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Bill O'Reilly 'Daily Show' send-off enchants YouTube

Commentary: Trevor Noah's tribute to the fired Fox News personality isn't exactly full of praise. YouTube seems to like it.

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A heartfelt goodbye.

Daily Show/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It's the end of an era.

Or, as critics might have it, the end of an error.

Bill O'Reilly, the most stridently popular personality on Fox News, parted ways with the channel on Wednesday. This came after an internal investigation suggested there may be more instances of alleged sexual harassment than have already surfaced. The New York Times reported on April 1 about $13 million in payouts to five women who accused O'Reilly of sexual harassment.

O'Reilly, who has denied the merit of the women's claims, has long been an object of derision for the "Daily Show," especially when it was hosted by Jon Stewart.

Stewart's successor, Trevor Noah, couldn't resist offering his own send-off to one of America's best known purveyors of conservative thought. The video clip from Wednesday night's show has captivated YouTube. It currently stands at No. 2 on the trending chart and has picked up more than 897,000 views in 12 hours.

Noah focused heavily on O'Reilly's views on race. For example, there's O'Reilly's notion that "slaves were well fed and provided with decent lodgings by the government" when they built the White House. Then there's his jape that a black guest looked "like a coke dealer."

"Bill O'Reilly is lucky that black people aren't all the criminals he thinks they are." Noah said. "Otherwise, that guy would have popped a cap in his ass."

In Noah's view, O'Reilly "sometimes became so racist, it somehow became funny."

Noah said that if his predecessor Stewart was the Yoda of cable shows, O'Reilly was the Sith Lord. (Noah, naturally, views himself as Daisy Ridley.)

Many will wonder who -- or, indeed, what -- might replace O'Reilly at the top of cable news. Will his brand of angry-man-on-the-lawn find a new standard-bearer? Does all this signal a societal sea change when it comes respecting women? Or was his only downfall simply the fact that he got caught?

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