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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Sometimes you're watching sports when you're watching politics. Or you're watching politics when you're watching sports.
Either way, the scoreboard read Bill O'Reilly 1, ESPN 0 Thursday night.
A day after O'Reilly excoriated the World Wide Leader for rejecting a commercial from a children's hospital in St. Louis because the spot mentioned Jesus Christ, ESPN audibled and announced that it had re-evaluated its guidelines and decided the spot had been cleared to be aired to help the facility in its fund-raising quest.
In fact, O'Reilly made the announcement on his Thursday show, after an opening segment that saw him howl at the network again during his annual push in what he terms the "War on Christmas."
A spokesperson for the hospital said the initial decision against the commercial was made Dec. 5. The portion of the commercial that ESPN objected to includes this message:
"Each Christmas, thousands in our community send messages of hope to sick and injured children who may not be able to come home for the holidays. At SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Center, we celebrate the birth of Jesus and the season of giving," the ad says. It goes on to ask supporters to "help us reveal God's healing presence this Christmas."
But nothing changed until O'Reilly devoted one segment of his popular talk show to the controversy Wednesday. Social media debate fueled the story from there – until O'Reilly led his Thursday show with another Talking Points discussion with two commentators about the fairness of ESPN's decision. Both guest commentators agreed with ESPN, not O'Reilly.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch captured the controversy in this story.