Heated Exchange at "Fahrenheit"?
Give Fox News Channel star Bill O'Reilly credit for even attending Monday night's lefty celeb-glutted premiere of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" - even if he walked out of the 110-minute Bush-bashing movie halfway through.
Only last week on his syndicated radio show, O'Reilly likened Moore to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels - author of the "Big Lie" theory of political communication.
As O'Reilly explained to his radio audience, "Joseph Goebbels was the minister of propaganda for the Nazi regime and whose very famous quote was, 'If you tell a lie long enough, it becomes the truth.'"
So it was a tad awkward when O'Reilly, trying to sneak out of the Ziegfeld Theater and almost at the exit, came jowl to jowl with Moore himself.
"Don't you want to stay and watch the whole film?" the director demanded.
A Lowdown spy reports that O'Reilly blushed, shook Moore's hand and muttered something about having to "tape something," and then slunk off into the night.
But "The O'Reilly Factor" tapes in the afternoon, hours before it airs at 8 and 11 p.m. - and well before Monday night's premiere.
Moore - who didn't return Lowdown's call for comment - was apparently skeptical. When his wife, Kathleen Glynn, came inside the theater a moment later, the filmmaker excitedly repeated O'Reilly's alibi in a scoffing tone.
Yesterday, a Fox News spokesman explained: "The movie started 40 minutes late, and Bill had a previous commitment to go to."
The flack added that O'Reilly was simply confirming Moore's booking on his Fox News show next week and that O'Reilly had already asked "Fahrenheit 9/11" producer Harvey Weinstein's office for a screener.
Again, problematic: A source close to the movie says no videotapes are being given out to anyone under any circumstances.
Surely not a little white lie!