Thursday, April 20, 2017

O'Reilly Shows Moral Bankruptcy of Fox Empire

The termination of Fox cable's leading star Bill O'Reilly is the latest example in the continuing devolution of the inner rot animating the Murdoch empire and the conservative infomercial industry. Many of the attitudes and misinformation that led to the rise of Trump and Trumpism emanated from Fox, and much of that was hatched in a workplace culture under the thrall of sexual criminals.

Former Fox "News" president Roger Ailes went down last year under the weight of repeated allegations and finally the news that there had been $20 million in payouts of hush money to aggrieved women at Fox who were propositioned and pressured to have sex with the boss. Now, thanks to the New York Times and one courageous woman who wouldn't be bought, O'Reilly is going down too, though with a $25 million severance check. It was the Times that dug up the information that five women had been paid a total of $15 million to keep their mouths shut about O'Reilly's predation, blackmail and retaliation against non-compliant females. Wendy Walsh is the woman who told her story rather than settle for a payoff to stay quiet.

Consider the moral bankruptcy of Fox's ownership, patriarch Rupert and sons Lachlan and James. So long as things could be kept quiet with hush money and ratings were good, the millions spent on keeping their  management's and star's criminality confidential were simply part of the cost of doing business to them. The culture of misogyny was nothing to be concerned about so long as the bottom line was served. It was only after the Times informed the world that there had been a long history of this with O'Reilly, (as with Ailes), and that Ms. Walsh was apparently out of control and would not settle, and consequently that advertisers began deserting O'Reilly's program that action was taken. In other words, when profits were threatened that's when the purveyors of "family values" saw the light and finally "did the right thing." How noble.   

Sunday, April 2, 2017

LA Times Castigates "Our Dishonest President"

Anyone who follows or drops in on this blog even occasionally knows I have opinions and express them in these columns. They also know I take pains, just as I did in my book, to rigorously fact-check everything I present. We live at a time where the cover story in a recent Time Magazine was titled "Is Truth Dead?" At such a time it is more important than ever to assert my adherence to the principle that truth matters and that facts must form the basis of thought and discourse. I believe that to abandon that principle is to court a descent into barbarism of the kind seen in the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century.

I thus find it gratifying that more and more opinion leaders such as Time and CBS News are focusing on that fundamental principle and speaking out directly. The impetus behind this, of course, is the current lying president and the lying crowd of retainers and sycophants who surround him. Today's lead editorial in the Los Angeles Times is a strong example of the increasingly forthright stance being taken as a result of the rising alarm associated with the serial prevarications of the minority president and his enablers. I find the trend refreshing, if unfortunately belated in too many cases.

Today's Times editorial, "Our Dishonest President" is the first of a series of four. I encourage you to click on the link and read it in its entirety yourself.To give you a synopsis, it pulls no punches in using such terms as "narcissist, demagogue and dangerous" to describe the man in the White House. His policies are characterized by such terms as "train wreck, catastrophe, chilling and frightening." But their harshest criticism is reserved for the man himself, "unpredictable, reckless and petulant," "imprudent and erratic."

Their detailed critique, to follow in installments over the next three days, will concentrate on three aspects of the current chief executive's character flaws that present a danger to the republic itself.

They are:

1) "Trump's shocking lack of respect for fundamental rules and the institutions on which our government is based."
2) "His utter lack of regard for the truth."
3) "His scary willingness to repeat alt-right conspiracy theories, racist memes and crackpot ideas."

The Times concludes today's piece with the warning that those who oppose the president must speak out strongly and incessantly in order to safeguard the constitution and all it stands for. I couldn't agree more. I look forward to tomorrow's piece on the president's attempts to undermine constitutional government itself.