On Monday's Countdown during the show's regular "Oddball" segment, while reporting on the controversial decision of the Seattle-Tacoma Airport to remove its Christmas trees from public view rather than display a Menorah, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann mocked FNC host Bill O'Reilly by jokingly suggesting that O'Reilly supports a "war against Hanukkah." Olbermann, who since last year has mocked O'Reilly and other FNC hosts, once calling them "fat heads," for their concerns about a "War on Christmas" by secularists, jokingly commented, referring to Bill O'Reilly disparagingly as "Billow": "Generalissimo O'Reilly remains upbeat. Look not on this as a defeat in the war on Christmas. This was a dramatic victory in Billow's new war against Hanukkah." Ironically, less than 20 minutes earlier on The O'Reilly Factor, host O'Reilly had spoken approvingly of displaying a Menorah at the airport as he interviewed the rabbi who had requested it. The FNC host was quite sympathetic to the rabbi's viewpoint as he lambasted the airport's decision not to allow a Menorah display. O'Reilly: "There is no reason not to put up a Menorah in the Sea-Tac Airport because Hanukkah is a celebrated holiday, and, you know, Americans of Jewish faith would like to see it, and it's in context, so put it up." (Transcripts follow)
Below is a complete transcript of Olbermann's comments from the December 11 Countdown, which ran at 8:29 p.m., followed by some of O'Reilly's comments from the December 11 The O'Reilly Factor, which ran shortly past 8:10 p.m.:
Keith Olbermann: "To the liberal Northwest, Seattle, Washington, where a mighty blow has been struck against the good guys in the war on Christmas. Nine 15-foot Christmas trees being dismantled at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, SeaTac, after a local rabbi came in and asked for a big Menorah to be put on display as well. Airport officials, rather than surrendering and recognizing the Jewish holiday, opted to take down the Christmas trees. No Hanukkah, no Christmas, no nothing. It's a scorched Earth policy at SeaTac. Generalissimo O'Reilly remains upbeat. Look not on this as a defeat in the war on Christmas. This was a dramatic victory in Billow's new war against Hanukkah."
From the December 11 The O'Reilly Factor:
Bill O'Reilly: "Instead of putting up a Menorah, which any sane person would have done, the Sea-Tac Airport people took down the trees."
O'Reilly: "This is so stupid. All right, so all you wanted, you didn't want 14 Menorahs, you just wanted a Menorah or two, correct?"
Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky: "We wanted actually one Menorah display amongst, you know, wherever they felt the right place to put it in the airport."
O'Reilly: "Sure. Why not? It's Hanukkah, a Menorah, why not? So these pinheads at Sea-Tac-"
Bogomilsky: "It's more than 'why not.' You have to understand there's over 6,000 Menorah displays throughout the world-"
O'Reilly: "But that's what I'm saying. I'm saying why, there is no reason not to put up a Menorah in the Sea-Tac Airport because Hanukkah is a celebrated holiday, and, you know, Americans of Jewish faith would like to see it, and it's in context, so put it up."