Remember When Matt Lauer Grilled Bill O’Reilly: ‘You Don’t Let Your #1 Guy Go Unless…’
NBC News fired Matt Lauer from The Today Show this morning for inappropriate sexual behavior, according to a statement by NBC News Chairman Andy Lack.
Just two months ago Lauer scored a big interview with Bill O’Reilly who had been let go from Fox News earlier this year. Unlike Lauer, O’Reilly’s ouster was not accompanied by a statement from the network accusing him of sexual impropriety, although many stories of settlements and pay-offs accompanied the news.
Lauer grilled O’Reilly with a sharp line of questioning over the issue. Take a look at the interview and keep in mind that while he is pressing O’Reilly over his alleged behavior, Lauer knew very well the behavior he had been involved with at NBC News.
Lauer asked O’Reilly if he had done some “soul searching” since he’d been fired months before the interview.
“My conscience is clear,” O’Reilly replied.”What I have done is organize a legal team to get the truth to the American people.”
Lauer wouldn’t let it go. He kept grilling Lauer over the several allegations and O’Reilly continued to push back. He claimed that his firing ended up being a “business decision” made by 21st Century News Corporation, Fox News’ parent company.
“You were probably the last guy in the world that they wanted to fire, because you were the guy that the ratings and the revenues were built on. You carried that network on your shoulders for a lot of years,” Lauer said. “So doesn’t it seem safe to assume that the people at Fox News were given a piece of information, or given some evidence, that simply made it impossible for you to stay on at Fox News?”
O’Reilly called that a “false assumption.”
“There were a lot of other business things in play at that time and still today that 21st Century was involved with,” O’Reilly said. “And it was a business decision that they made. But there isn’t any smoking gun.”
“But you don’t let your No. 1 guy go unless you have information that you think makes him…” Lauer retorted.
“Sure you do,” O’Reilly replied. “That’s not true. There are billions of dollars at stake in business deals, and they made a business decision that they could possibly prosper more without me.”
“Why didn’t you sue those women if you say you did absolutely nothing wrong?” Lauer asked.
“Because you can’t win those lawsuits. If you’re a public figure, you cannot win them. And I could do that, but the collateral damage of these lawsuits, the press frenzy, every allegation is a conviction,” O’Reilly said, repeating a consistent position he has taken for many years.
“You don’t have this story, Lauer, correct,” O’Reilly said. “The lawsuits involved many people, many people. I was named in a few of them. This was a hit job. a political and financial hit job.”
“Was this a vast left-wing conspiracy?” Lauer said.
“Don’t be sarcastic,” O’Reilly replied.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.