I love a good catfight. Especially when its between two boys. One I like, the other I can’t stand. I’ll let you figure out which is which.
New York Post
June 2, 2003 — TEMPERS flared over the weekend in a face- to-face, TV showdown between Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly and political humorist Al Franken. A visibly shaken O’Reilly appeared to have been caught off guard by a blistering attack by Franken in the midst of a usually sedate booksellers’ luncheon in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Franken, author of the forthcoming book “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them,” accused O’Reilly – at length – of puffing up his credentials as the former host of the TV news magazine “Inside Edition.”
O’Reilly sat stone-faced during a detailed attack on his credibility – then exploded into a verbal free-for-all with Franken that was as surprising as it was intense.
“This guy accuses me of being a liar, ladies and gentlemen, on national television,” O’Reilly told the audience.
“He’s a vicious – and that’s with a capital V – a person who’s blinded by ideology.
“All he’s got in six-and-a-half years is that I misspoke, that I labeled a Polk Award a Peabody,” said O’Reilly, referring to evidence that he had claimed “Inside Edition” has won two Peabody Awards, TV journalism’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.
In fact, it was the slightly-less prestigious Polk the show had won.
When Franken tried to interrupt, O’Reilly went ballistic.
“Hey, shut up! You had your 35 minutes – shut up!” he shouted, visibly furious.
“We’re supposed to be on here for 15 minutes – this idiot goes 35.”
“This isn’t your show, Bill,” Franken shot back.
Both men were pitching their upcoming books to booksellers at their annual convention. The panel was broadcast live on C-SPAN2, the public-affairs channel.
The subtitle of Franken’s new book, due out this fall, is “A Fair and Balanced View of the Right” – an obvious dig at Fox News Channel’s slogan.
The dustjacket of Franken’s book features a photo of O’Reilly between the words “Lies” and “Lying.”
According to co-panelist Molly Ivins, during a C-SPAN2 call-in show, “It was the first time [O’Reilly] had seen the cover and he was teed off to the max.”
O’Reilly bolted from the stage before the event concluded and made a beeline for a group of fans – far from Franken.
Fox News Channel and The Post are owned by News Corp.