If you thought Bill O’Reilly was going to let his time-period competitor Keith Olbermann depart MSNBC without getting in a few final kicks, you underestimate how much glee there is in the halls of the Fox News Channel today.
“Some of the hate has been neutralized,” O’Reilly said on Monday night’s The O’Reilly Factor. This was accomplished, he said, by “replacing a hateful commentator.”
O’Reilly declined to mention Olbermann by name, but in a discussion with one of his regular guests, Bernard Goldberg, O’Reilly and Goldberg referred to “that anchorman over there” and — a reference to the fact that Countdown with Keith Olbermann was on most nights MSNBC’s most popular show — “the tallest midget in the room.”
O’Reilly then expanded his attack by saying that “the media is as corrupt as it’s ever been in the country” — apparently because the media covered the Olbermann departure.
Earlier in the day, Glenn Beck referred to Olbermann as “the biggest pain in the a– in the world.”
At 8 p.m. Monday night, Olbermann took to Twitter for his first post-MSNBC comments: “Citizens of the Free World, Greetings!” and “My humble thanks to all Friends of Keith for the many kind words. The reports of the death of my career are greatly exaggerated.”
UPDATE: Another Olbermann tweet: “A little birdie (or possibly a robot skeleton) advises all #FOK to watch @CraigyFerg tonight (that’s always true, but especially tonight).” Ferguson told numerous jokes about Olbermann, poking fun at MSNBC as a network “that frankly not a lot of people know about,” and that MSNBC stands for “Massive Succulent Naughty Butt Cheeks.”
UPDATE UPDATE: On Monday night’s Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert reported on Olbermann’s departure by saying, “Well, we finally know what they were counting down to.” Then, addressing Olbermann, Colbert said he would magically “absorb your audience and your vocabulary.” Alas, the transformation did not take: “My body is rejecting [Olbermann] like a pompous kidney.”
Colbert did all this, mind you, with a sore throat. It was pretty great.