Faith Salie, a contributor to CBS Sunday Morning and a comedic panelist on the snarky NPR game show WaitI Wait! Don't Tell Me!, penned a piece for the fiercely feminist website Jezebel about how Fox-watching, Trump-voting Americans are misogynistic "people who enjoy tuning in to watch a sexual predator." The headline was "Bill O'Reilly Didn't Harass Me, But His Viewers Did."
Salie began by describing a 2009 appearance on The O'Reilly Factor where she was invited to disagree with Bill's suggestion that "enough was enough" with mocking Sarah Palin as she resigned her post as governor of Alaska. Salie firmly took her position that Palin deserved all the mockery she received and could somehow stop it if she so desired:
SALIE: I think she left herself open to this with craven vague semi resignation speech….She gave this breathless Escher painting of a speech I counted three sports metaphors and one refrigerator magnet slogan. And then she totally broke up with Alaska!
That last sentence clearly mocked Palin as a lightweight and a bimbo. Salie then listed several nasty e-mails she received after the appearance, including a crude one about how her babies smelled like fish, and some angry recommendations about where she belonged on TV: "Why don’t you go to the pigs on The View....you would fit right in."
Salie never offered the empathetic note that Palin probably received this kind of abuse in her inbox, but she did offer this note: "In no way do I mean to suggest that being on the receiving end of this viewer negativity is remotely tantamount to the harassment that O’Reilly’s accusers allegedly experienced." Then she unleashed the negativity on Fox fans as misogynistic (including the women):
O’Reilly may have been anomalously powerful, but he’s not anomalously misogynistic. While Bill’s gone from his chair, his viewers haven’t disappeared. At the height of accusations against him, a mere 23 percent of people who watched his show thought it should be cancelled. We can’t talk about “the culture of Fox News” without including its millions of viewers who’ve made it the number one cable news channel for the past 14 years. Those are people who enjoy tuning in to watch a sexual predator. Those are folks who buy his books—his latest, Old School, espousing his family values, debuted at #1 on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction best-seller list just days after that same newspaper broke the story of O’Reilly and Fox News paying $13 million to silence his accusers. Those viewers are also voters who put a man who brags about assaulting women in the White House.
Like most feminists in the Jezebel universe, Salie can't admit that anyone who voted for Mrs. Bill Clinton voted for someone who organized "bimbo eruption" patrols to trash her husband's accusers, including women who accused Bill Clinton of rape. Salie continued the lecture:
That old fresh piece of humanity didn’t create a culture where mistreatment of women thrives, even if he basked in it, spun its gospel, and perpetrated it. I’m glad he’s off the air, but he’s not out of the ether. Our country so condones the hatred and denigration of women that we’ve voted it into the highest office in the land (with a helping, hairy hand from Fox News). Former FNC CEO Roger Ailes advised Trump during the campaign, and before Ailes chose to resign rather than be fired due to revelations that he’s a serial harasshole, Trump called the accusations against his pal, “Totally unfounded....”
Current Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch shares balls with Trump on the golf course and secretly sat in on the President’s interview with the Times of London. Even Trump’s daughter Ivanka was, until recently, an overseer of a $300 million trust fund belonging to Murdoch’s daughters. These men are consensually cozy with each other. And what’s far more frightening than having these people in power is that millions of Americans are led by them, and in turn empower them. They cast their eyes on America’s Newsroom, and they cast their ballots.
Harassment doesn’t just happen to “social observers” and “comedians”—women who express themselves publicly are reliably verbally attacked online and in person, not for their substance but for their form.
Again, many verbal attacks are launched at the looks of the Palins and the Bachmans and other Republican women.
It's also odd that this kind of lecture about civility would come on a site like Jezebel, which created its own snarky dictionary that made jokes about designer abortions and trashed babies as "potentially life-threatening conditions." Misogyny is defined as “Exemplified by God, Aristotle, Phyllis Schlafly, Rush Limbaugh, the Republican Party, Allen West.”