O’Reilly Prepares To Light Up GE Again Tonight

oreilly_8-11All day yesterday Bill O’Reilly’s Website teased a segment equating GE and Enron (with Bernie Goldberg weighing in), but when The O’Reilly Factor aired last night, Goldberg and O’Reilly just chatted about how awesome Fox News was. So where did it go?

In the post-’Truce’-gate world, Inside Cable News asked if it was “spiked” for some reason. Here’s the answer: it’s happening tonight.

The story, based around this Floyd Norris article in the New York Times, was brought up several times on Fox News yesterday.

A Factor insider tells Mediaite the show is “doing it tonight,” and that it was always planned for Tuesday’s show. The promo department apparently jumped the gun. So no ‘corporate pressure’ on O’Reilly’s side – and the battle continues…

» Follow Steve Krakauer on Twitter

Mourning The Death of The GE/FOX Deal

countdown_8-8One week after news of a supposed “truce” (or “ceasefire” or “deal” or…) between GE/NBC and News Corp./Fox, it’s clear the deal has passed away.

Following Keith Olbermann’s strong attack on Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes and Fox News in general again last night (video after the jump), and another story about in-house tensions at 30 Rock, it’s time to talk about the supposed ‘truce’ in the past tense. So what killed it?

According to the New York TimesBrian Stelter, it all started to deteriorate, as one might imagine, after Monday night. “Fox News executives felt that MSNBC had broken the deal when Keith Olbermann, in an apparent show of independence, insulted his 8 p.m. rival, Bill O’Reilly, and the News Corporation’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch, on Monday,” writes Stelter.

O’Reilly responded, in a way, with his attack on GE two nights later. But in Stelter’s story, Fox says it’s not about them:

“At this point,” a Fox spokeswoman said Friday, “the entire situation is more about major issues at NBC and G.E. than it is about Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann.”

So that puts the pressure on Olbermann and his bosses to stop their personal attacks. Which, to the detriment of salvaging any remnants of a deal, was not heeded last night. Instead, Olbermann set his sights on O’Reilly, but also, oddly, Fox Chairman Ailes. The basis for the attack was essentially something written about Ailes by the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz. “Negotiating with the people that his ‘nutcases’ might cover about whether or not those nutcases will or will not cover them might seem like journalism to Mr. Ailes, but clearly no actual journalist would agree with him,” said Olbermann last night.

Does Olbermann not see the hypocrisy here, or is he just hoping his viewers don’t notice? This is the exact same situation he himself is in. In the Times story today, both GE and FOX said the deal did not involve telling their talent how to cover stories. It’s a matter of how each network, and host, deal with this non-directive directive.

It’s clear what happened here: in the wake of the news going public, Olbermann reacted defensively by going on the offensive. O’Reilly responded, and Olbermann, still being questioned in the liberal blogosphere, went back and attacked. Here’s what will happen next: O’Reilly will attack GE next week. And the story of the deal that was, then wasn’t, will disintegrate.

But GE will not be happy. Will they be unhappy enough to officially reign in Olbermann, who essentially killed this deal and isn’t necessarily afraid to quit if he doesn’t get his way? We’ll see. Olbermann is still the top-rated host on MSNBC. He doesn’t pull in anywhere near the ratings of O’Reilly and others at Fox News, but he has a built-in, loyal audience. Now that he’s “going rogue,” GE will have to decide whether they’re with him or against him.

Here’s last night’s “Worst Persons”:

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

» Follow Steve Krakauer on Twitter

Bill O’Reilly Puts His Love For Barack Obama Into A Parade Column

Say what you want about Bill O’Reilly, but he never shies away from surprising people. Take this weekend’s upcoming Parade magazine, in which the Fox News host writes a lengthy column headlined, “What President Obama Can Teach America’s Kids” (first reported by Politico).

This is just about as glowing as any profile of Barack Obama written by a fawning lefty. But there’s nothing like seeing it in print to get the full impact. Here’s a sneak peek:


The Fox News host, surrounded by children of various races, writing about our liberal, Democratic President. It’s enough to make Keith Olbermann throw up a little in his mouth.

Here are some passages:

As has been widely chronicled, Barack Obama had a tough childhood filled with instability and loneliness. However, that did not stop him from rising to become the most powerful man in the world. His breathtaking achievement presents five important lessons for all children.

Those lessons are forgiveness, respect, persistence, hard word, and ‘anything is possible.’

More, from the powerful conclusion:

What he has achieved in his 48 years is simply astounding. Consider the odds. The United States is a nation of more than 300 million citizens. Only one person is currently the Commander in Chief. That man had no fatherly guidance, is of mixed race, and had no family connections to guide him into the world of national politics. That adds up to one simple truth that every American child should be told: “If Barack Obama can become the President of the United States, then whatever dream you may have can happen in your life.”

For those who are absolutely floored, you probably don’t watch enough of The O’Reilly Factor. The top-rated cable news host undeniably leans right, but by no means can be grouped with conservative Sean Hannity or pseudo-conservative Glenn Beck.

What’s more, O’Reilly has a very clear respect for Obama that comes directly from the then-Senator’s decision to come on The Factor for a lengthy interview during the presidential campaign. It was a self-serving mission for both – Obama picked his appearance to compete with the Republican National Convention, O’Reilly got a multi-night, highly-rated ‘get.’ But there’s a reason VP candidate Sarah Palin wouldn’t go toe-to-toe with O’Reilly – he’s not an easy interview. That respect has translated to some dividends for Obama.

While Hannity plays “Carmina Burana” and Beck plants ‘is he racist’ seeds, O’Reilly stays largely above the fray. Still – some conservatives and liberals will be in for a surprise when they open their Sunday newspapers this weekend and see a smiling O’Reilly espousing the life lessons of our Commander in Chief.

» Follow Steve Krakauer on Twitter

News From ‘Truce’-Gate: “Olbermann” And “Quit” In Same Sentence

olbermann_8-7It has been a full week since news of a deal between News Corp. and GE (or, more specifically, between Fox News and MSNBC) broke, and the story continues to evolve.

Today, The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz reveals some behind-the-scenes insight about the “war” – and the revelations continue to hurt MSNBC host Keith Olbermann far more than his FNC foil, Bill O’Reilly.

Here’s the key passage in Kurtz’ piece:

But the war was just beginning at MSNBC, where an opinionated culture is often at odds with NBC News. The day after Olbermann’s comments about the Tiller slaying, executives convened a large meeting and talked about Fox and the importance of striking the right on-air tone. Olbermann later expressed a willingness to make minor adjustments in his style, but he and his allies, concerned about setting a precedent, dug in for a fight. Olbermann left Zucker and executives with the impression that he might quit if the dispute wasn’t resolved to his satisfaction.

Olbermann has threatened to quit, and has actually done so on several occasions. The seed is now planted in this story, and the implication fuels the fire…that may be headed toward meltdown.

The meeting Kurtz writes about happened in June, but fast forward to this week, and Monday’s attack on Fox from Olbermann.

Fox felt the agreement had been shattered. “This is more of an internal issue that NBC and GE need to work through,” a Fox spokesman said. Fox executives disputed the contention of some NBC officials that any understanding was amorphous. “There was an agreement for no personal attacks,” one said. GE and NBC declined to comment.

The personal attacks then returned Wednesday from O’Reilly, in a direct cause-and-effect moment. And if Olbermann fires back at FNC, thus bothering both his bosses and O’Reilly, expect a similar retaliation. There’s no way out – Olbermann has to change his focus away from Fox, and thus face alienating some of his hardcore fans. He did a good job with that later this week – last night was attack #3 on CNN’s Lou Dobbs. But Dobbs is not the same type of foe as O’Reilly – mainly, he’s not nearly as popular.

On another front, Olbermann gives TVNewser another new explanation for why he didn’t know about Richard Wolffe’s consulting job.

In April, I knew vaguely that Richard Wolffe had gone to work for a non-news firm, and that’s about the last I heard of it. It was entirely concurrent with my mother’s fatal illness, and I turned it over entirely to my management team. My first awareness that this was more than just a non-news job, was this week.

If Jonathan Berr, whoever he is, does not like my prioritizing caring for my mother and dealing with her death, and then doing as many shows as I could, ahead of vetting the comments of our analysts and my management team, frankly, I feel sorry for him. Getting myself through those two months were, and are, more important than what is still being investigated about Richard.

Wow. It’s not clear how this will end – but it’s not looking like it will end well.

» Follow Steve Krakauer on Twitter

When You’re Wrong About Bill O’Reilly, You Better Correct On The Front Page

oreilly_8-3Fox News host Bill O’Reilly got a rare front page correction today from the St. Petersburg Times – a sign that if you get something drastically wrong concerning the #1 cable news host, you may want to appease him.

TV critic Eric Deggans incorrectly lumped O’Reilly into a column about news personalities who have accused Pres. Obama of racism (his colleague, Glenn Beck, was correctly on that list), but O’Reilly has never said anything like that. The FNC host addressed the story on his program last night as well.

“The problem with Mr. Deggans is acute,” said O’Reilly last night. “All American newspapers have an obligation to hire honest people, not crazed ideologues. Now, I don’t want anyone to lose their jobs, but this situation – beyond the pale.”

For his part, Deggans took to his blog to apologize. “One serving of humble pie, coming right up,” he started.

Deggans also made note of a jinx that apparently came true. When he criticized Alessandra Stanley over her errors, he wrote: “It’s a sure route to jinxland, pointing out the errors of other journalists.”

But at least you got a shout-out on O’Reilly?

Here’s the clip from last night:

» Follow Steve Krakauer on Twitter