Judgment: the American way

The recent casualty to media scrutiny and “reporting” is the outspoken, bold, brash, and often irreverent Bill O’Reilly. Love him or despise him; Bill set cable opinion shows on fire 20 years ago and has been on top of all cable news channels ever since. Unapologetic and always “looking out” for the folks; Bill did not take prisoners on his show. From presidents to pundits; they all got the same treatment. His “Killing” books soared to the top Best Seller list within weeks. He went against any media that “spun” or not reported accurately; at least to his standards. He was loved by the tenuous conservatives (although he maintained adamantly that he was an Independent), and despised by the liberal media. He scorned outlets like the New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, and other reporting news channels he found disingenuous and not “looking out” for the ordinary man in the street. He cherished his middle-class upbringing in Levittown Long Island, and was proud of his tough Irish heritage.

Bill O’Reilly took Fox News on the ride of a life time. His ratings could not be beat; but he always berated the fact that he was up against “smear merchants” who wanted to bring him down. That moment came this week when Fox News decided to make him another casualty of sexual harassment claims as uncovered by his nemesis; the New York Times.  Of course, like any sex story, it was long on “settlements” and short on any substance because nothing was or has been substantiated. Through the years, Fox News has settled out of court “claims” against Mr. O’Reilly that the media never cared about or even gave a second glance to. So what changed? Why now?

As a woman, I have a big problem with settlements. I have a problem with anyone getting money rather than justice. I know that if some scumbag harassed me, I would make it my mission in life to take him to court and expose him for the scumbag that he was. As soon as money crosses the negotiation table; the claim “waters down” into a deal where money beats virtue. This generation of women throws about “harassment” like confetti on the 4th of July. What is harassment? The Webster’s Dictionary (10th Edition) describes it as “to annoy persistently”. I expect an adult, man or woman, that if annoyed persistently, can tell the annoyer to “knock it off” permanently.  Unless the perpetrator attempted assault or bodily harm, I find it ludicrous for anyone in the corporate world not mature enough to disallow annoyance. If a supposedly competent business woman cannot handle a coworker and his inane advances, than she is too weak to handle the corporate world, and should find another line of work. The female double standards have reached moronic proportions. Thousands protest inequality but find it hard to tell a guy to stop being a jerk.  

The first Fox “woman” who boarded the harassment train was Gretchen Carlson. She accused Roger Ailes of sexual harassment and hostility in the work place. She settled out of court. Roger Ailes was thrown out unceremoniously.  In a February edition of Good Housekeeping, Ms. Carlson was bemoaning the fact that some corporations make employees sign an arbitration agreement which would prohibit the employee from suing. She also said that prospective employees want the job so bad that they overlook these agreements and opt to sign. Without excusing a thug who goes out of his way to assault women in the workplace; nobody puts a gun to anyone’s head to sign an agreement. Whether the agreement is beneficial or not, if it is a condition of employment, the applicant is free to refuse and refuse the job. Putting this aside, if Mr. Ailes assaulted Ms. Carlson he deserved to be prosecuted. Her settlement actually set him free and he “got away with it”. This is the problem that women like Ms. Carlson create when they settle. She herself said that these cases are a matter of “he said she said”. However, in today’s world it makes no difference as to what “he said” because the woman’s “she said” is taken as gospel truth before any investigation is conducted or stories substantiated. She automatically becomes the victim and the man the villain. Frankly, if I were a man I would not communicate with any female colleague without a witness. It is called deterrence.  However, I do not see any men protesting judgmental inequality in our streets.  

When the Bill O’Reilly “story” broke out, his ratings still soared. They kept on soaring despite sponsors backing out. Sponsors have also become subject and hostage to judgmental activism. Remember Nordstrom and Ivanka Trump? Sponsors want to seem sympathetic to the current “war against women” narrative. They are willing to lose viewership in lieu of perception. In this case, even when they pulled out, The Factor was still pulling in more viewers than any of the cable competitors and major networks combined; so why let him go? Why cut lose the goose that lays the golden eggs? Rumor has it that Rupert Murdoch’s children are not as conservative as their father. It is also rumored that the daughter-in-law was the push behind the “beheadings” of Ailes and O’Reilly. Who knows? One thing is for sure; Fox News has just shot themselves in the proverbial ratings foot. Who is the next victim? If I were at Fox News I would not be resting easy any longer. The tide is shifting with a new generation of Murdochs who are more snowflake than “old school”. If Bill O’Reilly got the boot, then everyone must admit to being “open season” to Murdochs whims. 

The question still remains: did Bill O’Reilly sexually harass women? Frankly and personally: I doubt it seriously. He does not drink, smoke, or even attend celebrity public functions. He wears his anti-social mantra as a badge of honor on his sleeve. Is he boorish and rude? Yes. In a bizarre way, that was his attraction. He was real. Did he offend a female colleague with some off-hand remark? Probably. Did he do it maliciously? Again, I doubt it. I shall miss Bill O’Reilly. I did not agree with everything he said, but I admired his tenacity. Most of all I admired his sense of “giving”. He gave from the heart because he always claimed that he felt lucky and blessed that his success allowed him to be charitable.  He did more for charities than any other public figure I know. Because of him and his sense of good, the following organizations receive all proceeds from his books and his show’s store: Independence Fund, Fisher House, Doctors without Borders, Tuesday’s Children, Troops Direct, NYC Coalition for the Homeless, Haitian Health Foundation, Best Friends Foundation, Responsibility, Operation Shoebox, It Happened to Alexa Foundation, City Harvest, Families of Military Casualties, Elevate Hope Foundation, Autism Speaks, S.T.A.R. Children Relief Organization, Court Appointed Advocates for Children, Cohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, David lynch Foundation, Fuller Center for Housing, Interfaith Nutrition Network, New York Child Learning Institute, Sesame Workshop, and Several Sources Shelters. Phew! Not bad for a boorish man. I would like to match his generosity with anyone from the New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, or other self-centered pseudo social minded media pinhead. How about the New York Times reporting on how these charities may not fare as well now that Bill is gone? Maybe the Murdochs at Fox would like to supplement Bill’s portion with their fortunes?

Real sexual harassment is dilapidating and hurtful. It takes one’s self esteem and crushes it. It should be stopped at all costs. Perpetrators need to be brought to justice and made to pay. Juries and court cases do that. Trumped up claims are harmful because they minimize the damage real sexual assault and intimidation does to a woman. Investigate: yes. Pre-judge and condemn: never. Our system of justice works on the fundamental and moral premise that one is innocent until proven guilty. Men are now vulnerable to public judgment and opinion by virtue of gender rather than proof of wrong doing.  As soon as a  woman accuses a man; he immediately becomes a cad. No evidence, no proof, no substance is required; her word against his. She gets the money and he gets the bad reputation and often: the boot. Whether Bill O’Reilly is a sexual predator and a cad is up for debate. If he really is all those things, then I for one am very disappointed;  he and Fox News should be held accountable in a court of law and made to pay hefty. If however, he is being “lynched” for his political views and success; shame on Fox News for allowing it. Will there ever be a real investigation? I doubt it. His powerful demise was executed with precision. This has been in the offing for a long time and the objective was achieved. This time “the spin” really stopped here; sadly enough there is no one left to look out for us.