Olbermann awarded O'Reilly both runner-up and top prize in "Worst Person in the World" contest for Gabler and Wiehl comments

Video ››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

On the March 17 broadcast of MSNBC's Countdown, Keith Olbermann awarded Bill O'Reilly both the runner-up and first place awards in his daily "Worst Person in the World" contest for calling liberal media writer Neal Gabler a "bomb-thrower" and a "Kool-Aid drinker" and for telling a caller on his radio program that instead of "denigrat[ing]" guests on his programs, he "just go[es] over to" co-host Lis Wiehl "and whack[s] her around. ... [F]iguratively speaking, of course."

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On the March 17 broadcast of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann awarded Fox News' Bill O'Reilly both the runner-up and first place awards in his daily "Worst Person in the World" contest for calling liberal media writer Neal Gabler a "bomb-thrower" and a "Kool-Aid drinker" and for telling a caller on his radio program that instead of "denigrat[ing]" guests on his programs, he "just go[es] over to" co-host Lis Wiehl "and whack[s] her around. ... [F]iguratively speaking, of course."

As Media Matters for America has previously noted, during the March 13 edition of his syndicated radio show, O'Reilly called Gabler a "bomb-thrower" and a "left-wing Kool-Aid drinker" because Gabler argued, on the March 11 edition of Fox News Watch, that the controversy over comments that Colorado high school teacher Jay Bennish made about President Bush resulted from the exploitation of the incident by the conservative media. But, as Olbermann noted, O'Reilly had no harsh words for fellow Fox News Watch panelist Cal Thomas, a conservative syndicated columnist, who, on the same program, said he agreed that the conservative media had over-hyped the incident.

In awarding O'Reilly the "Worst Person in the World" runner-up prize for these comments, Olbermann noted that "Ted Baxter ... ripp[ed] his own Fox News colleague Neal Gabler again," apparently referring to O'Reilly's previous attack on Gabler. On the February 20 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly labeled Gabler a "rabid dog" and declared that if it were up to him, he would "fire" Gabler from Fox News Watch "in a heartbeat" for his comments on Vice President Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of hunting partner Harry Whittington.

Olbermann also reserved the first prize in the "Worst Person in the World" contest for O'Reilly for his comments about "whack[ing] ... around" Wiehl in lieu of "denigrat[ing]" a guest with whom O'Reilly disagreed. As Media Matters noted at the time, while discussing his interview with guest and author Norman Mailer, O'Reilly told a caller on the March 15 broadcast of The Radio Factor that instead of denigrating Mailer, O'Reilly could "just go over to" Wiehl "and whack her around." He added, "figuratively speaking, of course." In bestowing O'Reilly with the "Worst Person" honors, Olbermann -- apparently referencing O'Reilly's October 2004 sexual harassment lawsuit by a former Fox News producer -- stated, "Yeah, figuratively speaking. Just hit her with a loofah, Billy."

From the March 17 broadcast of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:

OLBERMANN: Tonight's runner-up: Ted Baxter again, ripping his own Fox News colleague Neal Gabler again, calling him a "bomb thrower" and a "Kool-Aid drinker," because, on the Fox media show, Gabler complained that a Colorado family had gone to the conservative media to complain about a high school teacher, rather than to the school.

On the same show in which Gabler said that, his colleague Cal -- Cal Thomas agreed with Gabler, but, of course, O'Reilly did not call Thomas a "Kool-Aid drinker."

But the winner -- we are celebrating the day with a double dose of Bill.

Explaining to a caller -- one of the ones who did not get arrested -- that he would not denigrate a guest, because that's why he has his co-host, Lis Wiehl: "Every time I want do that, I just go over to her and whack her around. ... [F]iguratively speaking, of course."

Yeah, figuratively speaking. Just hit her with a loofah, Billy. Bill O'Reilly: today's Worst Person in the World!

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