Monday, April 24, 2017

"And it's one, two, three strikes you're out!"

Josh Marshall drives the final nail in the coffin of Bill O'Reilly's stint at FoxNews:

In other words, he thought there was a chance that the people deciding his fate would see this email and think “Hey, wait a second! We were going to fire O’Reilly. But now it turns out we’re just being set up, used as pawns by liberals like Mary Pat Bonner to get us to fire O’Reilly, who’s really the victim in all this!”

In many ways, there’s a much, much more important story going forward about the fact that the people deciding O’Reilly’s fate had known for many years about his behavior and happily tolerated it. But why would O’Reilly think that this email amounted to anything? I would submit that in this final moment, O’Reilly was duped by the ‘war on christmas’, liberal media bias dumbshit victimology racket he had been selling on his show for two decades: comically melodramatic, victim-preening nonsense aimed at whipping up feelings of resentment and rage. In other words, he was deluded in these final moments of his cable TV existence by his own racket! His goose had long been cooked. But this was his final undoing.
The context here is an e-mail O'Reilly wrote to his lawyers making this his argument for keeping his job (just before his firing was announced).  I don't care about that, per se, but about that last paragraph.  O'Reilly complained of a campaign to "get him" that was not a secret conspiracy but a public effort, one aimed at unseating O'Reilly precisely by being public about its aims and efforts.  But O'Reilly "was deluded in these final moments of his cable TV existence by his own racket."  Donald Trump complains about "paid protestors" and now thinks they are conspiring to complain about his tax returns which, since he won, nobody cares about, right?  Like O'Reilly, Trump has made his public career, and now his political career, out of "whipping up feelings of resentment and rage."  And it seems fairly clear Trump is deluded by his own racket.

But Trump is the President of the United States, not some guy pulling a cable audience of 4 million (which still isn't that much of an audience on broadcast TV).  As fell O'Reilly, so too will Trump fall. His latest fantasies are that healthcare reform is happening, even though nobody has seen the proposed bill, and that he's accomplished great things in his first 100 days, although nobody can name two of those accomplishments.

O'Reilly was kept on-air by his audience, which was aging along with him (and aging faster than the general population, in the sense they were the "old old" who, not coincidentally, voted for Donald Trump).  But it was the Millenials (and younger) who got so man advertisers to drop O'Reilly's program that the fix was finally in, and O'Reilly the quintessential angry grandpa, was not allowed to return to the stage.  That point actually bears noticing:  the young people, who so despise sexual harassment, unlike Boomers who grew up on it (let's be honest), brought Bill O'Reilly down.  And O'Reilly never saw it coming.

Donald Trump's approval rating has been underwater since he took office.  It should really be stated in negative terms (the difference between approval and disapproval), since the disapproval consistently runs higher than the approval.  Bearing down on the vaunted "100 days," he has nothing to show for his tenure, except an extraordinary number of days playing golf (surely a record!), and an equally extraordinary number of weekends at his own resort in Florida.  His "comically melodramatic, victim-preening nonsense aimed at whipping up feelings of resentment and rage" got him into the White House; it clearly isn't helping him there now.

As fell O'Reilly, so too will Trump fall.  However, O'Reilly just took $25 million of Rupert Murdoch's money with him; what damage will Trump's inevitable collapse do?

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