Fox News vs.: The best in celebrity battles

fox-news-warsImage Credit: Fox News (2); PRN/PR Photos; Insidefoto/PR Photos; Tina Gill/PR Photos; Glenn Harris/PR Photos; Comedy CentralLast month on Late Show with David Letterman, as she’s done on her own MSNBC show, Rachel Maddow made the point that there will always be fear mongers — like the Fox News Channel, she said — who, in her words, want white voters to be afraid of “scary black people” so they’ll vote conservative. What can change, she insisted, is how other media outlets and viewers themselves react to the stories they spin. Instead of going along with the snap judgment on the edited Shirley Sherrod video (which, to be fair, not all Fox News personalities did), CNN spent the day debunking it, she said. “Maybe that’s the best antidote,” Maddow concluded. “Sheer mockery of the people doing it.” With that in mind, let’s rate some of the celebrity performances in the more memorable Fox News battles on a scale of 1 to 10.

John Cusack vs. Fox News: Responding to an Aug. 29 Twitter question asking him if he was for or against the proposed Ground Zero Islamic Center, Cusack tweeted: “I AM FOR A SATANIC DEATH CULT CENTER AT FOX NEWS HQ AND OUTSIDE THE OFFICES [OF DICK] ARMEY AND NEWT GINGRICH-and all the GOP WELFARE FREAKS.” FoxNews.com ran a piece interviewing experts concerned that Cusack’s (satirical) quip could inspire one of his rabid 200,000+ Twitter followers who may be mentally unstable to carry out a violent act. Suddenly Fox News has a problem with over-the-top rhetoric? Really? SCORE: 4 (which isn’t a bad return for a tweet)

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert vs. Glenn Beck: This is the war that will not end (and will continue to win Emmys). The latest battle: Beck’s Aug. 28 Restoring Honor rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the exact location and date of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. It’s a shame that both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are dark this week, but they each touched on the rally on Aug. 26. Colbert agreed that Beck wasn’t trying to replace King and played a clip of Beck saying, “People are now saying that I am trying to distort Civil Rights history, I’m trying to steal his legacy, etc. etc. Nothing of the kind. I am going to be several stairs down from where he stood.” Cut to Colbert: “Several stairs down. That is totally different… in the same way that I may plan to grow a chinstrap beard, marry a crazy woman, and go to Ford’s Theatre to get shot in the head — but not like Lincoln. Several rows down.” Stewart, who’s been known to use a chalkboard for full-blown attacks on Beck, devoted a solid 10 minutes to his “I have a scheme” plan, showing clips of him contradicting himself on Americans’ need to think for themselves (don’t let the government tell you what to do, but listen to him) and dangers of fear mongering (but have you heard what will happen if you don’t follow his nine principles and 12 values)? SCORE: 10

Jennifer Aniston vs. Bill O’Reilly: Last month, after The Switch star suggested that thanks to artificial insemination, single women are realizing they don’t need to settle on a man if their clock is ticking, O’Reilly accused Aniston of “throwing a message out to 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds that, Hey! You don’t need a guy, you don’t need a dad. Daaaaad? Aggghhhh, you know! [Makes dismissive wave of the hand.] That’s destructive to our society!” Aniston issued a retort to People: “Of course, the ideal scenario for parenting is obviously two parents of a mature age. Parenting is one of the hardest jobs on earth. And, of course, many women dream of finding Prince Charming (with fatherly instincts), but for those who’ve not yet found their Bill O’Reilly, I’m just glad science has provided a few other options.” SCORE: 7 (classy but not boring)

James Cameron vs. Glenn Beck: Promoting the Avatar DVD last March, Cameron called Beck “dangerous” and his Global Warming-denying ideology “poisonous,” and took objection to Beck calling him the “anti-Christ” back in 2007, when Beck was a host on CNN. Beck responded on his show: “The following segment is a Fox television first — it’s Fox News 3-D,” he said, whipping on a pair of cardboard 3-D glasses. “Yes, James, I am guilty. I did call James Cameron the anti-Christ. But only because of the Celine Dion song. Horrific. Really. But the best part is, this guy has carried this joke around for three long years. This guy is making a billion dollars on a Smurf-murdering movie and he’s stewing about a joke that nobody heard on a network nobody watched! It’s time to walk away from the CGI, Jim. Just for a minute. I don’t think he’s just upset with me, though. He’s also upset with you too,” Beck went on, nodding into the camera, at his show’s viewers. “Because you’re a global warming denier.” SCORE: 2 (Beck easily outdid him)

Fox News vs. Janeane Garofalo: After Garofalo referred to anti-tax tea parties as “straight up racism” against a black president in spring 2009, correspondent Griff Jenkins confronted Garofalo on the street outside of a Starbucks before a standup gig. How does she know the attendees were racist? “What about that one sign that said, ‘What’chu talkin’ about, Willis?’ What do you think about that sign?” she said. He hadn’t seen it, so he couldn’t comment. “Because if it’s about fiscal imprudence, why were they not protesting for the last eight years under the Bush spending,” she said later. Again, no comment. He just wanted her to admit that yes, she thinks all tea party goers are racist. Which she did, with a curtsy. SCORE: 7 (you can debate whether engaging on the street into a handheld camera is dignified, but it does show confidence)

Nas vs. Fox News Channel: In July 2008, Nas and a small group of protesters showed up at Fox’s midtown Manhattan headquarters to deliver a petition from grassroots groups signed by 620,127 people who claimed to have noticed a pattern of racist coverage leading up to the presidential election. Fox refused to accept the boxes containing the petitions. Nas, who hadn’t been a fan of Bill O’Reilly since he argued that Nas was a gangster rapper who shouldn’t be allowed to perform at a concert for Virginia Tech students following their campus shooting, then headed to The Colbert Report and he and Colbert conducted their interview sitting on the boxes — before Nas performed his takedown song “Sly Fox.” SCORE: 7

Sean Penn vs. Bill O’Reilly: In the February 2002 issue of Talk magazine, Penn made his feelings about O’Reilly known loud and clear, calling O’Reilly ”a grumpy, self-loathing joke,” he said, ”[t]here’s a long history of people who capitalize on the lowest common denominator of people’s impulses. Adolf Hitler being one of them. Not everybody wants to hit the wall in a violent rage and break their knuckles, so he does it for them.” O’Reilly has since taken Penn to task for his vocal political views over the years, culminating in them trading jabs during the 2009 awards season as Penn picked up trophies for Milk. “Thank you, and good evening, comrades… That was for O’Reilly,” Penn said while accepting his SAG Award. When Penn took home the Oscar, O’Reilly took issue with the actor telling people who voted for the ban against gay marriage to think about the shame they’ll see in their grandchildren’s eyes. In a March 2009 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, right after The O’Reilly Factor celebrated its 100th consecutive month as the top-rated cable news show, O’Reilly said Penn was the only actor whose political viewers disturb him so much that he won’t see his movies. “He’s a great actor, and if you hire him, you’ll get a good performance. I’m just not going to give a guy who gives aid and comfort to people like [Iran president Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez and Saddam Hussein, when he was alive, my 10 bucks. That’s my right as an American,” O’Reilly said. SCORE: 5 (we can appreciate the longevity of the feud, but nothing’s particularly clever)

George Clooney vs. Bill O’Reilly: Each time Clooney helps organize a telethon, watchdog O’Reilly is there to question if all the funds are getting to the right people. After O’Reilly made the on-air accusation in 2001 that the September 11th fund was being mishandled and misused, Clooney sent him a letter, detailing the factual inaccuracies in O’Reilly’s report and agreeing with him that yes, celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Tom Hanks lied when they said they were “too busy” to respond to O’Reilly’s queries. “You’re right, Mr. O’Reilly, we lied — all of us. Of course we weren’t too busy,” Clooney wrote. “And if you were Peter Jennings, or Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Charlie Rose, The Washington PostNew York TimesLA Times, or pretty much anybody else, we would have dropped everything and explained what we know. You see Bill, these are journalists. So, yes we lied when we said we were too busy to do your ‘entertainment show.’ We were just trying to not hurt your feelings.” After another sparring match before 2005′s Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope telethon, O’Reilly accepted Clooney’s written invitation to appear on the broadcast. SCORE: 8

Comments (126 total) Add your comment
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  • tracy bluth

    I love Rachel Maddow. Some people complain that she’s more biased than O’Reilly and Beck. Yes she may be a little biased, but she admits she is. And what makes her different than those two is she’s likable and funny.

    • tprulz

      comedy is in the eye and ear of the beholder. Maddow is very biased, regularly twists things to her viewpoint and frankly, not very likable or funny. But if you like her, keep watching her. She needs viewers, because FOX is kicking her butt in the ratings and has been for a long time. I don’t find O’Reilly or Beck funny or likable, but they are a far sight more interesting than Maddow.

      • Outcast

        LOL! Spongebob has higher ratings than Fox.

      • LG

        The tired ratings comments when really Fox News is being beat by the Jersey Shore.

    • Me Loves Maddow

      …and she’s pretty d@#n smart!!!!

    • debby

      Maddow is a “little biased”??? how about she can not tell the truth when it comes anyone who is not a liberal!! I am not a Hannity fan…he has his bias but he doesn’t flat out distort the truth like Maddow.

      • aj

        Um, yes he does. They all do. That’s how they make their money. They sell their viewers a version that has some truth but mostly pot-stirring lies in it to get people fired up so they’ll come back and learn more about the government conspiracies that are ruining us as a country. Hannity is a king at it (just go back and watch all of his Bill Ayers material).

      • Outcast

        Really? When? What news story did she lie about? Her segments from Afganstan and Iraq were insightful to as life during wartime in those countries.

    • LOL

      Faux News: We Distort You Comply

      • Brandon

        Racist!

      • Desmo

        Haven’t heard that one before…

    • U B desperate

      I guess EW is having trouble meeting payroll again and is hoping to get some extra ad hits in the hope O’Reilly might mention this page. Pretty desperate.
      Beck 8-28 was totally not about politics and he was joined by MLK jr’s Neice.. so Beck wins that round
      Aniston ended up agreeing with O’Reilly he wins that round.
      What can one say about the pathetic person Grafaloooooo has become, I bet she has no photos of that sign.
      O’Reilly gave Obama his best interview it gave Obama a chance to look like he didn’t need softballs he was getting else where.
      the only sane thing Penn has said politcally in years was praising the work the US Miltary did in Haiti last year.
      clooney Trusts Dan Rather who was ousted from CBS for faking documents in the 2004 election coverage?? O’really makes some mistakes but he usually owns up to them..
      of course Fox makes mistakes.. but right now they appear to be living rent free the heads of White House staff as the WH fired some woman before Fox even mentioned the story and Beck defended her the next day, said she deserved a to have her side heard. Keep believeing what the low ratings news channels say about FOX.. they were given the new front row seat at the White house BY a vote of OTHER JOURNALISTS..
      What we see in this story is a bunch of people especially Stewart who pull Fox out of a hat to get ratings.. boo hoo.. at least Stewart is also a bit balanced and goes after the left some times..
      I like EW hope this posting gets you the hits you need to make pay roll!!

    • However

      The tired ratings comment invalidates your point. Spongebob probably beats all cable news programs on a regular basis, but does the audience for Spongebob watch cable news? That is why the ratings comment tired as you are of it, is still valid.

  • brandon

    Wow. No wonder magazine sales are so down. When will Hollywood/NY figure out that the majority of the country does not see things they way that the elites do.

    • Remy

      You do realize Fox News is in NYC, right?

      • alex

        haha. excellent point Remy

  • Desmo

    Here’s an argument you can never win against, “Your a racist.” What can you possibly say in your defense? Well excuse me, but I have this many black friends? I voted for Barack so how can you call me a racist? With so many other problems in the world I wish we could just get past this whole your a race issue. You would think electing a black president would have put those fears to rest and yet here we are going in circles over the same tired patch of ground.

    • Lee

      Too bad that Barack is not the only black person in America. It would make things a lot easier for you.

      • Desmo

        Oh rly?

    • um…

      you undermine your whole argument by stating it as “your a racist”.
      it’s YOU’RE, not your.

      • Desmo

        Whoops guess you got me there. Please ignore everything I said.

      • Flyer

        Done and done.

    • Susan

      The answer is ‘yes, I am inherently a racist.’ Because when we come from a background of privilege and opportunity that is societal based, we are. BUT, by recognizing we can start shifting and changing our perspectives and more importantly our actions and inactions. I’m also a female and I do now that I’m also sexist. I hope to continue to change that.

      • joblo

        That’s ridiculous. No one is inherently racist. Have you ever seen little children play together? Having privilege and opportunity have nothing to do with how you view people of another skin color. Racism knows now economic boundaries and is in no way limited to the rich. You are not born racist nor are you automatically racist if your parents make over X-amount of dollars a year.

      • andy

        How does coming from a background of privilege automatically make you racist? Are you saying poor people cannot be racist, then? Is that something you “now” as well?

  • Turbo

    Elites= at least know how to read..

    simpletons = bible thumping, proud of a 5th grade education, right wing nut jobs… yeah, these people shouldn’t be that proud of themselves..

    • Desmo

      So are you trying to say that every democrat has an college education, cause I can guarantee you that is not the truth.

      • Turbo

        “has A college education”… If you knew how to read properly, you would’ve notice that I never used the word COLLEGE.

      • Desmo

        A thousand pardons, typing on an iPad here. None the less, college education or no, you still seem to be implying ( and I say seem to because your point is hardly clear) that conservatives are less educated then say democrats wherein my point still stands.

      • CounterPoint

        Haha where’s the puke?

      • V

        Conservative candidates often bill themselves as “everyman,” or just one of the folks, and point out educational flaws with pride. They then proceed to criticize liberal candidates as “elitist” for having a good college education and actually having received decent grades or whatever. I’m still not sure how being a good student is an insult, or even elitist, but it was definitely slung during this last campaign…

  • Dominic

    It’s perfectly okay for celebrities to have political views. But I hate when they continuously publicize their political beliefs and act like they know what they’re talking about. Most of them don’t. It’s all just typical, liberal Hollywood trying to get people to see their movies. When a celebrity tries to sound smart about politics, they look like idiots. Leave the politics to the politicians, and just entertain us and stop acting like your way is the right way. Just because you’re famous, doesn’t mean you have all the influence.

    • Lee

      But you don’t have that same argument for O’Reilly or Beck…just because they have a show?

      • April

        Good point…

        Your response Dominic?

      • joblo

        What? O’Reilly and Beck’s shows, as well as Olbermann, Matthews, etc, EXIST for the sake of espousing a political viewpoint.

      • andy

        Um…a big “duh” to April and Lee…it is O’Reilly and Beck’s job to have a political viewpoint. They’re not the “celebrities” that Dominic is talking about.

    • Turbo

      Yeah God (he really doesn’t exist) forbid those silly celebrities have the same freedom of speech and right of opinion that you do..

      • Desmo

        Please show me your proof that God doesn’t exist.

      • Turbo

        Please show me your proof that he DOES exist…

      • Desmo

        Your the one who said conclusively that he did not. I never said he did, something YOU would know if you learned how to read.

      • Turbo

        “YOU’RE the one..” Well, I have never seen, nor have met this being refer to as god.. Therefore I am pretty sure such thing does not exist

      • CounterPoint

        I ain’t never met a Muslim so I know they don’t exist!

      • Desmo

        “referred.”

      • Desmo

        “such a thing.”

      • Desmo

        “exist.”

      • Woot

        Mathematicians have proved that life can exist and evolve without god… I think that’s a good sign that god may not exist.

      • Di

        Futurama conclusively proved the existence of God a couple weeks ago. Didn’t you all see it?

      • Ryan

        Look in the mirror, that is enough proof, you really think everything just came about randomly by an explosion??? I dont understand how people put more value in what SNOOKI says than what the Bible says…but the good news is if i am wrong in my beliefs nothing will happen to me…cant say the same for you.

    • erin

      Why does it bother you so when a celebrity expresses an opinion on an issue? What do you care? Can’t you simply not listen? Or is it that you are afraid that they are expressing an opinion that a lot of your fellow citizens already hold, and you disagree with, and that scares/angers you?

      • CounterPoint

        Haha he got you!!!!

    • Not Moby

      Glenn Beck has a high school education. Bill O’Reilly began his career on the celeb-trash program Inside Edition. Rush Limbaugh (who might as well be on Fox “News”) also has only a high school education. Yet somehow these guys all present themselves as political authorities. I will give Bill O’Reilly a little (and just a little) credit because he at least has a Master’s degree from the Kennedy School of Government.

      • Huh?

        Two other people that didn’t graduate from college: Bill Gates and Peter Jennnings. College is overrated – reading and studying isn’t.

    • maggie

      @Dominic, what about right-wing celebrities who talk about politics, and they know nothing? Do you have a problem with them as well? Or do you really think idiots like Bo Derek, Chuck Norris or Victoria Jackson are well versed on politics?

    • LOL

      Faux News: Scaring White People for Profit

      • Brandon

        MsNBC: Scaring black People for Profit

    • Der

      @Dominic: “Leave politics to the politicians and just entertain us…” What about Reagan? He was an actor who certainly did his share of politics. I don’t think being an entertainer means that you have no right to have an opinion. Personally, I love that Clooney and Stewart have a voice.

  • Elizabeth

    FOXNews in their news programs–not opinion programs like Bill O’Reilly or Glenn Beck–are not totally right. They are more middle than ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, etc. They are very left minded. So, in contrast FOXNews seems too be extremely conservative. I watch a smattering of every station, though. I don’t like Bill O’Reilly or Glenn Beck, though. They can make good points, (like the latter’s expose on Che Guevera and others) they are just lost in translation due to his arrogance.

    • erin

      Fox News does not have any “news programs”. Just because there’s a blonde talking head up there who is speaking skewed viewpoints rather than a bloated white man shouting them, doesn’t make it news. Where you get the idea that they are “more middle than ABC…etc.” is truly beyond me.

      • maggie

        Elizabeth must not actually watch “ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, etc” or she wouldn’t have made that silly comment about Fox News being more “middle.” And by “middle” I think she means fair and balanced, which is something Fox News is not. (And yes, I do sometimes watch Fox News, just to know what garbage they are spewing, and to have a laugh.)

      • tprulz

        What’s your problem with blondes, erin? Blonde envy? Are you a brunette? Also, as a bloated white man, I am deeply offended by your comments.

      • Red

        Actually, if you watch Fox News Channel before the opinionators come on in the evening, it’s very much like the other cable news channels — except they might dare to air the conservative angles on an issue in addition to the conventional wisdom (i.e., the liberal/Democrat view). Of course, this also means they have some inane featurey stuff and some bimbos and pretty boys reading the news — just like the other cable channels.

    • Dan JD

      Yeah, those other shows are way left, because apparently things like “facts” and “reality” have a leftist tint. Thank goodness for Fox News, here to cater to the middle via fearmongering and truth slanting!

  • Charlie

    Elites = know how to read more than just opinions of entertainers
    Simpletons = People that throw around terms like “Bible thumping” and “right wing nut jobs” without critically thinking about others’ points of view and get all their “news” from magazines like EW and shows like Keith Olbermann or Jon Stewart. Yeah, these people shouldn’t be that proud of themselves.

    • ShotgunShogun

      There ya go.

  • K

    Fox needs to move on. Celebrities are an easy target but honestly – these are not people we elect for their intellectual ability. We see their movies, etc. because THAT is their job.
    For O’Reilly & Beck – they need to decide are they really entertainment or are they serious about what they say? They seem to want it both ways.

    • erin

      They know they’re entertainers, but they certainly can’t let their viewers in on the joke, because if they appear to not take themselves seriously as “news people,” then the viewers will stop taking their hate-filled opinions as fact.

  • erin

    Fox News used to be merely laughable. Now that a significant number of people seem to actually believe their lies, it’s getting a bit scary. They have every right to be the biased, bigoted propaganda organization that they are; I place the blame on the people who listen to them. Where are your brains?????

    • Di

      eaten by zombies?

  • rebecca

    Glenn Beck wins every time for me!!! I know that I will be one of the few on here that will say this, but I think he is one brilliant man!!!

    • jodipo

      Its ok rebecca, lots of ignorant people think he is brilliant.Mostly those that cannot take the time or effort to think for themselves. I think most who have an iq over 110 agree the guy is a hack who makes up hate inducing lies to rile up the “conservative base”… i.e. uneducated, bible toting gun freaks.

      • xgirl

        uh uh. sure…because EVERYONE who voted for obama is a genius. have you seen the footage of the people in the streets who 1)didn’t even know what he was running for and were only going to vote for him based on the color of his skin and 2)who were saying they wanted their ‘obama money’? these are some of the dumbest responses i have ever seen. i’m fine if you are more liberal than i am. i’m fine if you think you are more educated than i am. however, i do take offense when you continually throw around words like ‘nut job’, ‘moron’, and ‘rascist’ because i am none of those things. you might not like what FOX NEWS says, but they are a legitimate news organization. do you think EVERYONE (people AND the news media) should think EXACTLY like you do? why do you hold such hatred and contempt for the people who dare to think differently than you? FOX just happens to be the ONE station that doesn’t bow down at the alter of the democrats and the uber-liberals like the other 500 stations do. if you don’t like it, don’t watch it. if you can’t get your daily obamagasm from MSNBC, CNN, HL, etc, then you need help. no one is holding a gun to your head. i’m getting tired of everyone on here trying to bully their beliefs onto everyone else. futhermore, when people DARE to express their differing opinion they are called names. here’s a thought: grow up and educate YOURSELF instead of just listening to the hate speak of the ones YOU follow. hate goes both ways and the one pointing the finger at others has 4 more pointed back at himself.

  • Brady

    I think the coloring on this picture got messed up. Shouldn’t the Fox News people be red and the celebrities be blue? Just sayin’.

  • michael

    Nice article from Time Warner.

  • api

    I like Clooney’s response. Maybe if O’Reilly and Beck started reported facts and not their opinions people could take them more serious.

    But where’s the fun (and money) in that?

  • Wendy

    What’s wrong with Glenn Beck holding a rally at the same location as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s rally? Last I checked those same liberals were arguing that the Islamic Church has the right to build their Center at the same location as Ground Zero. If they’re going to call Glenn Beck insensitive for picking that date/location then why don’t they call the Islamic Church out for being insensitive on their location. Be consistent in your arguments.

    • Chris

      I love how Fox News is attacking this proposed mosque when the leading funder for the mosque is a Saudi who is the 2nd highest shareholder of Fox News’ parent company NewsCorp…..talk about hilarious

    • api

      Please stop posting wrong information. The Islamic center is NOT at the same location as the WTC site, but a couple of blocks away.

      If you ever decide to visit the area you will notice that Arabs, along with Whites, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics are all over the city.

      • Wendy

        if you’ll look above in the John Cusack vs. Fox paragraph even EW referred to it as the “Ground Zero Islamic Center” so I did not post the wrong information. I understand that it is a few blocks away, but it’s still near Ground Zero. Just as Glenn Beck stood a few steps down from where MLK delivered his speech, but it’s still near where MLK once stood. And I have visited the city and Ground Zero for that matter and I do know that people of all races/religions reside there and I have no problem with that. Notice I never said that the Mosque shouldn’t be built there. My only argument was for liberals (and conservatives for that matter) to be consistent in your arguments.

    • Make Up Your MInd America

      …and Temecula, Ca. and Tennessee mosques are near ground zero, too!

  • reason

    Aniston’s retort deserves wayyyy more than a 7! It made me lol

    • LOL

      Faux News: When Facts Don’t Matter

      • Brandon

        Faux and Fox aren’t pronounced the same way, so your little “joke” doesn’t work….dumb ass. LMAO!

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