A Whitney Global Media Commentary
May 24, 2017
By William O’Shaughnessy, President and Editorial Director
Billy Bush is an absolutely wonderful young man … a graceful fellow with sterling manners. But for one unfortunate and memorable lapse, he’s always been a perfect gentleman.
He started as an intern with our suburban Westchester stations WVOX right out of Colby College in 1994.
Despite the Access Hollywood incident, Billy Bush has been a class act in every season of his life.
He brings to everything he does – on and off the air – a generous helping of born–and-bred bonhomie, gregarious ebullience, joie de vivre and effervescence. He has always been accompanied by a lot of pep and gracious enthusiasm in everything he does.
He’s also a fine journalist with good instincts who lights up a television studio. And as we’ve observed him over the years … there’s not a mean damn bone in his body.
As the world knows, he is also a nephew of a former president of the United States (George H.W. Bush) … a cousin of another (George W. Bush) … and grandson of a United States Senator (Prescott Bush.) Interesting that he’s never “played” or bragged on any of that.
His father is the estimable Jonathan Bush, who Mario Cuomo once described as “the Bush all the others would like to be.”
In an era of vapid, vacuous, boring, tedious, unexciting talking heads, bimbos and poseurs glued to Teleprompters, we still think Billy Bush is a bright, shining star with great potential and a great future. Because he’s real !
And it is our hope that the elders of the television networks will not hold the temporary vulgarity of his frat boy episode with Donald Trump against him.
William “Billy” Bush has clearly done a lot of sincere, quality time, soul-searching with respect to the feelings of women. And he remains the gentleman he was brought up to be.
To choke off this young man’s career would be unfortunate … nay, inexcusable.
He deserves a second chance.
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As I recalled in my new book Mario Cuomo: Remembrances of a Remarkable Man, even the former Governor of New York was greatly taken with the young Mr. Bush and the way he carried himself years ago. Here’s an excerpt:
The governor had considerable admiration for the Bush family. And Vice versa. I vividly recall a summer meeting of the New York State Broadcasters Association at the fabled Gideon Putnam, an historic old lorelei of a hotel in Saratoga Springs. William “Billy” Bush, who spent the summer with us as a news intern at our Westchester community stations, “covered” the upstate confab, with broadcasters from all over the state, at which the governor was the featured speaker. After Mario’s formal remarks, he opened it up for a Q & A session.
The very first question came from the attractive young man in the back of the room: “Mr. Governor, my name is William ‘Billy’ Bush. I am an associate of your friend Mr. O’Shaughnessy. I’d like to ask you why must it always be ‘us’ against ‘them’ in the public discourse?”
The room hushed and waited for Mario’s response to the excellent philosophical question, which was right over the heart of the plate for Mario Cuomo. “Well, I can tell from the elegance of your question that you are indeed a Bush …” And then Mario hit it out of the park with a beautiful ten-minute reply.
After the conference was over, I received a call in my car going down the Hudson River Valley. “Who was that attractive young man; is he really a Bush?” Mario asked. When I explained that Billy was the son of Jonathan Bush, Mario said, “Oh, I like his father very much. He’s the one with the great personality, the one all the other Bushes wish they were like.”
William O’Shaughnessy, a former president of the New York State Broadcasters Association, was chairman of Public Affairs for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington. He has been a point man and advocate for the broadcasters of America on First Amendment and Free Speech issues and is presently chairman of the Guardian Fund of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, the national charitable organization. He is also a longtime director and member of the Executive Committee of the Foundation. He has operated WVOX and WVIP, two of the last independent stations in the New York area, for over 60 years as president and editorial director.
He is the author of “AirWAVES” (1999) … “It All Comes Back to Me Now” (2001) … “More Riffs, Rants and Raves” (2004) … and “VOX POPULI: The O’Shaughnessy Files,” released in January, 2011. He has also written “Mario Cuomo: Remembrances of a Remarkable Man,” a tribute to his late friend Governor Mario M. Cuomo. His newest book RADIOactive for Fordham University Press, another anthology with interviews, commentaries, speeches and tributes was published in 2019. He is presently working on Townies, a paean to those without wealth, influence or high estate in suburban Westchester County, the heart of the Eastern Establishment.