Without OReilly Fox News faces its toughest test

by David Bauder, The Associated Press Posted Apr 20, 2017 11:31 am MDT Last Updated Apr 24, 2017 at 10:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Without O’Reilly, Fox News faces its toughest test FILE – In this Jan. 18, 2007 file photo, Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly appears on the Fox News show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” in New York. O’Reilly has lost his job at Fox News Channel following reports that several women had been paid millions of dollars to keep quiet about harassment allegations. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen, File) NEW YORK, N.Y. – Fox News Channel has thrived despite losing founding leader Roger Ailes and next generation star Megyn Kelly within the past nine months. Wednesday’s firing of defining personality Bill O’Reilly will be its toughest test yet.Fox moved quickly to install a new lineup after announcing O’Reilly’s exit due to several harassment allegations by women, which he continues to deny. Outside pressure isn’t leaving with him; members of the National Organization for Women demonstrated outside Fox’s headquarters Thursday, saying the company’s workplace culture won’t really change unless management cleans house of other high-ranking executives who knew about the sexual harassment but didn’t do anything.For most of Fox’s existence, O’Reilly had been the linchpin of its success as the most visible and most watched host. Fox’s viewership at 9 p.m. went up when Tucker Carlson replaced Kelly in January — her battles with Donald Trump cost her support among many Fox viewers — but don’t expect Carlson to repeat the feat when he moves an hour earlier on Monday.“There’s going to be some dismay among the Fox audience,” said Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the conservative watchdog Media Research Center. “The real question is what happens next. If they offer the same generic product, then it will be forgive and forget.”Announcing a new lineup at the same time as the O’Reilly firing was smart, Graham said, because it enabled some viewers to say, “Oh, that’s not bad. I can live with that.”Fox News has consistently been the most-watched network in all of cable television, not just news, over the past few months. The ouster of Ailes due to sexual harassment allegations last summer may have been disturbing, but meant little to viewers because it was off the air. Most of his management team remained, and the network’s approach didn’t change.O’Reilly’s brand of middle-class populism, delivered with a mix of humour and outrage, predated and reflected the appeal of President Donald Trump. O’Reilly wasn’t always predictable in his opinions. Joe Pollak of the right wing Breitbart.com website wrote a column on Thursday headlined, “Bill O’Reilly’s secret: he was a centrist, not a conservative.”Arguably, the lineup installed in his stead is more reliably conservative. Carlson has made it a point to seek a younger audience by reaching out to the alt-right community, said Angelo Carusone, president of the liberal Media Matters for America. Eric Bolling begins his own show at 5 p.m. and the current late-afternoon panel show, “The Five,” moves into the 9 p.m. hour.“It’s not like they brought in Shep Smith or a news anchor,” Carusone said.Carlson scored the highest ratings ever for Fox in the 9 p.m. time slot early for the first three months of 2017, but there remains some question about how much that was a result of following O’Reilly in the lineup. With him moving up an hour, 9 p.m. likely represents Fox’s biggest challenge. “The Five” is set up as a panel show with one liberal trying to hold his own with four conservatives. The panelists are familiar to Fox viewers, and O’Reilly protege Jesse Watters is being added to the mix.“The Five” it faces strong competition with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in that hour, and CNN is about to give Jake Tapper a test drive in the time slot.Trump’s most ardent defender on Fox, Sean Hannity, remains at 10 p.m. ET.Fox plainly hopes that the brand and point of view it has developed is stronger than any single personality, even one as outsized as O’Reilly.Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan, who run Fox News parent 21st Century Fox, have talked about building an atmosphere of respect for women at the workplace now that the network’s top executive and top personality have both been drummed out for their behaviour. Some observers, like the NOW demonstrators, wonder if that can happen without further changes behind the scenes.Ailes’ former top aide, Bill Shine, is now Fox’s co-president. He hasn’t been accused of any harassment, but many inside and outside of Fox have wondered how much he and other executives still in place knew about Ailes’ and O’Reilly’s behaviour. Fox even signed O’Reilly to a contract extension knowing that The New York Times was investigating harassment allegations against him — the story that led to O’Reilly’s ouster.“There were a lot of people at Fox who really hoped things would change after Roger left and they didn’t,” said Margaret Hoover, a former Fox political contributor, on CNN Thursday. She added: “Nothing changed in the sense that the culture that perpetuated this behaviour is the same.”Another former Fox contributor, Kirsten Powers, described on CNN an on-air segment with O’Reilly she found offensive because of the way the host talked about all the “blondes” who worked there. Powers said she sought an apology from O’Reilly and didn’t get one, and her complaints were waved off by various managers, including Ailes. She said she wouldn’t go on O’Reilly’s show, despite the high-profile platform it provided, for a few years afterward.A former Fox clerical worker who anonymously complained Tuesday came forward Thursday on “The View” to identify herself and speak about the experience. Perquita Burgess, who is black, said O’Reilly leered at her, made grunting noises as he passed her desk and once referred to her as “hot chocolate.” She said she felt “triumphant” when she heard about O’Reilly’s firing.“It’s very cathartic,” she said. read more

Refugees and migrants taking enormous risks to reach Europe – UN agency

Increased border restrictions and lack of accessible legal ways to reach Europe have caused refugees and migrants to take more “diversified and dangerous journeys,” such as relying on people-smugglers or using flimsy boats to cross rough seas, a new report by the United Nations refugee agency has revealed. “This report clearly shows that the lack of accessible and safe pathways leads refugees and migrants to take enormous risks while attempting to reach Europe, including those simply trying to join family members.” said Vincent Cochetel, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Director of Europe Bureau, in a news release announcing the report. According to Desperate Journeys, issued today by UNHCR, the “closure” of the Western Balkan route and the European Union (EU)-Turkey Statement in March 2016, caused a drastic decrease in the number of people reaching Greece via the Eastern Mediterranean route. However since then, the Central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy become the primary entry point to Europe and arrival trends in Italy show that the primary nationalities who crossed to Greece had not switched in significant numbers to the Central Mediterranean route. In addition to drowning, migrants and refugees also risk of being kidnapped, held against their will for several days, physical and sexual abuse, torture and extortion by smugglers and criminal gangs at several points along key routes.The Central Mediterranean route The UN agency pointed out that in 2016, some 181,436 arrived in Italy by sea in need of international protection, and also victims of trafficking and migrants seeking better lives. About 90 per cent of them travelled by boat from Libya, and the top two nationalities of those arriving were Nigerians (21 per cent) and Eritreans (11 per cent). This route is particularly dangerous and, in 2016, recorded more deaths at sea than ever before.RELATED: UN reports more than 300 migrant deaths on Mediterranean crossing in first two months of 2017 Furthermore, children making this journey are especially vulnerable, and the number of unaccompanied and separated children arriving is increasing. Last year more than 25,000 came, representing 14 per cent of all new arrivals in Italy. “Their number more than doubled compared to the previous year,” said UNHCR.The Western and Eastern Mediterranean routes The report also showed that in the last part of 2016, more people reached the continent through the Western Mediterranean route, either by crossing the sea to Spain from Morocco and Algeria, or by entering the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta. Similarly, people continued to leave Turkey along the Eastern Mediterranean route from April onwards, but in much smaller numbers. Most crossed the sea to Greece or Cyprus, others also crossed via land into the country or into Bulgaria. Most who arrived by sea to Greece (87 per cent) came from the top ten refugee producing countries. This was also the case for those who continued to move along the Western Balkans route: in Serbia, for instance, 82 per cent of those who arrived came from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and almost half are children – 20 per cent of those unaccompanied. These numbers, however, numbers have reduced since April 2016, noted UNHCR. Additionally, according to the study, tens of thousands of people also have been reportedly pushed back by border authorities in Europe, including in Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Serbia, Spain, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with many cases of alleged violence and abuses in an apparent attempt to deter further entry attempts. read more