Bill O’Reilly Outed by Fox–Still Distinguished at Boston University

Flowers lined the wet New York City streets this past week in front of Fox News following the networks firing of weeknight talk host, Bill O’Reilly. His career has been marked by controversies, most notably the latest sexual assault accusations that led to his firing.

“It is literally causing chaos. People have been leaving flowers outside of his picture in front of our building as if he died,” said one Fox News employee who asked to be unidentified for the story.

Fox and O’Reilly paid five women a total of at least 13 million, according to the New York Times. Despite controversies regarding O’Reilly’s forthcoming and conservative opinion his show was Fox’s top rated nightly show. Since O’Reilly’s release over 50 advertisers have abandoned his former show and the weeknight time slot has lost over 30 percent viewers since O’Reilly’s departure, according to CNN. This is not the first harassment scandal Fox News has dealt with recently, Roger Ailes former chairman of Fox News was ousted from the media outlet.

“Not that it makes O’Reilly any more acceptable or less ture, but his dismissal from Fox could be a way for Fox to be saving face after the allegations against Roger Ailes,” said BU student and aspiring television host, Alexa Lamana.

BU Community Reaction: Will O’Reilly lose his distinguished alumni tag?

O’Reilly is a famous public figure, but before he dominated political coverage he started in Boston, earning his degree from Boston University in 1973 and later earning a distinguished alumni award from the College of Communication in 2001. Students and professors inside the college of communication want the university to consider eliminating his prestigious title.

Boston University professor Anne Donohue worked with O’Reilly at Channel 7 in Boston and says that she did not know of any specific incidents while they worked together at the Boston affiliate, but she did say that he was a guy’s guy and a jokester.

“I absolutely think the university should rescind that award from him. There is absolutely nothing distinguished about his career in the last 20 years. I didn’t think he deserved it in the first place and now we have added the icing on the cake,” said Donohue.

At Boston University students are trying to make their voices heard about Bill O’Reilly, and start a conversation about whether the College of Communication should still recognize him as a distinguished alumni. President of the BU Feminism Organization, Jamie Street, said sexual assault is a serious issue that the university should reexamine his distinguished alumni award if he is guilty of the assault accusations.

“It is very uncommon for women to falsely accuse people of sexual assault because there are multiple women that have come forward,” Street said. “The evidence is stacked against him.”

Despite concerns from students and faculty members, Dean of the College of Communication, Thomas Fiedler says the university will continue to honor Bill O’Reilly as one of the top journalism graduates.

“At this point I don’t see a significant enough or sufficient enough basis for even raising the issue of taking away a distinguished alumni award,” said Fiedler.

Fiedler did not comment on his preference to the opinions of O’Reilly, but he does have copies of a few of Bill O’Reilly’s award winning books on his book shelves.

Other on campus voices such as, journalism student and communication director of BU Republicans, Jake Reiser believes that O’Reilly, despite his harsh opinions at time, believes BU should not remove his distinguished tag.

“It’s not like he is not going to continue being a journalist. He just re-started his podcast back up and he reportedly has big plans for that so it’s not like he is falling from grace and dropping out of the journalism world,” Reiser said.

On Monday April 24, Bill O’Reilly started his No Spin podcast back up on his personal website.

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Since April 19, when O’Reilly was fired during his vacation in Italy, he has been very active to keep his brand alive. O’Reilly has not delved into a rhetoric about being fired from Fox, but has commented about the allegations briefly saying, “the truth will come out.”

Dean Fiedler believes that the accusations against O’Reilly should not deter students from achieving their goals as journalists.

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“Bill O’Reilly, like other notable alumni such as Howard Stern, have made their careers off of controversial communication and it worked for them,” said Lamana.

Although Boston University administrators have no plans on withdrawing his distinguished alumni award, BU has removed similar awards regarding sexual assault issues. Bill Cosby received an honorary degree from BU, which was removed following Cosby openly admitting to committing sexual actions against teenagers and trying to cover it with monetary supplements.

The women that were paid off by Fox will be represented by lawyer Lisa Bloom. Bloom has started to give these women an avenue to get their story out there. O’Reilly’s legal status against these sexual assault accusations is still unknown, but for the time being Boston University will continue to recognize Bill O’Reilly as one of the distinguished alumni from the College of Communication.


Marathon Feature: Rachel Blauner

Boston University graduate student and Terrier soccer player, Rachel Blauner ran in her first marathon this April. Blauner has played soccer her whole life and all of her life her athletic training has been centered around offseason soccer training. Due to an injury in her junior season, Blauner was a member for the BU Women’s Soccer team for five seasons and during her last year she was looking for a new athletic challenge and decided to run the 2017 Boston Marathon.

From a training standpoint Blauner had to endure some new challenges, but was aided every step of the way by her head soccer coach and friend Nancy Feldman, along with her teammates and family. The challenge of running the marathon helped Blauner cope with the realization that her soccer career is complete. Although the physical demands on her body were much different during marathon training, she felt at ease with the idea of pushing herself both physically and mentally.

Coach Feldman has seen nearly a dozen of her players during her 22-year tenure run the marathon after finishing their Terrier soccer career. Feldman says all she could do was smile when she found out Rachel was following the path of countless BU soccer alums.

News Tracking: Huffington Post

The top story on the Huffington Post on Thursday, April 20 is about the latest update following the firing of Fox host: Bill O’Reilly Leaves Fox News.

This is a fairly generic news story article that is short and simple, detailing the departure of O’Reilly and the millions of dollars Fox will pay the former conservative host. The story outlines similar details in the video portion, that includes mostly pictures with the Ken Burns effect and then also clips of O’Reilly speaking on Fox.

This article stood out to me because it was much less opinionated than most pieces on the Huffington Post website. And the generally liberal outlook of the Huffington Post conflicts with the sometimes controversial viewpoints of O’Reilly. Although this article did not embed tweets or any multimedia elements, it did have links to other articles, including a link to the CNN story that broke the news.

It was significant that the Huffington Post gave CNN some airtime on their website by linking the CNN article in the third graph of the Huffington Post story. Michael Calderone, writer for the Huffington Post, also talked about Fox News and O’Reilly paying 13 million dollars to the five women that placed sexual assault charges against O’Reilly in different incidents.

News Tracking: Huffington Post

The story of United Airlines dragging a passenger off the flight has taken the news by storm this week. A horrifying sight to see a passenger bleeding and in incredible discomfort after not cooperating to leave a flight that he bought a ticket for. The Huffington Post did a follow up story, three days after video from other passengers was released.

It is a video story that explains why flying sucks, using the United story as a newsworthy hook to look at past issues passengers have had with flying. This video story takes a serious story from earlier in the week and makes a more general statement about how flying “sucks.”   Most of the examples were racially charged, such as flight attendants removing passengers due to speaking in Arabic. Most recently, two college students were not allowed to board a plane with leggings.

Intermittently during the three minute video there were movie clips that they put into the story that illustrated other uncomfortable situations. For example, Harrison Ford from the movie The Fugitive yells “get off my plane.” By adding funny and recognizable movie clips it takes away from the grave nature of this United story.

In my tracking of the Huffington Post I have noticed that this is a theme of their organization that they are clearly trying to serve as a news provided that also blends in entertainment. Although it may go away from the “old-school” journalism style there is clearly an audience for making stories light-hearted and more digestible.


Title IX Conflict at BU?

Talks have surrounded Boston University that the women’s hockey team would start playing all of their home games at Agganis Arena instead of Walter Brown due to Title IX restrictions. Boston University has denied any link to Title IX, but the BU Athletic Department has said they are considering moving the women’s team to Agganis. This is a decision that will be made by the Athletic Department and women’s coach Brian Durocher, according to a member of the department.

Media Tracking: Huffington Post

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This is what the online front page of the Huffington Post looks like this afternoon. This is following the comments that Press Secretary Sean Spicer had today with the media regarding his comparison between Hitler and Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad. The size of this image might seem large on this post and that is purposeful because when you go to the home page of the website it is the only story you can see without scrolling. It is almost impossible not to click on the article especially with the red lettering “FACT CHECK: ARE YOU SERIOUS” in all capitals.

This headline is grabbing and plays on past episodes with the Trump Presidency mainly taking a hit at the idea of fake news and fact checking journalism. This continues the Huffington Post’s narrative that is clearly against Trump and his presidency. The journalism ethics behind this could be question at time with their subtle commentaries that undermine our country’s leader. For example in the article underneath the headline in smaller print it says, “Uh, What?.” The Huffington Post is playing off of their audience that clearly is against Trump. I personally do not have a problem with that, but it clearly is a step away from how journalism use to exist. Now obviously the Huffington Post does not speak for all media outlets with this type of coverage, but it is generally speaking where online journalism is heading. You need grabbing headlines to draw clicks and sometimes that means taking an aggressive stance that will draw reactions both good and bad from the public.

Boston–hot takes and sports stories