Magazine article Variety

Why Fox May Not Yank O'Reilly

Magazine article Variety

Why Fox May Not Yank O'Reilly

Article excerpt

As this issue of Variety goes to press, Bill O'Reilly remains in his anchor chair at Fox News Channel. That may surprise many considering the intensity of the controversy that enveloped him and the network over the past week. But it shouldn't, considering the network pretty much telegraphed the indifference it has projected to date on the matter by announcing his contract renewal the first day the scandal broke.

It's tempting to wonder what might have been had the Syrian airstrikes not begun dominating the headlines April 6; O'Reilly was all anyone was talking about until President Trump decided to respond to chemical attacks in the region. One major story tends to suck all the wind out of the sails of another major story a reality of the way the news cycle works in a world dictated by social media and, ironically, 24-hour news networks.

Up until Syria intruded, it seemed unthinkable that Fox News wouldn't take any action at all regarding O'Reilly. But as Brian Steinberg and Cynthia Littleton write in this issue, that's the cold, hard truth of how Rupert Murdoch and his sons likely see this: O'Reilly is the fuel powering the most profitable engine in their conglomerate. …

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