Why O'Reilly has to remain mum about Olbermann's suspension

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Friday night's O'Reilly Factor was oddly silent about the day's breaking news that MSNBC had suspended Keith Olbermann without pay in light of the revelation that he'd given money to a handful of Democratic candidates during the midterm election cycle; donations that appeared to violate NBC's newsroom guidelines.

The crickets from Bill O'Reilly's corner were rather stunning, considering he's had a running, nasty feud with Olbermann for years and the Fox News host has never been shy about attacking MSNBC or NBC on the air for its supposedly liberally biased way. Shouldn't the Olbermann story have provided O'Reilly more ammunition for his attacks?

You'd think. But as I mentioned, O'Reilly didn't say boo about Olbermann Friday night. (And the entire Fox News team has been relatively quiet on the matter.) It's true that news of the MSNBC suspension broke around 5 p.m., which is the same time that O'Reilly reportedly tapes his evening show. But the news that Olbermann had made the Democratic donations was in play all day Friday. Still, silence from O'Reilly.

Here's my guess as to why O'Reilly had to sit on his hands about Olbermann, and why he'll have to play dumb about the topic on Monday's show: The Fox News host can't rail about Olbermann giving campaign cash to candidates because O'Reilly's colleagues have done the exact same thing.

Keep in mind, according to Media Matters' research, during the 2009-2010 election cycle, more than 30 Fox News players endorsed, raised money, or campaigned for Republican candidates or organizations in more than 600 instances.

So in arguably the biggest news story involving O'Reilly's MSNBC nemesis, the Fox News host can't even touch the topic because all he'll do is highlight the complete lack of ethics that drive Fox News.

O'Reilly must be steaming.

Fox News Channel
Bill O'Reilly, Keith Olbermann
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