O’Reilly Attacks Colbert’s High Ratings as Trump Hate

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·Critic-at-Large, Yahoo Entertainment
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Bill O’Reilly recently launched a seemingly out-of-nowhere attack on Stephen Colbert. Colbert has seen his Late Show ratings tick upward lately, and as I’ve noted elsewhere, it seems to coincide with his increase in pointed jokes about President Trump and his policies. Rather than view this as a fine example of capitalism — perceiving a market, giving people what they want, and profiting by it — O’Reilly has chosen to ignore Colbert’s American style of trade and instead lambastes him for being unpatriotic. (“Lambaste,” by the way, would make a fine O’Reilly Factor “Word of the Day.”)

Thus, last week, O’Reilly led off a segment he announced as “Profiteering from despising President Trump.” He played a chunk of a Colbert monologue from last Wednesday, in which the Late Show host made a comparison with Trump: “You know who also said troubling things in a quiet voice? Hannibal Lecter.” Colbert then played a clip of Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, dubbing in a fake Trump voice murmuring threats against immigrants.

O’Reilly was joined by “Fox News contributor” and former newsman Bernie Goldberg for one of the Factor’s “Weekdays With Bernie” segments. (Get it? Because there was a movie called Weekend at Bernie’s!) Goldberg agreed that “bashing Donald Trump can be good for business,” while also noting that “bashing Barack Obama was also good for business — not in late night, where there are no conservatives, but in conservative media: for talk radio [and] for websites that were created during his era.”

OK, said O’Reilly, but during the Obama presidency, you never saw a comedian “use a movie clip from a heinous villain [sic] about Barack Obama.” If a comedian had done that, O’Reilly said, “people would have been fired, there would have been demonstrations, charges of racism — all of that would have happened.”

Hold on, hold on: Charges of racism? If Colbert or someone else had compared Obama to Hannibal Lecter or any other “heinous villain,” Colbert would have been accused of racism? What’s racist about comparing someone to a fictional character? This is something O’Reilly and other Fox News prime-timers have done frequently: They see Obama primarily through the prism of race. Besides, Colbert has compared Obama to a menacing figure — the evil troll in the fairy tale “Three Billy Goats Gruff.”

“Should there be any rules for what the anchor or the comedian or the host is allowed to present when you’re talking about a president?” asked O’Reilly, seeming to suggest Colbert ought to be muzzled. O’Reilly asked Goldberg another hypothetical: “If you were producing the Colbert show, and he’s No. 3 in the ratings as he was for the first two or three years he was on…” (I’ll stop here to say Colbert’s Late Show started in September 2015; he’s been doing it for a year and a half) “…then you discover the magic egg,” said O’Reilly, rubbing his thumb and fingertips together in the common sign for making money, “and [your ratings] go boom, would you do it?”

It’s sad that O’Reilly has such a mean, grubby view of the world, in which people do everything for money — for the Factor, all is cynicism and revenge, it seems. Maybe the next title in his bestselling “Killing” series should be “Killing Colbert” — it has a nice alliteration.

The O’Reilly Factor airs weeknights at 8 p.m. on Fox News. The Late Show With Stephen Colbert airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on CBS.

Read More From Yahoo TV:
Chris Harrison Blogs The Bachelor: Women Tell All
15 Genre Shows That Helped Shape TV Today

The Walking Dead Postmortem: Director Greg Nicotero Talks ‘Say Yes’