Ever since an episode of Law & Order: SVU stepped into partisan politics last week with a character’s declaration that right-wing news hosts like Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck “spread ignorance and hate,” the right-wing blogosphere and talk radio-sphere have been up in arms about the politicization of a prime-time staple.
“Limbaugh, Beck, O’Reilly — they are like a cancer spreading ignorance and hate,” says a character on the show, played by TV veteran John Larroquette. “And they’ve convinced folks that immigrants are the problem, not corporations that fail to pay a living wage, or a broken health care system.”
In his reaction, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly pulled no punches.
“That is simply defamatory, and [Law & Order producer] Dick Wolf is a coward for putting it out there,” O’Reilly said on his show. “He’s also a liar.”
On Countdown Monday night, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann ignored O’Reilly’s evident assertion that everything any character says on a TV show is a reflection of the producer’s personal beliefs, and instead dared the Fox News host to sue NBC.
“Well, sue,” Olbermann said. “Come on, tough guy. That’s defamatory and outrageous? Sue. … Or are you afraid you can’t prove that you don’t spread ignorance and hate?”
Olbermann then played a series of clips in which O’Reilly repeatedly referred to assassinated abortion doctor George Tiller as “Tiller the baby killer.”
“So if that isn’t Bill O’Reilly cancer-spreading ignorance and hate, and if you aren’t a coward, sue,” Olbermann quipped.
The news host ended the segment with a bit that echoed the famous preamble to Law & Order.
“In the right wing dominated media system, the people are represented by two separate but equally important groups: the right wing media who instigate crime, and the right wing media who prosecute the imaginary liberal media,” Olbermann quipped.
This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast Dec. 14, 2009.