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Opening Arguments

Smooth talkers

Getting rough out there in talk land. Third-best recent putdown by one celebrity of another -- Anderson Cooper's producer on Fox's Gretta Susteren:

The executive producer of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 last week called Susteren's On The Record  "not a news program. It's missing-person of the day."

Second-best: Sustern's 1,000-word response:

Best: Rush Limbaugh, in New Work Times Magazine interview, on Bill O'Reilly:

At dinner the night before, Bill O'Reilly's name came up, and Limbaugh expressed his opinion of the Fox cable king. He hadn't been sure at the time that he wanted it on the record. But on second thought, “somebody's got to say it,” he told me. “The man is Ted Baxter.”

As this writer  points out, somebody else has already called O'Reilly that: Keith Olbermann, who's also called him the "Frank Burns of news." But Olbermann feels that way about all conservatives, so it takes on a little more weight when Limbaugh says it. I've only been able to take O'Reilly a few minutes at a time, so I'm not really sure the conservative label fits. Mostly he just seems like a populist blowhard.


Tue, 07/08/2008 - 12:54pm

I thought Nancy Graze was missing person of the day...

I don't know really, she makes me want to punch the TV within the first 30 seconds of any broadcast of her show I accidentally start to see.

Steve T.
Tue, 07/08/2008 - 4:01pm

Of course, the "rest of the story" is that Olbermann is even less consequential and/or watchable. As another of the artificially anointed liberal standees erected to counter the ratings phenomenon over at Fox News, he only dreams of rising to Ted Baxter. But a cat may look at a Baxter.

Harl Delos
Tue, 07/08/2008 - 8:25pm

They say the difference between a car salesman and a computer salesman is that a car salesman knows he is lying.

Olbermann's sarcasm is so biting, it's hard to watch. On the other hand, he doesn't attack anything and everything conservative, just because it's neo-con or conservative. What he ridicules are the con/neo-con people and policies that cry out for ridicule. He is willing to ridicule the most deserving of ridicule among the liberal and neo-libs, although there's unquestionably a higher threshold here.

By comparison, Bill-O has no integrity at all. He lies for the sport of it; by getting away with it, it proves to Bill-O that he's better and smarter than everyone else. Thus, he invents a deprived childhood, despite the fact that his father was a licensed professional, despite the fact that he grew up in a brand new house in an upscale neighborhood. That's close enough to the ghetto to count, right? And he lies about winning awards, although the show he used to be on got the awards after Bill-O left, and they were a substantially different award than what Bill-O claims. He libels and slanders people, and when people point out his errors of commission and omission, he nods his head in acknowledgement and keeps on lying.

If the right is right - and I think that's generally the case - then it isn't necessary to prop it up with lies. The truth is sufficient. What's more, the truth is necessary, because in a representative democracy, the people who own the country cannot reach the proper conclusions without the facts.

Calling Bill-O the Frank Burns of news? That's a terrible insult to Fort Wayne's fictional M*A*S*H surgeon. And Ted Baxter may have been a pompous idiot, but he was never malicious.