Speed Reads

Late Night Covers President Trump

Seth Meyers explores Trump's 'symbiotic' and 'sycophantic' ties with Bill O'Reilly, Fox News

The Bill O'Reilly sexual harassment story is "just the latest example of the symbiotic relationship between Fox News and Trump," Seth Meyers said on Wednesday's Late Night. He began with President Trump's well-documented devotion to Fox & Friends — presumably, Meyers said, because the Fox News morning hosts "routinely give him sycophantic coverage." In return for their "glowing, unquestioning coverage," he said, Trump gives them "unparalleled access. And they'll go to absurd lengths to defend him." That defense doesn't always go as planned, as when Eric Bolling tried to compare Trump's first quarter with former President Barack Obama's and it backfired. Meyers highlighted the absurdity by comparing Trump and George Washington.

"So Fox is basically the closest we have to state TV," he said. The network does have some fine journalists, Meyers conceded, citing Shep Smith and Chris Wallace, but Trump "prefers people like the Fox & Friends [hosts] and, of course, one of his favorite sources, Bill O'Reilly." O'Reilly has "routinely defended Trump, even when Trump has done the indefensible," like when he dismissed Trump's Access Hollywood tape as mere "crude guy talk," Meyers said. So it makes some sense that Trump would step in and defend O'Reilly against the $13 million in sexual harassment settlements that just emerged.

"So far, Fox News has not taken O'Reilly off the air, but that could change soon because now that these settlements are public, the news is starting to hit Fox News where they care most: their wallet," Meyers said. At least 21 major companies have pulled their ads from his show. But in concluding that Fox News, Trump's "propaganda arm," is what "the president relies on for information," despite its "archaic culture of sexual harassment, fear, and intimidation," Meyers kind of undercuts his suggestion that O'Reilly is on the way out: He is Fox News' biggest ratings draw, and why would any network executive fire a pundit whom the president of the United States will quote almost verbatim? Watch below. Peter Weber