Feature

An O’Reilly-Olbermann truce?

Why Fox and MSNBC want Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly to stop feuding

Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly have been ordered to cease their long-running on-air “feud,” said Glenn Greenwald in Salon, according to a “remarkable story” in The New York Times. Jeffrey Immelt, the chairman of General Electric (which owns MSNBC), and News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch (owner of Fox News) had Charlie Rose mediate an end to the sniping, because it was bad for GE and News Corp. That’s “nothing less than corporate censorship.”

It sound more like the “grown-ups” at Fox and MSNBC finally putting an end to this “silly feud,” said Don Suber in the Charleston, W. Va., Daily Mail. “Good call.” It was a “great marketing tool” for Olbermann, but GE didn’t need the “bad publicity” and News Corp. was wary of angering “a major advertiser.” And you know what? “Immelt and Rupert Murdoch are the bosses. They sign the paychecks.”

The real tragedy of NBC’s cowardly promise to ease off on Fox, said Ryan Tate in Gawker, is that it ruins the rare reminder that “corporate media didn’t have to be toothless or dull media.” The feud also made for surprisingly “good journalism,” with each host calling out the other side’s falsehoods, mistakes, and “tasteless moments.”

Olbermann “isn’t declaring peace, he’s declaring cease-fire,” said Aaron Barnhart in The Kansas City Star. (Watch Olbermann's explanation) But even as a temporary detente, “I’m not buying it.” Show-business feuds are too good for business. So no, “the Billo-Keith feud is, like ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ on hiatus, and will return someday with new episodes. And boy, I can’t wait for that.”

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