Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly are the US media world’s consummate odd couple: one’s a left-leaning political satirist, the other’s a “traditionalist” TV news anchor, but the pair just can’t keep away from each other.
And now, having gone head to head on TV over all manner of issues in the past, the pair will soon be facing off in a live event to be streamed online.
The appealingly titled “Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium” will take place at George Washington University in Washington DC on Saturday 6 October, and promises its audience some top-drawer, no-holds-barred political debate.
Billed in its trailer as “the reason why Al Gore invented the internet”, the event will be streamed worldwide via therumble2012.com at a cost of $4.95, with half the profits going to charity.
O’Reilly announced the showdown on his Fox News show The O’Reilly Factor last night, saying: “The format is exactly like the presidential debates, without all the phoniness and pomposity.” He added that the debate would centre on “the State of the Union and how the upcoming election is likely to affect it.”
He also called the event a win-win situation for everyone involved, saying: “You win because we kept the price very low and it will be a fun evening. The nation wins because there will be plenty of no-spin analysis about serious issues. Stewart wins because he finally makes the big time, and I win because I can make fun of Stewart.”
Stewart, meanwhile, responded to O’Reilly in an online video, comparing the event to Thunderdome and quipping: “Two men enter and both leave. But probably not together.”