Karl Rove says a reporter who was the victim of a beheading joke should lighten up.
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank called out Bill O'Reilly Wednesday for asking if sharia law would allow for his head to be cut off.
Writing about news coverage on election night, Milbank seemed to question the credentials of one Democratic analyst appearing on Fox News.
"To be fair and balanced, Fox brought in a nominal Democrat, pollster Doug Schoen," wrote Milbank. "'This is a complete repudiation of the Democratic Party,' [Schoen] proclaimed."
"He said there were no Democrats except for Schoen on," O'Reilly complained. "It was an outright lie."
"Does sharia law say we can behead Dana Milbank?" he asked his 5.5 million viewers. "That was a joke," O'Reilly added.
"Hilarious!" declared Milbank. "Decapitation jokes just slay me, and this one had all the more hilarity because the topic of journalist beheadings brings to mind my late friend and colleague Danny Pearl, who replaced me in the Wall Street Journal's London bureau and later was murdered in Pakistan by people who thought sharia justified it."
After being told by a reader that the "joke" wasn't so funny, O'Reilly replied, "If Dana Milbank did in Iran what he does in Washington, he'd be hummus."
At one point on Thursday's show, O'Reilly told Fox News host Megyn Kelly, "We should go beat him up."
O'Reilly returned to the subject on his show Wednesday night.
"Milbank intentionally misled his readers," O'Reilly said. "Fox News Channel had seven analysts on the Democratic side and they did not marginalize their party."
"Milbank is desperately trying to convince his readers that I would like violence to befall him. Not true," O'Reilly continued.
O'Reilly asked Karl Rove to join the discussion and said he was partly responsible for Milbank's "Foxophobia."
"I'm willing to accept part of the blame," Rove joked.
"Isn't that amazing. Snarky Dana Milbank who writes a column several times a week that is generally bitter and brittle and nasty to the center and right of American politics and he has to call Doug Schoen a nominal Democrat?" asked Rove.
President George W. Bush's former senior adviser pulled out his white board with a message for Milbank: "Stop taking yourself so serious OR be consistent."
"You're upset with people making a joke. Why don't you go out there and be serious about all the people who said ugly things about Republicans?" Rove asked. "As [O'Reilly] quickly pointed out the other night, it was a joke. Maybe not a particularly very funny joke but you know what? A joke."
"Dana Milbank who goes around all the time saying the ugliest and meanest things about people suddenly turns out to have a thin skin about a silly millimeter thick," he said.
This video is from Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, broadcast Nov. 10, 2010.