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Confessions of a Conservative who did not like Bill O’Reilly

Written by Frank Santoro

I think it’s commonly accepted that conservatives watch Fox News. It’s probably pretty accurate. I do. But after testing the waters over the years with many of their conservative commentators, I eventually migrated to watching just their news hour with anchor, Bret Baier. It’s hard not to like Bret Baier. The news hour is conducted with class. It presents stories in a non-partisan way, but maybe chooses stories that you won’t see on all the other networks. It’s refreshing. Yes, they have an opinion panel in the final 10 or 15 minutes, but again – it is a classy, respectful segment. And they do endeavor to provide points of view from both conservatives and liberals.

I don’t care much for the opinion folks at Fox. Sean Hannity seems whiny and repetitive. Megyn Kelly, formerly of Fox, started talking like a high-schooler once she became famous. Chatty Cathy-like. She wasn’t always that way. She used to be dignified, poised, articulate as her star was rising. She devolved with the onset of fame (i.e. her own show). Tucker Carlson is the new kid on the block. He reminds me of Lieutenant Columbo from the old mystery series. He brings guests on his show and his affect is nice to the point of being syrupy. Then the claws come out with the gotcha questions, while still maintaining that nice, puzzled (yet purposefully suppressed intellectual) demeanor copyrighted and executed so well by Peter Falk. I did kind of like Greta Van Susteren, made famous way back in the O.J. trial days. She seemed like a straight shooter. Nice personality. Polite to her guests. But she left months ago, so why get nostalgic?

Which brings me to Bill O’Reilly. Fired today. OK, the news reports say that he and Fox News “agreed” that he will not be returning to Fox. C’mon. This was no agreement. He was fired. Bill O’Reilly brought decades of success to Fox News. That’s an incredible accomplishment. And Bill O’Reilly was very sharp politically. His opening monologues, called the “Talking Point Memo” were well written, insightful and usually very on-point. But he was alone, talking into a camera. My appreciation for him ended there. As soon as he brought guests on, conservatives or liberal, men or women, he would jump down their throats. Yell at them. Demean them. Interrupt them (God, the interruptions were excessive). He was extremely condescending. And when he was accused of condescension, like most people who are – he did not recognize it and refuted it. He seemed to command respect from others, but not give it. (Exceptions: Charles Krauthammer and Bernie Goldberg. Bill treated those two with noticeable respect and deference. In short, he allowed them to speak.) The best thing I think I can say about the O’Reilly Factor is that I liked when Jesse Watters was on. Now he’s funny. In case you couldn’t tell, that’s not really saying anything positive about Bill O’Reilly.

So today was Bill’s swan song. I don’t really want to say anything about the allegations because at this point, they are just allegations. But admittedly, the settlement amounts that occurred were huge and further, Fox would not release its biggest money-maker, if they didn’t believe in the plausibility of some of the claims leveled against him. That’s for damn sure.

Good bye, Bill. Good riddance. Ride off into the sunset now. Fox is bigger than you and they just proved it.

And that’s the memo.

1 Comment

  • well said Frank – I couldn’t agree more with literally everything you have written! I enjoy watching Tucker Carlson and Bret Baier the most – Tucker, because it’s really entertaining to watch him obliterate his guests! and Bret, because he is so fair and even handed.

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About the author

Frank Santoro