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O'Reilly Responds To Colbert Piece On 60 Minutes

Reported by Deborah - May 1, 2006

Last night, Morley Safer interviewed Stephen Colbert on 60 Minutes and Safer's references to Bill O'Reilly were less than flattering. Normally, O'Reilly would use this golden opportunity to bash the "liberal media" for smearing him but not this time. The entire incident got a vague, undetailed mention in the Ridiculous Items segment. 5/1/06

Safer described the character that Stephen Colbert plays to the 60 Minute viewers at the start of the piece.

(CBS) And now for some fake news: The Colbert Report. If you flip through the cable news channels any weeknight, you’re bound to see a collection of talking heads — rather shouting heads — who draw large audiences with a diet of often wildly inaccurate but patriotic and combative noise. The shows are not exactly news or entertainment but are exactly outrageous. Bill O’Reilly perfected the formula on Fox, and others have successfully followed his recipe. With all of their excesses, it was only a matter of time before someone came along to skewer them. Well, the eagle has landed.

Then there were clips of O'Reilly telling a guests to shut his mouth and threatening to shut off the mic of another. The clips were similar to the ones used in Greenwald's Outfoxed. At another point Safer and Colbert talked about O'Reilly as an inspirational force.

"Apart from the substance which you in a sense borrow from these guys, what about mannerisms?" Safer asked.
"Volume is very important," Colbert answered. "The only real way to tell your audience what's important is what you say loudest. I can say it up here. Or I could say it down here. But I will cut off your mic, Sir. Get, shut up. Shut up, Safer," he joked in character.

So tonight O'Reilly responded by reading an e mail from a viewer who claimed that Safer had to go way back for his material suggesting that Bill doesn't do that sort of thing anymore. Wearing his smile of indulgence, he said he found it amusing and indicated that Colbert wasn't doing it with malice.Then he expressed displeasure at Safer's suggestion that he was less than truthful inviting Safer on the show but doubting he would show. A few minutes later, he read an e mail praising his truthfulness and flashed a combined shot of Safer and Colbert with the headline " Truth Police".

There was no mention of Colbert's performance at the White House dinner last night which seemed to be an interesting but not surprising ommission. A litte earlier tonight on Keith Olberman's "Countdown", Dana Milbank said this about Colbert's performance. " It didn't go over the line but it just wasn't funny." The fact that it was hilarious and went far over the line into stark and painful reality is something Republicans can't deal with so they are just going to ignore it and hope not too many people heard it just lke a loud burp in a quiet theater.

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