MSNBC anchor criticizes Drudge

The war between the fledgling all-news cablers is getting personal.

Dispensing with the usual rules of on-air decorum, MSNBC talking head Keith Olbermann used Monday’s edition of his “Big Show” to launch a pointed verbal broadside at one of his competitors: Matt Drudge, the Internet gossip king whose Fox News Channel talker bowed over the weekend.

“I can forgive him that he does not appear to have the slightest idea that there is a difference between a fact and a rumor, let alone what one is,” Olbermann sneered of Drudge. “I can forgive him that he has gone from being an idiot with a modem to an idiot with a modem and a television show.”

But, said Olbermann, Drudge had gone too far during his first show when he repeatedly insisted that it has been six months since the Clinton Sexgate scandal erupted. In fact, it’s been five months.

“Matt Drudge cannot add and subtract single-digit numbers!” Olbermann exclaimed in only semi-mock anger.

Reached at his Los Angeles office Tuesday, Drudge quickly returned fire.

“When is the last time this Olbermann guy broke any news?” the gossip maven asked. “He should have stayed in sports, reading scores. I’d love to give him a plug on my Web site, but you need more than a good hairpiece to get a headline.”

A Fox News Channel spokesman also got in a dig at Olbermann, who last week began sporting a very un-anchorlike goatee.

“It’s sad to see what was once a rising star crash and burn in relative obscurity,” the spokesman said. “Keith’s outburst is obviously a desperate cry for help.”

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