Report: Olbermann, O'Reilly forced to declare truce

Parent companies for the two anchors' networks reportedly worked out a deal to end the public feud

Published August 1, 2009 12:45AM (EDT)

The feud between Fox News' Bill O'Reilly and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann had gotten pretty heated over the years, eventually dragging in the parent companies of both networks. Now, the New York Times' Brian Stelter reports, those companies have stepped in to call an end to the fighting.

Stelter writes: 

At an off-the-record summit meeting for chief executives sponsored by Microsoft in May, the PBS interviewer Charlie Rose asked Jeffrey Immelt, chairman of G.E., and his counterpart at the News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, about the feud.

Both moguls expressed regret over the venomous culture between the two networks. Then — even though the feud had increased the viewing audience of both programs — they instructed lieutenants to arrange a cease-fire, according to three people who work at the companies and have direct knowledge of the deal.

In early June, the combat stopped, and the anchors for the most part found other targets for their verbal missiles.

For his part, Olbermann told the Times, "I am party to no deal," and Fox News wouldn't comment. But Stelter has details on MSNBC President Phil Griffin telling network producers to refrain from direct criticism of their rival, and he reports that at Fox, staff members were told to "be fair" to MSNBC's parent company, General Electric.


By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Bill O'reilly Keith Olbermann Rupert Murdoch War Room