NEW YORK — It felt like a flashback on Fox News Channel Tuesday, with Bill O’Reilly looking into the camera and declaring “the spin stops here.”
Six months after he was fired from Fox when it was revealed the network paid $13 million in settlements to five women alleging bad behaviour on his part, O’Reilly returned as a guest on former colleague Sean Hannity’s show.
“I’m fine,” O’Reilly said. “I’m teed off.”
O’Reilly was promoting his new book, “Killing England,” which got cursory mention as the two men traded complaints about how the media had treated them and President Donald Trump. They loudly backed Trump on his campaign against NFL players protesting police brutality by not standing for the national anthem.
“I’d love to go to every NFL locker room and give those guys my book,” O’Reilly said.
O’Reilly said that the “far left” wanted to destroy Trump and everyone who voted for him.
They also targeted liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America, which advocated for an advertiser boycott of O’Reilly before Fox fired him, and is currently doing the same for Hannity. O’Reilly praised Hannity for “fighting back” against the group, and said he should have done the same.
Media Matters President Angelo Carusone said Tuesday that the “budding collaboration” between Hannity and O’Reilly indicates advertisers need to act again.
“Companies that removed ads from O’Reilly’s show but currently sponsor Hannity need to be the first to take action and cease sponsoring Hannity immediately,” Carusone said. “And I actually think some responsible companies will remove ads from Fox News as a whole over this.”
O’Reilly said he enjoyed taking the summer off and wasn’t sure of his future plans. He spent 20 years at Fox News, most of it as the most popular host on cable news.
Hannity this week has moved back into the 9 p.m. Eastern time slot, taking on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow directly. Maddow has earned the highest ratings in cable news over the past few months, but Hannity earned a clear victory on Monday night.