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Bill O'Reilly goes ballistic on Alan Colmes. Preplanned?

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly started yelling at guest Alan Colmes earlier this week when discussing President Obama and budget cuts. It was an odd development that points to deeper issues. 

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Last, the controversy has been great for his network. O’Reilly has been defended on most Fox programs but also skewered by Fox’s Kirsten Powers, who told O’Reilly to his face that he’s “100 percent wrong,” and Mr. Obama has offered specific Medicare cuts.

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Maybe O’Reilly doesn’t believe Obama would really make those reductions, or maybe he doesn’t think they’re enough. But it’s wrong to deny their existence, she said.

As far as Fox News chief Roger Ailes is concerned it doesn’t matter which of his employees is right there. It only matters that the dust-up has provided buzzy content for an array of programs. As Joe Concha writes on Mediaite, this is why Fox dominates cable news ratings.

“The audience revels in being able to witness a family fight on an almost-daily basis,” he writes

As to substance, folks are continuing to argue about this in D.C. because it appears to confirm a deep fear on both sides.

Liberals believe that many Republicans exist in a closed news loop that only feeds their beliefs. Thus the GOP does not realize that Obama has in fact proposed cutting Social Security benefits by changing the way inflation is calculated and reducing Medicare costs by increased means testing of benefits. Ezra Klein at Wonkblog wrote perhaps the definitive post about this earlier this month.

Conservatives meanwhile believe Democrats don’t understand the economy and don’t take debt seriously. They think Obama’s main aim is to recapture the House in 2014 and destroy the Republican Party. In fact, that’s what Colmes and O’Reilly were talking about just before they moved on to fiscal stuff and the resultant explosion.

Hmm ... so maybe O’Reilly was actually boiling after all?


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