Will Bill go splat?
Bill O’Reilly may or may not be out. The Washington Post says he reportedly is, which means it’s hedging.
According to a New York magazine report Wednesday, O’Reilly is being forced out.
Is being…so it’s a process so it’s not being reported as a fait accompli yet.
A once-unthinkable move had begun to seem inevitable. Multiple news outlets, including the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal, reported Tuesday night that Fox News was preparing to sack the King of Cable News, as advertisers fled his top-rated program in response to a New York Times report that O’Reilly and the network have paid $13 million to five women over the years to settle claims of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct. Murdoch also owns Fox News.
Earlier Tuesday, attorney Lisa Bloom said she had taken the case of a sixth woman who claims O’Reilly sexually harassed her.
Fox still has top ratings, and O’Reilly still has top of the top – but oh guess what, top ratings don’t do you a bit of good if advertisers won’t touch you. The entire point of high ratings is that they command top advertising dollar. If the ad dollars=no not at any price, ratings become meaningless.
There’s also, Callum Borchers says, the intangible of reputation or image.
Besides principles of right and wrong, which are not always paramount in business, there was Fox News’s brand image to consider. Sexual harassment allegations pushed out Ailes, and with similar accusations dogging O’Reilly, the network appeared hostile to women.
A company’s reputation is a difficult thing to quantify, but consider this, from the Department of Anecdotal Evidence: As of Monday, the Fox affiliate in Boston, the nation’s ninth-largest media market, will change the name of its local newscast from “Fox 25 News” to “Boston 25 News” because it considers the Fox brand a liability.
My first thought about Fox would be that it doesn’t give a flying fuck about image, not even brand image – but my second is that if brand image is causing advertisers to flee, then of course yes it does.
It would be nice to think the toppling of BillO means the beginning of a wave of male bullies being pushed out of the corridors of power…but it’s not going to happen.