Lessons From the Fall of Bill O’Reilly

  • Woman Called ‘Hot Chocolate’ Identifies Herself
  • Cecilia Alvear, Former NAHJ President, Dies at 77
  • White Men ‘Overwhelming’ on Cable Morning Shows
  • TV One Expanding ‘NewsOne Now’ to Two Hours
  • FCC Vote Leads to More Media Consolidation
  • NPR Reports Scant Progress on Diversity Figures
  • 6 ‘Rhoden Fellows’ Named at the Undefeated
  • Census Tests More Hispanic-Friendly Questions
  • Short Takes
The women’s advocacy group UltraViolet protests outside Fox News headquarters in New York this week. (UltraViolet)

Woman Called ‘Hot Chocolate’ Identifies Herself

Perquita Burgess, who said Bill O’Reilly called her “Hot Chocolate” as they worked together, and Rashad Robinson, executive director of the civil rights group Color of Change, were among those credited Thursday and Friday with forcing the decision to oust the Fox News host amid sexual harassment allegations.


The attention of pundits, editorial writers and others, however, shifted toward the broader issues of how much meaningful change would take place at Fox News (not much, many said), how O’Reilly’s comeuppance would affect sexual harassment in the workplace (one can always hope), comparisons with the behavior of President Trump and the implications for other conservative media figures.

The departure of O’Reilly — like the departure, last summer, of [Fox CEO Roger] Ailes — suggests that the network’s old way of operating has become unsustainable,” Kelefa Sanneh wrote Thursday in the New Yorker.

Perquita Burgess, right, appears on “The View.”

But Janine Jackson of Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting wrote Friday, “There’s no reason to believe that culture has changed, particularly as the network won’t make the results of their investigation public. . . .”


Susan Chira wrote Thursday in the New York Times, “Judging from more than 950 comments posted on Facebook after The New York Times asked women for their assessment of Mr. O’Reilly’s departure, many doubted that this heralded a new era for Fox or would encourage more women to report sexual harassment. . . .”

Burgess’ identity was kept secret until she appeared Thursday on ABC’s “The View.”


Burgess was a temp worker at Fox News when, she said, O’Reilly sexually harassed her,” Stephen Proctor reported Thursday for Superfan TV. “According to Burgess, the harassment included his grunting at her and leering at her, as well as O’Reilly making inappropriate comments, at least one of which went beyond sexual harassment.

“ ‘I’m just sitting there minding my business and he walks past and says, “Hey, Hot Chocolate.” But he didn’t look at me when he said it. And I didn’t respond. I was mortified because not only was it sexual, I took that as a very plantation remark,’ Burgess said of one incident.”Burgess didn’t file a complaint against O’Reilly at Fox because she wasn’t technically an employee. Nor did she file a complaint with her temp agency, which had a lot of people working at Fox, because she didn’t want to damage the agency’s relationship with Fox. But she did take to Twitter in both 2010 and 2014 expressing her feelings toward O’Reilly in no uncertain terms. . . .”


Zahara Hill reported for Huffington Post Black Voices Thursday that in March 2015, Color of Change “began an advertising boycott urging companies to pull ads airing during ‘The O’Reilly Factor.’ The campaign, which fluctuated in momentum throughout its first two years, gained traction last month after O’Reilly inappropriately remarked that Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ hair looked like a wig that the late James Brown would sport. . . .”

Writing in the Chicago Tribune Thursday, Mary Schmich listed nine lessons from the fall of O’Reilly, who was reported to be receiving a payoff of as much as $25 million:

“1. Change doesn’t grow in silence. . .

“2. Money talks when money walks. . . .

“3. Even when they behave badly, the rich tend to get richer. . . .

“4. The end of O’Reilly on Fox isn’t the end of misogyny. . . .

“5. Can we stop lumping all old white guys, sometimes known as middle-age white guys, together? . . .


“6. Sexism goes beyond sexual harassment. . . .

“7. As long as men hold most of the power, there will be women who defend sexist men. . . .


“8. Almost every woman has a story, probably more than one, of being sexually harassed. . . .

“9. All power is borrowed and can be revoked at any moment. . . .”

The response of some fellow conservatives was perhaps unforeseen. Writing in the National Review, David French declared on Thursday:

There are those who say that the Left is ‘taking scalps,’ and they have a list of Republican victims to prove their thesis. Roger Ailes is out at Fox News. Bill O’Reilly is out at Fox News. Michael Flynn is out at the White House. Those three names — the head of the most powerful cable news network, the highest-rated cable news personality, and the national-security adviser — represent a stunning wave of resignations and terminations.


“But this isn’t scalp-taking, it’s scalp-giving. Time and again prominent conservative personalities have failed to uphold basic standards of morality or even decency. Time and again the conservative public has rallied around them, seeking to protect their own against the wrath of a vengeful Left. Time and again the defense has proved unsustainable as the sheer weight of the facts buries the accused.

“Moreover, the pattern is repeating itself with the younger generation of conservative celebrities. The sharp rise and meteoric fall of both Tomi [Lahren] and Milo Yiannopoulos were driven by much the same dynamic that sustained O’Reilly for years, even in the face of previous sexual-harassment complaints — Lahren and Yiannopoulos were ‘fighters’ who ‘tell it like it is.’ O’Reilly was the master of the ‘no-spin zone’ and seemed fearless in taking on his enemies.


“What followed was a toxic culture of conservative celebrity, where the public elevated personalities more because of their pugnaciousness than anything else. . . .”

Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times: Ousted by Fox, Bill O’Reilly leaves a legacy of infuriating and influencing America and the news media


Ty Burr, Boston Globe: The O’Reilly factor that mattered? Hypocrisy.

Susan Chira, New York Times: A New Era After Bill O’Reilly? Women Aren’t Convinced


Ken Doctor, thestreet.com: Don’t Be Fooled Into Expecting a New Fox News

Editorial, Chicago Sun-Times: Bill O’Reilly and sexual harassment in the workplace


Editorial, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: O’Reilly’s firing sends a strong — if belated — message on harassment

Editorial, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: O’Reilly overboard: The Fox News star gets his just deserts


Paul Farhi, Washington Post: Bill O’Reilly’s gone — with $25 million in severance. Now the hard work really starts for Fox News.

Leonard Greene, Daily News, New York: Charles Payne joins list of Fox News anchors facing lawsuits — but his is over a book deal


Colby Hall, Mediaite: FoxNews-enfreude: CNN and MSNBC Obsess Over Bill O’Reilly While Major News Gets Sidelined

Janine Jackson, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting: Karma Catches Up With Bill O’Reilly


Shaun King, Daily News, New York: Bill O’Reilly is latest conservative kicked to the curb in shame — and even Trump couldn’t help him

Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Boston Globe: Money kept O’Reilly in his bully pulpit – and money pushed him out of it


Simon Moya-Smith, Indian Country Today Media Network: Fox News Pundit Repulsively Compares Native Americans to ISIS

Joe Pompeo, Politico: Emails show O’Reilly lawyers’ last-ditch effort to save his job


Kelefa Sanneh, New Yorker: Tucker Carlson and Fox News After Bill O’Reilly

Mary Schmich, Chicago Tribune: 9 lessons from the fall of Bill O’Reilly

Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post: ‘Be brave’: Bill O’Reilly’s downfall teaches a wonderful lesson to working women


Pam Vogel, Media Matters for America: On The Firing Of Bill O’Reilly: What Is Gone, And What Is Not

Dan Wasserman, Boston Globe: Bill O’Reilly’s ‘spin zone’ (cartoon)

Cecilia Alvear, Former NAHJ President, Dies at 77

Cecilia Alvear, a longtime television journalist and former president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists who crusaded for greater opportunities for young Latino journalists throughout her career, died Friday at her home in Santa Monica after battling breast cancer,” Sonali Kohli reported for the Los Angeles Times. “She was 77.


“Alvear had bounced around local Los Angeles news stations until 1982, when NBC hired her to run its Mexico City bureau. She remained at the network until her retirement in 2007.

“During that time Alvear covered wars and revolutions in El Salvador and Nicaragua, and produced multiple interviews with Cuban President Fidel Castro, said George Lewis, her partner of 23 years. . . .”


Veronica Villafañe wrote for her Media Moves site, “She was a dedicated journalist, a champion for diversity, and a socially-conscious individual whose generosity of spirit made her a selfless and incredible friend. Her death is a great loss for those who knew and loved her and for those whose path she helped pave.

“Alvear had bounced around local Los Angeles news stations until 1982, when NBC hired her to run its Mexico City bureau. She remained at the network until her retirement in 2007.


“Cecilia was a pioneer who helped open the door for many Latina journalists. . . .”

“For years, she actively pushed for more diversity in newsrooms, additionally serving on the boards of UNITY-Journalists of Color and the Nieman foundation. . . .”

Credit: Media Matters for America]

White Men ‘Overwhelming’ on Cable Morning Shows

“The study found that black, Latino, Asian-American and Middle Eastern voices are critically underrepresented, and women make up only a quarter of guest appearances. . . .”


TV One Expanding ‘NewsOne Now’ to Two Hours

Roland Martin

Beginning in the third quarter of this year, “TV One will enhance its live morning news, current affairs and lifestyle programming by expanding to three hours of live television,” the network announced, “beginning with an expanded version of [NewsOne] Now, hosted by Roland S. Martin, from 7-9 am ET.

“Later this year, the show will undergo a name and format change to complement the increased time slot to become Black America Today, the only daily news show that covers the issues that matter to the African American community.


“ ‘After six consecutive quarters of growth for [NewsOne] Now, we are excited to announce that Roland Martin will continue to be a voice to the African American community with more time to share the news and stories that matter most to the Black community,’ said D’Angela Proctor, TV One’s SVP, Original Programming and Production.

“ ‘Viewers can look forward to more coverage of the latest headlines in addition to lifestyle stories in the areas of entertainment, business, personal finance, health and inspiration.’


“The third hour will become home to a brand new live, multi-platform one-hour daily talk show that is fun, informative, engaging and live. Hosted by a panel of four women who are dynamic, smart, funny and opinionated, they want to empower and inspire African American women to tackle the challenges of their everyday lives. (A show-specific announcement will follow shortly).

“TV One will also focus on expanding its popular True Crime & Justice programming, which has become a staple for the network on Monday nights. Beginning in August 2017, a second night of true crime shows will premiere, anchored by the proven series For My Man (Season 3). . . .”


FCC Vote Leads to More Media Consolidation

On Friday, Jessell reported that the Sinclair Broadcast Group “announced the acquisition of 14 stations in eight markets from Bonten Media for $240 million.”


Lorraine Mirabella added Friday in the Baltimore Sun, “Bonten owns 14 television stations in eight markets, which reach about 1 percent of the TV households in the United States. The broadcaster also operates four stations through ‘joint sales agreements’ with Esteem Broadcasting, and those stations will be acquired by Sinclair-owned Cunningham Broadcasting.

“. . . The acquisition will help Sinclair expand its regional presence in several states where it already owns stations, Chris Ripley, Sinclair president and CEO, said in Friday’s announcement. Sinclair owns, operates or offers service to 173 television stations in 81 markets.


Mirabella also noted, “Bloomberg News has reported that Sinclair is preparing to buy Tribune Media, which would bring together two of the nation’s largest television station owners. . . .”

The National Hispanic Media Coalition was among the opponents of the FCC decision.

Carmen Scurato

 Carmen Scurato, the coalition’s director of policy and legal affairs, said in a statement, “Fewer than 10 percent of broadcast licenses are held by people of color at a time when over a third of Americans are people of color. That doesn’t happen by accident, that happens when policy makers bend the rules for media conglomerates to continue to amass greater power over what we see and hear.


“Our last resort is accountability and the FCC today has again chipped away at broadcast requirements that would give the public any glimpse at why platforms owned by women and people of color are disappearing. The FCC must find more ways for the public to access timely data and analysis on media diversity with a meaningful opportunity to weigh in on these distressing changes.”

Separately, the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council called attention Friday to a landmark in civil rights history: the April 24, 1967, United Church of Christ petition asking the FCC to adopt a rule barring race and gender discrimination in broadcast station employment.


The MMTC asked the FCC “to complete the journey UCC began in 1967 by completing the long-dormant EEO rulemaking and restoring strong broadcast EEO enforcement. . . .”

John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable: FCC’s Clyburn: I Still Have Work to Do

Cecilia Kang, New York Times: Ajit Pai, F.C.C. Chairman, Moves to Roll Back Telecom Rules

WBUR-FM in Boston, an NPR affiliate, recruited at the career fair last year at the joint convention of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. (scoopeasy)

NPR Reports Scant Progress on Diversity Figures

“According to NPR’s human resources department, of the 350 employees in the news division as of Oct. 31, 2016, 75.4 percent were white. Asians made up 8.3 percent of the staff, followed by blacks or African-Americans (8.0 percent), Hispanics or Latinos (5.4 percent), those who identified as two or more races or ethnic identities (2.6 percent) and American Indian (0.3 percent).


“(Because this column was delayed, we also asked for the most current figures, as of March 31, 2017, which are included at the end of the column and are only slightly different.)

“The Ombudsman’s office has been tracking these numbers for several years; the comparisons with previous years can be seen in the accompanying charts. Essentially, they show that the numbers changed little, or at least they changed incrementally, in the past five years. There’s simply no way around it: If the goal is to increase diversity in the newsroom, last year’s was a disappointing showing. It also mirrors a national trend; newsroom diversity has ‘nearly flatlined’ for more than a decade, reports Farai Chideya, in the Columbia Journalism Review. . . .”


Jensen also wrote, “Some in the newsroom and upper management at NPR argued that the focus on the raw numbers discounts other changes last year that had the effect of contributing to NPR sounding more diverse on-air. . . . Although not publicly visible, the hiring process has also changed in the past year; most job candidate pools now include diverse candidates, unlike in the past, argued Keith Woods, NPR’s vice president for newsroom training and diversity.

“Far more people I spoke to in the newsroom expressed frustration — some even said they were angry — at the slow pace of change. ‘The company has been talking about the importance of diversity for many, many years,’ but changes are not happening, said Marisa Peñaloza, a senior producer on NPR’s National Desk.


“That’s despite a number of meetings in the past year between NPR’s senior management and a group of Hispanic employees, as well as a concerted recruiting push at last August’s joint conference of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. . . .”

6 ‘Rhoden Fellows’ Named at the Undefeated

William C. Rhoden

Bill Rhoden is frustrated. He doesn’t hold back,” Ed Sherman wrote Thursday for the Poynter Institute.

“ ‘Our industry (sports media) is one of the most segregated parts of journalism,’ Rhoden said.


“Later, he said, ‘If you’re an editor, and you don’t have any Black reporters, you’re part of the problem.’

“Rhoden, a 35-year veteran, wants to change a dynamic that still shows few African-Americans writing about sports and even fewer in positions of leadership in the sports department. The Undefeated, ESPN’s multiplatform initiative for sports, race and culture, is giving him the chance by sponsoring the Rhoden Fellows.


“It is a sports journalism internship program focused on identifying and training aspiring African-American journalists from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The inaugural class, announced in March, has six journalists.

“With Rhoden and others serving as hands-on mentors, the students will contribute stories to The Undefeated during the school year, and they will have paid internships in the summer, working in New York, Washington, D.C. and Bristol, Conn. . . .”


As announced March 8, the fellows are Miniya Shabazz, Grambling State University; Kyla Wright, Hampton University; Paul A. Holston, Howard University; C. Isaiah Smalls II, Morehouse College; Simone Benson, Morgan State University; and Donovan Dooley, North Carolina A&T University.

Steven Doyle, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: We don’t profile our journalists

Briana Florez, thedmonline.com, University of Mississippi: Diversity and inclusion conference encourages students to pause


TVNewsCheck: Making Strides Toward Diversity And Inclusion

Census Tests More Hispanic-Friendly Questions

“Recently released Census Bureau research underscores an important reason why: Many Hispanics, who are the nation’s largest minority group, do not identify with the current racial categories.


“Census officials say this is a problem because in order to obtain good data, they need to make sure people can match themselves to the choices they are offered. Census data on race and Hispanic origin are used to redraw congressional district boundaries and enforce voting and other civil rights laws, as well as in a wide variety of research, including Pew Research Center studies.

“After years of trying to persuade Hispanics to choose a standard race category, the Census Bureau has been testing a new approach, with what the agency says are promising results. In 2015, the bureau contacted 1.2 million U.S. households for a test census that experimented with two different ways of combining the Hispanic and race questions into one question (and included a proposed new ‘Middle Eastern or North African’ category as well). Respondents could self-identify in as many categories as they wanted, or only one.


“The result: More than 70% of self-identified Hispanics said they were Hispanic but did not choose a race in answering the combined question, and less than 1% checked the ‘some other race’ box on the test census. . . .”

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Working-class whites can’t handle their status as ‘the new minority’


Kat Chow, NPR “Code Switch”: ‘Model Minority’ Myth Again Used As A Racial Wedge Between Asians And Blacks

Solomon Jones, Philadelphia Daily News: ‘People of color’ no longer a hollow expression


Short Takes

Robert Costa

Washington Post national political reporter Robert Costa is taking over for the late Gwen Ifill as moderator of the long-running PBS political talk show ‘Washington Week,’ ” Ellen McCarthy reported Thursday for the Post. “Costa, 31, will remain in his current position at The Post, covering Congress and the Trump administration. . . .”

Studies of both education initiatives and cognitive biases suggest that, at a time when more critical media consumption is sorely needed, news literacy can be a difficult skill to impart,” John Dyer wrote April 14 for Nieman Reports. “A Stanford University study released late last year found that most middle school, high school, and college students were functional news illiterates. Eighty-two percent of middle school students couldn’t distinguish between a ‘sponsored content’ advertisement and a real news story on the same website, the study found. . . .”

Leon Harris (Credit: Sharon Farmer)

After being let go by ABC-7 in 2016, local news anchor Leon Harris is joining rival station NBC4 Washington,” Ellen McCarthy reported Thursday for the Washington Post. “Harris became a familiar face and beloved personality over his 13-year tenure anchoring the 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts at ABC-7. But that station didn’t renew his contract last fall, and on Thursday, NBC4 announced that it was adding Harris to its roster. . . . Harris started his career behind the scenes at CNN, first as an intern and then working in the network’s satellite department in the 1980s. He became an anchor in the early ’90s . . .”


Geraldo Rivera soon will be calling Cleveland home, at least for a good part of the year,” Mark Dawidziak reported Thursday for the Plain Dealer. “He will be keeping a New Jersey residence and his regular gig with the Fox News Channel, but Rivera will be making the move to Northeast Ohio this summer. . . . His wife, Erica Levy, is from Shaker Heights . . . .”

A day after canceling a scheduled speech by Ann Coulter for security reasons, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said Thursday that the right-wing pundit’s insistence on coming anyway persuaded him to rethink her banishment,” Nanette Asimov reported Friday for the San Francisco Chronicle. “ ‘An appropriate, protectable venue’ will be made available on campus May 2 — not next Thursday, as originally planned — he said, adding that he would disclose the location only after Coulter accepts the new date. That’s not likely. . . .” Commentary by Michael Meyers.


Digital First Media, owner of the Bay Area News Group, plans to move copy desk work to Southern California, triggering 20 more layoffs from a shrunken roster of 92 Guild-represented employees in the East Bay,” NewsMatters, a NewsGuild project, reported Wednesday. “The announcement came only a week after the East Bay news staff was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for ‘relentless’ breaking news coverage of the deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland. Copy editors at the Mercury News already have been forced to quit or relocate to the East Bay, where editorial production was moved as part of an earlier reorganization. . . .”

Senate Democrats want White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon to clarify recent contact he’s had with Breitbart News, the conservative outlet he once ran,” Jordain Carney reported Thursday for the Hill. “The senators also want to know if Bannon’s contact with the site complies with ethics rules. . . .”


National Geographic announced Wednesday that it has greenlit a new documentary series from Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, “a docuseries currently titled ‘Race,’ which will give look into systemic injustices in America,” Joe Otterson reported Wednesday for Variety. “The six-episode series will weave together documentary, animation and archival footage. It will delve into crime and punishment, wealth inequality, the role of social media, activism and family. . . . “

Sen. Frank Artiles resigned from the Florida Legislature on Friday, consumed by a scandal that erupted three days earlier over a diatribe of insults the Miami Republican unleashed against two lawmakers at a Tallahassee bar,” Patricia Mazzei and Mary Ellen Klas reported for the Miami Herald. The Herald and Tampa Bay Times were among those calling for Artiles’ resignation over the racial slurs.


Half of the Asian American voters participating in a poll by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund said they did not think that police departments treat racial and ethnic groups equally, Hansi Lo Wang reported Tuesday for NPR. “That sentiment was strongest among majorities of multi-ethnic Asian-Americans and those of Korean or Indo-Caribbean descent. At 32 percent, Cambodian-Americans and Vietnamese-Americans, however, showed the highest levels of responses saying that police treatment is equal. . . . The divisions continued between generations. . . .”

Ruth Sulzberger Holmberg, who challenged racial barriers, political skulduggery and environmental adversaries as publisher of The Chattanooga Times in Tennessee for nearly three decades, and who was a member of the family that controls The New York Times, died on Wednesday at her home in Chattanooga,” Robert D. McFadden reported for the New York Times. “She was 96.” McFadden also wrote that the Chattanooga paper “championed the racial integration of schools and universities, supported civil rights legislation in Congress” and endorsed reforms to “expand the voting franchise and give black residents, a third of the population, a larger voice in municipal affairs. . . .”


While U.S. theatres have a long way to go in terms of equity, diversity, and inclusion, they are a multicultural utopia compared to the narrow demographics of those who write about the theatre . . .,” Rob Weinert-Kendt, editor-in-chief of American Theatre, wrote April 13. “The good news: There are indeed promising critical talents of many backgrounds circulating . . . The bad news: There are fewer places than ever for them to ply their trade, find their voice, get mentored and shaped and challenged as writers, thinkers — and leaders. That’s why American Theatre is proud this year to help administer an arts journalism track as part of the Rising Leaders of Color Program, a Theatre Communications Group initiative geared toward nurturing a new generation of theatre leaders of color. (Application here.)

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists called Friday “on Mexican and Venezuelan officials to immediately pursue justice for slain journalists and offer protection to those covering current crime and corruption. . . .”


A military court in Cameroon today convicted Ahmed Abba, a journalist for Radio France Internationale’s Hausa service, on charges of ‘non-denunciation of terrorism’ and ‘laundering of the proceeds of terrorist acts,’ according to his lawyer and RFI,” the Committee to Protect Journalists reported on Thursday. It called on Cameroonian authorities “not to contest the journalist’s appeal and to release him without delay. . . . Abba’s lawyer, Clément Nakong, told CPJ that Abba, who has been jailed since July 2015 in relation to his reporting on the extremist group Boko Haram, could face the death penalty on the first charge and a maximum of five years in prison on the second charge at a sentencing hearing” scheduled for Monday.

The International Federation of Journalists said Thursday that it “condemned the detention of a Palestinian woman reporter held for over a week in Gaza and demanded her swift release. Taghreed Ahmed Abu Dharifa, a journalist with Palestine TV, part of the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation, has been arrested on April 13 at her home in Abasan, east of Khan Younis, by Hamas Security apparatus. Yesterday, her detention was prolonged 15 days by the Gaza military court for ‘spying for Ramallah.’ . . .”


In Uganda, a “Court has issued an interim order refraining journalists and media houses sued by police boss Kale Kayihura from publishing anything to do with Andrew Felix Kaweesi murder investigations,” the Uganda Radio Network reported on Friday. It also reported, “The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kale Kayihura on Wednesday sued journalists and four media companies for allegedly compromising national security by reporting on the ongoing investigations into the March 17 assassination of Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP), Andrew Felix Kaweesi. . . .”

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