“Bad boys, bad boys
Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do
When they come for you?”
Well, “they” came first for Bad Boy Roger Ailes and then for Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News dirty duo. Those of us who applaud the consequences of their sexual harassment, insults, crude behavior and forced sex should not delude ourselves, however,
The Bottom Line Mandate
These two prominent, influential rich, white men were not fired because they behaved badly. They lost their positions because of the bottom line.
First came the bad PR. That caused advertisers to pull out of “The O’Reilly Factor,” which lost more than half its advertisers in one week, falling from 30 to nine.Then the stock dropped sharply.
In addition, 21st Century Fox had to pay millions in settlements to women in an effort to keep the scandal from going public. (Mr. O’Reilly paid out millions more from his own fortune.)
The Murdoch family, which had tolerated outrageous and unprofessional behavior toward women for years, circled the wagons and put up with the bad news for nine long months. Finally they decided to cut their losses and sent Mr. O’Reilly packing.
The bottom line mandate is simple, regardless of who you are or where you work: You make the company lose money and you lose your job.
Bad Boys Behaving Like Jerks
So why did these two men behave like such complete jerks?
“When you were eight
And you had bad traits
You go to school
And learn the golden rule
So why are you
Acting like a bloody fool
If you get hot
You must get cool”
Thursday morning, I heard a CNN interview with Margaret Hoover, a former Fox News commentator, who said that both men had grown up in an era when women “made coffee and typed.” Fair enough. I remember that era and men did feel free to say whatever they wanted to women, whether in or out of their employ. I also remember being taught manners and proper behavior, which had far greater importance back then than they do now.
But times change and people have to adjust to new realities. Failure to do that makes you an anachronism, a holdover from the past who is vulnerable to new realities.
Who’s the Victim Here?
“You chuck it on that one
You chuck it on this one
You chuck it on your mother and
You chuck it on your father
You chuck it on your brother and
You chuck it on your sister
You chuck it on that one and
You chuck it on me”
Having been caught in the act and publicly accused, Mr. O’Reilly refused to admit wrongdoing of any kind or degree. It was all the women’s fault,he said. He was the real victim. The women were just gold-diggers out to rip him off for a big settlement.
I’m sure that on his show — which I never watched — Mr. O’Reilly had little sympathy for the victims of what he would have considered an offense against political correctness.
Funny how eagerly he donned the mantle of victimhood when it suited him.Ms. In fact, Ms. Hoover made the same point in the New York Times:
“Instead Mr. O’Reilly blamed others, embracing the victimization he so ridiculed of the American left. He claimed his departure was no fault of his own, but the cost of doing business as a high profile media personality.”
She went on:
“Likewise, Mr. Ailes, also unrelenting, has never taken responsibility for the rotten culture he created and sustained.”
Blame everyone but yourself and you learn nothing. You also, ahem, lose your credentials as a conservative who believes in personal responsibility.
Can’t Catch a Break
“Nobody naw give you no break
Police naw give you no break
Soldier naw give you no break
Not even you idren naw give you no break
No, no one gave Mr. O’Reilly a break—except, of course for:
- The nine years he got away with this crap after he had been accused and for all the years before that when women were too intimidated or silenced to come forward.
- The millions the corporation shelled out to keep their goose laying golden eggs in his “No-Spin Zone.”
- The male Fox News staff who turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to what they must have seen and heard on a regular basis.
- The $25 million that Fox News reportedly payed him in a golden parachute deal. (Mr. Ailes got $40 million).
Nope, no breaks for him. Poor baby.
Just a Good Catholic Boy
“Why did you have to act so mean
Don’t you know you’re human being
Born of a mother with the love of a father
Reflections come and reflections go
I know sometimes you want to let go
I know sometimes you want to let go”
Mr. O’Reilly is Catholic. In fact, he was meeting with Pope Francis the day he got fired for his years of sexual misconduct. Did none of the teachers at St. Brigid parochial school or Chaminade High School or Marist College teach him the Ten Commandments? In 16 years of Catholic education did he never once learn to treat women with respect?
Did none of the Sisters or Brothers who taught him in class or the parish priests he confessed to tell him he should treat other human beings like God’s creations? Or how about like he would want his sister to be treated? I know that any boy in St. Louis de France, my parochial school, would have been clouted upside the head for a lesser offense.
Well, both Mr. Ailes and Mr. O’Reilly are gone from Fox News. That protects the company and its bottom line from any more PR disasters, at least for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, neither man will experience the consequences that lesser individuals have to worry about. They won’t have to sweat paying the mortgage or swinging that big COBRA bill just to get health care. They won’t have to tell the kids they can’t go to college because Daddy got fired.
Instead they can both slide smoothly into comfortable retirements, moving from luxury home to luxury home, playing golf with rich buddies, eating at fine restaurants, and possibly getting paid outrageous fees for sitting on corporate boards.
No, Mr. Ailes and Mr. O’Reilly won’t really suffer anything more than the embarrassment of being caught with their hands in the wrong place. But at least they no longer have a platform on which to prance, preen and preach. Oh, and they won’t have access to and power over all those beautiful women every day, either.
Lyrics and Music by Inner Circle