Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly engaged in a much-anticipated debate Saturday night, though the online broadcast was marred by a wave of complaints from viewers who either couldn’t order the broadcast or were kicked out after paying $4.95 for it.
Celebrity Cafe.com reported that would-be viewers aired their displeasure against Nox Solutions, the company responsible for streaming the broadcast, on Twitter throughout the evening, as well as on the company’s Facebook page.
“Due 2 overwhelming demand, our servers have been overloaded,” the event’s official Twitter account said about a half-hour into the debate. “We apologize for any inconvenience and we’re working to resolve the issue.” It was also announced that it would be available on an in-demand format Saturday night.
Many of the viewers who were able to watch the cable news hosts’ encounter at George Washington University said it was a livelier affair than the presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney earlier this week. Much like Obama and Romney, though, there were times Stewart and O’Reilly each undermined their own moderator, former CNN and Fox News anchor Ed Hill; after one contentious exchange, O’Reilly asked her, “Are you still here?”
O’Reilly also interjected several signs throughout the early part of the debate to back up his points, with statements like “Bush is gone” and “Why is NPR getting our money?” as he and Stewart sparred on issues ranging from the U.S. policy in the Middle East to media bias — which led Stewart to call Fox News “the lupus of news” — to the debate over health care.
When O’Reilly called for a more tightly-regulated insurance industry to be the driving force of health care and said the government could not run a national health system because of the U.S.’ military tradition, Stewart took exception, citing the efficiency of military health care facilities in war zones like Afghanistan.
“If you’re telling me they can’t set up clinics that can run effectively in this country, that’s ridiculous,” Stewart said. “There are medics in the military, why not bring them into the government and let them run it?”
Each man was also able to share something they appreciated about the other: O’Reilly noted that Stewart planned to visit wounded military members on Sunday, while Stewart praised O’Reilly’s ability to coordinate an outfit.
“I appreciate the fact that a man built like a Yeti can move so fluidly,” he said. “Bill comes by his principles honestly. I think he’s a smart guy. He’s enjoyable to spar with.”