Learning from a Fall from Grace
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For 20 years, Bill O'Reilly's nightly program on the Fox News Channel has led the ratings and defined the tone of political discussion. It led to his lucrative radio program and best-selling books. And seemingly suddenly, it ended yesterday literally a few hours after he shook hands with the Pope at the Vatican.

It's easy to dismiss his departure, and that of his boss Roger Ailes last summer, as the old guard getting what they deserve. And granted, if even half the details that have publicly come out about each man's behavior are true..it's pretty cringe-worthy stuff.

But that lets us all off the hook too easily. Many of that age know that times have changed, know the right words to say...but their behavior doesn't square with their words, perhaps because they think the rules don't apply to them, or because they don't think their actions should be taken as offensive. It's inexcusable regardless.

The youngest folks in our workforce, the so-called millennials, have grown up with workplace harassment being a front-and-center issue, so I'm not sure the behavioral issues are as pronounced.

That leaves the bulk of the workforce, those who not only know the right things to say, but actually believe them. But is the behavior always in line with that? That may be the lesson to draw from the sordid stories coming from Fox News.

In Iowa, women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man...that's below the national average. It's not deliberate, but it's there.

So are workplace behavior issues. I wonder if we took this as a chance to actually think about some of the things we say to each other, in a well-meaning, humorous way...and think about whether it's not so funny to one of the others in the conversation.

Predatory behavior is obvious and has no place in our world. But I wonder if less high-profile behavior is even more widespread, and perhaps therefore, even more problematic.

And that's the Iowa Politics report for Thursday, April 20, on twitter at iowapolitics. Listen to today's segment here:

  • @iowapolitics
    Jeff Stein is a national award-winning broadcaster, with 35 years of experience in Iowa radio and television. He has covered every Iowa presidential caucus since 1980, and has been a featured political analyst on the Fox News Channel, PBS News Hour, and various television and radio stations in Iowa. He also produces and hosts the syndicated "Iowa Almanac" daily feature, and the weekly public affairs program, "The IowaWatch Connection".

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