Shut the F*** Up! The Second-Most-Powerful Man in America is Talking
Getting axed from Comcast was a humbling experience. I am a financially poorer man now, for sure. But since then, life has been good by all the metrics that really matter. My children, now young adults, remain proud that their dad stood up to a big-mouthed bully. I treasure that respect. I love my wife more than ever for her unwavering support. I learned to keep saying true things out loud.
I also learned to live more modestly. With fame, you begin to believe you didn’t just get here by some lucky accident — which is all it is: luck. You come to believe that this was always your destiny. I look back on some of that now, and it makes me cringe. I want to say to the people I might have offended, to all the people who brought me fruit, to the program manager I argued with over the taxi ride, “I’m truly sorry.” And to the person I once was, “Get over yourself.”
O’Reilly, clearly, hasn’t. He once warned comedian Al Franken that “One day he’s going to get a knock on his door and life as he’s known it will change forever. That day will happen, trust me.” Actually, O’Reilly was right about that one. Franken’s life did change forever. He’s now a well-respected U.S. senator.
Narcissistic Behavior: “Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her.”
One week after Newsweek profiled O’Reilly, the magazine turned its lens on Roger Ailes, his boss and the head of Fox News. Ailes, a former Nixon and Reagan political consultant, tossed off a few grenades in the piece, including this one. “O’Reilly hates Sean [Hannity] and he hates Rush [Limbaugh] because they did better in radio than he did.”
Now, Ailes is a master media manipulator, so I’m sure he had a good reason to stoke the fires between his television personalities. But it’s no surprise that O’Reilly hates two men who do exactly what he does, and sometimes even better: He hates being a loser, being second.
There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to be the best — the world runs on ambition. But there is a huge difference between wanting to excel at a task and hating those who might be better at it. When you’ve had one of the highest-ranked cable shows for more than a decade, hating radio guys comes across as pure, unbridled envy.
Look, I’m no psychiatrist, but it’s clear that, never mind the five required for a diagnosis, O’Reilly regularly displays all nine behaviors of narcissistic personality disorder. That’s not a happy observation, though. It leaves me feeling sorry for Mr. O’Reilly, a man who once got me fired. Oh, he’s still successful, rich, and famous. But he is also heedless of the truth, indifferent to suffering, petty, peevish and vengeful toward the powerless, and generally lacking empathy.
I tried to contact O’Reilly for his comment. He refused to return my calls. I do, however, anticipate getting his take not long after this article is published. I expect it to come in the form of provocative questions hollered at me by The O’Reilly Factor camera crew that ambushes me as I walk out the front door of my home.