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At least Salon is an online opinion 'zine...
In The Olbermann Factor we learn that Keith Olbermann has been "building ratings", is the "darlilng" of half of the Internet". He is "adding viewers" and "especially the young ones that advertisers crave"
Of course we hear about KO's "long-running feud" with O'Reilly and how KO's Rummy Rant was "breathtaking" and "acid" but if you want to see something really breathtaking read on as I dissect the many lies Olbermann is tellling in the interview which follows the sick-making lead in.
As regular OlbyWatch readers know, Keith has a habit of exaggerating or lying - about his supposed lack of interest in electoral outcomes, his lack of partisanship, his ratings, his sources for stories, fabriacting quotes, etc. Keith counts on the fact that so few people watch his show that when he tells something to a reporter or columnist that few will be familiar with the truth and most of those who are (OlbyLoons) would never dream of contradicting KO even when they KNOW he is lying.
Here are a few KO statements from the Salon interview that bear fact-checking...
"...May 1 of 2003, the flight-suit story. I can remember interviewing several people that day and saying, "Isn't this a little premature? Isn't this a little theatrical? Isn't this a little staged?" and being assured that my opinion was ridiculous and alone and this was George Bush's historic moment, all the rest of that."
I red-flagged this because Keith is claiming that he had guests on Countdown that disagreed with him. It might have happened but I think we are going to need to pull up the transcripts from May 1, 2003.
"I think, I'm pretty sure, we were the first television outlet in this country to question the official story of the Jessica Lynch rescue, and I remember taking a huge amount of heat for that, because that was a great comic-book kind of war story."
The "official story"? As I recall it there was a "comic book version" of the story but it was put out by the Washington Post and DENIED by DoD officials. So was KO questioning the WaPo version (phony) or the DoD version (accurate). Either way, he could not have been questining the DoD "comic book" version because there was none. Sounds like we need to dig up the transcripts of KO's Jessica Lynch coverage.
"We have gone from a distant third place to having won in the demographic that everybody looks for, the 25- to 54-year-olds; we defeated the CNN show at 8 o'clock in the first two quarters."
Wow!!!! I don't even need to fact-check this one. I already know these are bald-faced lies.
I can't tell if I enjoy catching KO in lies or in showing how he plays around with words to tell them. Notice how KO says that in 1Q06 and 2Q06, Countdown "defeated" Paula Zahn in the 8 PM ET slot. In the line before that he says Countdown "won" in the demo. There has never been a single quarter where Countdown "won" the ratings race either in total viewers or in the demo (that has been O'Reilly on both counts for many years). In the first two quarters of this year Countdown NEVER defeated Paula Zahn in total viewers. The truth is that KO came in second in the demo for the first half of 2006 through a combination of increased young viewers via MSNBC broadcasting the Winter Olympics and a far-left "awareness" campaign sponsored by MoveOn.org's "Countdown pledge drive" AND an unexpected and unexplained drop in in the demo for Paula Zahn. That trend ran from February to April and then reversed itself so that Zahn made up the losses in the demo and KO lost the Olympics/MoveOn spike. Over the past 5 months the trend has been a steady decline for Olbermann and an increase for Paula Zahn.
As OlbyWatch readers know, KO has never done any better than come in 3rd in the cable news ratings (4th or 5th at times if you include HLN and CNBC). You also know that O'Reilly regularly trounces Olbermann in total viewers and in the much heralded (by MSNBC/Olbermann/TVNewser) 25-54 demo.
It's not that he lies but the WAY he lies...
"we've had a very steady climb, a climb from third place in the ratings to essentially second place in the rating"
Again, more lies. Keith has never been in second place - "essentially" or otherwise - in total viewers. As noted above, he did come in second "in the demo" for a few months. Since April's post-Olmypic/MoveOn peak ,where he did edge Zahn in the demo (both CNN and MSNBC were, as usual, trounced by Fox News, during this time) it has been a one way trip down.
"They [Keith's bosses] have been interested in what they are supposed to be interested in on a corporate level, which is making money. More ratings, of course. More money"
This isn't a "lie" in the classic sense but it's a funny statement since everyone in the TV biz knows that MSNBC has lost loads of money for NBC and that KO's puny ratings, whatever "place" he claims that puts him in, are not contributing anything to GE's bottom line.
"sometimes I have to turn to them and say, "No. I know you like this and I know you think this is going to do real well for you in the ratings, but just don't pull the gun out of the holster every 35 seconds." If anything, I have to calm them down, rather than the other way around."
We can't fact-check this but the whole premise seems absurd to anyone who watches the show - the idea that KO has ever shown restraint against attacking his "enemies" on his show. I mean he DOES have a whole book about that coming out tomorrow, a book "ripped" from "202" Countdown episodes.
On the "feud" Keith says "It's really, it's almost a passive feud from my end...we devote less and less time to him...Arguing with Bill O'Reilly is a waste of valuable arguing time"
Ummmm...does this even merit a response? I mean even KO supporters have credited him for "punching up" in attacking O'Reilly and gloried in KO's ability to get a reaction out of O'Reilly. KO has attacked O'Reilly by name on his show well over 100 times. The Nazi Salute stunt was like a month ago. I mean even the OlbyLoons aren't going to be buying this one. How many hours do you need to spend soaking in the bathtub to believe this kind of thing when you say it?
Keith is asked "Partially because of the feud with O'Reilly, and for other reasons, you've become something of a hero to the liberals in the blogosphere. Was there a conscious choice made to reach out to them?
Here are a few snippets of KO's rather long-winded but hilarious reply "No, I don't think so...I don't think you can get a bunch of liberals to watch one television network, because they'd be sitting there arguing the nuance of it. So I'm not courting the liberals..I also, I don't think in these issues that I'm a liberal; I think that I'm an American. I think I'm acting almost as a historian on these particular things, with the Rumsfeld commentary and now the Bush commentary....I'm not courting anybody with these things"
Again...does this really merit a response? The MoveOn.org petition drive, KO"s appearences on Air America Radio, interviewing liberal bloggers on his show, the ratio of liberals to conservatives book on his show, citing liberal blogs during the show? That his staff contacted the libereal bloggers giving them a "heads up" on the Rummy Rant? I mean this is just so ridiculous that I am laughing too hard to bother detailing why this is so funny. If you don't get the joke you have not been reading this site. Maybe the best bit here is the notion that KO is a "historian"!!! Hahahaha.
Here's another laugher...
"every once in a while you should bring the flag out and say, "What does our country stand for?" The first thing that I think of is the statement that I disagree with your beliefs, but I will fight to the death for your right to express them. When the secretary of defense and the president of the United States make statements that indicate those statements are no longer operative, then you have to say something. It's no longer liberal versus conservative at that point. It's American versus truly un-American."
So, KO wants to fight to the death to preserve the right of Americans to express their beliefs by condemning other Americans, Rumsfeld and Bush, for expressing theirs? Ahhh...OlbyLogic at its finest.
On his first stint at MSNBC, Keith offers us this whopper "in some stretches there were no new developments [in the Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal] for two weeks, and yet we devoted an hour of news time to it every night. This is just a fundamental violation of my chromosomes as a sportscaster and a newscaster. If something's more than six hours old, you have to convince me that it's worth talking about"
Gee, those must be some chromosmes. Apparently the switch on and off like those "intersex" fish that turned up in the Potomoc river! J$ can help me out here but off the top of my head KO has been beating the drum on some stories for YEARS! Plamegate, Rush Limbaugh's drug arrest/treatment, voting irregularities in Ohio, the Mackris lawsuit, Bush's speech on the aircraft carrier...
At least this piece ends with one bit of truth from KO:
"This era (post-9/11) gets its own chapter, at least, and in the history of this country it may be as pivotal as the time of the Civil War. There has never been, I think, since then any kind of comparable political struggle going on over what we are, and what we represent, and what our standards have to be whether we are under attack or we are not."
Very true. Unfortunately, Keith does not realize he is dressed in battle grey.