CSPAN2’s Book TV sees itself as sober nonfiction book talk each weekend from 8am Saturday to 8am Monday – it is rare that participants nearly come to blows. But this little tiff proves the left-right gulf hasn’t closed any since the war ended:
- Unlike Ernest Hemingway’s encounter with poet Wallace Stevens, no punches were thrown, but both men walked away without a handshake after Franken questioned O’Reilly’s veracity and O’Reilly dismissed Franken as a ”propagandist.” During the shouting, the moderator, former congresswoman Pat Schroeder, asked whether anyone had a referee’s whistle.
Franken’s book cover pictures him in front of TV monitors showing President Bush, Vice President Cheney, commentator Ann Coulter and O’Reilly.
Schroeder said that, backstage, O’Reilly said his photo was used without permission. Franken said it was in the public domain. Later, O’Reilly said, ”Fox lawyers will handle this.”
Before the shouting, O’Reilly, who has written two best sellers, said his new book ”takes on the powerful in a non-ideological way.”
He said he’s trying to ”elevate the discourse” about politics. ”I don’t call anyone a liar or fat,” which Franken did in his best seller, Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations.
When Franken exceeded his 15-minute limit, challenging O’Reilly’s claims about a journalism award he said he’d won, tempers flared.
”This idiot has been going on for 35 minutes,” O’Reilly said.
”Bill, this isn’t your show,” Franken replied.
O’Reilly called Franken ”vicious” and said he was ”blinded by ideology.” The third member of the panel, Molly Ivins, author of Bushwacked, just shook her head. [USA Today]
C-SPAN2 plans to air the panel on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT. Bust out the beer and popcorn for that performance.