Sunday, November 06, 2005

Ruth vs. O’Reilly, Round Two

The Tampa Tribune printed a three-score, plus-four, word correction correcting columnist Dan Ruth’s assertion that Fox anchor Bill O’Reilly was/is a “serial sexual harasser.”

The column was Ruth’s reaction to O’Reilly’s take on the Hillsborough County School Board holiday controversy: The Board had OK'd an '06-07 calendar, minus holidays for Yom Kippur, Good Friday or the Muslim holiday Eid Al-Fitr.

O'Reilly loves to give national visibility to such local brouhahas. Ruth is a bit of a ruckus-lover himself. (It was a marriage made in media heaven.) Ding-ding-ding! Let the fight begin. It went well . . . except for that apparent, below-the-belt, “serial sexual harasser” thingy.

Since TBM printed Ruth’s original accusation verbatim, it seems only fair & balanced to pass along the Trib’s correction, so here goes:

Correction: “A column by Daniel Ruth that appeared Nov. 2 incorrectly characterized Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly as a serial sexual harasser. While O’Reilly was accused of harassment in a single lawsuit filed by a former associate producer for the news channel, that lawsuit was settled out of court in October 2004, and no court ruling was ever made on the merits of the case.” End correction

To read Ruth’s barb-filled, anti-O’Reilly column con correction, click here.

Two other bay area columnists jumped into the holiday fray, without generating quite the national controversy that Ruth did. Both are worthwhile reads:

Howard Troxler’s “Hillsborough holiday fuss is a lesson in disrespect” contains his typical wit. For Howard’s column, click here.

Steve Otto takes an oblique approach with “Hey, Turkeys -- This Holiday Slipped By You” and sparkles with his Otto-matic humor. For Steve’s column, click here.

Ruth’s more Samurai-jugular twist no doubt fits his carefully cultivated print persona, which recalls a remark made some years back by a former colleague, George Meyer, after Ruth had triple-bypass surgery:

“A couple of people called and wanted to know if they actually found a heart," Meyer is said to have said.

Btw, TBM is out of town this coming week. We’ll be checking back in with you all upon returning. If O’Reilly-Ruth moves to Round Three, please release a flare.


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