Bill O'Reilly out at Fox News Channel

21 Avril, 2017, 19:05 | Author: Cyril Hebras

It was a humiliating blow to one of the biggest U.S. media names, a veteran broadcaster at Fox News for two decades who counted President Donald Trump among his personal supporters and whose ratings soared in defiance of his alleged abusive behaviour towards women.

The downfall of Fox's most popular - and most lucrative - personality began with an April 1 report in The New York Times that five women had been paid a total of $13 million to keep quiet about disturbing encounters with O'Reilly, who continued to deny any wrongdoing in a statement hours after he was sacked.

Fox News Channel's parent company fired Bill O'Reilly on Wednesday following an investigation into harassment allegations, bringing a stunning end to cable news' most popular program and one that came to define the bravado of his network over 20 years.

The report of the latest claim prompted a statement from Marc E. Kasowitz, an attorney for O'Reilly, who said his client is being targeted by liberal groups who are out to "destroy" him. O'Reilly is on a two-week vacation that on Wednesday took him to Francis' general audience in St. Peter's Square.

"But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today", he added.

The political commentator hosted the O'Reilly Factor from 1996 to 2017 and turned it into the network's most profitable show, and one of the most successful in the history of cable news.

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The crisis for Fox News has escalated in recent days because the law firm Paul Weiss is investigating the claim that O'Reilly reneged on offering a paid contributor's job to Wendy Walsh, a frequent guest on his program, after she spurned his advances at a dinner meeting in 2013. "There's more to come", one Fox News insider told me, suggesting that there are more women with stories of harassment who have not come forward publicly. On average, the show drew almost four million viewers per night, making it one of the most popular cable news shows in America.

The New York Times reported April 1 that five women had been paid a total of $13 million to keep quiet about unpleasant encounters with O'Reilly, who has denied any wrongdoing.

Fox occupies a unique and powerful, if controversial, position in America - watched by a deep and committed conservative fan base that to a large extent includes many of those who voted Trump into office.

Rather, it signals an internal shift the worldwide Murdoch media empire.

During the Barack Obama administration, this partisanship accelerated as the network openly campaigned for Republican candidates and gave oxygen to the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement.

"This has been going on for decades and I hope his having to go out in shame and disgrace makes things just a little bit better for her and all his victims right now", he said.


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