Among the many narratives that have come from the whole Shirley Sherrod saga, perhaps the most entertaining has been the resurrection of the bitter rivalry between Fox News and MSNBC. Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow have both launched vicious assaults for what they saw as FNC’s role in the Sherrod scandal, and last night, Bill O’Reilly fired back, saying of his rivals at NBC, “That’s why (the) character assassins do what they do. If you can’t beat them, slime them. “
O’Reilly was one of the first opinion media journalists to call for Sherrod to resign over her speech that has since been revealed to have been taken out of context, but then later apologized for getting it wrong. But while O’Reilly owned up to his part in this story, he took great exception to Maddow’s accusation that Fox News’ “scare white people” strategy, calling her a “loon.”
O’Reilly’s full court defense was in evidence as he referenced Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz, who had quoted Fox News executive Michael Clemente’s directive of “getting this story right.” It’s worth noting that on many previous occasions, O’Reilly has dismissed Kurtz as a “partisan hack,” but in this instance it appears that his work is to be trusted.
O’Reilly got very personal, though not calling out Olbermann or Maddow by name, instead going after NBC News chief Steve Capus, whom O’Reilly (and presumably other execs at Fox News) appears to hold most accountable.