Wednesday, June 04, 2003

In case you missed the Al Franken/Bill O'Reilly dustup this past weekend on C-SPAN, here's a small sampling:

LOS ANGELES — Bill O'Reilly, the conservative talk show host, first decried political commentators who "call people names." Then he called Al Franken, the liberal humorist, an "idiot."

Both were on a panel Saturday to discuss their new books at Book-Expo America, an annual convention for booksellers and publishers where authors are not known for shouting insults at each other.

But when the convention ended Sunday, the buzz was less about the hottest novels of the fall than the raucous debate between O'Reilly of Fox News, who has written Who's Looking Out for You?, and Franken, author of Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.

Both will be published in September.

Unlike Ernest Hemingway's encounter with poet Wallace Stevens, no punches were thrown, but both men walked away without a handshake after Franken questioned O'Reilly's veracity and O'Reilly dismissed Franken as a "propagandist." During the shouting, the moderator, former congresswoman Pat Schroeder, asked whether anyone had a referee's whistle.

If you want to see the whole encheeelada, C-SPAN2 plans to air the entire uninterrupted ugliness on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET, 2:30 p.m. PT. Don't miss it. Trust me. You've never seen anything like it.