Bill O’Reilly’s post-Fox News tenure has included, uh, a low-key podcast and occasionally reminding everyone that he’s alive. He did, however, recently set off on a “History Tour” with ex-President Donald Trump, and that’s been one ill-received whirlwind. Poor ticket sales show that few people want to vote with dollars for a “loser” ex-president or a former star Fox News talking head, who reportedly grunted like a wild boar and referred to a Fox News employee as “hot chocolate,” a revelation that surfaced before his ousting at the conservative cable news network.
O’Reilly must not hold much value in keeping Trump happy amid their bombing tour. He went on NewsNation and spoke with Dan Abrams about how he actually told Trump (to his face) that his 2020 bid “was a loser.” Surely, that went over well! Via Mediaite:
“He asked me my opinion and I told him that was a loser. And I told him he should run on his record if he wants to go for another term. That’s exactly what I told him. He asked me, and that’s exactly what I told him.”
O’Reilly was feeling even spicier when he decided to trash Fox News, which he believes now “play[s] to the choir.” He’s tying what he sees as a downfall to his own departure:
“Well sure, because I brought in millions and millions of viewers and billions of dollars to that corporation for more than 20 years. Look, there’ll never be another cable news anchor who’s number one for 16 consecutive years. It’s a different world now. It’s–everything is fractured now.”
O’Reilly went on to argue that he invited guests “from all sides” and “presented evidence as best we could backed up by facts,” but these days, Fox News will only “play to the choir and that’s what they’re all doing now. That’s easy.” Whereas he feels that he did the more difficult thing because “it’s hard to debate and especially when you bring bright people in.” (You can watch the clip at Mediaite.)
However, O’Reilly’s cable news domination ended in 2017 when he was ousted following revelations that he paid out over $30 million for sexual harassment settlements. Media analyst Howard Kurtz once described him as “the biggest star in the 20 year history at Fox News,” which speaks to O’Reilly’s enormous fall. Yet he’s not entirely wrong, given that currently popular hosts like Tucker Carlson spread their propaganda through faux-rhetorical arguments. Tucker also doesn’t provide the opportunity for potentially hostile guests to challenge him on-air, and so, the MAGA cycle continues.
In the end, O’Reilly does seem very bitter about his firing and over his failed “History Tour” with Trump, but the former Fox News celebrity host also made his own bed.