CAN O'REILLY SPIN HIMSELF OUT OF THIS MESS?
One of Bill O'Reilly's defenders says that the sex harassment charges against him are a CNN/Democratic Party plot: "I see another network and political party behind this." Another called his accuser, producer Andrea Mackris, a "Time Warner plant," because she left CNN to come back to work for O'Reilly at Fox. The trouble is that O'Reilly and his lawyer have not specifically denied the comments attributed to him in the suit. The evidence suggests that he has been caught on tape making sick and perverted comments to a female subordinate.
O'Reilly, a married father of two, himself filed suit, charging extortion. Mr. "No Spin Zone" is taking a lesson from the Clinton playbook-go after the accuser, hire a good lawyer, and go on the offensive. Clinton managed to survive, but will O'Reilly?
His reputation was partly built on fighting filth. "America is rapidly becoming a country where no judgments are made about any kind of behavior," declared the righteous O'Reilly on Fox News on February 25, 2003. Condemning the Pony company for using porn stars to sell shoes, O'Reilly declared, "call me crazy, but I don't think porn stars are great role models for American kids."
That is truly crazy because O'Reilly had porn star Jenna Jameson on his show on August 26, 2002. After the interview, he requested copies of her films. In a December 4, 2002, segment he interviewed Dennis Hof, the owner of the legal brothel named the "Moonlight Bunny Ranch," and glamorized one of his prostitutes, "Sunset Thomas," by highlighting her $2,000-a-night income.
In a February 5, 2004 column about Janet Jackson's "sleazy" performance in baring her breast during the Super Bowl half-time show, O'Reilly declared that, "Our popular culture has collapsed." On the other hand, in a comment that captured his own personal involvement in that collapse, he said (in the same column), "As a regular guy, I have no problem with Janet Jackson's chest. Quite the contrary! If the diva were to offer me a private look, I'd charter a plane."
"Children are exposed to a constant media barrage of degenerate behavior, and if they want a break, commercial television now offers them a variety of 'reality' programs where they can watch people eat bugs and demean women," O'Reilly said. He was referring to NBC's "Fear Factor" show, but he could have been referring to Fox Television, which, like Fox News, is part of News Corporation.
The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a record financial fine against Fox and its affiliated stations for broadcasting an indecent program, Married in America, showing parties at a Las Vegas hotel during a time when children could have been in the viewing audience.
The FCC said the show featured "Partially clothed strippers, such as a topless woman with her breasts pixilated, straddling a man in a sexually suggestive manner; two partially clothed female strippers kissing each other above a male; two partially clothed strippers rubbing a man's stomach; a male stripper about to put a woman's hand down the front of his pants; and a man in his underwear on all fours being spanked by two topless strippers." There's more, but you get the picture.
In that February 5 column, O'Reilly declared that, "American culture has collapsed and big corporations are responsible." Yes, Bill, and News Corp., is one of them. He never seemed to be able to do anything about that, however. Now, a News Corp. subsidiary, Fox Searchlight Pictures, is coming out with a film that glorifies Alfred Kinsey, the pedophile propagandist who became known as the father of the "sexual revolution."
Fox recently abruptly cancelled screenings of the film for Dr. Judith Reisman, a leading critic of Kinsey who had warned Fox in advance about glorifying this pervert. Ironically, O'Reilly had brought Reisman on his own show, before the making of the film, to expose Kinsey's use of pedophiles in his research. But don't look for O'Reilly to invite her back on the show to criticize the Fox film.
On April 29, 2003, he did a program about pornography and sex talk in a university classroom, suggesting that the professor should be sued for sexual harassment. I doubt we'll see any more programs of that nature, either.
In an April 15, 2004 column, he proclaimed, "I am a primary source these days in confronting declining media standards." That's laughable today. O'Reilly's stature as someone "looking out for you" is clearly over. His new career of writing children's books will almost certainly come to an end as well.
His television and radio careers are also at risk, unless he can reinvent himself. But that will take a lot of spin.
© 2004 Cliff Kincaid - All Rights
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Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist and media critic, Cliff concentrated in journalism and communications at the University of Toledo, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Cliff has written or co-authored nine books on media and cultural affairs and foreign policy issues.
Cliff has appeared on Hannity & Colmes, The O’Reilly
Factor, Crossfire and has been published in the Washington Post, Washington
Times, Chronicles, Human Events and Insight.
That is truly crazy because O'Reilly had porn star Jenna Jameson on his show on August 26, 2002. After the interview, he requested copies of her films.