Bill O’Reilly Wallows in Fox News’ Pigsty.

by Pitt Griffin on April 4, 2017 · 0 comments

in Misogyny

Another woman, contributor Julie Roginski, has hit Fox News with a sexual harassment lawsuit. This after the New York Times revealed that its number one revenue generator, Bill O’Reilly is a serial abuser – costing the network $13 million in settlements. From a business perspective, his abuse is less ignoble than ignorable. Bill O’Reilly is a money maker. The price of his piggishness is more than covered by the advertising revenues he generates.

Which isn’t unexpected. A self-confessed pussy grabber, with a dishonorable history of misogyny, was elected President. It seems many Americans may pay lip service to decency – but don’t require it in their leaders. Or even in its religious guides. Adultery is forgiven – and even gay acts swept under the carpet – as long as the miscreant has made good with God and been forgiven by his wife.

As Hollywood might put it: Boy meets God. Boy loses God. Boy finds God. There can be no happy endings in American public life unless the hero gets his sinning in first. Which raises the question, why?

I can’t say for sure. Perhaps rebellion is an atavistic desire of society’s also-rans. Why not the freedom to release your inner caveman and just grab whatever is available – women, wealth, authority? Most frustrated men know they’ll never feel the pleasure of power or enjoy the droit de seigneur. But if they can’t have it, maybe they can live it vicariously. Much as they can imagine themselves as the matinee idol seducing the ingenue – their spreading belly and thinning hair temporarily forgotten.

Bill O’Reilly’s audience skews male, but too many women watch to argue that O’Reilly’s attraction is solely to the testosterone set. And as to testosterone, another notable factor is that O’Reilly’s average viewer is 72. So it’s the values of an older generation that keep Bill afloat. Values that saw Trump elected – as his supporters were older than Hillary’s.

Americans have always had a fondness for bad boys. Prohibition gangsters, then depression era bank robbers, were anti-heroes. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were given a movie hagiography. Marlon Brandon as the “Wild One” made leather iconic – before elevating torn t-shirts.

Not that anyone is romanticizing Bill O’Reilly. He is, after all, a large, belligerent, splotchy man – whose behavior fits the stereotype of a drunken Irish bar brawler – although he says he doesn’t drink. But he says things that some people want to hear.

That a cable news network does nothing more than say Bill’s a bad boy and he should stop being a bad boy is symptomatic of the coarseness of America. There is only one standard of decency left. Is there profit in it?

 

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