Disaster and O’Reilly Spin
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Vol. 6, No. 85
Disaster Beat: More than 200 people are dead after a landslide buried a village in southwest Colombia. The Red Cross says another 220 people are missing and 200 are injured. — A 1000-foot South Korean cargo ship is missing in the South Atlantic after reporting that it was taking on water. Several members of the ore-carrying ship were plucked from the water, but there is no sign of the vessel, the Stellar Daisy.
He Who Is Without Spin: At least five women over the years reached sexual harassment settlements with Fox News and Bill O’Reilly himself involving the powerhouse host’s treatment of women at the network, according to a long takeout in the NY Times. The settlements, separate from the litigation involving former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, total about $13 million, the paper reports.
The complainants included producers and on-air personalities who described heavy-breathing phone calls, invitations to O’Reilly’s hotel room, and retribution for refusing his sexual advances.
O’Reilly’s show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” hauls in about $446 million a year and he is paid $18 million. He’s the bank. If he has been punished by the network, it has not been made public.
The man who calls his show “the no spin zone” gave a spinning response to the Times’ questions, invoking the Bill Cosby defense in a statement that said, “Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.”
Nation: Fire damage and the collapse of an Atlanta interstate highway bridge will take months to repair, authorities say. At least 700 feet of Interstate 85 needs replacing, including three sections of the northbound bridge and three on the southbound side, as well as their support columns.
Three homeless people have been taken into custody in connection with the cause of the fire.
World: Venezuela’s supreme court has reversed its move to strip the National Assembly of power. It’s a step back from the brink of dictatorship for President Nicolás Maduro.
The Obit Page: Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, who inspired his countrymen to resist Stalinism during the Cold War, died at age 84 in Tulsa where he had been teaching for many years.
Yevtushenko walked a fine line, gathering official literary acclaim and avoiding exile or imprisonment while delivering a subtle anti-totalitarian message. He wrote thousands of poems, many of them forgettable and he was dismissed by some critics as a lightweight, a Russian Khalil Gibran. But he stood up for other writers in trouble including Boris Pasternak and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and some of his poems are in the canon of great Russian literature.
> Artist James Rosenquist, one of the original “pop” artists of the 1960s who put a spin on commercial images, has died at age 83.
Like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Rosenquist had a style that was somewhere between literal, cartoonish, and surreal. He started as a billboard painter, but stopped when two fellow workers fell to their deaths.
Rosenquist was not generally political in his art, but his most famous work called “F-111” certainly was. The NY Times describes it as “the image of a modern fighter plane stretching 86 feet across a grid of 51 canvas and aluminum panels is interrupted by images of a colossal tire, a beach umbrella, a mushroom cloud, spaghetti and tomato sauce, and a little girl under a chrome hair dryer that resembles a warhead.”
Hoop Dreams: After 19 years in the NCAA basketball tournament, Gonzaga beat South Carolina 77-73 to advance to the final game for its first time.
Train Wreck: In an editorial titled “Donald Trump’s train-wreck presidency,” The LA Times embarks on a series of editorials ripping apart the Trump presidency. It says, “What is most worrisome about Trump is Trump himself. He is a man so unpredictable, so reckless, so petulant, so full of blind self-regard, so untethered to reality that it is impossible to know where his presidency will lead or how much damage he will do to our nation. His obsession with his own fame, wealth and success, his determination to vanquish enemies real and imagined, his craving for adulation — these traits were, of course, at the very heart of his scorched-earth outsider campaign; indeed, some of them helped get him elected. But in a real presidency in which he wields unimaginable power, they are nothing short of disastrous.