Responding to O'Reilly's attack on "unprofessional" NBC, Olbermann awarded Fox News host another "Worst Person" citation

››› ››› ROB MORLINO

After Bill O'Reilly blasted NBC for taking "cheap shots" at his own Fox News network, Keith Olbermann once again declared O'Reilly the "Worst Person in the World," pointing to numerous instances in which he said Fox News engaged in the same kind of tactics O'Reilly decried.

After O'Reilly Factor host Bill O'Reilly blasted NBC Television Networks for taking "cheap shots" at his own Fox News network, MSNBC's Countdown host Keith Olbermann declared O'Reilly "Worst Person in the World," pointing to numerous instances in which he said Fox News engaged in the same kind of tactics O'Reilly decried.

During his January 30 broadcast, O'Reilly -- a frequent recipient of Olbermann's "Worst Person" awards -- accused his cable and broadcast news competitors at NBC Networks of violating "a code among most in TV news of respect and professional courtesy," but did not provide any specific examples. O'Reilly cited what he called NBC's "major problems" -- prime-time programming that he said is "dead last" among networks; the "ratings failures" of its cable shows -- and asserted, "That is no excuse for unprofessional behavior."

Breaking from his typical practice of singling out three people for his "Worst Person" awards, including two runners-up, Olbermann devoted the entire "Worst" segment to a detailed rebuttal of O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" segment from the January 30 broadcast of The O'Reilly Factor. "As a public service, I'm going to read portions of his remarks and then translate them into what he's actually saying," Olbermann said.

In response to O'Reilly's claim that Fox "has good relationships with ABC News, CBS News, and generally CNN," Olbermann pointed out, "That's probably why Fox bought those billboards across the street from CNN headquarters taunting them about ratings, or issued that anonymous statement comparing CNN to the Titanic, or the one about Ted Turner losing his mind."

Responding to O'Reilly's characterization of the competition between Fox News and CNN as playing out with "class, not bitterness," Olbermann said, "Which is why we at Fox News compared CNN's Paula Zahn to an outhouse and a dead muskrat."

Finally, to O'Reilly's accusation that NBC engaged in "unprofessional behavior," Olbermann responded that O'Reilly's own purported "unprofessional behavior is with one of your women producers on the phone."

From the January 31 broadcast of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:

OLBERMANN: And now, a little out of traditional sequence, Countdown's nominee for today's "Worst Person in the World:" And Bill O'Reilly is at it again -- the second time in four shows -- whining about cheap shots from MSNBC and NBC. This time, he opened his program with it, ostensibly starting with a patronizing update on the health of ABC's Doug Vogt and Bob Woodruff, whom he identified as 'Woodriss.' There was a lot of guff about the code among most in TV news of respect and professional courtesy, but most of what Mr. O'Reilly was saying was his typical obtuse shorthand of bullying and another word starting with bull. As a public service, I'm going to read portions of his remarks and then translate them into what he's actually saying. The bottom line is, as the oldest cliché goes, he can dish it out, but clearly, he cannot take it.

"Fox News has good relationships with ABC News, CBS News and generally CNN ..."

That's probably why Fox bought those billboards across the street from CNN headquarters taunting them about ratings, or issued that anonymous statement comparing CNN to the Titanic, or the one about Ted Turner losing his mind.

"... but 'Talking Points' is troubled by the behavior of NBC, which cheap shots Fox News on a regular basis and has been doing so for some time."

You know, I've got to confess. It never occurred to me before, but when we quote your own words back to you about how the Catholic Church was out to get Christmas, or how we should let Al Qaeda attack San Francisco, they must seem like cheap shots.

"It is only a few people doing this, but NBC president Robert Wright allows it to happen. Wright knows exactly what's going on, because he's been made aware of it."

Maybe he hasn't, Bill. Mr. Wright is the chairman, not the president, of NBC, so your postcard of complaint may have gone to the wrong office. And, by the way, let us leave our bosses out of this, Bill, or I'll have to call yours, and you know how much Satan hates to be disturbed while American Idol is on. By the way -- I ain't callin' Rupert Murdoch the devil, by the way.

"Now we understand that NBC has major problems. Its prime-time programming is dead last. Its cable operations are ratings failures ..."

In the cable ratings for the year 2005, USA Network, owned by NBC, finished three full places ahead of Fox News. And as to MSNBC, since February of 2005, our respective ratings tell a very interesting story. In what was described today by News Corp. as quote "the money demo," Countdown's ratings are up 34 percent, but O'Reilly's have shriveled by 21 percent. Bill's obviously among our new viewers.

"... but that is no excuse for unprofessional behavior ..."

Unless, that is, the unprofessional behavior is with one of your women producers on the phone.

"There is no question that the amazing success of Fox News has affected all TV news operations ..."

Like bird flu.

"... but CNN, for example, usually competes with class, not bitterness."

Which is why, we, at Fox News, compared CNN's Paula Zahn to an outhouse and a dead muskrat.

"Likewise we respect ABC and CBS for their work ethic and competitive zeal."

Especially since David Letterman kicked the crap out of me on CBS earlier this month.

"But there's something very wrong with NBC, and if it continues, 'Talking Points' will go into greater detail about the problems besetting that network."

Is this that code among most in TV news of respect and professional courtesy you mentioned, Bill, or do we get to that part later?

"We hope Robert Wright will right the situation, and believe he has the power to do it. But, perhaps, we're wrong about Wright."

Bill made a funny. Hee-heee.

"Maybe, he's out of the loop. Or maybe, he just doesn't care. Well, he should care. We'll let you know what happens."

This is Ted Baxter, WJM, good night, and good news.

Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Bill O'Reilly, Keith Olbermann
Show/Publication
Countdown with Keith Olbermann
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