By Kica Matos
Everyone, likely even much of his audience, knows Bill OReilly is a bad human. A mention of his epithet among groups of women will usually elicit shudders of disgust.
Notwithstanding, 21 st Century Fox decided to extend the contract of this serial sexual harasser while helping to pay the $13 M in legal costs for his harassment of women. Are we astounded? Appalled maybe, but not surprised. This is after all, the same network that supported the election of an admitted sexual assaulter as President of the United States and which until very recently was run by a human who himself was a serial harasser who applied his power at the network to construct women submit to him.
OReilly, Trump and the current and former head of Fox News have one common denominator: They are conservative white boys in situations of power. Power and dominance ties-in these men inextricably. As does disrespect for women.
While neither Trump nor OReilly created the problem of harassment and assault in America, they have two things in common: 1) They are high profile perpetrators who have managed to get away with their disgusting behaviour and 2) They are co-dependent on the explicit and implicit combating racism and sexism of their audiences for ratings or votes.
Ultimately, the wider Trump and Fox News agenda is all about disempowering women. Consider that Trump has 😛 TAGEND
Built the whitest, most male cabinet in recent history including Jeff Sessions and Mike Price who voted against legislation to curb violence against women and reach equal pay.
Re-enacted the global gag rule on reproductive freedom for women. And his Administration has already moved to bar funding for womens health though Schemed Parenthood
Proposed an anti-women domestic budget that would mean among other things that 260,000 more victims of sex crime and family violence would not have access shelters and supportive services each year.
Donald Trump loves and needs Bill OReilly, a man who was known during the campaign as his chief enabler. OReilly adoration and necessity Donald Trump. And the head of Fox News network cant seem to get enough of them. Or their repulsive commentaries. Or their racism, misogyny and xenophobia. Why? Ratings. And the mighty dollar 21 st Century Fox desires earnings! Its a trifecta of co-dependency the white nationalist President, the sexist right wing media icon and “owners corporations” willing to pick up the harassment tab as a gateway for more profits.
What is to be done about this? Step one is to remember an important reality: Fox News is literally delving its own tomb. The median age of a Fox New prime time viewer is 68 means that over half of its audience is older than that.
The Fox News audience is old and male and getting even older and more male. The continuing saga of harassment and Foxs cheerleading for Trumpism will merely worsen its demographic demise. And here is something else that counts against them: while Trump voters and Fox Newss audience are literally dying, women working in coloring will make up 53 % of the population by 2050.
None of that is to say we need be standing and watch Fox News go gently into that good nighttime. Bill OReilly has advertisers and those advertisers have customers who are younger( even if Fox itself does not ). Already, these advertisers are waking up to the fact that the surging post-Trump resistance exemplified by the electrifying March for Women and building to a new, pro-immigrant crescendo on May 1st is bigger than Trump? Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and BMW recently pulled places from OReillys show. More are following suit.
Social justice proponents are also stepping up their play. In every post-election session I have attended about coordinating opposition( and good news – thats a lot of meetings) the subject of corporate targets has come up. Increasingly, our society is becoming more is cognizant of what they buy, the level of corporate responsibility behind these products and whether these entities assault or subsistence people based on their identity.
More and more, this generation is using their imagination and might and buying power to bring about change. Just witness the bloodbath of corporate withdrawal regarding Trump brands. Corporate America may be part of the trifecta of co-dependency in this case but only so long as we permit it. And hour is running out on them.
For those of us who make up part of the growing number of women of color who will soon be the 53% let me be clear: we intend to use our power to make sure that men in situations of power who abuse and harass females humen like OReilly and Trump, are knocked off their perch. Permanently.
Kica Matos is Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice for the Center for Community Change .
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