Zurawik: How Bill O'Reilly, Fox are on wrong side of history

Bill O’Reilly called it a “smear.” But the New York Times came through with another blockbuster report of a $32 million settlement the former Fox host made with a woman who alleged inappropriate sexual behavior by him.

I got the chance Sunday to join Emily Steel, who co-authored the Times story, and Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” to discuss O’Reilly’s place on the media and cultural landscape in the wake of the Times stories.

In terms of media, I said O’Reilly has been marginalized like Glenn Beck. But culturally, the news is much worse for him.

O’Reilly denies all allegations, but he’s culturally been branded a sexual predator in league with Bill Cosby, the late Roger Ailes and Harvey Weinstein.

And the latest Times story shows how Fox’s actions in giving him a new contract after he settled for $32 million with his accuser give lie to 21st Century Fox’s claims of cleaning house and committing to a workplace where women are not victimized by sexual predators.

As recently as Sept. 26, the channel allowed O’Reilly a showcase spot to promote his latest book on “Hannity.” Talk about a media company talking reform and then showing contempt for victims who worked in the predatory culture management established and allowed for more than two decades. There is no reason to believe one word the Murdoch family, which runs parent company 21st Century Fox, says when it comes to reform.

Fox is on the wrong side of history, I said on the show. I believe we are witnessing the death of patriarchy. It won’t die overnight, but it is retreat and disgrace.

Above is the video of our conversation on “Reliable Sources.” You can read the great piece by the Times here.

david.zurawik@baltsun.com

twitter.com/davidzurawik

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