After spending two decades as the king of cable, dominating the ratings and bringing in $100 million a year in revenue for the Fox News network, Bill O’Reilly is out.
His departure came not long after the New York Times reported on April 1st that O’Reilly and Fox News paid $13 million to five women as settlements for sexual harassment complaints. The revelations led to a revolt among advertisers, even though his ratings stayed strong.
Then O’Reilly took his annual break for Easter. But the timing naturally struck people as a bit odd, and rumors began to swirl that O’Reilly’s pre-Easter broadcast would be his last. That turned out to be the case.
“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel,” the company announced yesterday.” Of course, the revolt of advertisers also played a role in the decision.
And it appears the advertisers didn’t pull out because of the Times’ report itself. The settlements don’t imply an admission of guilt, after all. Rather, the extreme left group Media Matters coordinated a campaign to pressure O’Reilly’s advertisers to drop the show.
An email obtained by conservative radio host Glenn Beck suggests that progressive media watchdog group Media Matters orchestrated the advertiser exodus from embattled Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s program.
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) April 19, 2017
“For years,” the email begins, “Bill O’Reilly has been one of the worst purveyors of misinformation on Fox News. A serial misinformer, pushing many of the most extreme, sexist, racist, homophobic, and xenophobic conservative theories on TV.”
Well, tell us how you really feel!
The correspondence was written by Mary Pat Bonner, president of the Bonner Group. According to the New York Times, Bonner served as a “donor adviser” to former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“The Bonner Group gets us the best fundraising product for the lowest cost,” David Brock, founder of Media Matters and American Bridge, told the Times. “In my experience, the commission incentivizes the fundraiser to meet the ambitious goals we set.”
In the email, which was sent April 13, Bonner heralds the success of her firm and Media Matters’ “advertiser education campaign” against O’Reilly.
“We are currently at a critical juncture in this campaign,” she wrote, before inviting recipients to join a couple of “update calls” on Thursday and Friday.
Bonner’s email was revealed just hours after one of O’Reilly’s lawyers, Marc Kasowitz, claimed that the Fox anchor “has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America.”
H/T: The Blaze
Media Matters has been behind plenty of other attempts to defund conservatives in the past – such as countless campaigns to get advertisers to drop Rush Limbaugh’s advertising (which hasn’t worked). They were only able to score a victory this time because they had the aid of a scandal on their side.
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