CNN’s Anderson Cooper earned a rare rebuke from Fox News talker Bill O’Reilly.
O’Reilly, who rarely criticizes the talk-show stars on the rival cable news nets (though some of them do it often to him), took a poke at Cooper Wednesday night on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News Channel.
It was in O’Reilly’s opening segment – his nightly oration known as the “Talking Points Memo.” On Wednesday, his subject was this week’s Republican Debate, which aired live from Las Vegas Tuesday night with CNN’s Cooper as moderator.
And it was Cooper’s performance as moderator that O’Reilly picked apart on the “Factor” on Wednesday. “Anderson Cooper lost control at a key moment in the debate,” said O’Reilly, listing Cooper’s control issues as No. 3 in a list of the newsworthiest items to come out of the event – the seventh such face-off of Republican presidential hopefuls.
O’Reilly felt Coop should have intervened much more strenuously when Mitt Romney and Rick Perry argued over Perry’s allegation that Romney knowingly employed illegal aliens at his home (O’Reilly clarified that story: Romney fired the grass-cutting company that was maintaining his lawn after he learned they hired illegals).
In the debate, Perry leveled the illegal alien charge and then repeatedly interrupted Romney when Romney denied it and tried to explain it. This is when Cooper should have tried harder to reestablish the rules of order, O’Reilly said.
“Before things got to that point, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, the moderator, should have stepped in and allowed Romney to respond to Perry without interruption,” O’Reilly sermonized. He was correct, but we’re not sure we agree that Cooper “lost control” as O’Reilly describes it.
We might add here that CNN’s Republican debate this week drew fewer viewers than the last Republican debate, which happened to be on Fox News Channel on Sept. 22. The Fox debate back then drew 6.107 million viewers, while this week’s debate on CNN had 5.495 million.
We wonder how Anderson Cooper feels about being criticized by Bill O’Reilly. Maybe Coop will put O’Reilly on his Ridiculist.