Thursday, October 14, 2004

My Opinion on O'Reilly

I have to admit that imagining Bill O'Reilly talking dirty to his ex-producer put me in near hysterics. After all, this is the same guy who's offended by gangsta rap, right? Isn't this the guy who read a "fanmail" from a guy named Jack Mehoffer on the air without getting the joke? (The link to that clip is here, by the way:

And then I started thinking, what if it is true?

Think about it: He's arguably the most powerful man in television. This is the same man who urged his viewers to boycott Universal Records, home to rapper Jadakiss, because of the anti-Bush Jadakiss single "Why." His supporters sold their Universal stocks in protest, but the song became a hit from all the publicity. O'Reilly also got Pepsi to drop Ludacris from their ad campaigns. Come to think of it, he does seem to be very controlling; he has said, roughly, that bloggers scare him because they have no checks and balances in their reporting. Basically, he seems to fit the bill for the kind of guy who would do this. Plus, some of the excerpts from the harassment suit sound like they were taped.

On the other hand, it could all be a huge conspiracy. When I say that, I don't mean that plaintiff Andrea Mackris is the policeman on the grassy knoll; all I mean is it could be industrial and/or political sabotage. Mackris left Fox for competitor CNN and only returned when Fox matched her $93K salary. At no point did she file an in-house complaint at Fox, which claims it goes over its sexual harassment policies with all employees. The law firm representing her has made large contributions to several Democratic campaigns, including those of John Kerry, John Edwards, and Tom Daschle, which could give them motivation to drag O'Reilly's name through the mud. They tried to get Fox to give them $60 million in hush money, which is wrong regardless of why. That, and I can't even imagine some of what O'Reilly "said" being real. It doesn't even sound like him talking.

Just for the record, I don't care if O'Reilly shows me his voter registration marked "Independent," he's still a conservative. Honestly, I think I'm less conservative than Bill O'Reilly. At the same time, if he were a liberal and he was getting attacked like this, I'd still be concerned for him. This is a married man with a family, and I'd like to think that Mackris and her lawyers aren't suing him for money and political gain. Extortion is obviously worse than sexual harassment, but even if the suit doesn't stick, his personal life could be ruined. If it's true, I pity him, because it could destroy his career; if it's fiction, Andrea Mackris will wish the whole thing had never happened.

I bet you any money this crap shows up in my Rolling Stone next week.


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