I came to this city in 2004 to attend graduate school for journalism at Boston University. It was a dream come true, and in addition to the talented professors who would instruct me directly, I was thrilled to carry on tradition behind noted media graduates such as Nina Totenberg and Bill Simmons, among innumerable others. While I was admittedly impressed by most of the big names who walked the halls on Commonwealth Ave before me, however, there was one alumnus with whom I would never want to be associated, and here is why: He’s Bill-O-Freaking-Reilly. Yes, that Bill O’Reilly. The creep who tellingly began his media career covering pornography for papers like the Boston Phoenix (where I also wrote about porn on occasion, but I’m not a hypocritical conservative monster who smells like a contaminated Old Spice enema).
At this point you’re saying, No shit. Everybody who works in a non-Christian place of learning hates that asshole. Always has. And you’d probably be mostly correct, except for in the case of Boston University’s College of Communication (COM) while I was matriculating there. Students back then were subjected to having to pass by a poster of the Fox News legacy dick every day, complete with copy that explained how lucky we were to follow in such accomplished footsteps. I found it offensive, and so, as I recalled when it was still fresh in my memory:
As a grad student at BU, I wrote an op-ed in an alumni relations newsletter criticizing their celebrating Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s BU degree while at the same time pretending that Howard Stern never went there. But before my thoughts were mailed to thousands of BU alums and friends, then-Department of Journalism Chairman Bob Zelnick ordered that every copy of the newsletter be destroyed.
I played it safe despite my outrage, and even declined an opportunity to be interviewed by a former BU student who had heard about the censorship and offered to write a blurb for the Los Angeles Times media page. The incident continued to bother me, though, primarily because Zelnick, a top-shelf shithead of the Anchorman variety, dodged the Bill-O issue like a coward. In the years that followed, the love affair continued, with O’Reilly coming back in 2009 to speak at a distinguished alumni dinner. Needless to say, administrators thought the guy was pretty awesome.
Fast-forward to now. The king of cable BS has been shown the elevator after the New York Times revealed that Fox News honchos caught his back in several awful cases which resulted in millions of dollars being paid to his sexual harassment victims. This after dozens upon dozens of his advertisers cut ties, doing irreparable damage to the show, ratings, and station. I don’t believe his picture still hangs on the walls of COM, and you can bet your ass it will remain in the trash or a closet from this point forward. Score one for the good guys.
Then again, as my old friend who was visiting last weekend noted, “Bill O’Reilly didn’t get fired. I’ve been fired, and nobody gave me millions of dollars to leave.”
So I guess the old man got a blowjob after all, but at least he won’t be in a position to harass young women in the workplace anymore. Sure, there’s still his independent podcast network for him to hire some interns who will ultimately also sue him, but for now it’s nice to think, even for just a couple of weeks, that O’Reilly will return back to his college porn collection and ride out the rest of his pathetic miserable years pulling stick with a rubber blanket.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.