O’Reilly Factor Tapes In Hollywood; Promotes Some Odd “Celebrity” Guests

Bill O’Reilly has been taping his ratings dominant O’Reilly Factor from Los Angeles this week, and Fox News has been promoting it as “The Factor Goes Hollywood.” The promo spot claims that “Bill’s brought you the biggest names in the biz…” but the celebrities actually shown aren’t exactly what one would call big stars anymore. Or even relevant. Marion Ross (Mrs. Cunningham from Happy Days), and The Six Million Dollar Man’s Lee Majors are just a couple of odd choices for “tinseltown titans” that he’s talked to in the past.

Other celebs shown include director Clint Eastwood, actor Anthony Michael Hall and Bell’s Palsy survivor Sylvester Stallone.


‘Noble’ Sarah Palin Explains To O’Reilly Why She Gave Limbaugh A ‘Retard’ Pass

Fox News analyst Sarah Palin continued her tap-dance-like rationalization about who can and cannot use the word ‘retard’ last night on The O’Reilly Factor. “I want to give you a chance to clarify something I’ve been getting a lot of mail on,” said Bill O’Reilly. Alas, I’m not sure clarification is what he ended up getting but here’s part of what Palin had to say (video below).

First Rahm Emanuel who represents the most powerful man, the leader of our free world, called people, a group of people who he disagrees with F-ing retards. Quite inappropriate and on my Facebook I said there, too. I don’t think he should be part of our president’s inner circle making decisions that affect every single one of us…I thought that that was very insensitive, and not just for that reason, his terminology, his coarse language, but I think he’s given our president some very bad advice in a whole realm of different areas.

So basically, she doesn’t like Emanuel (or Obama, or the Dems), and the three month old “retard” quote just happened to be a great hook to express that! As for Rush Limbaugh’s use of the word, it’s ye old satire argument again. Bill O’Reilly is slightly more skeptical of this than Chris Wallace was a few weeks ago…but only very slightly.

“But just to be clear, you didn’t come down on Mr. Limbaugh, because you felt that, what, he didn’t have any ill intent in what he said? Why didn’t you come down on him a little harder.”

He was using satire! And with that O’Reilly just sort of lets it drop. At some point someone needs to ask Sarah Palin to define “satire.”

Palin also defends charges of hypocrisy by noting that she called Fox program “Family Guy” out for their depiction of children with special needs (video of that below, also). O’Reilly eventually tells Palin he thinks she’s “noble.” I think she may be the savviest media person on the planet. Videos below.






Who’s More Powerful: Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly?

We here at Mediaite spend our days wondering about life’s greatest mysteries: namely, what which of our beloved media personalities wields the most power. Thankfully, we have our own Power Grid,  which does an excellent job of ranking, cataloging and categorizing the personalities, but also sometimes needs the human touch to explain the finer nuances of influence. For this reason, we’re launching a new series that will analyze the Power Grid in an attempt to determine who really rules the airwaves. And who we should watch out for.

Today, we’re kicking things off with your favorite entertaineporters–anchors for Fox News. Bill O’Reilly currently holds the top spot, which is not a surprise, considering that he has the highest number of nightly viewers in the history of mankind. However, Glenn Beck, who is the #1 rated radio host, is just one spot behind; he’s almost always #2 to O’Reilly’s #1 in the ratings each night, and he has an astronomical number of Google hits and Twitter followers. Plus, while O’Reilly is busy writing a biography on Abraham Lincoln, Beck is working on his new book The Plan, but Beck gets some bonus points for reading Mediaite.

Rounding out Fox’s Top 5 Power Anchors, we have Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren and Shep Smith. No huge surpise here, as prime-time  spots traditionally attract the highest number of viewers, but it is nice to see the beloved newsman Smith break into the top five.  However, we have to note that FOX and Friends co-anchor Steve Doocy seems poised to make a big jump. Currently, Doocy ranks a rather pedestrian 12th amongst TV anchors at Fox, yet has more viewers and Twitter followers than anyone between himself and the Top 5. Within the Top 5, he beats Susteren in viewers and Smith in Twitter followers (Smith only has 831 Twitter followers and has sent a whopping two tweets. Doocy has close to 10,000, which means that, in case of apocalypse, Doocy wins.)

Doocy’s Google hits (a paltry 98,000) are really the only factor holding him back, so if Doocy gets one big scoop, he could make a big jump up. We’re not claiming to be the Oracle at Delphi over here. That is the Power Grid’s job. But just noting that Fox’s Top 5 may want to watch out for this morning-show dark horse.

For a complete rankings of all Fox News employees (starting with TV Reporters) that exist in the Mediaite Power Grid, please click here. (Scroll down for TV Anchors/Hosts.)


Bill O’Reilly And Bernie Goldberg Are Very Proud Of “Lamestream Media”

Bill O’Reilly and guest Bernie Goldberg shared an odd and self-congratulatory moment last night, that was extreme for even their standards. It was about the coining of the derisive term “lamestream media,” and O’Reilly told his guest that the phrase “is everywhere now, is it not?” Nodding, Goldberg cited Sarah Palin’s use of the term, then strangely pointed to a Daily Show segment that made fun of those who use such a puerile term. It was a stunning bit of cable news puffery that was, for lack of a better term, pretty lame.

For context it helps to remember that Goldberg’s latest book is titled “A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media” Goldberg deflected the praise right back at the host claiming that, had he coined that phrase on, say, CBS’ Evening News, it would never have “taken off” as it has.

Since when did getting cited by Sarah Palin and being made fun of on The Daily Show comprise a trend? The truth is, they are probably right in that the phrase will now take off, but less because of the TDS parody or Palin quip. Its because they themselves are making this phrase news – and there are enough loyal devotees of these two who are bound to use the juvenile term to demonstrate their keen insight into the media landscape.

Bad news for anyone eager to capitalize on this phrase that is suddenly sweeping the nation – the URL “lamestreammedia.com” was created almost seven years ago. Maybe THAT guy made up the term?


Rachel Maddow And Fox News: It’s Complicated

“Let the record show that I also had a really pleasant conversation with Roger Ailes at a Christmas party once, that I shook Bill O’Reilly’s hand at Terry McAuliffe’s book party, and that I’m 99 percent sure Glenn Beck passed me in a green Bentley once on the Merritt Parkway.”

Rachel Maddow discusses her ‘relationship’ with FOX News with Politico.

See if you can keep up. This morning Howie Kurtz published an interview with Rachel Maddow in which she criticized Fox News saying: “For me it’s a question of whether you’re doing advocacy journalism or not. It’s not activism — you see a lot of that at Fox, using news coverage to inspire political participation.”

To which Fox responded: “These feelings that she experienced about Fox News didn’t stop her from applying for a job here.”

To which Maddow responded (to Politico): “I never personally applied for a job at Fox…I have an agent who I assume talks to everyone on my behalf, so I have no reason to believe that Fox’s claim that they were approached on my behalf is false, even if I never knew anything about it at the time.” Followed by the quote above (next time let’s hope one of them snaps a picture).

To which an FNC spokesperson tells Mediaite: “We find it entertaining that Rachel would implicate herself further on this matter and validate our original comment to Howie Kurtz.”

To which I (non-sequiturally) say: Someone should really give Maddow the anchor spot at Meet the Press.


Who Is Driving Obama’s Socialist Agenda? Fox News

On last night’s O’Reilly Factor, the “Talking Points Memo” was all about socialism in America today, which was followed by an interview between host Bill O’Reilly and conservative radio host Laura Ingraham. During the back in forth, O’Reilly revealed that he himself did not “think President Obama was a socialist”; a comment which rang hollow given the previous five minutes of his program were dedicated to “socialism” in America under this administration. Turns out that no other cable news channel discusses socialism more than Fox News, and its not really close.

By using the television database TVEyes (a content partner of Mediaite’s) we searched how many times the words “socialist’ and “socialism” were used on-air in the last three months. Since this database is comprised of close-captioned transcripts created by human transcribers, it isn’t perfect. Still the results are instructive.

Not surprisingly Fox News leads the pack with 468 total mentions of “socialism” or “socialist.” MSNBC comes in second, totally 266, and CNN a paltry third place at 94 total mentions. A significant, though not exponential difference, until you consider the vast difference in ratings. If one considers that Fox News prime time often triples the average viewers of its rivals, one should amplify this difference by a factor of three.

A good example of that narrative is best expressed by O’Reilly’s talking points memo last night:



For a guy that doesn’t think that Obama is a socialist, O’Reilly provides a lot of airtime dedicated to the fear of socialism in our country. Turns out that this is not an anomaly — no other cable news channel discusses the concept of socialism more than Fox News, and its not really even close.

During his much ballyhooed appearance on The Factor, Jon Stewart was asked what he made of a recent poll that declared Fox News as the must trusted name in news. Stewart said that they were the most passionate and delivered the clearest narrative. Part of that narrative is that though he may not himself be a socialist, Barack Obama’s administration is advocating a socialist agenda that includes redistribution of wealth, government intervention with banks, health care and basically anything else they can get their hands on.

Of course, none of this is news — its opinion. FNC has been clear in drawing a clear line between their opinion and news programming – and the later has been just as dominant over its peers as the opinion shows. As Roger Ailes told Arianna Huffington during This Week, Fox News IS the most trusted name in news.

But there is a reason we pointed out back in last September, that Mr. Ailes is the most powerful political person in America. As Stewart mentioned, no other network has as passionate and consistent delivery of a singular new narrative than Fox News. Perhaps that’s why they are so popular. And powerful.

But I leave it to the best current media critic to sum this up for me, in Jon Stewart’s pushing back on this very issue with Bill O’Reilly:


The Obama Administration Is Not Going To Love O’Reilly’s Blago Interview

The No-Spin Zone has met its match. Bill O’Reilly welcomed disgraced Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich to The Factor last night to discuss his recent federal indictment for a bevy of corruption charges and, after a few pleasantries, it took one question to send Blagojevich running behind the curtain of his court ordered silence.

O’Reilly opens up with a soft question – “President Obama, Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago guys – do they have any involvement in the case at all?” – which Blagojevich quotes out of his memoir to answer that yes, they do. But his follow-up, whether he thinks they will be embarrassed by the content of the taped conversations, froze the governor into repeating a series of lawyer-approved catchphrases that dodged the question.

O’Reilly, frustrated, spent the rest of the segment trying to wheedle him out of that corner, but the crafty Governor waited his time out. Unfortunately for him, because his public image is in such shambles that everything he says in public is automatically assumed to be the opposite of true, he just ended up basically incriminating Obama administration officials.

Video below: