Bill O’Reilly (Memory Challenge)

One of the hardest comments for anyone to say when speaking of Bill O’Reilly is “I have no opinion about the guy.” He makes it almost impossible to separate the messenger from the message.

Human bias is not part of an intellectual process, it is an emotional one. Almost everyone has a bias regarding O’Reilly. If the bias is positive, people agree with him automatically because he resonates with them emotionally and reinforces the group opinion (several documented biases come into effect that strengthens group membership). If the bias is negative, another group of people disagree, also automatically, with biases that enforce their group feeling.

Full disclosure on my part… My own biases of O’Reilly stem from my perception of his abrasiveness and my lifelong cynicism of self-appointed experts and authorities.

I have to put those aside. Ignore the news hype and make a fair analysis so I can fairly judge O’Reilly and ask the question…

Was Bill O’Reilly really lying?

I recently discussed Bill O’Reilly’s media crisis (here).  He responded to his critics and the crisis terribly.  I also discussed Brian Williams’ crisis and the mitigating circumstances that I believe contributed to a faulty memory recollection that blew up into a media frenzy (here).

Does O’Reilly deserve the same benefit of doubt that I feel Williams deserves?  Do the same mitigating circumstances apply?? Continue reading

Bill O’Reilly (Managing a Crisis)

20150305 Bill O’Reilly (Managing a Crisis)

On the heels of the Brian Williams media crisis, another celebrity was caught up in a crisis similar to, and directly related to Williams.  Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News commentator, was accused of the exact same misconduct in an article from Mother Jones magazine.

Quick review: Williams was suspended by NBC News when it became publicly known that Williams had exaggerated a claim from 2003 that he had almost been killed in Iraq.  He claimed that he was riding in a helicopter when it took ground fire and was forced to make an emergency landing.  The actual facts showed that he was in a group of 4 helicopters at the time and it was a helicopter in front of his that was hit. He was unaware of the danger until after the fact and on the ground.

There is nothing worse for anyone than to be caught in the cross hairs of the media.  It can be a person, a company, or even a brand.  What can you do if you make an honest mistake or if you are the victim of a negative campaign?  How can you survive the experience?

The intent here is not to comment on Bill O’Reilly’ integrity or professionalism.  Let’s analyze how his crisis unfolded and ask how you would handle the situation?  How did O’Reilly do? Continue reading