Although the ongoing feud between Fox News's Bill O'Reilly and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann was apparently good for ratings -- likely more for the latter than the former, of course -- the heads of the parent companies of both networks stepped in recently to end the on-air squabble.
Not only that, but News Corporation's Rupert Murdoch and General Electric's Jeffrey Immelt were apparently coaxed into doing so by PBS's Charlie Rose.
The inside scoop was reported Saturday by the New York Times's Brian Stelter (h/t Bruce Bartlett):
On Wednesday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, host Bill O'Reilly cited the Business and Media Institute's recent study finding that broadcast network evening and morning news shows have slanted their coverage of President Obama's health care proposals heavily in the Democratic President's favor, as O'Reilly introduced a segment with FNC analyst and former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg. O'Reilly:
Tonight, we have a number of topics for Mr. Goldberg, beginning with a new study by the Media Research Center, a conservative group out of Virginia. They analyzed more than 200 health care stories on the big three network morning and evening news programs. The Center found 70 percent of the soundbites used in those stories favored President Obama's health care vision – 70 percent.
On Monday’s The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly asserted that former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite "had no use for" his successor, and was "bitter about being replaced by [Dan] Rather." Citing an interview from a few years after Rather raplaced Cronkite on the Evening News, O’Reilly recounted that Cronkite expressed his view that Rather "shouldn’t succeed." O’Reilly: "He didn't say it on the record. He said it after the interview was over. He said to me, quote, in Boston, ‘You are really on to something. Dan is not going to succeed – and shouldn't.’"
O’Reilly made his assertion both during the show’s "Talking Points Memo," and again during a discussion with FNC analyst Bernie Goldberg as the two argued that the CBS Evening News and other media took a sharp turn to the left when Dan Rather took over the CBS Evening News – which coincided with Ronald Reagan becoming President and giving liberals the experience of being out of power.
During the show’s "Talking Points Memo," the FNC host recounted:
On Monday’s The O’Reilly Factor, FNC’s Bill O’Reilly gave attention to the recent dustup between Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer and National Black Chamber of Commerce CEO Harry Alford, as O’Reilly hosted Alford to discuss Boxer’s recent attempt to use other black organizations to discredit Alford’s opposition to Cap and Trade during a Senate hearing. While Boxer declined to appear on the show, O’Reilly defended her in his discussion with Alford, arguing that her attacks on black political figures like Justice Clarence Thomas are rooted more in her opposition to their conservative views than by race, while Alford renewed his criticisms of Boxer. Alford:
It was pure race. It was like down there in Mississippi back in the bad old days when one black preacher would rise up against the big boss. He'd go find another black preacher to fight against that black preacher. You know, it was ugly. And she jumped, she opened up a mud pit that I wasn't going to jump into.
While network news anchors such as CBS's Harry Smith are still gooey in love with President Obama, the White House correspondents for the networks are a little tougher on the chief executive, MRC's Tim Graham told Fox News's Bill O'Reilly on his June 23 program. [audio available here]
TIM GRAHAM: I think there's always been a difference between the guys in the White House press room who are trying to nail down the inconsistencies in what Obama is saying, trying to nail down his campaign promises, and the Harry Smiths and the Brian Williamses and the Diane Saywers.
There's really a disconnect, really, between the White House reporters who, for the most part are a little tougher on a daily basis and then the anchors who have been just yeah, beyond the, just [having] that dreamy look.
BILL O'REILLY: I agree with that. The anchors are obviously pro-Obama almost across the board.
As Media Research Center VP for Research and Publications Brent Baker reported two days ago, the roundtable for ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday took up the media’s favoritism toward President Obama. Host George Stephanopoulos marveled at “how obsessed the President and the White House are with Fox News,” prompting columnist George Will to observe that’s because “it’s the discordant note in an otherwise harmonious chorus.”
On Monday's The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly asked FNC senior political analyst Brit Hume if "Obama is handling the dissent that he finds at Fox any differently than other presidents handle dissent?" Hume responded by acknowledging that:
On Wednesday night’s O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly circled around the David Letterman teen-got-knocked-up crack against the Palins, noticing that the Women’s Media Center, founded by uber-feminists Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda, harangued O’Reilly for mocking Helen Thomas for having a voice like the “Wicked Witch of the East,” but made no protest on Palin’s behalf to the Letterman show:
BILL O’REILLY: Now, women's groups. As you know, Sarah Palin and David Letterman. Not one woman's group -- no, NOW said something. I'm sorry. The National Organization for Women said, "Dave." OK. But no protests, no anything like that. But remember when I made fun of Helen Thomas, what happened? Roll the tape.
HELEN THOMAS, JOURNALIST: Do you think that Pakistan and -- are maintaining the safe havens in Afghanistan for these so-called terrorists?
“A new study by the Media Research Center – a conservative group, but an accurate group – indicates that pornographic content is available to kids on YouTube pretty much all the time,” host Bill O’Reilly said.
Amanda Carpenter of the Washington Times, “The Factor’s” regular Internet correspondent, explained some of the study findings. “If you put in a search term like ‘porn,’ into the YouTube site,” she said, “you’ll come up with 330,000 different hits. And, while the Web site says it warns … it bans, excuse me … explicit pornography, there are tons of things out there that resemble, you know, soft-core type of porn, girls stripping, allusions to lesbianism, fetishes. And they say its porn – they advertise it as porn. Other pornographers put links to their own real sites that are pornographic.”
O’Reilly asked about the lack of safeguards that the CMI study uncovered. “So say a 12-year-old wants to see this stuff,” he said. “All they have to do is lie about their age, right?”
On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O'Reilly gave attention to threatening tactics from some on the far left, as he focused on the case of a Bishop from the D.C. area who became a target after speaking out against same-sex marriage. O'Reilly began the interview:
For example, if you oppose gay marriage, some far-left people will try to hurt you, as Bishop Harry Jackson is finding out, and the Bishop joins us now from Washington, D.C. Now, since you made the gay marriage issue a centerpiece of your commentary, because you are a traditional guy and you believe in traditional man-woman marriage, what's happened to you?
Actor Jon Voight, who recently spoke critically of President Obama at a Republican fundraiser, appeared on Tuesday's The O'Reilly Factor to reiterate his problems with Obama. After recounting that America was "warned" by Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden during the Democratic primary season that Obama "had no experience" and was a "novice," the conservative actor reminded FNC viewers of the unheeded warnings about Obama's connections to questionable figures like Bill Ayers and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright:
Look, he was a fellow who was associated with all the wrong people. The signs were up. His associations with Bill Ayers, Alinsky, with ACORN, with Pfleger, with Wright. But no one seemed to take the warnings. And his inexperience was quite evident.
As both Noel Sheppard and I reported recently, General Electric boss Jeffrey Immelt faced a tough crowd at GE's annual stockholder's meeting in April.
First, Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli asked if media reports that Immelt had tried to silence anti-Obama reporting on GE-owned networks are true. During her dialogue with Immelt, her microphone was cut off (it was restored after she continued talking anyway).
On Friday’s The O’Reilly Factor on FNC, host Bill O’Reilly interviewed liberal civil rights attorney Bartle Bull about the Justice Department’s recent decision to drop charges against Black Panther members who engaged in voter intimidation in Philadelphia polling place last November. Bull – who worked for both Robert F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter – was an eyewitness to some of the intimidation, and charged that Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision not to pursue the case was "100 percent politically motivated."
Below is a complete transcript of the interview from the Friday, May 29, The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:
Although not at all surprising, the far-left in America are pointing fingers at Fox News personalities – in particular, Bill O’Reilly – for the murder of abortion Dr. George Tiller.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Monday night’s “Countdown” even went so far as to place the blame squarely on FNC’s shoulders stating, “Fox News Channel will never restrain itself from incitement to murder and terrorism…the goal here is to get this blindly irresponsible man [O’Reilly] and his ilk off the air.”
The seemingly untenable position being espoused is since O’Reilly and other FNCers spoke critically of Tiller’s abortionist practices, they were complicit in encouraging alleged assailant Scott Roeder to perform this heinous act.
This raises an important question: as Olbermann and his ilk on MSNBC and throughout the liberal blogosphere routinely referred to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as murderers, would they have been responsible if someone had assassinated either of these former White House members?
The New York Times has so far been relatively sedate in its coverage of the murder of George Tiller, who performed partial birth abortions in his Wichita, Kan., clinic, mostly sticking to facts and pointing out that pro-life activist group Operation Rescue has condemned the killing.
That's a nice bit of weasel-wording in the headline, using "Some Say" instead of the more accurate "Leftist Bloggers Say." The text box read: "The critics of an abortion provider are being criticized themselves." (That's putting it mildly.)
Dr. George R. Tiller had many critics, but arguablythe one with the highest profile was Bill O'Reilly, the Fox News Channel host. Mr. O'Reilly, a vocal opponent of abortion, often called him "Tiller the baby killer" for performing late-term abortions and said repeatedly that he had "blood on his hands."
Michael Calderone over at Politico has the scoop on CNN's fall from grace these days with cable news viewers. Reporting that "since Obama took office, CNN's prime-time audience had dropped sharply," Calderone gives us the grim details of CNN's struggle to keep it's audience.
The upshot of the story seems to be that CNN is being out liberaled by MSNBC. The hard-left programing of MSNBC seems to be drawing viewers away from CNN with CNN finding itself lately in the unfamiliar role of being considered the "centrist" network. This only shows how far left MSNBC truly is.
CNN is also alarmed that its top anchors, Anderson Cooper and Campbell Brown, are floundering in the ratings.
Are the Fox News Channel and MSNBC bad for America?
Such was implied on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday when host Howard Kurtz invited the Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik, "USA Today Live's" Lauren Ashburn, and the BBC's Matt Frei on his program to discuss the "increasingly partisan nature of cable news."
By the end of the conversation, Ashburn said "[T]he bottom line is this is not good for society," and Zurawik agreed: "That's absolutely right...The effect on society and on this democracy of this angry, polarizing, bitter kind of putdown conversation is dangerous."
Not surprisingly, Kurtz and his guests didn't include CNN amongst the partisans, with the host making sure to regularly inform his audience that "CNN, by and large, tries to play things down the middle, with liberal and conservative guests taking each other on."
Despite the obvious bashing of competitors while falsely holding his employer up as the model of impartial journalism on cable, the discussion was actually quite interesting (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section begins at 11:44 with commentary to follow):
Appearing on FNC’s O’Reilly Factor Monday, Newsweek managing editor Jon Meacham was asked by host Bill O’Reilly: "What, you're a not a left-wing magazine?" Meacham denied any liberal agenda in the magazine: "No, I don't -- We're not a partisan magazine. We're just not." A skeptical O’Reilly replied: "Come on." Meacham defended his assertion: "We're not. We try to be provocative. We try to break news. We try to contribute to the conversation. You can decide whether we do or not."
O’Reilly asked Meacham about the magazine’s liberal leanings after the Newsweek editor argued in favor of investigations of Bush officials over interrogation tactics. O’Reilly also asked for Meacham’s opinion on a recent political cartoon in the New York Times that criticized those interrogation tactics by depicting the Statue of Liberty brandishing a whip, but Meacham refused to comment: "I'm not going to comment on somebody else's editorial decision." In frustration, O’Reilly replied: "You're an American. Forget you're editor of Newsweek, you're an American. You see this thing, what do you think? You think this is fair?"
O’Reilly went on to reference new photos of prisoner abuse about to be released: "Yeah, do you think this is fair? Do you think that's good for the country? Are you looking forward to putting those pictures coming out next week in Newsweek magazine, of abusing the prisoners, you looking forward to doing that?" He later added: "...you won't comment on that -- on that Statue of Liberty with a whip? Come on, you're an American, too. You know, I'm fighting the battle here alone. It's me and the Wall Street Journal, and couple of other guys on Fox, against a juggernaut of media apathy that you're a part of at Newsweek magazine, with all due respect."
As readers here know from Noel Sheppard's report last night, at yesterday's annual GE shareholder meeting, CEO Jeffrey Immelt was challenged on the subject of media bias at GE-owned NBC, CNBC and MSNBC.
The story is far from over.
I encourage those interested in it to watch the O'Reilly Factor tonight for additional in-depth reporting, including the airing at least part of an audio recording of the Q&A session inside the stockholders' meeting made by Tom Borelli and shared with Fox News. (As of this writing, Fox has also made a tiny portion of the tape, the part featuring Fox reporter Jesse Watters asking about about Keith Olbermann's handling of the recent infamous Janeane Garofalo interview, and the shareholders booing when GE cut off Jesse Watters' mike, available on its website now here, and it has been linked to by Drudge.)
Some groups on the left may have it out for anti-tax tea party movement, but according to one of the movement's biggest proponents - it is because they don't understand it from a hierarchical perspective.
Although there are reports that ACORN, The Huffington Post and the Daily Kos wanting to infiltrate the rallies, or crying foul for other reason - Beck, who appeared on Fox News Channel's April 9 "Your World with Neil Cavuto," explained that the left has difficulty understanding it's not a top-down movement, but a bottom-up one.
"It is a fundamental misunderstanding of the left," Beck said. "They don't get it. They think that these tax rallies - because they are so into their ‘.org's and their ACORN movements, where you have to have these coordinators. These are regular people and they are regular people that were hacked off at George W. Bush. They were angry at the spending of the Republicans."
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed to rationalize the actions of the Chile-based Marxist terror group MIR, as he compared one of the group’s followers who helped kidnap a Spanish businessman, and who is currently attempting to have Bush administration members indicted in a Spanish court on war crimes charges, to George Washington.
In response to FNC’s Bill O’Reilly, who last week pointed out that Gonzalo Boye, the attorney in Spain who is trying to have Bush administration members prosecuted, himself spent eight years in a Spanish prison for assisting the MIR, Olbermann suggested that the attorney’s involvement with the Chilean terrorist group was justified because the group's aim was to topple former dictator Augusto Pinochet.
But Olbermann did not mention that the crime Boye was convicted of being involved in was the 1988 kidnapping of Spanish businessman Emiliano Revilla, who was abducted outside his Madrid home and held eight months for ransom in a collaborated effort between the Chile-based MIR and the Spain-based ETA, another left-wing terror group which has perpetrated bombings and killed many in Spain. Olbermann responded to O’Reilly’s complaint that it was a "big omission" for a New York Times article not to mention Boye’s history by rationalizing Boye’s terrorist history. Olbermann: "Well, no, not as big an omission as forgetting to mention that the man whom Mr. Boye`s collaboration with terrorists targeted was the sadistic Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. This is like Bill-O calling George Washington a terrorist."
On the Monday, March 30, The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly slammed the New York Times for not reporting that an attorney in Spain, Gonzalo Boye, who is trying to have Bush administration members charged with war crimes in a Spanish court, himself has served eight years in prison for "collaborating with terrorists," referring to the Chile-based MIR, and the Spain-based ETA, both left-wing terrorist groups. During his "Talking Points Memo," O’Reilly related: "The action is being driven by a man named Gonzalo Boye, a radical left lawyer in Madrid. On Sunday, the New York Times reported Boye's beef, but did not report this: Boye served almost eight years in a Spanish prison for collaborating with terrorists. He was sentenced in 1996. Now, that seemed to be a mighty big omission by the New York Times, does it not?"
But on the same night’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann informed his viewers of the possible indictment in Spain without mentioning Boye and his terrorist connections. Introducing a discussion with George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley, Olbermann announced: "The first steps towards opening a criminal investigation against the Bush administration about torture is now under way, only it`s not by the U.S. government but by Spain. The New York Times reporting a Spanish court now building a case against six high-level Bush officials."
UPDATE at end of post: ATT and Ford complain about attack campaign!
In today's Tonya Harding Moment, just a week after complaining about Brit Hume's admission that he often used Media Research Center material when prepping for "Special Report" broadcasts, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann actually promoted an anti-Bill O'Reilly campaign started by the George Soros-funded ultra-liberal group ThinkProgress.
It appears that since Olbermann's "Countdown" continues to get trounced in the ratings night after night by "The O'Reilly Factor," his new strategy is: If you can't beat 'em, support an organization that is trying to get your competition's advertisers to end their sponsorship.
Amusingly, Olbermann even seemed proud of himself as he announced during Friday's "Worst Person" segment what most men would be ashamed of (video embedded below the fold):
ABC explored the existence of Satan during the March 26 "Nightline" but stacked the deck in favor of those who do not believe the devil exists.
Harris invited internationally known, and in some circles, renowned, New Age guru Deepak Chopra to argue that Satan does not exist. Bishop Carlton Pearson, hailed as a "former fundamentalist preacher who says he used to cast demons out his followers," joined Chopra.
Mark Driscoll, labeled a "hip yet hard-line preacher," and Annie Lobert, a former prostitute and leader of the "Hookers for Jesus" outreach program in Las Vegas, represented the view that the devil does exist. Lobert herself noted her lack of intellectual credentials, "I don't have a theologian background, but I have 16 years of experience of walking with the Devil so I know he's real for sure."
Fox New's Bill O'Reilly has a fabulous response to Seymour Hersh's most-recent conspiracy theory about former Vice President Dick Cheney having an executive assassination squad responsible for covertly wiping out America's enemies:
If Cheney really had such a crew, Hersh would have been dead a long time ago, and so would most everybody at MSNBC.
So wrote O'Reilly in a fabulously tongue-in-cheek column Sunday entitled "Coming Soon to a Lefty Rag Near You."
In it, "The Factor" host marvelously skewered left-wing media outlets that are destined in the coming months to offer up "all kinds of horror stories...about alleged Bush-Cheney atrocities" designed to "deflect attention from present-day problems and provide liberal thinkers with the intense indignation they so desperately need":
MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, who has a history of using distorted or even factually inaccurate information -- much of which he gets from far-left sources like Media Matters for America and Think Progress -- on Friday's Countdown show accused FNC's Brit Hume of making a "dumbfounding" admission that "he was fed a buffet of daily talking points" by the "lunatic fringe, right wing" Media Research Center, which the MSNBC host identified as a Web site "run by the perpetually angry Brent Bozell." During the show's "Worst Person in the World" segment, after designating Hume with the second place distinction, Olbermann also claimed that Hume's "admission" was "as startling as if he had confessed to making up the news out of whole cloth or reading it off a ouija board." Olbermann was referring to Hume’s Thursday speech at the MRC’s annual Dishonors Awards gala, as the former FNC anchor accepted the "William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence."
And during a discussion with left-wing Family Guy producer Seth MacFarlane about a number of off-color comments made by several conservative public figures during the week, the two characterized Joe the Plumber's stage entrance at the MRC event as "gay," with MacFarlane cracking that "they're the people who are supposed to be opposed to homosexuality," and that "that‘s kind of an oddly gay entrance, wasn't it? 'God Bless the USA' and that welting, wistful tone." Olbermann played along, adding that "the guy looks like he just jumped off the Brawny towel thing."
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann hosted left-wing actress and comedian Janeane Garofalo to discuss FNC analyst Bernard Goldberg’s recent enumeration of the "five worst offenders" of what Bill O’Reilly called the "far-left smear machine,"and Garofalo took the opportunity to paint conservatives as angry racists who inspire violence from some of their non-intellectual followers. Garofalo: "The right wing has a way of always having an enemy, whether it be immigrants or Arabs or brown-skinned people, black-skinned people, homosexuals, women. They all, kind of, rally around an enemy, an other, that they can get mad at. And death does occur."
After accusing conservative activist Grover Norquist of "handing out talking points" to a "right-wing machine," and after mentioning former Vice President Cheney’s recent contention that President Obama’s policies would endanger the nation’s homeland security, Garofalo called the "personality type" that she claimed motivates some non-intellectual conservatives a "scourge" and an "unfortunate part of our society." Garofalo: "A lot of the people in the right-wing base are not the most intellectual people in the world, not the most savvy people in the world, and they are definitely quick to anger, and quick to blame other people. ... it's a very sad, sad thing, and it's part of the human nature of a personality type that tends to identify as Republican or conservative. And it's an unfortunate part of our society. It's a scourge on our society." Olbermann concurred: "It is, indeed."