Olbermann Insults Ailes Again as He Celebrates Slim Midnight Win Over FNC

A night after slamming Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes as the “Worst Person in the World” for saying former President Clinton's reaction to Chris Wallace was “an assault on all journalists" (NewsBusters item), MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Thursday mocked “the circular gentleman” for telling the FNC staff on the tenth anniversary of the network that in the future they need “to focus more on taking audience away from broadcast networks, not the other cable news networks.”

“Not so fast, Sydney Greenstreet,” Olbermann fired back, in an apparent insulting reference to the rotund and bald actor who passed away in 1954. “Check out last night's ratings,” Olbermann directed his viewers, with viewership numbers on screen for four cable news channels. He proceeded to seriously tout as meaningful how, in the 25 to 54 years-old demographic, the midnight EDT repeat airing of Countdown the night before beat FNC's re-run of Brit Hume's show -- by a bare 16,000. Then, without noting how more than three times as many people watch FNC during Countdown's live airing, or how within the age demographic 50 percent more watch Hume at 6p EDT than Olbermann at 8pm EDT, Olbermann ridiculously suggested: “Mr. Ailes might want to focus back on keeping the other cable news networks from taking audience from his own network and leaving some food for Canada.” Whatever that means.


Midnight Eastern is 9pm in the West, so maybe all of his wild “Special Comment” rants over the past few weeks have prompted a few thousand more 25 to 54 year-old left coasters to tune in, though I suppose that leaves out Barbra Streisand.

Olbermann's item on the September 28 Countdown:
"Roger Ailes, the circular gentleman, has spoken again. Having already fired or demoted several popular hosts from the Ministry of Truth's Fox News Channel and dealing with a nasty fight between another host and his wife, now former Washington Bureau Chief, Ailes has announced his next ten-year plan. Quoted by several TV blogs as telling his staff, 'it's been a great ten years. We defied the odds. We should be congratulated, but every decision I make from here on in is about the next ten years,' adding that the Ministry of Truth needed [text on screen] 'To focus more on taking audience away from broadcast networks, not the other cable news networks.'

"Not so fast, Sidney Greenstreet. Check out last night's ratings: At midnight Eastern, 9pm Pacific, Countdown in first place in the only ratings the industry cares about: Viewers 25 to 54. Beat Fox News and Brit Hume by 16,000, beat Larry King by 52,000 -- [mimics King] 'Houston, goodbye' -- beat Glenn Beck by 181,000. Mr. Ailes might want to focus back on keeping the other cable news networks from taking audience from his own network and leaving some food for Canada."
The “nasty fight between another host and his wife, now former Washington Bureau Chief,” is a reference to the resignation of Kim Hume, Brit Hume's wife.

TV Newser's page with cable news ratings numbers.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center