Roger Ailes died today at the age of 77, a development that’s been greeted with a certain amount of measured delight from the various people he spent his lifetime cynically crusading against, first as a political consultant for the likes of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and, later, as the mastermind behind Fox News and its long-running campaign to up the toxicity of the modern mainstream media. That being said, there are those who eulogized Ailes today, people—white and male people, mostly—who saw Ailes as a mentor worth paying tribute to. Some of these odes are fascinating to watch, as guys like Shepard Smith attempt to reconcile the Ailes they knew with the sexual harassment allegations that ended his career. (Though they’re less sympathetic to the numberless others Ailes affected and harmed with his relentless politicization of cable news.)
Not so Bill O’Reilly, a man who never met a sexual harassment lawsuit he couldn’t explain away with a settlement and some bluster about “the court of public opinion.” No, O’Reilly’s eulogy to Ailes (in a USA Today op-ed that was published this evening) focuses on blame, and his assertion that we all hated poor Roger Ailes to death. “We are living in a rough age,” O’Reilly writes, “With technological advances changing behavior and perspective. The downside of that is turning us into a nation where hatred is almost celebrated in some quarters.” Failing to connect the dots on which particular quarters have been most fervent in those celebrations, O’Reilly went on: “Roger Ailes experienced that hatred and it killed him. That is the truth.”
Medical examiners released news earlier today that Ailes died due to internal bleeding caused by a fall last week. Still, if O’Reilly—whose own fall from Fox grace mimicked Ailes’, public hatred and all, but who seems hale and hearty as ever—wants to hand out credit for the media mogul’s death, we can’t imagine there won’t be plenty of people lining up to claim the win.