Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News star, is mounting an extraordinary televised assault on the chief executive of General Electric, calling him a “pinhead” and a “despicable human being” who bears responsibility for the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq…
he attacks grow out of an increasingly bitter feud between O’Reilly and the company’s high-profile subsidiary, NBC, one that has triggered back-channel discussions involving News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch, Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, NBC chief executive Jeff Zucker and General Electric’s CEO, Jeffrey Immelt.
Ailes called Zucker on his cellphone last summer, clearly agitated over a slam against him by MSNBC host Keith Olbermann. According to sources familiar with the conversation, Ailes warned that if Olbermann didn’t stop such attacks against Fox, he would unleash O’Reilly against NBC and would use the New York Post as well.
Both Fox and the Post are owned by Murdoch, who complained about Olbermann’s conduct in separate calls to Zucker and Immelt.
The high-level appeals failed, and O’Reilly has escalated his criticism of GE in recent weeks, declaring, “If my child were killed in Iraq, I would blame the likes of Jeffrey Immelt…”
What began four years ago as a colorful feud between rival commentators, instigated by Olbermann as a way of drawing attention, has become a tale of bruised egos and secret maneuvering at the highest levels of two multinational giants.
“We’re not a respectable network. We’re a whorehouse network.”
05.20.08 by semidi