Monday, January 09, 2006

And now, from the "Let the pundits get ready to RUMBLE!" files, and Yahoo! News...

Sudiegirl sez: OK, if people are ready to have a cage match with Bill O’Reilly, then I’m going to help facilitate that at the end…with a handy-dandy list of who I’d like to see in the “ring” with ol’ Billy-boy. Until I reach the end of this article, however, expect the same snarkiness that you have grown to know and love (?), or at least tolerate. And BTW, if my views don’t agree with yours, that’s OK…I’m just glad I live in a country where I’m not arrested for it. At least…not yet.

Many Ready to Spar With Bill O'Reilly
By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer
Sun Jan 8, 4:16 PM ET

If Bill O'Reilly truly loves a good fight, then he's had quite a week. The Fox News Channel personality's confrontation with David Letterman Tuesday night made for some gripping television. The cranky "Late Show" host told his guest: "I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap." (Gee, that’s kind of a low-balling figure, isn’t it, Dave?)

That same night, nemesis Keith Olbermann on MSNBC once again named O'Reilly his "Worst Person in the World," this time for battling with two people at The New York Times. That's the 15th time O'Reilly has been cited since Olbermann began his half-facetious, half-serious nightly "award" to wag his finger at bad behavior. (Two things: first, I LOVE the word “nemesis”…very DC-Comics-ish. The 2nd thing…I think MSNBC should send Bill O’Reilly a plaque or something for his numerous distinctions. I mean, that’s quite an accomplishment, isn’t it? Akin to having lightning strike in the same place twice?)

For whatever reason, it seems more people are willing to step into the ring with the host of cable TV news' No. 1 program. (OK, maybe I’ll start watching.)

But they'd better beware. Combat may be as essential as oxygen to him. (So, maybe if people are tired of him and want him to go away, uh…stop fighting with him? Just a guess…)

O'Reilly has already logged many minutes on his TV and radio shows to talk about what he called his "shootout" with Letterman, and posted a video clip on his Web site. He gave a telephone interview to "The View" to say that he didn't feel ambushed. (How nice for him. I’m sure Custer didn’t feel ambushed at first either. BTW, this is called HUMOR, in case certain readers from Australia are unfamiliar with the concept.)

"I had no problem with the interview," O'Reilly said. "I enjoyed it." (You know what? He probably did. Some people do get off on a good argument. However, as Larry the Cable Guy says, “I got friends that like sheep but they don’t have a parade every Friday.”)

The interview began poorly — with an uncomfortable silence after O'Reilly said he had "a nice winter solstice" — and went downhill. (Note to self…if I am ever on Letterman, don’t do “solstice” jokes.) Letterman disagreed with O'Reilly's contention that de-emphasizing religion during the Christmas season was an example of political correctness eroding tradition. (I knew I liked Dave for a reason, but I still miss Calvert DeForest.)

"I don't think this is an actual threat," Letterman said. "I think that this is something that happened here and it happened there. And so people like you are trying to make us think that it's a threat." (I have to admit, I agree…and I know I’ve posted about it before so since Christmas is over I am done commenting on it. It’s so un-Epiphany.)

They jousted over peace activist Cindy Sheehan, who O'Reilly said has referred to Iraqi insurgents as freedom fighters. (And we’re SURE this isn’t a euphemism for “French”, as in “Freedom Fries”?)

"It is a vitally important time in American history," O'Reilly said. "And we should all take it very seriously, and be very careful with what we say." (Uh-huh…so SHUT UP, BILL! Can’t you just show us pictures of your grandchildren or something?)

Responded Letterman: "Well, and you should be very careful with what you say also." (We ALL have to be careful of what we say, you know? Even your favorite bipolar, redheaded karaeoke diva!)

Letterman said he was "very concerned about people like yourself who don't have nothing but endless sympathy for a woman like Cindy Sheehan." That's where he issued his content analysis of "The O'Reilly Factor," although he admitted he didn't watch it. (OK, was the above quote verbatim? If so, I don’t quite understand it. Shouldn’t the proper syntax have been “…don’t have anything but endless sympathy…?”)

On O'Reilly's TV show the next night, Fox News analyst Juan Williams likened the segment to a knife fight. (Cue “West Side Story” fight music…) "In some sense, it's like someone inviting you into their house and you find out you've been invited by, you know, John Wayne Gacy," he said. (No…Dave is a bit different from John Wayne Gacy. As far as I know, Dave doesn’t paint pictures of clowns or bugger teenage boys, then murder them and hide them underneath his house…he’s just a nice boy from Indiana. Just ask his mom!)

A high-profile confrontation like this solidifies O'Reilly's relationship with his fans, said Martin Kaplan, an associate dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. (Uh-huh…whatever. Do any conservatives even watch “Dave”? I figured “Jay Leno” would be more their speed as he’s so milquetoast these days.)

"He lives and breathes attention and combat," (Geez…he should hang out with my sister. She’d eat him for breakfast without milk.) Kaplan said. "If he were to go on a friendly venue, there would be no story. It's made in heaven for him to be in a fight with Letterman." (But why do we want him to go to HEAVEN? Come on now…)

O'Reilly has been atop the cable news ratings for four years. (Does he get nosebleeds from the altitude?) His average nightly audience increased from 2.42 million in 2004 to 2.49 million last year, although his ratings dropped among viewers younger than 55.
Kaplan said he believes O'Reilly's Christmas campaign may have backfired on him. "In TV sitcoms," he said, "they call that `jumping the shark.'" (They do? I thought that was at Sea World.)

During an interview with Newsday's Verne Gay in October, O'Reilly sounded weary about the scrutiny of his critics and their attacks. He even mused about retiring in a couple of years. (PLEASE!!! DO IT, BILL! I’ll help you fill out the forms!)

For the past 18 months, the liberal Web site Media Matters for America has assigned a monitor to O'Reilly's radio and TV shows (Fisher Price brand?), and alerts critics to alleged misstatements. And Olbermann regularly tweaks his time slot competitor (OUCH!), particularly since starting the "Worst Person in the World" segment last June.

"He's writing this material for me," Olbermann said. "I'm thinking of sending him a check. Day after day he just gets weirder and weirder and weirder." (Maybe he and Pat Robertson are on the same diet that kind of twists their brains around like Silly-Putty?)

Olbermann said he's thinking of holding fire a bit lest it seem like an obsession. (Oh, darn!) While he's not a watchdog in a serious sense, Olbermann said that "it's important to me that you provide an alternate perspective to whatever the elite is in a given field.

"I look at them — they're clearly the popular clique, led by the bullies in the school — so if you get an opportunity to point out what stupid thing has been said or what moronic action has been encouraged by them or simply when they have fallen all over themselves in relation to the facts, you should do it," he said. (YEAH, KEITH!!!! YOU DA MAN!)

Olbermann pleads innocent to being holier-than-thou because of his show's willingness to point out its own mistakes. "I'm sure I will eventually make the list," he said. "I will be one of the worst people in the world." (OK…)

He may already be, at least at Fox News Channel's office. O'Reilly, who didn't want to talk for this article, has referred to Olbermann — although not by name — as a "notorious smear merchant" (Ooh…so if a gynecologist does something bad, he’s a notorious PAP smear merchant?) and pointed out his low ratings. (Olbermann's typical audience is about one-sixth of O'Reilly's.) (Well, as they say, it’s quality, not quantity. Then again, isn’t that what you say to a guy when he’s a little…oh…smaller than normal?)

Network spokesman Brian Lewis was even more pointed. "Perhaps (NBC Universal chief) Jeff Zucker should think twice about tying his future, not to mention the reputation of (parent company) General Electric, to an unstable ratings-killer like Keith, who uses an NBC property for his personal attacks," he said. (You know, this is sounding more like a WWF pre-match mouth-off session. Where’s Mean Gene Okerlund?)

Who will have the last laugh? (ME!)

It's worth noting that nearly 2.7 million people — about 200,000 above last year's average — tuned in to watch "The O'Reilly Factor" the night after he went toe-to-toe with Letterman, according to Nielsen Media Research. O'Reilly's younger viewership was up 20 percent over his December numbers. (And as the snobby waiter said in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “I weep for the future.”)

Sudiegirl sez:
So who should Bill O’Reilly be in a cage match with? Here are some suggestions:

Oprah Winfrey

Roseanne (just for giggles…)

Chris Rock

Hulk Hogan

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog

Julie Newmar as Stupefyin’ Jones (from the old “Li’l Abner” comic strip/musical)

and lucky #7… Ben “It’s Clobberin’ Time” Grimm from “Fantastic Four!”

If you all have other suggestions…please submit them in the comments or by e-mail!

Sudiegirl the O’Reilly cage match facilitator.
On the Net:
EDITOR'S NOTE — David Bauder can be reached at