Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cable Newsers Dust Off The Beef

Over the past several weeks a feud has burned between cable news blowhards Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly. According to a now infamous article by Brian Stelter of The New York Times, a truce had been brokered by the corporate parents of MSNBC and Fox News (specifically Jeffrey Immelt, chairman of GE, and Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp.). The article only served to stoke the fire, though, as both Olbermann and O'Reilly tried to distance themselves from the reports of corporate censorship by escalating the severity of their barb-slinging.

"I don't like how they handle themselves. I don't like NBC News." O'Reilly said on his show on Monday. The Fox News host has gone so far as to claim that GE is being investigated for supplying components of roadside bombs being used against American soldiers (a report that GE today described as "maliciously false"). Olbermann, for his part, has continued to name O'Reilly the "Worst Person in the World."

The feud certainly seems to be a success as far as ratings are concerned, especially for O'Reilly. His "Factor" scored over 1 million viewers on Monday in the 25-54 demographic and Wednesday's broadcast saw that number increase to 1.08 million, a high for the year.

Fostering a feud for the sake of publicity is nothing new, though, as Olbermann and O'Reilly appear to be following the long-held rap tradition of the Beef. The two make good adversaries: each are supported by ruthless businessmen and propped up by some of the biggest media entities in the game.

The most famous rap beef is, of course, the East Coast vs. West Coast feud that centered on the Notorious BIG and Tupac Shakur. In the years since, Jay-Z and Nas have picked up the tradition as well as 50-Cent and The Game.

Here's a breakdown of Olbermann-O'Reilly and 2Pac-Biggie...

Olberman-OReilly Beef

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