Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Barry Nolan writes about his firing o'er O'Reilly

It's a bit too late to control the spin that spun him onto the unemployment line, but former tabloid television host Barry Nolan is in friendly territory as he has his say about being fired from his hosting gig with Comcast's New England cable system for protesting a local Emmy honor for his former rival Bill O'Reilly. Had Barry also launched his protest on the lefty, liberal Think Progress site rather than the gossip page of the blue collar Boston Herald, Barry might have marched into the Emmy ceremony with his leaflets of smarmy allegations in hand and an army of protesters at his back. Instead, he was derided as an elitist moonbat and bounced.

Barry's essay is a little over the top, what with its mentions of waterboarding and "Fox Security" coming over to visit and such, but hey, we'll cut him some lack because even though he did the same shouting he editorializes against, he did put his job where his mouth was and paid the price.

Here's his piece on the Think Progress site:

Barry Nolan: The Story Behind My O’Reilly Protest

Our guest blogger is Barry Nolan, a veteran TV journalist who was recently fired by Comcast Cable’s CN8 channel in Boston for protesting an award honoring Bill O’Reilly.

So, I’m that TV guy who got fired by Comcast over Bill O’Reilly. I protested the fact that O’Reilly was chosen to receive the Governors Award at this year’s Emmy Awards ceremony. That’s the highest honor that they hand out. The important word here is: honor.

Now granted – you won’t find a lot of Albert Schweitzers or Mother Teresas working in television, but at least the people who had been honored in the past had pretty much followed the part of the Hippocratic oath that says, “First, do no harm.”

O’Reilly was an appalling choice, not because of his political views, but because he simply gets the facts wrong, abuses his guests and the powerless in general, is delusional, and, well, you might want to Google: Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Plus there was that whole sexual harassment thing – the lawsuit he settled for an estimated $10 million. Not the kind of guy you normally think of when it comes time to pass out honors.

I found that most of my colleagues felt the same way. So, on May 10th at the Emmy Awards dinner, I quietly passed out a document that contained – not my opinion – but O’Reilly’s own words and quotes from his sexual harassment lawsuit. And that is what got me fired. I got fired from my job on a news and information network for reporting demonstrably true things in a room full of news people.

Normally, in the great scheme of things – this should be a total non-story. “Overpaid White Guy Gets Fired from Cushy Job for Shooting Mouth Off.” Yawn. But these are not normal times. After the word got out that I was fired – I started hearing from people from all over the country who were outraged. A guy in Texas who had once worked with O’Reilly and had seen a meltdown like the one on Youtube – a weather anchor in Arizona – a woman in China no less.

And it all got me to thinking about the myth of free speech. In today’s America, speech is only “free” when you are talking down to someone less powerful that you. Speak “up” – and look out. In your work life, they can fire you, as I found out, for quietly saying something that is widely known to be true. Put a lid on it.

And in our role as citizens, we have been told by O’Reilly to shut up, or Fox Security may pay you a visit. We are called traitors if we simply speak the truth about the absence of WMD’s – the way the war is going – the disgraces of Abu Ghraib, of Gitmo, of waterboarding. Shut up.

So, when exactly do they think we have the right to speak up? To speak the quiet simple truth, to people who have more power than us?

Well, I think now would be a good time. The fog of fear is lifting. The balance of power is shifting. People are beginning to talk to each other again instead of shouting. I think it’s time to reclaim the right to free speech – even if it comes at a price.

Meanwhile, if anyone needs any lawn work done or his or her car detailed – give me a call.

Nice closing line. As you'd expect, the comments on this liberal site were far more sympathetic than the Boston locals-- as a matter of fact, practically unanimously sympathetic and supportive. And it might even lead to a new TV job.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In years past I have worked with Barry. He is honest, hard working,and all round nice guy.
But I never knew he had so much fight and guts. I always appreciate seeing someone have passion and the balls to fight for something they believe in. If I were running a news or cable network I would hire Mr. Nolan and Mr.Kearns. Steve Capus and Tom Busby are you listening? Do you have the balls to hire men like these?