meant that the show has been the number one cable news show for 15 consecutive years. Since I have contributed to that phenomenal record, here is why I have watched and will continue to watch. (In fact, O’Reilly’s ratings have soared during the controversy.)
Together my husband and I enjoy “The O’Reilly Factor” because the show represents a “safe space,” to use a trendy term that disgusts most people over 35. We consider his show an oasis of truth in a world gone mad. We agree with O’Reilly about 98% of the time, and he validates our own conservative cultural and political views. We find “The O’Reilly Factor” entertaining, serious, educational, newsworthy, and humorous.
To us, the big picture of the O’Reilly Factor is how the show honestly addresses and does not sugar-coat the decline of our nation. Baby boomers like my husband and I identify with his rants. We understand O’Reilly’s frustration in recognizing that most of the “culture war” battles he wrote about in his 2006 book “Culture Warrior” have been lost. (To refresh your memory, “Culture Warrior” was a number one best-selling book detailing the war between “traditionalists” and “secular-progressives.”)
O’Reilly is aghast that there are no rules anymore: What is wrong is right and vice versa. There is no judging, no personal responsibility. We have evolved into a “whatever makes you feel good, go for it” culture and Mr. O is ticked. We feel his pain because we share his pain.
“The O’Reilly Factor” is practically the only show we watch where neither of us yells back at the TV screaming, “You’re an idiot.” That is because O’Reilly has already zapped the guest in his inimitable style.
Since O’Reilly represents traditional viewpoints and, yes, a more judgmental attitude about what is happening in our culture and our nation, he is desperately needed as a spokesman. O’Reilly is 67 years old, two years older than my husband and six years older than me. We grew up in what I characterize now as “ancient times.” We identify with O’Reilly because the same cultural and national forces that shaped him shaped us.
To his viewers, O’Reilly represents the “old world” where rules and laws mattered. The fact that he is a prolific force wielding extraordinary influence with his number one cable news show and numerous number one best-selling books, means he is one of the biggest targets on the front lines of the political and culture wars. Therefore, he must be destroyed.
Of course, those who want him destroyed are powerful members of the liberal-leaning media cabal most notably his cable news channel competitors, CNN and MSNBC.
CNN especially has been joyfully counting and hyping advertisers who have exited O’Reilly’s show after the Times piece. Additionally, the entire media spectrum has formed a gleeful chorus with headlines touting the latest number of advertisers who have “fled.”
Advertisers, of course, hate controversy that could in any way alienate their customers. Even more so if the central issue involves sexual harassment or exploitation, proven or unproven. Liberal media forces know advertisers follow each other like sheep and will flee as a flock when a media hurricane reaches Category 5 strength.
Now (surprise, surprise) it has surfaced that the chief orchestrator of O’Reilly’s “media hurricane” to intimidate the show’s advertisers is Angelo Carusone of Media Matters. This, according to a lengthy piece in Politico:
Carusone, the president of liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America, is one of the main organizers of the #StopOReilly campaign, which is pressuring businesses to pull their ads from “The O’Reilly Factor” in light of sexual harassment allegations against the popular Fox News host.
The headline of Politico’s piece says it all: “O’Reilly antagonist vows to treat him like Glenn Beck.” And the subhead: “Angelo Carusone is targeting Fox News’ biggest star with a plan he used on Beck and Limbaugh.”
O’Reilly viewers can only hope that the shows advertisers will see through Carusone’s scheme. As a back-up, there is another lengthy Politico piece headlined, “Not in Defense of Bill O’Reilly — But against calls for advertiser boycotts,” explains the dangers of such boycotts.
However, if O’Reilly is forced to step down, CNN knows it has the most to gain. That is why the channel has launched a full-frontal attack on the man they consider an over-rated dinosaur, well past his expiration date with viewers ripe for the picking.
Undoubtedly, liberal-leaning media outlets and Media Matters desperately want to keep the O’Reilly controversy raging. His demise would be their victory. It would signify that the left killed the five-star “Culture Warrior” general, resulting in champagne-popping celebrations.
Meanwhile, O’Reilly viewers know O’Reilly is no angel, but neither are any of us who watch. However, his alleged behavior, never proven in court, has no bearing on why we will continue to watch his show. O’Reilly delivers what we want to hear, period.
But if the Fox News Channel surrenders to its enemies and cancels O’Reilly’s show, the network will be bulldozing a meaningful portion of America’s cultural and political landscape. Even worse, viewers like myself and my husband would be totally disgusted that liberal media forces were allowed to prevail, and I predict that Fox would regret their decision.
Cross-posted at RedState