Keith Olbermann and Sean Hannity snapped cutesy pictures of one another at a World Series game, even though Hannity's boss Rupert Murdoch just yesterday said there was a nasty "personal" feud going between the TV opinion hosts. He wishes.
Murdoch and his Fox News Channel monsters like Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly love to frame their fight with Olbermann and his network MSNBC as petty personal bickering. Of course they do; that creates a false equivalency between the two sides. Here's what Murdoch said on a conference call for Fox parent News Corp. the other day, according to the New York Times' Brian Stelter:
Mr. Murdoch pointed a finger at MSNBC, saying "we did not start this abuse." But he said the fighting became "personal" and "finally we had to allow people to retaliate... The moment they stop, we'll stop... We don't believe in it. We don't think it's good business."
So, let's review this supposedly "personal" fighting.
- Built a profitable career on taunting Fox News for various falsehoods spread by the right-leaning cable network, in statements made by Fox News staffers on actual television broadcasts;
- Sometimes, in the course of doing this, labeled people "The Worst Person in the World" on his show.
Fox and its corporate siblings have, as part of this feud:
- Suddenly accused the CEO of MSNBC parent GE of being personally at fault for the deaths of U.S. soldiers in Iraq, since GE sold medical equipment to Iran (legally), and Iran later supplied Iraqi insurgents;
- Ambushed said CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, for an interview over this invented issue, in Fox's infamous, stalkery manner;
- Ran stale and obviously retaliatory gossip stories that Olbermann mistreats his colleagues and might leave his network;
- Gossiped that Olbermann disrespected his dead colleague's funeral;
- Wrote that people in gyms throughout New York City have complained that "TVs tuned to... Keith Olbemrann" are as disgusting as "pooping in the pool" and "sex in the showers."
Having responded to a debate about the quality of its television news broadcast with trumped up and/or utterly petty unrelated personal assertions, Fox News is now trying to make the narrative about how the whole fight is about petty personal bickering by TV anchors with overgrown egos. And it's actually succeeding, on days when said anchors don't carefully document, with pictures, that they have no personal beef. It doesn't help Olbermann's case that he does in fact, have a hugely overgrown ego, regularly put on display. So he might just end up getting muzzled by his GE overlords, for the terrible "personal" fight he started.