Commemorating the third anniversary of his MSNBC show, Keith Olbermann devoted a segment to his long-standing rivalry with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly; Olbermann aired a compilation of clips mocking O'Reilly. He also declared radio host Neal Boortz that evening's "Worst Person in the World" for saying that Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) "looks like a ghetto slut."
Commemorating the third anniversary of Countdown on March 31, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann devoted a segment to his long-standing rivalry with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly; Olbermann aired a compilation of clips mocking O'Reilly, including several from previous broadcasts of Countdown wherein Oblermann bestowed the nightly "Worst Person in the World" award on him, as well as a clip of an appearance by O'Reilly on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The compilation also included a clip of Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) reading a line from a poem on the House floor that attacked O'Reilly's claim that there was a war on Christmas. Parts of the compilation were previously aired by Olbermann during a February 24 Countdown segment in response to O'Reilly's call for the replacement of Olbermann by Phil Donahue, who previously hosted an MSNBC show during the same 8 p.m. ET time slot as Olbermann's show and O'Reilly's Fox News show, The O'Reilly Factor. The March 31 segment also featured clips from the rivalry's more recent developments, including a March 2 instance in which a caller to O'Reilly's nationally syndicated radio program was threatened by O'Reilly with "a little visit" from "Fox security" simply for mentioning Olbermann's name on the air. On March 9, Olbermann interviewed the caller, "Mike from Orlando," airing a recording of a voicemail "Mike" received from a man identifying himself as "Tony" from "Fox News security," and "Mike," who said his real name was "Mick," explained that he is not the only person to have called into O'Reilly's radio program and subsequently been contacted by "Tony."
Olbermann concluded the commemorative segment, which he called a "no-brainer," by noting, "It's been quiet over there at the Ministry of Truth. Too quiet. For as we know, all of human existence divides evenly into two categories: those times when Bill O'Reilly has just said something stupid or destructive and those times when Bill O'Reilly is about to say something stupid or destructive. Seriously, our thanks to you for making this birthday possible."
Later during the broadcast, Olbermann declared nationally syndicated radio host Neal Boortz the winner of the day's "Worst Person in the World" honor for saying, as Media Matters for America noted, that Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) "looks like a ghetto slut," following a March 29 incident in which McKinney allegedly struck a police officer at a Capitol Hill security checkpoint. Boortz also said that McKinney looks "like an explosion at a Brillo pad factory," "like Tina Turner peeing on an electric fence," and "like a shih tzu." Noting that Boortz claimed on his website to be entitled to his criticism of McKinney's hairstyle because of the "years of 'bald remarks'" he has endured, Olbermann responded, "OK, endure this one: You're a bald racist."
From the March 31 edition of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
OLBERMANN: Third birthday of the show, third story in the show. That was a no-brainer. So was deciding how to celebrate it: by updating you on the guy who's least happy about the anniversary. Talk about no-brainers. Despite Bill O'Reilly's best efforts to the contrary, in the words of Gloria Gaynor, more or less, we have survived. And look, statistics. Countdown up 41 percent in what the big giant head likes to call the key demographic. O'Reilly down 24 percent. All this despite his online petition a month ago, raising concern, quote, "about the well-being of MSNBC," asking for my firing and the return of Phil Donahue. Huh. So we all signed the petition. Apparently, we were just about the only ones who signed it. At the heart of this, of course, is the idea that he does not have tender feelings about me or about this newscast. I never said anything factually incorrect about the man. Never taken his many stupid comments out of context or anything. Never mixed up his various personal attacks with his various personal scandals. So I can't imagine what it could possibly be.
OLBERMANN: And Bill O'Reilly is at it again. None other than the big giant head himself. In "Oddball," the definition thereof, Bill O'Reilly. Now I can remove this stupid mask. Tito, hand me a loofah.
O'REILLY: I am a stupid guy. And every guy listening knows how that is.
OLBERMANN: The big giant head again, explaining to his radio audience that we won the Second World War because of spanking.
OLBERMANN: Bill O'Reilly about women just talking dirty with some guy and it would be no -- oh, yeah. Loofah!
CHANTING CROWD: Save the tapes! Save the tapes! Save the tapes!
OLBERMANN: You're damn right I'm serious. Would I have gotten this giant prop check made if I was not serious?
OLBERMANN: Apparently, you have him to thank for the recent minor drop in gas prices. He has told an interviewer, "I have five guys inside the five major oil companies. They got scared because of my reporting and reporting of some others. They said, 'Uh-oh.'" Thanks, Bill.
REP. JOHN D. DINGELL (D-MI): Wait. We need a distraction, something divisive and wily, a fabrication straight from the mouth of O'Reilly.
OLBERMANN: You know this whole attack on Christmas nonsense that he made up? The fantasy that you can't say "merry Christmas," but you can only say "happy holidays," the thing designed to stir up religious hatred and paranoia in this country? Guess what they're selling over at the Fox News online store: the Fox News holiday ornament and the O'Reilly Factor holiday ornament.
O'REILLY: The world could blow the hell up. He'd be giggling. "Oh, this is a riot. How many are people dead in Katrina, how can we make fun of it?" See, that's what you do.
STEWART: I will say this; we do add insult to injury.
O'REILLY: You do.
STEWART: But --
O'REILLY: See, he's an honest man.
STEWART: But --
O'REILLY: He's an honest man.
STEWART: You add injury.
O'REILLY: I add injury?
O'REILLY: You want to be your own country, go right ahead. And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, "Look, every other place in America is off limits to you except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."
OLBERMANN: Quoting, "You can have a militia that's a rainbow coalition armed with spatulas, and the basic training will be in the Haight. OK, we'll have it right on the Castro Street. March up and down. Since they are so good at parades," unquote. So Bill, you've now insulted all the gay people, too. Terrific.
OLBERMANN: As a public service I'm going to read portions of his remarks and then translate them into what he's actually saying. "'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." 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. "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.
OLBERMANN: Bill O'Reilly, today's worst person in the world.
OLBERMANN: Today's worst person in the world!
OLBERMANN: Today's worst person in the world.
OLBERMANN: Today's worst person in the -- you know the rest.
O'REILLY: This brutal ordeal is now officially over, and I will never speak of it again.
OLBERMANN: Don't you tell me it's over. I'll tell you if it's over.
OLBERMANN: Well, so I keep calling him on stuff. Then again, speaking of calling, you may remember when a caller to the O'Reilly radio show mentioned my name on his air, and he threatened to send the Fox security and/or the police and/or the Mutant Ninja Turtles over to the guy's house.
O'REILLY: Orlando, Florida, Mike, go.
"MIKE": Hey, Bill, I appreciate you taking my call.
"MIKE": I like to listen to you during the day. I think Keith Olbermann's show --
O'REILLY: There you go. Mike is, uh -- he's a gone guy. You know, we have this -- we have your phone numbers, by the way. So if you're listening, Mike, we have your phone number, and we're going to turn it over to Fox security, and you'll be getting a little visit.
E.D. HILL (co-host): Maybe Mike is from the mother ship.
O'REILLY: No, maybe Mike's gonna get in big trouble. Because we're not going to play around. When you call us, ladies or gentlemen, just so you know, we do have your phone number. And if you say anything untoward, obscene or anything like that, Fox security then will contact your local authorities, and you will be held accountable. Fair?
HILL: That's fair.
O'REILLY: So just, all you guys who do this kind of a thing, you know, I know some shock jocks, whatever -- you will be held accountable. Believe it. We'll be right back.
[end audio clip]
OLBERMANN: That call was first available on the O'Reilly show website, archived. Then it was erased. Then we located the caller himself and asked him what else he had said.
[begin video clip]
"MICK": What I said was, "Hey, Bill, thanks for taking my call. I like to listen to you in the afternoons, because Keith Olbermann has the best show at eight o'clock. Why are you always smearing him?"
OLBERMANN: That was it? There was no swearing? There was no --
[end video clip]
OLBERMANN: Three years, we can't get any lights. And that's where it stands to the minute. It's been quiet over there at the Ministry of Truth. Too quiet. For as we know, all of human existence divides evenly into two categories: those times when Bill O'Reilly has just said something stupid or destructive and those times when Bill O'Reilly is about to say something stupid or destructive. Seriously, our thanks to you for making this birthday possible.
OLBERMANN: But our winner, radio's Neal Boortz. We told you that Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney was arrested after allegedly striking a police officer at a Capitol Hill security checkpoint. Boortz declared that Representative McKinney, who is an African-American, has new a hairstyle that makes her look, quote, "like a ghetto slut"; quote, "like an explosion at a Brillo pad factory"; quote, "like Tina Turner peeing on an electric fence"; and quote, "like a shih tzu." He claims he's permitted to say these things because he's endured years of bald remarks. OK, endure this one: You're a bald racist. Radio's Neal Boortz -- that's "boor" plus a "t" and a "z" -- today's worst person in the world!