In Depth: Is Keith Olbermann About to do an “O’Reilly”?
Keith Olbermann has a big decision to make, one that could affect him for a very long time. The question before him is whether he should do an “O’Reilly”. What I mean by that is that Olbermann now finds himself in a similar position to one Bill O’Reilly found himself in at the hands of Olbermann. O’Reilly had to make a decision, ignore the Olbermann taunts or fight back. O’Reilly chose to fight back and totally screwed the pooch in doing so with ridiculous stunts like the “Bring Phil Donahue Back” petition. This had the intended effect of elevating Olbermann as the thorn in O’Reilly’s side. Olbermann chortled in the press over O’Reilly’s response repeatedly saying “You don’t punch down, you punch up!”
Well now Olbermann finds himself with a “punch down” scenario of his own to ponder over. Despite Tucker Carlson’s claims to the contrary, I still believe this is something of a PR stunt designed to make the Daily Caller a player on the internet, all the ridiculous First Amendment chest thumping non-withstanding, with the Daily Caller being the thorn in Olbermann’s side that Olbermann was to O’Reilly’s side. I’m not a lawyer but I don’t think The Daily Caller has too much of a legal leg to stand on and if Olbermann goes after it, he could very well prevail. But at what cost?
Court cases like these are long dragged out affairs. And you can bet The Caller will play up the court case in the press to the hilt, regardless of how thin its legal defense may be. Plus there is the thorny issue of Discovery. Is Olbermann willing to expose himself to a fishing expedition into his private affairs? Because that’s what discovery would mean to him.
Depending on how Olbermann plays this, it could wind up being a lose-lose scenario. Best case scenario is Olbermann wins in court but at a tremendous cost beyond financial terms where he has to punch down and elevate the Daily Caller, similar to the way O’Reilly punched down and elevated Olbermann.
From my vantage point, the best move is to make no move. Ignore Carlson and The Caller. Nobody but the Right is going to care then what happens because the Right hates Olbermann. The press won’t care because Olbermann isn’t playing along and the press is only interested in spats where both parties are involved. They may try to egg Olbermann on for a comment but he must resist the temptation. The press will then lose interest and The Caller will become the next Olbermann Watch where only the true believers come to listen to what they want to hear. But if he does what O’Reilly did and engages The Caller directly, the press will be all over it and The Caller will have succeeded in its PR campaign.
The question is will Olbermann ignore it? I’m not putting money on it…