It’s not that far-fetched of an idea. Not in this world, anyway.
Think about it: we are told that James Murdoch, the head of 21st Century Fox, wants rid of Bill O’Reilly in the wake of increased media scrutiny (and decreased advertisers) over his history of alleged sexual harassment–a history that reportedly caused Megyn Kelly to leave for NBC News. If O’Reilly is forced out of Fox News, it’s profoundly unlikely that he’ll wind up at CNN, and unlike his erstwhile colleague Greta Van Susteren, MSNBC will probably not bring him on board. A man with his ego and lust for the spotlight is going to need something to do.
Just over a decade ago, a former colleague of O’Reilly’s was given the opportunity to be the voice of a sitting Republican President. That former colleague was, like O’Reilly, a man who was able to convince many Americans that he was far less partisan than he actually was; he continued to demonstrate that unique skill in his new White House position, serving in that role for a year and a half before an illness that ultimately claimed his life forced him to step down.
Why couldn’t it happen again?
If O’Reilly is forced to leave Fox News, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if he winds up replacing Sean Spicer as White House press secretary. He may well be more qualified.
It’s hard to see Spicer sticking around for long in the wake of his butchering of Holocaust history; he has become arguably the most clownish figure in the Trump administration not named Trump. Spicer is simply no longer an asset to this administration, and can easily be tossed overboard.
O’Reilly could succeed where Spicer has failed. He is more articulate in his aggression, more skillful in his sleaze. Yes, O’Reilly has botched history in his own right, but it’s hard to imagine him telling the sort of over-the-top whoppers Spicer has provided. O’Reilly understands something Spicer does not: that there is an art to deception, that prevarication has to be packaged, that it takes natural talent to manipulate gullible people.
O’Reilly would be a flawless fit as Trump’s press secretary. Mainstream-media reporters would show deference to O’Reilly, regardless of his history, regardless of whether he deserves such deference, for fear of being attacked on social media for alleged liberal bias by his fanbase. O’Reilly could an effective shill for any Trump proposal, making Trump seem quasi-presidential to those who view politics superficially (and November 8 taught us there are quite a few of those folks in this country). Two decades of deceit on Fox News have prepared O’Reilly well for such a role.
Remember, the Trump administration is motivated by an unyielding desire to stick two middle fingers in the faces of those horrified by boorish antics. O’Reilly as press secretary would be just one more way for Trump and company to make it clear that they frankly don’t give a damn about decency, honor, respect or class. The folks who still hang on to Trump’s every word would love it.
Trump is, far more so than George W. Bush, a creation of the Fox News culture. O’Reilly as press secretary would further cement the bond between the cretinous cable network and “President Jackass,” as Olbermann calls Trump. O’Reilly’s press briefings would be sordid spectacles, of course, but O’Reilly would be careful not to fully embarrass himself the way Spicer has.
Stranger things have happened; the strangest thing is actually in the Oval Office. If Trump pulls Sean the Clown off the stage, he may replace him with a more powerful symbol of rage.