April 3, 2018

Is this the only way Bill O'Reilly can get attention anymore? Tweet something brazen and stupid so Lawrence O'Donnell will take a swing at him? I could see last night's episode of Last Word, the total smackdown of Bill O'Reilly, the wind-up, and the pitch, coming from Lawrence's Twitter earlier in the day:

O'Reilly held this up:

And O'Donnell smashed it down:

And of course Lawrence then had the afternoon to write something longer than a tweet, and since Lawrence is an actual writer with an on-the-air cable news show and not a hot-headed sexual harasser blowhard has-been, Lawrence and his staff were able to present this last night. (Kudos to the behind-the-scenes staff at Last Word who created Lawrence's lovely backdrop of O'Reilly boycotters) :

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: When an advertiser boycott closed in on Bill O'Reilly last year, Fox News announced he was going on vacation. He never returned from vacation. And last week when an advertiser boycott started by my next guest David Hogg, started against Laura Ingraham, she announced she was going on vacation. Vacation is the scary place to be when advertisers are boycotting a Fox News show. There are now 15 advertisers boycotting the show. Wayfair, Hulu, Jenny Craig, Office Depot, Bayer... today was the first day they did not lose another advertiser to the boycott.

Fox News management issued this statement today: "We cannot and will not allow voices to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts. We look forward to having Laura Ingraham back." That overlooks the fact Bill O'Reilly was indeed driven from Fox News by an agenda driven effort, the agenda was to stop sexual harassment in the workplace. Specifically, stop Bill O'Reilly's sexual harassment. And it worked because all of the names you see behind me right now boycotted Bill O'Reilly's show. And that's who drove him off TV, the advertisers.

Fox News was doing to let Bill O'Reilly sexually harass women for as often as he wanted to, for as long as he wanted to, and they were going to help him settle lawsuits as long as he wanted to do that, but they were not going to let him lose advertisers for Fox News. That was crossing Fox News' line. So those advertisers who drove Bill O'Reilly out of television probably saved an unknown number of women working at Fox News right now from being sexually harassed by Bill O'Reilly in the workplace.

And now, of course, Bill O'Reilly hates boycotts.

So O'Reilly rose in defense of Laura Ingraham today on Twitter. He said that the boycott is being directed by powerful, shadowy radical groups who want Laura Ingraham off the air.

Here is the picture of the leader of those powerful shadowy, radical groups. That's 17-year-old David Hogg. That's his Twitter photograph. And here is the tweet that publically launched the boycott. It got 55,000 retweets. 128,000 likes and that's something advertisers must pay attention to. It's impossible to conceive of a more peaceful form of protest than a tweet or a boycott. In fact, boycotts were invented at a potentially explosive time.

Charles Boycott was the local rent collector in Ireland for an English lord who owned the land that peasant farmers tried to scrape out a living on, or at least enough food to eat. With harvests dropping, Charles Boycott was ruthless with evictions, and the farmers refused to pay their rents. After that Charles Boycott's last name became a verb and within a year led to new rent laws in Ireland. In the 130 years since, peaceful boycotts have been launched around the world with mixed results, sometimes they succeed, sometimes they don't. But every time boycotts are always called "unfair" by the people who are getting boycotted.

Including, of course, the target of the most successful recent TV advertiser boycott, Bill O'Reilly, whose Irish ancestry once depended on the investigation of the boycott for survival.

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