After Bill O'Reilly was ousted from Fox News amid sexual harassment allegations, who replaced the famed news anchor would inevitably set the tone for the network moving forward. Monday night, Tucker Carlson replaced O'Reilly in the 8 p.m. ET time slot, paying tribute to the accused sexual harasser who preceded him.
"I watched Bill O’Reilly at this hour for years," he said, "and I always marveled at how well prepared he was, how tough he was and how crisply and directly he expressed his views. What O’Reilly did was not easy. He set a high bar, and I’m gonna do my best to meet it. Thanks for sticking with us."
The praise Carlson bestowed upon O'Reilly echoed the tone of the 21st Century Fox memo announcing O'Reilly's departure. "By ratings standards, Bill O'Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news," it read. "In fact, his success by any measure is indisputable. Fox News has demonstrated again and again the strength of its talent bench. We have full confidence that the network will continue to be a powerhouse in cable news."
Neither O'Reilly nor Fox admitted any guilt for the alleged culture of sexual harassment both the former host and former CEO Roger Ailes were accused of perpetuating for decades, and continuously praising the former Fox News anchor suggests Fox's culture isn't changing much.
In his first show in the new primetime slot, Carlson followed in O'Reilly's footsteps. He brought on Caitlyn Jenner to discuss her memoir and why she voted for President Trump, and while the guest choice may seem like a positive step toward inclusivity, Carlson treated her the same way O'Reilly had in the past.
Back in 2015, O'Reilly commented about Jenner, "From the waist down, he is a he," and Monday night, Carlson pointed out that some people still don't understand transgender people and argued against hate crime legislation.
This isn't shocking coming from the man hoping to meet the "high bar" O'Reilly set.
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