Big-time cable talents love nothing more than to wage cross-channel warfare, which brings us to this week’s back-and-forth between Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly and Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert. They’re squabbling over inequality in America, particularly O’Reilly’s view that a significant “grievance industry” is responsible for America’s ills, not to mention sports-inspired university rioting. Earlier this week, O’Reilly claimed that Colbert was a “deceiver” for twisting the Fox News host’s views on inequality. “I strongly believe in fighting for equality and also believe institutional bias should be against the law,” said O’Reilly. “What I oppose is government trying to impose equality because every human being is different.”
Last night, Colbert quipped back, telling his audience: “You know that Bill O’Reilly and I have a mutual admiration society. I admire Bill and so does he.” The Comedy Central host played clips of O’Reilly laying out his case, including a claim that grievance industrialists argue that “the deck is stacked against minorities, women, the poor, gays, atheists, Muslims, you name it. And the bad guys are white males, the Republican Party, and anybody who doesn’t buy into the grievance industry.”
Colbert riffed that he and O’Reilly are on the same page: “Bill, you got me all wrong. … I also believe institutional bias should be against the law and at the same time believe that government shouldn’t do anything about it. That leaves, uh, maybe a voluntary ‘Make a law, take a law’ tray … or, oh I know, we could give Bill O’Reilly a hat and a badge and let him wander the land telling pinheads to knock it off.” Then Comedy Central unfurls an O’Reilly video mashup that is better viewed than described.
Click above and watch: In a year or so, after all, Colbert will be graduating from the cable-news sniping circuit as he takes over David Letterman’s perch. As reported in Time, O’Reilly made this statement about Colbert’s ascension: “I hope Colbert will consider me for the Ed McMahon spot.” Nicely played.