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Factor This, O'Reilly

Well, since I've come out in favor of shooting cats, I might as well defend Jay Mariotti. Picked this up off of Romenesko about the Chicago Sun-Times sports writer, whom White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen (who was with the Marlins second World Series champion) recently referred to (tenderly, I'm told) as a "fag." I don't really read Chicago sports, so I don't know much about Mariotti, and the bit about other reporters being jealous of him is just stupid. And I'm not sure who he's trying to fool with the Brando look. But I don't agree with his critics who say he should make rounds in the Sox clubhouse after he writes about the team. Rick Telander needs to shut the fuck up. If Guillen or any other Sock wants to talk to Mariotti, they can call him on the phone, meet him for lunch, whatever, but he doesn't have to go out there to get hazed by a bunch of jocks everytime he busts a story. It's a power trip and it's designed to intimidate.

The same principle applies to Washington and most every reporting job, where the powerful try to wrap reporters in their clutches with their charm and perks. Access can be good or bad, people, depending on who is controlling the game. If you're a reporter, you better make sure it's you, or you'll write crap your entire life and then die.

Countdown For O'Reilly Keith Olbermann is at war with Bill O'Reilly and, for the sake of the two Big D's -- Decency and Democracy -- you better hope he wins. Last night he went off on the Factor Man about the ratings. Here's a piece of what he said:

Listen Slappy, FOX's ratings are lower than they were five years ago. Bill-O, 267,000 of your viewers have vanished since last June. Call FOX security, they're missing! All 11 of FOX's regular shows ratings are down, four of them are down by 15 percent or more. If John Gibson loses any more audience, he won't even need a microphone. And your boss, Jabba the Hut, he's taking out ads threatening to fire his own employees. Your ratings whoppin' stick is now smaller than your -- falafel.

Bill, seriously, it's slipping away from you. You don't know what to do. You can't even lie well anymore. Seriously, it's called panic. Like what happened to you in Scranton and Hartford and Boston with that thing with the egg on Zippy the sportscaster's face. And at ABC, when Rick Kaplan got you fired. It's terrifying. You begin to see the audience dying off and the creases deepening in your forehead and the loofas drying up. You make mistakes, you trust the wrong people, you blame Al Franken, you yell at somebody, you yell at everybody. It feels like the ladder is teetering, you're tired, you're depressed, you're anxious, you're balding. Let me give you three words of advice, Bill-O: Keep it up!

And Another Thing ... There is one thing that has gone unspoken in the whole Sun-Sentinel/Murtha affair: The United States is, clearly, the greatest threat to peace in the world. Yeah, that would be us. We invaded Iraq. Started a war. Are at fucking war. Right fucking now. I'm not seeing North Korea or Iran destroying any other nations at the present moment. What am I missing?

You think about it, the mistake might have led to the best expose in the Sentinel's history -- of the Rabid Right. It definitely revealed them to be dirty, mongrel dogs. Seriously, go back and look at what some of those blognuts had to say about Murtha, a war veteran who is following his conscience.

At least the Sentinel ran a correction.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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