Thoughts on O'Reilly Losing His Show
Of all the human emotions, schadenfreude is the most despised.
.... Or at least it should be. Sometimes schadenfreude appears to be the dominant emotion on the Internet, and I worry that it is being normalized.
But despite the dominant trend on the Internet, anyone with any human decency left should be ashamed to admit to feelings of schadenfreude.
And yet, I would be dishonest if I didn't admit to a certain feeling of schadenfreude at O'Reilly's downfall. In addition to having disagreeable politics, he was just obviously a bully. And it's always satisfying to see a bully get his comeuppance.
I was also glad when Glenn Beck lost his show in 2011, although that was more a feeling of relief for the sanity of the country. Glenn Beck was obviously out of his mind, and it was disturbing that someone so crazy had such a big influence on the national political dialogue.
In March of 2011, only about a month before Glenn Beck lost his show, I wrote this on my blog:
I can usually disagree with someone without thinking that their insane. But I just don't know about Glenn Beck. Watch this video here from his show (in which he ties together the Libyan protests with the Madison Wisconsin protests, and then talks about the end of the world order as we know it) and make up your own mind about whether this man still has a firm grip on reality.
This wouldn't bug me so much if the man were a marginal figure, but he's not. He's got a very highly rated program, on the highest rated cable news network in the country. I was just in airport bookstores recently, and he has authored not one, but several books being displayed prominently on the shelves. His name is even being used as an endorsement to sell other people's books.
I cringe often when I imagine what future historians are going to write about the political dialogue from our time.
And yet, in both cases, there is something very disturbing about the way both of these men lost their shows. They didn't lose their shows because of a drop in ratings--in both cases, their ratings were as high as ever. They lost their shows because of a drop in sponsors. See this video
In other words, the corporations are controlling the news.
None of this is new, of course. (If you're a Chomsky fan, you've known for a long time that the advertisers control the news content).
But it's disturbing that it's so blatant here.
It's also slightly disturbing that leftists are celebrating this.
Sure, it's nice to see a bully like Bill O'Reilly get his just desserts. But this is exactly the same system that keeps our own views out of the mainstream media. Why are we celebrating it now?