NEW YORK — Bill O’Reilly said Tuesday that his firing from Fox News Channel in April was a “political hit job” and that his network’s parent company made a business decision to get rid of him.

The deposed king of cable television news had a contentious interview with Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today” show, where he said his conscience was clear about how he dealt with women in the working world.

O’Reilly was dismissed by 21st Century Fox after a review prompted by a report in The New York Times that five women had been paid a total of $13 million to keep quiet about disturbing encounters with the Fox host. At the time, the network was nine months past removing its founding CEO, Roger Ailes, after harassment charges. The combative O’Reilly had spent years as the most-watched figure in cable TV news.

“This was a hit job, a political and financial hit job engineered by …” O’Reilly said.

Lauer interrupted him. “This was a vast left-wing conspiracy?” said Lauer, who was the interviewer two decades ago when then-first lady Hillary Clinton talked about a “vast right-wing conspiracy” targeting her husband.

“It wasn’t vast,” O’Reilly said. “Don’t be sarcastic.”

After the Times report, advertisers began fleeing from O’Reilly’s show, encouraged by liberal media watchdogs that had long had O’Reilly in their sights. O’Reilly said that unsettled his bosses at Fox.

Lauer asked whether it was safe to assume that executives had been given some information or evidence that made it impossible for O’Reilly to stay.

“That’s a false assumption,” O’Reilly said. “There were a lot of other business things in play at that time, and still today, that 21st Century was involved in, and that was a business decision that they made.”