Apr 18, 2017

'The O'Reilly Factor' is getting harder to keep alive

Richard Drew / AP

Paul Farhi has an ominous take, consistent with what we're hearing from inside Fox, in the lead story of the WashPost Style section, "A hard spin to maintain O'Reilly's TV career":

"All at once, [the vacationing] Bill O'Reilly is fighting for his TV life. The future of O'Reilly's long career at Fox News may hinge on a sexual-harassment accusation raised by ... Wendy Walsh, [a relationship expert and, at one time, regular O'Reilly guest] who has alleged that O'Reilly propositioned her in a Los Angeles hotel in 2013, then retaliated against her when she rebuffed him."

The players: "The originator of the 'No-Spin Zone' has ... left his public defense to a well-known spin doctor, Mark Fabiani, a former spokesman for president Bill Clinton."

Why it matters: "Walsh's allegation is potentially the most explosive of all: Fox News was apparently unaware of it until she raised it for the first time in an interview with the New York Times this month."

What everyone at Fox is talking about: "Her complaint has triggered an investigation at Fox by the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, the same firm that uncovered widespread harassment allegations against ... Roger Ailes."

The bottom line: "[A] negative finding by the law firm could force the hands of Fox News Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, who run Fox's parent company."

Go deeper

Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

8 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.