EBERT VS. O’REILLY…. Bill O’Reilly recently lashed out at the Chicago Sun-Times, adding the paper to his “Hall of Shame,” a list of media outlets that “have regularly helped distribute defamatory, false or non-newsworthy information supplied by far left websites” and O’Reilly “recommend[s] that you do not patronize or advertise with.”

Roger Ebert, the Sun-Times’ film critic was not only thrilled to learn of O’Reilly’s criticism, he also sent him a thank-you note.

Dear Bill: Thanks for including the Chicago Sun-Times on your exclusive list of newspapers on your “Hall of Shame.” To be in an O’Reilly Hall of Fame would be a cruel blow to any newspaper. It would place us in the favor of a man who turns red and starts screaming when anyone disagrees with him. My grade-school teacher, wise Sister Nathan, would have called in your parents and recommended counseling with Father Hogben.

Yes, the Sun-Times is liberal, having recently endorsed our first Democrat for President since LBJ. We were founded by Marshall Field one week before Pearl Harbor to provide a liberal voice in Chicago to counter the Tribune, which opposed an American war against Hitler. I’m sure you would have sided with the Trib at the time.

Apparently, part of O’Reilly’s beef with the paper is the Sun-Times’ decision to drop O’Reilly’s syndicated column. Ebert explained to the Fox News personality that the paper began running his column when the Sun-Times was “owned by the right-wing polemicists,” and was dropped to save the paper money “after they looted the paper of millions.” (Not that O’Reilly’s column deserved consideration anyway — Ebert described it as “knee-jerk frothings and ravings.”)

As for O’Reilly’s recent assertion that he has “more power than any politician,” Ebert said he’s “concerned that you have been losing touch with reality.”

That reminds me of the famous story about Squeaky the Chicago Mouse. It seems that Squeaky was floating on his back along the Chicago River one day. Approaching the Michigan Avenue lift bridge, he called out: Raise the bridge! I have an erection!

If recent history is any guide, I suppose this means Bill O’Reilly will feel compelled to send strange men to Roger Ebert’s home.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.