- The Washington Times - Monday, November 5, 2018

Bill O’Reilly, the former kingpin of cable news, says President Trump’s eventual exit from the political stage will trigger the “total collapse” of the industry.

The man who once dominated airwaves with “no spin” analysis on Fox News says that hatred is primarily propping up ratings in 2018. An implosion, Mr. O’Reilly predicts, is inevitable without the billionaire’s personality around to attract an audience.

“You either like him or you hate him,” the conservative pundit told The Washington Examiner on Monday. “All right. So the New York Times is making money, survives on hating Trump. So does CNN … and MSNBC and NBC News. There’s nothing else that drives people into watching MSNBC or CNN other than Trump hatred. They have nothing else to offer. Nothing.”

Mr. O’Reilly’s sentiments, for all intents and purposes, were recently shared by CNN President Jeff Zucker as well.

“Just looking at the past 25 years, these last three are among the most successful in CNN history,” Mr. Zucker told Vanity Fair for its December issue. “My view is this: Obviously our audience numbers will not stay at this level when he’s not president, either in two years or six years. Nobody should be pretending otherwise. I do believe, though, that we have reset the playing field so that our audience levels will be significantly higher than they were.”

Mr. O’Reilly added that networks stay afloat in large part because of elderly regional citizens who tune in due to habit.

SEE ALSO: Bill O’Reilly’s ‘Killing the SS’ hits top slot on NYTs best-seller list, dethrones Fox’s Carlson

“And when Trump leaves the stage, you’re going to see a total collapse of cable news,” the “Killing the SS” author said. “Network news already collapsed. The only people watching them are in the Midwest, in the South, and elderly people, and they’re just used to the tradition of watching. But in the urban centers and among younger Americans, network is — I dunno, you go out and ask who [CBS Evening News Anchor] Jeff Glor is.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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