The news of Bill O’Reilly’s firing from Fox News has been met with understandable joy from most sane and rational people in the United States. O’Reilly has been a constant generator of bullshit for two decades on the right-wing news channel for over two decades. And while his presence on cable television will not be missed by anyone with a functioning brain, one can only come to the conclusion that the damage has already been done. The fact that Donald Fucking Trump is President is a key indicator that Fox News has managed to brainwash a sizeable segment of the population, notably among its key demographic, the baby boomers.
Yes, Bill O’Reilly led the charge to convince Americans that there was a ‘war on Christmas’ every time some retail clerk neglected to remind them that the commercialized celebration of the birth of Christ was coming, but he was certainly not alone in convincing conservative Americans that the ‘liberal media’ was coming to turn their children into transgender communists and that ‘the left’ was intent upon turning the United States into a giant Stalinist death camp between the socialist cultural headquarters of New York and Los Angeles. O’Reilly and the network he called home for so long have played on the irrational fears of their viewers and they’ve molded them into a perfect army of feeble-minded, delusional sheep who not only can be easily convinced to vote against their better interests but who believe anyone who does not is basically a Che Guevera in waiting, just sitting idly for the call from the commie overlords of the Democratic Party to start killing the conservative grandmas of the country and turn all her grandkids into homosexual atheists with face tattoos.
And that’s not even mentioning the black people. Yes, O’Reilly was always careful not to be TOO racist, but you could always tell it bothered him that he had to stop himself from being racist enough to satisfy his urges. If it were up to him, O’Reilly would have had nightly cross burnings on air. In fact, the only thing I’d imagine O’Reilly enjoys more than being racist is sexually harassing women. I can’t even begin to imagine the kinds of perverse sexual activities a guy like O’Reilly with his disposable income has gotten himself into. Shudder.
There are many bad things about O’Reilly, and Fox, and the entire conservative movement for that matter, so I won’t bother saying anything is ‘the worst’ aspect. But one particularly troubling aspect to me is that these people have not only repeatedly cast themselves as the ‘moral’ ones in our society, but in a perverse way they’ve succeeded in promoting that identity. They’ve turned morality not into a genuine concern for one’s fellow humans, but into a twisted game of commercializing easily signaled virtues and packaging them into catch phrases and slogans and sound bytes. This is the hallmark of the conservative media: a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.
So fuck O’Reilly, and be happy that he’s going away (at least for now), but don’t be fooled into thinking the war has been won.