In the almost seven months since the news broke about Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s multimillion-dollar settlements with several women over reports that he sexually harassed them, Fox News has spent only minutes covering the story. In contrast, Fox devoted over 12 hours of coverage to reports detailing a pattern of sexual harassment by film producer Harvey Weinstein in the less than three weeks since they were initially published.
The New York Times first reported on April 1 that O’Reilly or Fox News paid a total of about $13 million to five women over several years who said that O’Reilly had sexually harassed them. Shortly after, and amid an advertiser boycott, O’Reilly was forced out at the network. Last weekend, the Times also reported that 21st Century Fox, Fox News’ parent company, had renewed O’Reilly’s contract earlier this year, even though the company had knowledge of a settlement O’Reilly had reached with network contributor Lis Wiehl. Wiehl said O’Reilly engaged in “repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her.” (The network has contended that it was not aware of the size of the $32 million settlement.)
Since the O’Reilly story broke in April, Fox spent merely 20 minutes and 46 seconds on the reports of its former employee’s despicable behavior over the course of 10 separate segments. Of those segments, five of them -- totaling 16 minutes and 42 seconds -- appeared on Fox’s media criticism show, MediaBuzz.
In contrast, after the Times began reporting on October 5 about settlements that producer Weinstein had reached with dozens of women who said he had sexually harassed them, Fox spent 12 hours, 32 minutes and 36 seconds discussing the story as it developed across 173 separate segments.
Sexual harassment at Fox News is nothing new, yet the network has shown itself unwilling to publicly acknowledge its toxic culture on air. Instead, the network has created an infrastructure to enable and cover up predatory behavior by its biggest moneymakers.
Media Matters searched SnapStream and iQ media for mentions of “O’Reilly” and “Weinstein” between April 1 and October 23 for significant discussions of the reports. Segments were counted if they appeared on air between 4 a.m. and 11 p.m. Repeated segments were not counted. Teasers for upcoming segments were also not counted.