Keith Olbermann has become an expert in O'Reilly-baiting, but last night he may have set a new record. Olbermann pushed back against Bill O'Reilly's habitual NBC-bashing — a particularly nasty bout wherein O'Reilly had extrapolated from GE's business dealings with Iran to GE chair Jeffrey Immelt bearing personal responsibility for dead American soldiers — and turned around and laid that blame at O'Reilly's own doorstep. "After all the shilling and ass-kissing you did for the administration before this phony war," said Olbermann, "You are more personally repsonsible for the 4,000 dead Americans in Iraq than all of America's corporations put together." Harsh.
Then he went harsher — by calling O'Reilly out as a hypocrite and a suck: "He didn't care about Americans, dead or alive in Iraq.This is about...me." Then he took the trash-talking to O'Reilly's bosses, too:
He really thinks people do not know that his bosses have promised my bosses that he will stop talking about Jeff Immelt or GE or NBC if I stop talking about him. And my bosses have said to me, 'Full steam ahead, buddy.' And they have said to Bill's bosses, 'We think your guy's a clown. Tell him to keep it up because he keeps providing Keith such great material.' It's a good company."
Is this the grown-up version of "my dad can beat up your dad?" (and yes, we use the term "grown-up" loosely. Well, essentially, but also true since we do know that O'Reilly's agent, at least, has asked NBC to tell Olbermann to lay off. But it's also a definite escalation of the FNC/NBC fight, since usually the network doesn't dignify the attacks with much of a response (save Olbermann, of course, and lately Dan Abrams). Now, you've got Olbermann going on the offensive on behalf of the company (whether authorized or unauthorized, who knows — though really at this point is anything Olbermann does unauthorized over there?). Either way, it's a shot across the bow at O'Reilly and at Fox News — and as such, good business, because the ratings always respond to a good feud. Still, this isn't the stuff of a silly feud, it's flinging rather heinous accusations at each other as to which is responsible for more dead soldiers. Will either of them blink? Not likely. But for the record, it sorta seems like O'Reilly started it. See Olbermann take it to the next level below:
O'Reilly: Talking Points [Fox News]
Bill O'Reilly And NBC, Shouting to Make Themselves Seen? [WaPo]