If reports are true that former Fox News executive Bill Shine has accepted a high-level communications role in Donald Trump’s White House, there are two men who couldn’t be happier.
“If Bill Shine gets the job of White House communications director, that will be good for the country,” Bill O’Reilly, who like Shine left the network in disgrace last year, tweeted on Wednesday. He called his former boss “smart and honest,” adding, “But the President has to listen to him!”
Sean Hannity, who remains Fox News’ biggest star, had a similar reaction on his radio show. “I think it would be great because he's great at his job,” Hannity told listeners. “And he's one of the smartest people I've ever known and one of the nicest people I've ever known.” He then added, cryptically, “As far as what I know about it, if I did know anything, it's none of your business anyway.”
As far as why Shine is available for such a gig, it has everything to do with the way he protected his boss, the late Roger Ailes, amidst numerous sexual harassment allegations. Shine was personally named in lawsuits that alleged he attempted to cover up Ailes’ wrongdoing.
Shine’s ouster from Fox came just two weeks after O’Reilly was fired for allegedly sexually harassing colleagues at the network. The New York Times, which first broke the story on O’Reilly, reported that Shine “advocated keeping” O’Reilly at Fox even after it had been revealed that he had “entered into multimillion-dollar settlements with women who had accused him of harassment.”
It’s no wonder that O’Reilly would return that loyalty with his endorsement. But what about Hannity?
As it became clear last April that Shine could lose his job, Hannity went to bat for his then-boss. “Somebody HIGH UP AND INSIDE F.N.C. is trying to get an innocent person fired,” he theorized on Twitter. “I pray this is NOT true because if it is, that’s the total end of the FNC as we know it. Done.”
Four days later, Shine was out, and Fox News has only grown more powerful under Trump. Now with Shine in the White House, Hannity’s already immense influence over the president is likely to increase.