Before Fox News host Bill O'Reilly was let go from the news network on Wednesday, the television host's team was hoping to save his job by exposing the "liberal conspiracy" driving his show's demise.
Politico reported that just a day before his firing, O'Reilly and his legal team were considering showing an email sent by Democratic fundraiser Mary Pat Bonner to 21st Century Fox leadership, in a last-ditch effort to save O'Reilly's job.
Bonner's April 13 email, which was sent to undisclosed recipients, discussed the liberal "watchdog" organization Media Matters for America and their "advertiser education campaign" to encourage advertisers to drop O'Reilly's Fox News program. The email also announced two upcoming conference calls with Media Matters president Angelo Carusone, which were scheduled for April 20 and April 21, to discuss "the success of the campaign so far, and our plans moving forward."
O'Reilly's team was likely hoping to use this email as part of the "irrefutable" evidence of the "smear campaign" against O'Reilly by liberal organizations, as O'Reilly's attorney Marc E. Kasowitz alleged in a statement prior to the television host's firing.
"Bill O'Reilly has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America," Kasowitz said in the statement, suggesting there was "evidence that the smear campaign is being orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O'Reilly and Fox News for political and financial reasons."
Ultimately, it appears that O'Reilly and his team ended up declining to alert Rupert Murdoch and other 21st Century Fox leadership about Bonner's email and Media Matters' "conspiracy" — at least right away.
"If we show to Fox tomorrow, word will get out and the Thursday call may be cancelled," O'Reilly wrote in an email obtained by Politico.
"So no formal sending to Rupert until after the call," O'Reilly continued. "You all should know that I will not put up with much more from FNC."
Of course, as Politico noted, the "#StopOReilly" campaign being orchestrated by Carusone and Media Matters was not exactly a secret affair to begin with. Carusone even discussed the campaign with Politico in an April 6 article.
"This is not based off of an outrage moment, but rather, it's responsive to a deep pattern of sexual harassment," Carusone told Politico. "It doesn't have a political partisan lens, the way maybe a comment around an individual would have or a statement that some people may find outrageous and others may not. This is about behavior that is universally wrong."