Allegations of false reporting are not harming Bill O’Reilly. As more criticisms come against the O’Reilly Factor host, ratings for the show increase.
The Baltimore Sun reports Bill O’Reilly’s Monday night show drew 3.3 million viewers, 568,000 in the key 25 to 54 age demographic. This is a 12 percent increase in total viewers and a 15 percent increase in the 25 to 54 age group, over the Monday prior. Wednesday night’s show, which went head-to-head with President Obama’s immigration interview on MSNBC, far surpassed the president’s ratings as The Factor drew 3.1 million viewers. The president’s interview, meanwhile, garnered a total of 907,000 viewers, reports Deadline Hollywood.
Allegations against O’Reilly started late last week as Mother Jones writers David Corn and Daniel Schulman accused The Factor host of lying about being in a war zone in the Falklands. This had a snowball effect, as more allegations of false reporting have surfaced this week. According to Media Matters, ex-colleagues are now accusing O’Reilly of lying when he claimed to have heard a gunshot that killed a man connected to the assassination of JFK when the man took his own life. His reporting of the 1992 LA riots has also come into question this week, as former Inside Edition colleagues dispute O’Reilly’s story that he “survived a bombardment” of bricks and rocks while covering the riots, according to the Guardian.
Unlike Brian Williams, whom NBC suspended after his reporting came into question, Bill O’Reilly seems to be enjoying a nice uptick in ratings from the controversy surrounding his past reporting and is not facing the same internal scrutiny by Fox producers. So how is Bill O’Reilly’s situation different from the controversy faced by Brian Williams? According to Politico, it is because not only did O’Reilly immediately address the allegations (i.e. good PR), but also because the Mother Jones writers made themselves easy targets for the Factor host.
“These weren’t war veterans who felt wronged by O’Reilly’s portrayal of events. They were liberal reporters at an admittedly liberal magazine going after the paragon of right-wing punditry. No matter what goods they had on O’Reilly, it would be easy for him to dismiss these detractors as left-wing zealots bent on his destruction.”
And he did. According to the Washington Post, Bill O’Reilly claims this is all a “political hit job.” When responding to the war zone allegations by Corn and Schulman, O’Reilly referred to Corn as a left-wing assassin and asserted that far-left websites like Mother Jones are not interested in the truth.
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