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    Olbermann Watch, "persecuting" Keith since 2004

    August 9, 2005
    Mr Olbermann and The Big O

    As Monday's Countdown progressed, with a serious, detailed look at the life of Peter Jennings, we were thinking: this is good enough that we are going to have to praise Olby for once. Even though he had to spend an entire program block to cross-promote an interview with the Jackson jurors coming up next hour.

    But Olby is still Olby, and like Old Faithful, he never disappoints. He just can't resist giving Bill O'Reilly free publicity (like Mr Bill needs it--in July he had more than 7 times as many viewers as the Countdown to Oblivion). What was KO all worked up over? Before we tell you why Olby named Mr O "the worst person in the world", let's go to the transcript to see exactly what transpired on The Factor:

    From The O'Reilly Factor, July 26 2005:

    O'REILLY: You met with Vice President Cheney. Cheney doesn't want any restrictions on the detainee interrogations. OK? And he's adamant about it.

    MCCAIN: I don't think he does. I think he sincerely believes that they're being treated in a humane fashion. I don't think that the president wants to do anything that would be in violation of a number of international agreements.

    O'REILLY: But didn't he try to convince you, according to all the papers, he tried to convince you and some other Republican Senators not to put these things down in writing in the Army manual to give the president the flexibility to interrogate as he sees fit?

    MCCAIN: I think that he felt--and he'd have to speak for himself, but I think he felt that it was not necessary for the Congress to act. And obviously, that happens a lot of times in tensions between the executive and legislative branch.

    O'REILLY: But do you want Congress to actually tell the president of the United States what he can do as far as interrogating terror suspects?

    MCCAIN: I want us to abide by the international agreements we've made in concerning human rights and against torture. And I also want to codify what has been used in the past wars, and that is the Army field manual, which sets out specifics as far as interrogation tactics.

    O'REILLY: But isn't this a different situation? I mean, what if somebody had knowledge of a nuclear device going off? I mean, I think you'd have to do anything you can, right?

    MCCAIN: Then--absolutely. And then the president of the United States should make the decision that we could no longer adhere to the international agreements that we are signatories to.

    Don't think that you get anything out of torture, Bill, because you don't. And I know that for a fact. And the other thing is that when people see pictures of Abu Ghraib around the world and in Arab countries, that it hurts us enormously.

    O'REILLY: Terrible. Absolutely. I agree with you.

    MCCAIN: And one of the reasons why those people in that prison acted the way they did, they did not have specific guidelines as to how to act. That was one of the problems.

    O'REILLY: I'll agree with you. I'll agree with you there. But I think that coerced interrogation, the Bagram guys tell me it works. It's just a matter of degree.

    Now what exactly about this exchange did Olby consider so heinous that it deserved singling out O'Reilly as the worst person in the world? Only one person can answer that question:

    OLBERMANN: Honestly we should just retire the award to him. But this is for explaining the usefulness and appropriateness of torture to his on-air guest Sen John McCain, who spent five years as a POW in North VietNam. If this were 1972, Bill O'Reilly would be Jane Fonda. For now, he's merely today's Worst Person in the World.

    Is that a fair description of the interview? (For that matter, are any of Olby's shots at Fox News ever true or accurate?) We report, you decide.

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (6) | | View blog reactions


    LOL. The August 9th post falls a tad short in the reasoning department. You find fault with Olbermann for criticizing Bill O'Reilly in a manner that makes it clear that any criticism is misguided. Some would say only Jesus deserves that kind of reverence. Further, you seemingly attempt to justify this position because O'Reilly's viewing audience is larger than Olbermann's. By that logic Britney Spears would be one of the greatest singers of all time and McDonald�s the best cuisine. Additionally, a heads up ratings analysis is akin to comparing apples and oranges as it fails to take into account factors like Fox having a greater household reach, popularity of other hosts on the channel and, most importantly, that Fox is, ah, hmmm, unique in its political leanings while MSNBC must compete with all other cable shows and the network news who attempt to stay away from outright partisan politics.

    Finally, your actual defense of the O�Reilly interview is to ask the reader what is wrong � or, no defense at all. Here are a few things wrong:

    1. O�Reilly asks incredulously if we really want Congress telling the President what he can do regarding interrogation of suspects. Well, in a word � YES! That is the job of Congress to make the laws of the land which must be carried out by the executive branch.

    2. And this is the big one. O�Reilly, after agreeing with McCain that a) terror tactics hurt us tremendously abroad and 2) are ineffective anyway -- goes on to state it does work but it�s merely a question of a �matter of degree�. In a nutshell, you have a television news pundit who has never come close to a war lecturing a military hero who was tortured for five years in Vietnam about torture. This is beyond the absurd.

    I sincerely hope that you can re-read the transcript or watch the segment again and reevaluate your initial response. We all make mistakes. Because, in this case, O�Reilly�s comments were so obviously wrong that a failure to find any fault makes you nothing more than a hack.


    If you think Olby avoids "partisan" reporting, then you haven't read the archives of this site. His is probably the single most biased newshour on cable news.

    1. O'Reilly asked a question. You say it was "incredulously". Somehow I don't see that in the transcript. But you're entitled to spin it in your direction if that's what it takes.

    2. You seem to think offering an opinion on coerced interrogation is the same thing as "lecturing" McCain about "torture". Olby made the same mistakes. If you don't know the difference that's not a big deal. It is when a nationally viewed (but not by many) "newscaster" doesn't know the difference.

    You want to call names? Go ahead. I've been called much worse than "hack". The fact remains, Olby's obsession with O'Reilly (it has even been called homoerotic) leads him to make irresponsible statements based on blogs and second-hand reports. He doesn't fact check, and even when his facts are shown to be wrong, he refuses to do corrections or apologies. Now THAT'S a hack.

    I appreciate your quick reply to my post. And I apologize for the hack comment. You are correct to point out that name calling has no place and it obviously diminished my point. That being said, a couple comments on your post:

    1. I never state that the word "incredulously" was in the transcript. Having watched the actual interview in question, I can assure you that O'Reilly asked the question reffered to above in an incredulous manner. His point, which he would not disagree with, was that he doesn't want Congress interfering with the President when it comes to "interrogation". Hence, when he posed the question to McCain, he was asking him to agree with him by showing his own personal disbelief in the actual statement. Hence, the term incredulous more than fits the situation as described. Not sure how this spins anything.

    2. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion unless those opinions hurt others. In this case, O'Reilly is certainly entitled to state his own opinion. However, when he does this in front of McCain it shows a complete lack of respect for the hell that the man lived through. It showed bad judgement and poorer taste. It also rings hollow in McCain's presence.

    3. It seems ironic that you are sticking up for Bill O'Reilly while criticizing Olby on fact checking and irresponsible statements. I enjoy watching O'Reilly, because nary a day goes by where he doesn't mistate facts (often to intentionally mislead) or make irresponsible statements. But he does so masterfully and it can be great fun to watch.

    Now this does not mean that Olbermann does not do the same. While I have actually observed the opposite in regards to Olbermann (one of the few newscaters who will speak truth to power), I am openminded and welcome your supporting documentation. I will peruse your past postings but would appreciate if you could direct me towards some of the better ones if possible.

    Thanks again

    Let me get this straight. If you have an opinion, and you state it front of John McCain, then you are disrespecting him, showing bad judgment, and poor taste? Then why discuss anything with him? McCain's word is law and not to be disgreed with, let alone challenged. You can't even ask a question (incredulously or not) that sounds like you might not agree with him.

    That's the interviewing style that Olby would agree with. But then he just puts on Democrats, liberals, and antiwar types. It's only natural that he wouldn't disagree with any of them. One of these days I'm going to do a chart of KO's interview guests, allocated by party affiliation and ideology. Care to guess how many Dems/libs he's had on vs how many GOPs/conservatives?

    Sure O'Reilly makes mistakes, but 95% of his program is interviews. It's unscripted give-and-take. Olbermann's program is mostly scripted ahead of time--and he still gets things wrong. I've seen O'Reilly make corrections when he has got something wrong, and more than once. Olby has been caught several times and arrogantly refuses to correct his slanders.

    I'd like to suggest past articles but I just don't have the time to scour through them to look for the best ones. I'd suggest you hit the archives for a couple of months back, when posts here were more regular than they have been lately.

    I think the entire concept of "worst person in the world" is just Olbermann.

    Most of Countdown consists of stories that center around someone's 'lacka'... lacka smarts, lacka savvy, lacka hipness, etc. The show is all Olbermann's elbow into the ribs of his liberal acolytes--- see those dummies/meanies/squares...we're not like them...

    I have no problem with the comfort this must give them in a country where they've been so marginalized. However, I do wish MSNBC could acknowledge that Keith's about as nonpartisan as Hillary Clinton.

    It's hard to figure out which is more gag producing: O'Reilly's faux populism or Olbermann's very real elitism.

    But at least O'Reilly doesn't have a "worst person in the world" segment.

    Great site I just hope I'm not to looks
    like Olby is going to be cancelled in the near future.

    The first poster is wrong on so many points it is hard to know where to i guess i will start at the top.

    Nowhere did john justify any position by pointing to
    the massive ratings difference between Olby and BOR.The question he asked (rehtorically)is why would Olby bother with BOR?Which is an excellent question.
    As for the ratings issue unfortunately(for you) you can compare ratings.By the way since when is only Msnbc competing in the cable news market place??And Fox isn't??

    Oh and in case you didn't know BOR is
    the top ratings getter for Fox so your point about
    other hosts supporting him doesn't hold up.

    About the interview itself they actually agree on
    torture.When BOR asks if someone has knowledge of a nuke going off and then adds then you can do Anything right? JM says "then absolutely"Then J.M. adds rather schizophrenically that torture doesn't work and Bill agrees with him.Which goes to Bills point about torture being a matter of degree.So they both agree that torture is justified in extreme circumstances.Which speaks to the point of how hard it is to legislate these type of things from the halls of Congress.Nowhere did i see BOR "lecturing" J.M.

    But you see when you have a full time staffer doing nothing but monitoring your opponents show it gets costly so the guy has to produce something negative no matter whether its true or not.You know like CBS and MEMO-GATE.......