Bill O'Reilly's Mainstreaming Of Bigotry Deserves Punishment Far Beyond Boycotts

Bill O’Reilly has been the most powerful cable news host of the past 20 years. As I noted in a previous article, there are many “Christians” who consider this man a Jesus Christ figure. He learned from the very beginning that promoting racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and homophobia while pretending to be a moral voice for the religious right would earn him a huge audience — people on the right would always listen to him to confirm their bigotry, and people on the left would listen to him in order to get angry.

The Fox News star, who has been accused of sexually harassing multiple women and beating his wife in front of his kids, has referred to Mexicans as “wetbacks,” has minimized slavery by pointing out how well slaves were treated, has compared gay men to terrorists, has launched misogynistic hate campaigns against female celebrities, and has cheered on George W. Bush’s unethical war in Iraq, referring to people who protested as “Un-American.” The victimization of women and the huge payoffs to silence them never seem to faze O’Reilly’s faithful. O’Reilly has psychologically manipulated many of his followers into believing that since he is providing the voice that Christ would approve of, any of his other actions are irrelevant.

To be fair, there are more people like Bill O’Reilly — Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and even the deceased Andrew Breitbart. O’Reilly has even inspired a new mini-me at Fox News named Carlson Tucker. But none of these others ever had the power to infiltrate the mainstream culture like O’Reilly has. In 2003, he helped spearhead a McCarthyist-like campaign against the Dixie Chicks for criticizing the war in Iraq. In the 2000s, he led what some felt were racist campaigns to try and hurt the careers of Snoop Doggy Dogg and Ludacris, even once obsessively and hypocritically railing against the latter as a “man who degrades women.”

Boycotting advertisers won’t silence Mr. O’Reilly.
Boycotting advertisers won’t silence Mr. O’Reilly.

Some feel that Bill O’Reilly has just met a new woman named Karma, though it’s not certain if he’ll try to sexually harass her as well. His years of promoting bigotry against anyone who isn’t a rich white male appears to have come back to haunt him. After the New York Times revealed that O’Reilly has made multiple payments to women accusing him of sexual harassment, 52 advertisers, including Subaru, BMW, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Lexus, Advil, Bayer, and Esurance, have stopped their commercials from appearing during his show. Some feel that if enough advertisers boycott The O’Reilly Factor, the Fox News blowhard will be left alone to experiment with his vibrators, while slipping in a falafel or two.

However, O’Reilly’s date with Karma may not go as well as many have hoped. She may get a kiss on the cheek or even get to listen to one of O’Reilly’s loofa shower sexual fantasies, but that’s about it. Many of these advertisers will stick with Fox News, but move their O’Reilly spots to a new show. To make things worse, there have been reports that O’Reilly’s ratings have actually increased after the New York Times revelations. Bill O’Reilly is thriving, while others who do the same things have lost their jobs, gone to prison, or even had their future professional and personal lives completely destroyed.

Bill O’Reilly needs to be held responsible and harshly punished for his actions. If he isn’t, more people — like O’Reilly’s buddy Donald Trump — will rise up and be able to continue their terror on women, the LGBT community, and other minorities without having to worry about any blowback. Those who truly care about the future of our country need to rise up and take action against Bill O’Reilly, at least for the sake of our children.