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The David Letterman controversy: Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann... for the defense!

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David Letterman’s woes were chewed over tonight by those time-slot enemies, Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann on Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor and MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

O’Reilly described Letterman’s admissions as “a sordid situation [but] we don’t want to revel in suffering.” But his guest, former CBS newsman-turned-conservative pundit Bernard Goldberg wanted to attack: “Let’s say it was Rush Limbaugh [in this situation]. The media would give it more ink than Hiroshima.”

O’Reilly was tempted to join in on this point: “Yeah, if he had been a conservative, it would have been more about his hypocrisy.” But then O’Reilly circled back to defend Dave. “If you’re a comedian, you tell jokes, your writing staff gives you jokes, you’re not gonna be a perfect person, you can’t blame him for telling jokes about people like Elliot Spitzer — that was a prostitution beef, no comparison [to Letterman’s situation].” Oooh: prostitution “beef” — so hard-boiled-detective of you, Bill!

Meanwhile, Olbermann had a more interesting perspective: He talked about having worked with Letterman’s accused extortionist, CBS news producer Joe Halderman some years ago and while crediting Halderman with skill at his job, his emotional make-up was, well, let Keith articulate it: “If you gave me a list of 250 people who had been accused of doing this, he’d be at the least in my top five,” said Olbermann flatly of Halderman.

Olbermann expressed disbelief that “the bigger story” in the media is Letterman and not “the fact that a valued CBS news producer for decades” tried to pull off such a crime.

So in a way, O’Reilly and Olbermann have finally found something to agree on: Get off Dave’s back, America!

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