Top 5 Talk-Show Controversies of 2009
David Letterman, Glenn Beck
It's been a big year for incendiary talk-show chatter. Sometimes a host gets viewers irate. Sometimes it's the guest. Sometimes that guest is even the president of the United States. Here's a look back at some of the comments this year that made people mad.
1) Who: Glenn Beck on Fox News' Fox and Friends
What he said: On the July 28th edition, Beck said President Obama has "a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture." He added, "I'm not saying that he doesn't like white people. I'm saying that he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist."
The fallout: On Monday, GMAC Financial Services pulled advertising from Beck's show, The Glenn Beck Program. Geico and Lawyers.com had previously pulled ads.
2) Who: David Letterman on CBS' Late Show
What he said: On June 8, Letterman joked about then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's visit to a New York Yankees game: "There was one awkward moment during the seventh-inning stretch: Her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez." Letterman insisted he was talking about the 18-year-old Bristol Palin, but the Palin parents said his comments were directed at their 14-year-old daughter.
The fallout: Hotel chain Embassy Suites pulled its advertising on CBS' website, and critics campaigned for CBS to fire the Late Show host. Eventually, Letterman apologized to the Palins and "everybody else who was outraged by the joke."
3) Who: President Barack Obama on NBC's The Tonight Show
What he said: The first president to sit on the late-night couch, Obama told Jay Leno on March 19 that his bowling skills were like those of Special Olympics athletes.
The fallout: Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver told Good Morning America he received an apologetic call from Obama from aboard Air Force One, before the segment even aired that night. While Shriver told GMA that "words hurt and words do matter," he also said he hopes Obama's comment can be a "teachable moment for our country." White House spokesman Bill Burton also issued a statement saying the president's remark "was in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics."
4) Who: Keith Olbermann on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann
What he said: After The New York Times reported that Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly's corporate bosses intervened to put an end to their feud, Olbermann dismissed the report and named O'Reilly a runner-up for "Worst Person of the Week" on the August 3rd edition of his show. He also called out the writer of the article and Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the company that owns Fox.
The fallout: See next item.
5) Who: Bill O'Reilly on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor
What he said: Two days after Olbermann blasted him, O'Reilly questioned how General Electric's CEO Jeffrey Immelt could be advising President Obama when GE (which owns MSNBC) is "guilty of fraud."
The fallout: GE responded in a statement saying that the comments O'Reilly made on his show are "malicious and irresponsible." GE spokesperson Gary Sheffer also told the AP that the "report took this smear campaign to a new low."