Maddow 1, O’Reilly 0

MADDOW 1, O’REILLY 0…. On Wednesday night’s episode, Rachel Maddow talked about Fox News’ role in the Shirley Sherrod matter. “This is what Fox News does,” she explained. “This is how they are different from other news organizations. Just like the ACORN controversy, Fox knows they have a role in this dance. That’s not new; that’s not actually even interesting about this scandal. Fox does what Fox does.”

Bill O’Reilly responded on his Fox News program, “Which is kick your network’s butt every single night, madam. And you have to be kidding me with this ‘fake ACORN scandal’ stuff? Unbelievable. Do you live in this country?”

Rachel responded on the air last night. If you haven’t seen it, you should.

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Here’s the kicker: “Because when you got all ‘kicked your network’s butt’ and ‘madam’ on me, you really weren’t trying to tout your network’s ratings. You were trying to take the attention off me saying that your network, Fox News, continually crusades on flagrantly bogus stories designed to make white Americans fear black Americans — which Fox News most certainly does for a political purpose, even if it upends the lives of individuals like Shirley Sherrod, even as it frays the fabric of the nation, and even as it makes the American dream more of a dream and less of a promise.

“You can insult us all you want about television ratings, Mr. O’Reilly, and you’ll be right that yours are bigger — for now and maybe forever. You are the undisputed champion. But even if no one watches us at all except for my mom and my girlfriend and people who forgot to turn off the TV after Keith, you are still wrong on what really matters, and that would be the facts, your highness.”

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Steve Benen

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.