Another day, another battle between political talk personalities on TV.
This time, and for the hundredth time (or so it seems), this new dust-up is between Bill O’Reilly of Fox News Channel and, in the other corner, comedian Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central.
What’s the beef this time? Well, it all goes back to earlier this week when O’Reilly delivered one of his “Talking Points” memos at the outset of “The O’Reilly Factor” (always a favorite segment in our household!) in which he took President Obama to task for proposing a tax hike on millionaires. Not surprisingly, O’Reilly was against it because, in his view and the view of many others (such as the editorial writers in the Wall Street Journal, for instance), taxing rich people just makes them less likely to hire people for their businesses – which means the president’s idea is a bad one for the economy, particularly as a way of stimulating employment.
In making his point, O’Reilly said tax increases could even make him – O’Reilly – think seriously about packing it in or quitting his job, so he could cease enriching Uncle Sam with up to half of his hard-earned income. O’Reilly’s “threat” (which we never took seriously) was taken seriously first by liberal scold Lawrence O’Donnell on his show, “The Last Word,” on MSNBC. And then, Stewart took up the cudgel himself on “The Daily Show.”
After that, the last word (pending any other word from anyone else) belonged to O’Reilly himself, who took off after Stewart on Thursday’s “Factor.” Are you following this? Please say yes.
Ahem – to continue: On the “Factor,” O’Reilly reiterated his view on the so-called millionaires’ tax. Addressing Stewart (who wasn’t there, of course, though O’Reilly must presume Stewart watches “The Factor” each and every night), O’Reilly said, “Americans with common sense” [have concluded that] “the liberal tenet of taxing the rich and spending like Arab sheiks may not be the solution to fixing a moribund economy.” That quote comes courtesy of The Huffington Post, which has other details of O’Reilly’s remarks here.
As for the Stewart remarks that precipitated this salvo from O’Reilly, this story on the Daily Kos (through the years one of O’Reilly’s archenemies) has all the details of that.
What’s the bottom line? Both Stewart and O’Reilly must be aware by now – as we who write about these battles are also aware – that fans of both of them love these back-and-forths. And it doesn’t hurt that media Web sites – ourselves included – write about them and give them even more publicity.
We happen to think these give-and-takes are hugely entertaining – particularly when they pit two of our best broadcasters (that would be O’Reilly vs. Stewart) against each other.