You might've heard about the allegations reported by Gawker that Bill O'Reilly dragged his now ex-wife down a flight of stairs by her neck. While divorce proceedings always feature an ugly story or two, knowing O'Reilly's short fuse it's not difficult to image a very large O'Reilly doing something like this. It seems entirely plausible, though, again, uncorroborated.
According to a source familiar with the facts of the case, a court-appointed forensic examiner testified at a closed hearing that O’Reilly’s daughter claimed to have witnessed her father dragging McPhilmy down a staircase by her neck, apparently unaware that the daughter was watching. The precise date of the alleged incident is unclear, but appears to have occurred before the couple separated in 2010. The same source indicated that the daughter, who is 16 years old, told the forensic examiner about the incident within the past year.
In case you were wondering whether this would be the straw that broke O'Reilly's career, the answer is absolutely not.
Here's how it'll play out from here.
--When O'Reilly finally defends himself on television, he'll denigrate Gawker's reputation (which is easy to do), calling it a smear site that markets in clickbait and sensationalism. Then he'll shut up about it.
--Next, curious hate-watchers and fans alike will, if they haven't already, flock to The O'Reilly Factor in droves. O'Reilly's ratings will spike, just in time for May sweeps. O'Reilly will brag that he must be innocent because more "folks" than ever are watching The Factor.
--The public will mostly forget about what happened in a week or 10 days, meanwhile O'Reilly and Fox News Channel will be sitting on a mountain of additional ad revenue; additional sales revenue from The O'Reilly Factor swag; a modest bump in book sales and so forth. It'll be a huge financial windfall for O'Reilly and company.
--Then O'Reilly will be in a perfect spot to get more money in his next contract negotiation.
This is the twisted, up-is-down, down-is-up media world we live in. Talentless nobodies are famous for being famous. Politicians accept campaign donations from hard-working Americans even though those politicians have no intention of actually winning their campaigns. The conservative entertainment complex rolls on -- unfettered and uninterrupted. We live in a time when conservatism means a radio show that's syndicated on 400 stations right out of the box, while popular liberal radio shows struggle despite huge ratings. Gay-bashing pizza joints raise $800,000 in a day. And Bill O'Reilly can lie about his career and allegedly abuse his wife, and, as a consequence, actually achieve higher ratings and greater wealth.
There are days when I feel hopeful about where we're headed, but that day is not today.