It isn’t comforting when the news media are in the news themselves—because it usually isn’t for a positive reason. Fox News is in the spotlight, as they recently fired primetime host Bill O’Reilly amid court settlements involving sexual assault allegations against him.
This firing follows nearly a year after Roger E. Ailes was removed as chairman of Fox News due to similar allegations in the summer of 2016.
On their website, Fox News shared reasoning from their parent company, 21st Century Fox: “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.”
While Fox News did the right thing in the long run by firing O’Reilly, they didn’t do it for the right reasons. The New York Times published an investigative piece about the O’Reilly scandals and subsequent court settlements in April, which launched more bad press about 21st Century Fox.
This investigative report found that the company stood by O’Reilly during the allegations and settlements.
Fox News and 21st Century Fox do not care about the legitimacy and severity of the allegations against O’Reilly—their motive in letting him go is solely based on saving their own reputation as much as they can.
O’Reilly is one of the company’s most popular personalities. His talk show “The O’Reilly Factor” first aired in 1996, and, according to Fox News, relative content related to the show, “ … [produced] a slew of best-selling books and [found] [O’Reilly] in demand for lucrative speaking engagements.”
O’Reilly was a cash cow for the conservative-leaning network, and this was possibly a motivating factor for sweeping his sexual assault allegations under the rug. Now that the network faces public criticism and journalistic investigations against them, it’s in their better interest to let him go.
It isn’t surprising that Fox’s decision to fire O’Reilly comes after The New York Times’s investigation, and not earlier when the allegations were first brought upon the host.
That is a clear indication that the network cares more about profits and views than the rights and safety of their employees—something that unfortunately, is unsurprising.