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Bill O'Reilly Attacks Al Franken and Howard Kurtz

Reported by Marie Therese - June 14, 2005

BILL O'REILLY: Time now for the most ridiculous item of the day. Our pal Stuart Smalley apparently had a meltdown at a radio function in New York City over the weekend. Smalley had to be scolded by the event's host and at one point actually broke down in tears. Now, this is not our concern except to tell you that the Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz was at the event, witnessed the meltdown and did not mention it in his article today. Failing to report things of this nature is, of course, and example of BIAS! Well, we called Mr. Kurtz who denied any bias. You make the call. One other thing. I've gotten a lot of e-mails from people who asked me why I don't reply to smear merchants like Smalley and the reason is most of these people are very troubled individuals who are simply seeking publicity in the worst possible way. It would be ridiculous to engage those people.

COMMENT

On Friday June 10th in New York City Al Franken (whom O'Reilly always refers to as "Stuart Smalley") spoke at the 8th Annual New Media Seminar, an event sponsored by Talkers Magazine, whose publisher is Michael Harrison. Talkers Magazine is the trade publication for the talk radio industry. Franken was there to receive the Freedom of Speech award.

On his Sundance broadcast Monday June 13th, Franken said he did not realize that there was a time limit on the speech he was to give.

FRANKEN: "I was getting lots of laughs and G. Gordon Liddy was there. ... so I told a couple of jokes about G. ... Tony Snow from FOX was there who's ... looking good. You know he has prostate cancer ... and so we've wished him well before. ... I went on too long, evidently ..."

Franken described what happened next to his co-host Katherine Lanpher: "Then I turned to the war in Iraq and everybody was eatin' up all this other stuff, right, especially when I'd attack O'Reilly or Limbaugh. I have the feeling they don't like - especially O'Reilly- the conservatives don't like him - no one likes him. But, anyway, then I turned to the thing you warned me about, which was - I went into - Talkers Magazine had done an article - they took about 5 or 6 talkers [radio talk show hosts] over to Iraq. I particularly took the article [of] the one - Rusty Humphries - who had written this stuff that led me to believe he had incredibly naive understanding of what's going on in Iraq. And so I read some highlights of that and as I was doing that, some people got antsy 'cause they didn't like what I was saying and this was a cocktail party and a few of them started to [mill around].

"I thought it was actually going fine. Michael said: 'Al, stop!' He stopped me and I went like what! And he said: You agreed to 8 or 9 minutes. ... He was concerned that some of the people weren't enjoying themselves at the cocktail party and some of them probably weren't enjoying themselves now. ... So this causes a huge commotion and Michael wanted to get his party on the way 'cause this is big thing for the talkers ... I said: Look, I've got about a page and a half left. ... So this starts this kind of commotion 'cause I'm sayin' like hey, come on, I've got a page and a half left, really. (Imitating Harrison) "Nope! Do it on your show!" ... at which point commotion starts. Some people say .. 'get off' A lot of people are saying "let him speak." One guy yells to Michael: You just gave him the Freedom of Speech Award not the "Shut the *blank* up Award .. which really did kind of help. And then the coup de grace was that G. Gordon Liddy walked up and he walked up very, sort of slowly - like G. Gordon Liddy - and said: Let him speak! And then Michael said: "OK, Al, Just wrap it up!" ...

Later that evening Michael Harrison substituted for Alan Colmes on his radio show, which was being broadcast from the Seminar location. Harrison made a big deal out of the fact that Franken had made a number of disparaging remarks about Bill O'Reilly during his speech.

Could it be that the real target of tonight's Most Ridiculous item of the Day was not Howard Kurtz but Al Franken? Is this little diatribe actually "payback"?

That is something you will need to decide for yourselves!

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