On MSNBC's Countdown, Keith Olbermann responded to Bill O'Reilly's claim that ratings for Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor had increased despite the efforts of the "Fox-hating print press," who want to "prop up [O'Reilly's] competition," referring to Olbermann's show. In a segment titled "Factor Fiction," Olbermann noted that O'Reilly's viewership actually decreased 3 percent in April 2006 compared to April 2005.
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On the May 9 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann responded to a segment from the May 8 broadcast of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, in which host Bill O'Reilly claimed that ratings for his show had increased despite the efforts of the "Fox-hating print press," who want to "prop up [O'Reilly's] competition," referring to Olbermann's show. In a segment called "Factor Fiction," Olbermann noted that, contrary to O'Reilly's claim that The Factor increased viewership in April 2006 compared to April 2005, its viewership actually decreased 3 percent. Olbermann also debunked O'Reilly's assertion that the 4 a.m. ET rerun of The O'Reilly Factor boasted more viewers than the first run of Countdown at 8 p.m. ET, noting, "Well, here, when Bill O. says, 'Here's more truth,' what he means is he's lying. Last Thursday our 8 p.m. original had 85,000 more viewers. And by the way, thanks for calling us original."
O'Reilly also claimed during the May 8 broadcast of Westwood One's nationally syndicated The Radio Factor that "MSNBC's smear guy," apparently referring to Olbermann, was "doing nothing" in terms of ratings, after noting reports of declining subscriber rates for major newspapers, which O'Reilly attributed to their supposed liberal slant. However, as Mediabistro's TVNewser weblog noted, for the month of April, Countdown's total viewership increased 28 percent over the previous month, while The O'Reilly Factor's decreased four percent; in the 25-54 year old demographic prized by many advertisers, Olbermann's April ratings improved by 37 percent, while O'Reilly's declined by 12 percent.
From the May 8 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: So, all of these papers are just absolute in getting their butts kicked. And the reason is they're just not fair. And even if you're a Democrat or a liberal -- not a crazy liberal, but just a regular liberal. You know, normal person, not a Kool-Aid drinker. You know when you see something that's unfair, you know, why you gonna bother, why you gonna bother? Air America, they're gonna be folding soon. MSNBC's smear guy doing nothing. You know, people walk away from that kind of stuff. So it's very, very interesting.
From the May 9 edition of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
OLBERMANN: Speaking of somebody who also lives in a bubble and is also all wet, there's Bill O'Reilly. Back in the news for playing fast and loose with the ratings, again. So, once again we're in the position of having to address the third thing Bill O. shares with David Blaine, the ability to misdirect your attention. You know the drill, I will read Mr. O'Reilly's on-air remarks from the other broadcast, then translate and/or correct what he said in a little segment we call "Factor Fiction."
"The ratings for April are in, and for the nights I anchored the Factor, we improved our total audience over April 2005."
Unfortunately none of us gets to fudge the ratings like that. Geez, Bill, why not just subtract the time when you're playing the commercials. Those ratings are probably fantastic.
"A nice achievement ... so we thank you all very much."
Thank you for dropping The O'Reilly Factor ratings by three percent last month compared to April 2005. You can't just count the nights you're on. To try to finesse it that way is, well, let's just say on the schoolyard it would be greeted by chants of "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty." Well, let's return to Bill's ego already in progress.
"If you read some of the Fox-hating print press --"
Print press? As opposed to what other kind of press? Wine press? Bill Press?
"If you read some of the Fox-hating print press, you'd never know how well we're doing actually."
That's because you're not doing well, actually. Last month's audience was smaller than March, which was smaller than January, which was smaller than December, which was smaller than October -- the smallest since May of last year.
"The writers in the Los Angeles Times and Rocky Mountain News, among others, want to prop up our competition."
Props. Never mention props. Reminds people of loofahs and falafels. The audience for the competition -- that'd be us -- was up by a third from last April.
"And here's more truth. Last Thursday evening, the Factor's third rerun at four in the morning actually beat MSNBC's 8 p.m. original."
Well, here, when Bill O. says, "Here's more truth," what he means is he's lying. Last Thursday our 8:00 p.m. original had 85,000 more viewers. And by the way, thanks for calling us original.
"So, the next time you read nonsense about cable news ratings, please understand it is disseminated by people who despise this network."
Like the A.C. Nielsen ratings company or Fox News media relations.
"What counts is that millions of Americans continue to choose Fox News over the competition."
None of them under the age of 70. Bill O's average viewer is now over the age of 70. Ours just dropped to under 60, and here's what actually counts. The little secret Bill O. would pay to keep you from knowing. Not like he paid Andrea Mackris, but you know what I mean. In what Fox itself calls the "money demo," ages 25 to 54, The O'Reilly Factor averaged 412,000 viewers last month. Down again from March, the 13th month out of the last 17 months it has dropped, and that counts the month everybody went up when the hurricane hit. His ratings are the lowest they have been since August of 2001. Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.