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Thursday, October 20, 2005

(Not So) Lonesome Cowboy Bill

Am I misreading Verne Gay's elegy for a demagogue in Newsday, or is Bill O'Reilly barred from making unsupervised phone calls in his Fox News Channel office lest he return to his falafel-soaping ways?
And as a direct consequence of the lawsuit--which was settled for undisclosed terms and which both parties agreed to never speak of publicly--O'Reilly must have a third person present whenever he conducts a rare interview like this one, or talks to someone on the phone.
That sentence could be read two ways: a) That O'Reilly can't talk to the press without a minder, whether it's in person or on the phone. But it's not unusual by any stretch of the imagination for networks to insist on having a flack listen in to any on-the-record, formally requested interviews. That's standard operating procedure, and it's hard to imagine how it would be a "direct consequence of the lawsuit" filed by Andrea Mackris one year ago.

So we have b): O'Reilly can't be alone with anyone in his office or make phone calls without someone monitoring the conversation. That reading certainly makes more sense in terms of the lawsuit, but it's also exceedingly difficult to imagine that Fox would impose such stringent restrictions on its biggest star. It's even more difficult to imagine that the undisclosed settlement agreement included language limiting O'Reilly's behavior so severely.

But if that were the case, I'd be about ready to throw in the towel, too.