Friday, August 28, 2009

More Truth Stretching at MSNBC

How in the world does Keith Olbermann even have a job? OK, maybe that's a bit harsh. (It's not, but I can try to pretend that he has employable qualities that I don't find loathesome.) How in the world does Keith Olbermann even have a job at MSNBC doing anything that involves anything more than pushing a mop? I'm not totally sure of the circumstances which enabled him to have his current job as a newshole for MSNBC and I really don't care. All I care about at this point is what circumstances it will take to have him removed from any sort of a position which involves his conveying information to the public under the guise of it being 'news'.

I'm not a big fan of cable news, mainly because the newsholes that run these shows are abhorrent human beings. They clearly have an agenda, but they act as if they don't. I don't know what purpose that serves, other than it technically allows them to have a job title with the word 'news' in it.They are far more commentary disguised as news than they are actual news. Regardless, I am aware of some sort of childish feud which seems to be going on between Keith Olbermann of MSNBC and a one Bill O'Reilly of Fox News.

I use the term 'feud' to be polite. The more correct but also more crude term for what their deal is would be a pissing match. And it's been going on since 2003! It seems to include little more than each one of them belittling the other one on their show. I don't know if they're holding their urination contest nightly these days, but if it isn't nightly, it's damn close.
And just to clarify, these are two grown men who each have their own cable "news" show. Real mature. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George became obsessed with being able to use his snappy comeback for an insult that happened many days before. It was like he was going to literally explode if he didn't track this guy down and tell him, "Oh, yeah? Well, the jerk store called. They're runnin' out of you!" The problem with that was that the guy was quicker on his feet than George and managed to whip out a snarky comment immediately. When that happens, there's nothing else to do other than tell the guy, "I slept with your wife!" Gets 'em every time. Unless the wife is in a coma. But I digress.)

But here's where it goes from a pissing contest to irresponsible journalism, also known as flat out lying. It even goes past lying. This goes under the category of "Making The News What I Want It To Be" by Keith Olbermann.

It seems that on August 24, Bill O'Reilly made this statement on his show: "They have no audience. Nobody. What you just said is like saying 'All right, the Toledo Mud Hens are going to be mad.' OK? I'm not insulting the Toledo Mud Hens, but they're a Double-A baseball team....What they think about the New York Yankees doesn't matter." Wow. A Toledo Mud Hens reference. Didn't see that one coming. Anyway, that was supposed to be some sort of an analogy explaining why the White House should allow President Barry to appear on Fox News even though it would likely cause the folks over at MSNBC to go ape-dung. It shouldn't matter if the folks at MSNBC get miffed because no one watches them, so who cares if they get upset? Fair enough. Lousy analogy, but fair enough.

Mr. Olbermann over there at MSNBC didn't quite see it the same way that I did. Shocking, I know. He saw it from his perspective. The one he invented. Here is his response that he gave on his show that aired on August 25, the night after Bill O'Reilly made the infamous Mud Hens Comparison (the ol' MHC): "I hate to intrude with the facts but ours is the highest rated cable news program viewers 35 and younger and the highest rated cable news program for all viewers not on Fixed News. And since Fixed News has since now migrated completely over to serving propaganda to tin foil hatters, conspiracy theorists, paranoids and racists it is not a news organization making this show the highest rated cable news program, period." Wait. What now?

Sooooo.....the highest rated cable news program for one age demographic? And you're also the highest rated cable news program amongst everyone who isn't watching Fox News? Well, that right there is an extremely handy exclusion to include! That's like if you're running a race and come in 6th and you say, "I was the fastest runner of all runners not crossing the finish line before I did." How convenient! Convenient perhaps, but hardly true or factual.

In fact, Keith Olbermann is not only misrepresenting the facts, it would appear from looking at the ratings over there at TV By the Numbers that he's flat out lying. According to their data,in the 25-54 age group and the 35-64 age group at 8PM The O’Reilly Factor managed to grab the attention of 3,440,000 viewers (916,000 in the 25-54 range and 1,593,000 in the 35-64 range). Meanwhile, over at MSNBC,Countdown with Keith Olbermann reeled in a comparatively paltry 1,114,000 viewers (323,000 in the 25-54 range and 521,000 in the 35-64 range).

Now, if you're looking at the networks viewership ratings overall, the numbers are a lot closer, with Fox reining in 94.82 million households and MSNBC garnering 93 million households, a difference of only 1.82 million households. I don't know if a household equals a viewer (let's see....three feet in a yard....four quarts in a gallon....takes one to know one....nope, not sure if a household equals a viewer), but if it did, that 1.82 million more that Fox has is just a little bit lower than how many more viewers Bill O'Reilly has than Keith Olbermann does. If I'm going to use Keith Olbermann logic and calculations here, I would conclude that Bill O'Reilly is the reason that Fox has higher ratings overall than MSNBC does. But I'm not Keith Olbermann, thank God, so technically, I won't say it. Then again, you can't go back and un-ring a bell either.

And just to clear things up even more, here are the cable news shows ratings for August 24:

The O'Reilly Factor - 3,440,000 viewers

Hannity - 2,937,000 viewers

Glenn Beck - 2,810,000 viewers

On The Record w/ Greta Van Susteren - 2,450,000 viewers

Special Report with Bret Baier - 2,066,000 viewers

Fox Report w/Shep Smith - 1,860,000 viewers

Countdown w/ K. Olbermann - 1,114,000 viewers

Larry King Live - 1,063,000 viewers

Olbermann isn't just behind in viewers to O'Reilly; he's behind in viewers to almost everyone. Olbermann is just barely ahead of 127-year old Larry King (Barely A-)Live. And those numbers were for the 8pm time slot. If the shows had aired earlier, Larry King might well have beaten Olbermann, as by 8pm, most of the people who watch Larry King (who are at least as old as he is) have been in bed for 3 hours.

For Keith Olbermann to sit there and flat out claim that he has higher ratings than Bill O'Reilly demonstrates that Olbermann has an agenda (himself) and that he doesn't care what the truth is, he will only say what he wants to say and how he wants to say it, regardless as to whether it is true or not. And in this particular instance, his statements are false. For Keith Olbermann to claim that Fox is spouting propaganda to it's brain dead audience just gives you a little insight as to how brilliant Olbermann thinks that his audience is. If Olbermann thought that his audience had half of a functioning brain cell inside of their teeny, tiny little pin heads, he wouldn't be lying to them by providing them with false information about his own ratings.

Olbermann claims that those who watch Fox News are "tin foil hatters". Mr. Olbermann likely knows a little bit about hats as he seems to be quite the asshat himself, specializing in his own brand of asshattery, apparently.

This instance makes twice in the past ten days that a purported news program on MSNBC has deliberately misled the viewers into believing that something was a fact when, in fact (ironically enough) it was not a fact AND those doing the 'reporting' knew it was not factual information that they were providing. While both O'Reilly and Olbermann are being ridiculously childish and using their platform of cable television news programs to hurl insults at each other on a semi-nightly basis, at least O'Reilly (in this instance) didn't lie. The bottom line here is that if you want to watch a cable news show that will give you the facts without distorting them or lying about them, don't turn to MSNBC for that information. I'm not saying you should turn to Fox, I'm just saying that you'll probably want to turn to a channel that has not lied to the viewers in the past ten days. That's all.

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