Judge for yourself the current issues as reported by The Telegaph
, a News Corp stable mate of FOX. The issue was a confrontation with two other people regarding Obama’s cuts. O’Reilly literally shouted down the others, who were clearly upset.
Colmes tried to get a word in and offer an opinion, but, well.....
Colmes: "Why do you want to yell at me for?"
O'Reilly: "Because you are lying! You are lying!"
Colmes: "Don't call me a liar. Don't you sit there and call me a liar."
O'Reilly: "You are lying - here is the proof."
Colmes: "We are not lying."
The “yell down/talk across other speakers" thing never used to happen on news media. It does a lot to diminish the information values of the broadcasts. This is a very good example.
The best known of his meltdowns is the Do It Live episode, including the South Park sendup below and it’s interesting to note that O’Reilly, when confronted with a justifiably irritating auto cue prompt and good reason to ask what the hell was going on, still managed to lose it.
In fairness, there may have been other irritations involved in the Do It Live case. What you see on TV comes after whatever you didn’t see. The problem as I see it is that the guy needs a circuit breaker. He goes to overload too fast, too often. There are literally pages on YouTube devoted to his “anger management” issues.
The problem is that this is now the standard for public debate- He who yells loudest, uses the most perjoratives, and grabs camera space is the visible voice.
Whether or not FOX is getting restless about these scenarios is highly debatable. O’Reilly gets a lot of attention, and knows how to get it. The many visible meltdowns could just as easily be PR image building as anything else.
I see a few shelf life issues for that image, though. The new audience is used to online bullies and trolls. They may not respond well to someone doing the same thing on TV. The image may be an automatic off switch for younger viewers.
The other issue is the black and white issue of conservative vs. liberal political values. If the last election is anything to go by, O’Reilly may be painting himself into a familiar corner for conservative commentators, alienating half the market while not necessarily picking up the other half due to style and positions.