Fox News and Bill O’Reilly
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
5 April 2017
Fox News, fire Bill O’Reilly – he damaged the brand
When does a brand get fed up with a spokesperson? I’m thinking of this concerning the Bill O’Reilly sexual harassment claims. What does it take for the Fox News brand to eight-six someone who draws four million viewers per night?
It’s happened before. Even at Fox. Roger Ailes was ousted as the Fox News leader over sexual harassment lawsuits. Recently, Fox News fired its longtime controller over a racial harassment lawsuit. Megyn Kelly, its one-time star, left for NBC angry over the sexually charged environment at Fox News.
Why is Bill O’Reilly still on air after The New York Times reported he settled five lawsuits at the cost of $13 million?
“Fox News gave Bill O’Reilly a pass because he was making it rich. Now, he’s costing them. Both in money and reputation.”
The moralist in me says he should be gone. Pronto. He’s a creep. He comes off on TV as all bluster and obnoxious pontificating. In his private life, it seems O’Reilly is the same.
In the world of today’s cable news, the anchors aren’t really news people. That’s true on both sides of the aisle. CNN’s Anderson Cooper is a celebrity, a representative of the CNN brand. Rachel Maddow, same for MSNBC. And O’Reilly, the same for Fox News.
Fox News should fire O’Reilly because he embarrassed the brand
So what should Fox News do? Fire him. No question. Here’s why.
In the aftermath of the Ailes axing, the network claimed it was investigating its atmosphere of sexual misconduct. And would institute reforms. It, however, turns a blind eye to the misconduct of Bill O’Reilly. Why? Because his show generates hundreds of millions of dollars in adrevenue. Settlements totaling $13 million is cheap.
But there’s the rub. Advertisers are pulling their placements. Auto manufacturers Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, BMW, Mitsubishi and Lexus are pulling ads. Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline and Allstate have followed suit. (No pun intended.)
The tipping point of any celebrity scandal is when it costs money. Or damages the brand. Fox News gave Bill O’Reilly a pass because he was making it rich. Now, he’s costing them. Both in money and reputation. It’s only a matter of time until O’Reilly sees the exit door.
The danger for any brand so closely associate itself with a personality that it becomes a prisoner to that personality’s history. O’Reilly is the star of Fox News. But now he brands the network as a bullying, insensitive and harassing news outlet.
Time for Bill O’Reilly to go.
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