So the venerable Bill O'Reilly has been forcibly removed from his seat at Fox News (as a follow-up, now perhaps he knows what it feels like to have something unwelcome done to you against your wishes.) The tone of the internet was indeed gleeful, and not without cause.

As sad as it is that it took Fox News this long to decide that their favorite cash cow had to go off to join Jon Stewart animal sanctuary, it was a good decision. The headlines about it, unfortunately, are completely and utterly wrong.

Take, for instance, this one on Blasting News that says, "Bill O'Reilly is dumped by Fox after sexual harassment allegations." It sounds good, doesn't it?

Company discovers wrongdoing of employee, employee is then terminated because behavior doesn't conform to company culture and standards. No, no, no.


Anyone who's studied statistics can tell you one of the most significant lessons you can learn and re-learn is that correlation does not equal causation. If you look at two data points, like crime and ice cream, you'll find that the more people that are eating ice cream, the more murdering is going on, and you'll be confused until you find your other possible variable: heat. Because it's ludicrous to think that ice cream leads to psychopathy. The case of Bill O'Reilly is no different, and the headlines aren't begging us to examine other variables.

The headlines of the day give the impression that the reason that Bill O'Reilly was finally ousted from his seemingly interminable stint on Fox were the allegations of sexual assault.

This view ignores that these charges are not recent, and have followed Bill O'Reilly throughout his career. If Fox had a problem with it, they would not have continued to allow him being the public face of the company for the past 20 years.

Cash Cow

Simply put, Fox made their decision because they were losing money on him. Their sponsors, for some strange reason, don't seem to want their products associated with or involved in condoning sexual assault. That loss of sponsorship, proved much more financially damaging than beneficial, even though there is a strong constituency that supports O'Reilly despite the allegations.

With the narrative that he was fired because of the allegations, Fox is trying to simultaneously placate angry conservatives by saying there were legitimate reasons to deprive them of their favorite star, while pandering to liberals by pretending to care about sexual assault and rape, when they don't.

Otherwise, O'Reilly would have been out long, long ago.