Friendly Fire: Bill O’Reilly And Laura Ingraham Spar Over Michelle Obama

oreilly_ingrahamThe Obama Administration hosted its first White House Christmas party for the media this week. Bill O’Reilly not only attended, but he later spoke very highly of the party, making particular mention of how impressed he was with first lady Michelle Obama. This did not please conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, who gave O’Reilly some stick during a guest appearance on The Factor. Not surprisingly, O’Reilly pushed right back.

While the tenor of the conversation started light, it appeared to become heated at times, before returning to the jovial teasing vibe that O’Reilly and Ingraham usually enjoy.

O’Reilly: I understand that you and Dr. Deiner are going to have a dinner date tonight?

Ingraham: Oh yeah…its like you and Michelle Obama. We’re like this.

O’Reilly: Hey, Michelle Obama and I very, very close

Ingraham: I’m gushing over your gushing last night about Christmas party. I’m still trying to get over that.

O’Reilly (interrupting): I’m calling you out on that. I thought she was very nice at the party. I thought she treated everyone with respect…you’re going to give me a hard time about that? I reported honestly

Ingraham (interrupting): What did you think she was going to do? Not let you near the punch bowl? I mean of course she’s going to be nice to you! She’s smart!

O’Reilly: So what? She was nice! I reported what happened and you have a beef with it?

Ingraham: I don’t remember you gushing over Laura Bush

O’Reilly: Well then you have a bad memory Miss Laura because I said, when Laura Bush gave the initial speech at the convention in 2000 I was the first broadcaster to say that this woman gave an extraordinary speech on education! So YOU don’t know what you are talking about! Don’t call me out on that!

Ingraham: I have just one question. Did you eat an ACORN shaped cookie last night?

O’Reilly: Oh Bull___! You are a blind ideologue who, even if somebody is nice to you, you won’t admit it because you’re … talk about a Kool-aid drinker? You have an IV attached to your arm!

Ingraham: They are a beautiful family.

O’Reilly Enjoyed Partying With Michelle Obama; Hannity Wasn’t Invited

oreilly_12-17Fox News host Bill O’Reilly spent the very top of his show last night to brag a little about how great a time he had at the White House Christmas Party earlier Tuesday night, before turning his attention to health care.

But not all Fox News hosts got invited.

“I believe it’s a privilege to go the White House anytime,” said O’Reilly. He also got in a nice shot in his ongoing war against the War on Christmas: “Or as they say in San Francisco, the ‘holiday party.’” (A shot at one of his least favorite cities too!)

O’Reilly said it was the first time he had met First Lady Michelle Obama, and he was “impressed.” “She’s charismatic, articulate and beautiful,” said O’Reilly. “The President and First Lady could not have been nicer to everybody.”

O’Reilly also noted the shift in tone between last year’s party, hosted by former Pres. Bush. He said it was “more subdued” this year, to reflect the economic situation.

So O’Reilly was there, Greta Van Susteren was there – but another Fox News prime time host wasn’t so lucky. Sean Hannity joked about not getting an invite as he introduced his Great American Panel. But by the fourth reference to not getting an invite, it started to seem like he was really a little upset about the whole thing. “O’Reilly was there, I didn’t get invited!” said Hannity. I wonder why?

The one person we all really wanted to hear talk about her experience at the party, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, didn’t address the topic on her show.

Here’s O’Reilly’s “Talking Points” last night:

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Bill O’Reilly: ‘I Don’t Think Newsweek Is Going To Survive’

tim_oreilly Last night, Bill O’Reilly had Time Magazine managing editor Rick Stengel on his show to discuss Time’s decision to name Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke as their Person of the Year. After Stengel explained their decision to put Bernanke on the cover (over the Kardashian sisters, as O’Reilly suggested), the conversation turned to print as a medium. According to O’Reilly, Newsweek isn’t going to survive.

What does it mean when cable’s top news host is suggesting the demise of a magazine? Well, O’Reilly’s comments will have little to no actual effect on Newsweek’s end of the year P&L statement. But it can’t be good for a major magazine when a populist (and popular) TV personality is openly questioning its viability. Public perception is a fragile thing, particularly for Newsweek, a title that has made a lot of news this year after redesigning and refocusing their editorial direction.

The conversation turned to the future of print media at the 2:00 mark of the video. A rough transcript of that portion follows:

O’Reilly: We all missed it. I missed it. Barney Frank missed it. Barney Frank! OK Now. Putting Ben Bernanke on the cover is a gutsy move, because people aren’t going to buy the magazine because Ben Bernanke on the cover you know that.

Stengel: No I don’t know that

O’Reilly: But if you put the Kardashian sisters on, you’d sell more.

Stengel: But I don’t think that’s what people are looking for us to do. They look for us to be serious about most serious topics.

O’Reilly: That’s what I mean – its a gutsy. It is not a flashy moves. Its Ben Bernanke, its him in a beard. You guys. uh, want to throw a stat out. In the first nine months of 2005 Time magazine made $636 million in profit. Big cannon. First nine months of this year you made $167 million — big drop from 2005.

Stengel: Those numbers don’t quite ring true.

O’Reilly: These numbers…from the Time Warner filing SEC

Stengel: It may have been Time Inc. the whole magazine group together.

O’Reilly: Are you guys going to survive?

Stengel: We’re actually having a very good year. We’ll be solidly profitable this year. We are gaining share from everyone else.

O’Reilly: Because I don’t think Newsweek is going to survive.

Stengel: We are not only going to survive, we’re going to thrive.

O’Reilly: First nine months of this year Newsweek lost $30 million. All right, if Newsweek goes out, and I think they will in 2010, you pick up some of their readers — isn’t print over? Isn’t the NY Times having trouble?

Stengel: Every different medium of journalism and media will survive. Print will survive. Online will survive. There are new tablets that are coming out that will be a new form of journalism. Those will all exist, the ratio’s of how profitable they each are will change but they will still exist.

O’Reilly: You think you are in good financial shape?

Stengel: Oh we’re in good financial shape…

O’Reilly: I heard a rumor that Ben Bernanke, after being named Time’s Man of the Year, Person of the Year, injected like a trillion dollars into Time. Is that true?

Stengel: I can’t comment on that.

O’Reilly: Because that would have been a smart move. Hey Ben, inject right here. All right, Ben Bernanke — I cannot argue with that, because I do believe that you are right, that if the financial community had collapsed totally, the whole economy would be in “”the grapes of wrath”" here. But I would rather read about the Kardashian sisters.

Stengel: Well don’t get Time for that. But we will survive for putting Ben Bernanke on the cover.

Colbert: Conservative Talk And Gold, ‘Like Obama And A Hitler Mustache’

Picture 1Stephen Colbert took some time last night to address the phenomenon that is the conservative media host’s support of gold: Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly all shill for gold as a good investment. “Conservative talk and gold” says Colbert, “go together like Obama and a Hitler moustache.” Youch!

Says Colbert by way of explanation: “We help you by frightening you, and right now we are frightening you about the declining value of the US dollar. But! Gold will never lose its value…did you know if you collect a hundred gold coins you get an extra life?”

And who is the king of fear and gold? None other than Glenn Beck! At which point Colbert treads some familiar ground pointing out that Beck’s show has a lot of gold advertisers, which is something Fox has addressed. Though apparently Colbert missed the update because he states on his show that Beck is a paid spokesman for Goldline, which he no longer is, though the amount of gold commercials running on Fox does seem a little suspect, all things considered. Meanwhile, while you ponder, enjoy the Roger Sterling spot at the end of this video.

O’Reilly: I Think Obama Is Smarter Than Bush (?) (Update)

is-obama-smarter-than-bushPresented without commentary: on last night’s O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly said pretty bluntly that he thinks Barack Obama is smarter than George W. Bush. (Update: well, presented with some commentary.) Full video after the jump:
Comedian and former Tonight Show writer Buddy Winston elicited the surprising reaction during a segment on comedians’ treatment of Obama versus their treatment of Bush.

O’Reilly agreed with the self-described “liberal” that humorists had turned on Obama:

Winston: People think that Obama kind of comprehends the gravity of his decisions more than Bush –

O’Reilly: Well, I think he’s smarter than Bush.

Update: The Fox News official transcript has O’Reilly as saying “Well, they think he’s smarter than George.” (emphases added) Accurate transcription, inaccurate transcription, or devious coverup?

Winston, who was on the program (but who is, once again, a self-avowed liberal), confidently proclaims that O’Reilly said “I.” To mine ear, it sounds like “I,” but there is some ambiguity. Listen for yourself. (Poll after the video.)

As for the Fox transcript: maybe, but the decision on the I/they ambiguity is called into question by the “George” at the end of O’Reilly’s quote. He clearly says “Bush.”

(h/t Buddy Winston himself)

Shocker! Fox News Pundits Not Satisfied With Obama’s B+ Grade

obama-b+When Obama gave himself a “solid” grade of B+ in a recent interview with Oprah, it was only a matter of time — less than a day, to be precise — before the cable news punditocracy chimed in. As you can imagine, the Fox News faction, represented by Greta Van Susteren, Dana Perino, and Bill O’Reilly, did not take too kindly to it.

The president giving himself a grade is the sort of opportunity cabledom dreams of: it’s ‘newsworthy’ but totally subjective, and provides a hook for hanging on any sort of argument, talking point, or roundtable debate one wishes.

On On the Record, Van Susteren and Perino took the popular ‘bludgeon Obama for all his failings’ route. A preview of the clip below: B+ is a darn fine grade, and if my kid got a B+ in calculus I’d be proud; Obama was disrespectful to Bush; Obama was arrogant for analogizing himself to FDR in his Oprah interview (”I think we have inherited the biggest set of challenges of any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt”).

O’Reilly was still critical, but a little more nuanced. He hammered Obama on public approval ratings and confidence polls. But he had the edge of having rolled out his own set of grades for Obama on GMA the previous week, which he made a focus of his discussion: B on jobs, C on Afghanistan, D on health care — a C average, if they’re all equally weighted, but not as brutal a pile-on as it could have been.

Olbermann Fails to Credit Mediaite While Slamming Drudge for Thievery

breitbart_olbermannOn last night’s Countdown, host Keith Olbermann included a quote by Andrew Breitbart that sounded rather familiar to me. I waited a few seconds to see if there would be any attribution, but the onscreen graphic simply said “Andrew Breitbart – Dec. 10.”

Maybe I was mistaken, maybe the source of Breitbart’s quote was something directly overheard by a Countdown staffer, or a Breitbart utterance in some public forum. Maybe Countdown didn’t lift the quote from an exclusive interview and fail to credit the source, in the very same segment in which they accused the Drudge Report of thievery.

In running down the conservative echo chamber, Olbermann cited many of the players involved, and made this claim: “…or get Matt Drudge to steal somebody else’s column in which somebody else will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.”

Here’s the video. The quote in question is at the 7:19 mark, but watch the whole thing. It’s pretty good.

The full quote is from a December 10 Mediaite article by Colby Hall. It was called “Exclusive Interview: Andrew Breitbart Announces Launch of New ‘Big’ Sites,” and also featured a little red “Exclusive” banner, in case you missed the headline.

In a phone interview with Mediaite, Breitbart says that his new sites will continue to “fight the mainstream media – New York TimesWashington Post, LA Times, CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN — who have repeatedly, and under the guise of objectivity and political neutrality, promoted a blatantly left-of-center, pro-Democratic party agenda.”

Breitbart didn’t make that comment into the void of space, he made it in response to a Mediaite editor who had gone to the trouble of securing the interview and preparing questions for it. He deserved to be credited. How would Keith like it if we all got to tune in to “Countdown with Blank Spaces and a Dateline?”

The segment was about reactions, by Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck, to a line spoken by a fictional character on NBC’s Law and Order: SVU. Olbermann doesn’t make the heavy lift that the pair are “inciting violence,” a charge that carries a high burden of proof.  I’m sure we’ve all said or done things that would look equally bad posted on the web page of some killer.

He does, however, provide support for that SVU character’s assertion that they are “spreading ignorance and hate,” and eviscerates the notion of a gaggle of people who claim no objectivity accusing mainstream journalists of bias. Keith would have been better served sticking to those points.