O’Reilly, Stewart and Kurtz Team Up to Break Navel-Gazing Record

How do you deal with a Picture 3 news slump? Engage in an ongoing debate about semantics with another TV Anchor in hopes that a respected media critic will cover it, then report on said critic taking the bait. If this sounds confusing, we’ll explain: Jon Stewart, Howard Kurtz and Bill O’Reilly all teamed up to set, what we feel to be, an all-time record for media navel-gazing. Hopefully by covering this, we too will be included in the record books. 

So this is how it went down:

  1. In covering an alleged media bias in the Health Care debate, Bill O’Reilly made the following point: “When we cover the Town Hall meetings, we don’t describe the protesters as loons”
  2. In a piece that called Fox News “Liberals”, Jon Stewart took exception with that comment, and ran a clip of this comment, followed by a clip from the 2004 RNC where O’Reilly called the protesters “loons”
  3. O’Reilly called out Stewart for not including the entire context of what he said – claiming that he was making a larger point about the protesters that had been arrested.
  4. During his CNN show Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz mentioned this back and forth and asked his panel if O’Reilly has a point that, even if used in a satirical way, selective editing is indefensible?
  5. Last night O’Reilly aired this clip, apparently using it as proof that he was right all along.

Hopefully now you can understand this Escher-style navel gazing, which appears to break the previous record co-owned by Tucker Carlson and Jon Stewart. But it’s not clear if the record will hold up, as O’Reilly’s claim that Stewart out quoted him out of context isn’t entirely correct.  What is the full quote of O’Reilly’s “loon” quote?

O’Reilly: There are the anti-Bush protesters in New York City. While most of these people have been peaceful, more than a thousand have been arrested and surveys show, many protesters are simply loons, calling for the destruction of the American system, calling for retreat in the face of terrorism. Here’s a bulletin for you Bush-haters: These protesters are not helping John Kerry.

O’Reilly somehow thinks this demonstrates his innocence:

O’Reilly: We were talking about the arrested protesters.

Actually, no he wasn’t. If one carefully examines the transcript, he was talking about the protesters who were surveyed — and that included all the protesters, not just those who were arrested.

Nonetheless we are pleased help you reader understand the back and forth, and are hoping in some way to keep the dialog going. That’s right, Mediaite is pleased to trump this exchange, by looking deeper into the media navel then ever before. You’re welcome.

PS – It would be great if some other Media Watchdog website blogged about this article, which we’d promise to re-blog about in return. Let’s keep it going!

Jesse Watters Ambushes Naked People; Bill O’Reilly Pees With Spike Lee

watters_8-25Fox News’ most famous ambusher, O’Reilly Factor producer Jesse Watters, is out on Martha’s Vineyard this week to bug the locals and see who shows up to hang out around The Obamas.

What did Watters find? Naked people and Spike Lee (who Bill O’Reilly knows a bit).

O’Reilly introduced Watters, saying he had been “roaming around, causing trouble, as he’s known to do.”

What was the “nuttiest” thing he saw? A nude beach on Gay Head Bluffs. Oh how silly that sounds, right Jesse? “I know the spot you’re talking about,” said O’Reilly.

His plans for the evening were to “ambush a big large bowl of clam chowder, and maybe a lobster dinner.” Oh, and tonight – he’s going to try to ambush Cindy Sheehan.

Then, right at the end of the segment, he brought up Spike Lee, and O’Reilly decided to relay a story between he and the director in a Madison Square Garden bathroom. We’re not really sure why the Fox News host felt compelled to do this, but we’d love to hear how Lee remembers it.

The segment is below, and we’ll have more on The Factor later today (including a Mediaite shout-out):


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Beef: Jay-Z Latest Rapper To Rip Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh

jay_8-24Who’s beefing with Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh this week? Hip-hop icon Jay-Z.

In his newest song from his upcoming album, leaked today, “Off That” includes a line directed at the Fox News host and radio star.

Here’s what Jay-Z says near the beginning of the second verse of “Off That“:

This ain’t black vs. white, my n—a, we off that. Please tell Bill O’Reilly to fall back. Tell Rush Limbaugh to get off my balls. It’s 2010, not 1864. We come so far…How’s that for a mix? Got a black president, got green presidents.

The O’Reilly jab likely comes as a response to a segment the FNC host did in January, chastising Jay-Z and Young Jeezy for comments they made at a Pres. Barack Obama inauguration celebration. The Limbaugh reference may have been a response to a less-than-favorable reference to the rapper in a speech Limbaugh made in December.

But the Fox News host has a long history of beefing with the hip-hop world (Jossip documents it here). It could have started in 2003, with O’Reilly’s segment, “Is Gangsta Rap Hurting America’s Children?

It continued with a long-standing battle with Nas, who challenged the FNC host to a debate in 2007. (I went to a protest led by Nas outside the News Corp. building last summer in the wake of the hip-hop stars latest album, and attack on O’Reilly).

O’Reilly is sure to respond, and probably Limbaugh. Jay-Z is a megastar – far beyond the world of hip-hop. The question is, how? The irony of the shout-out to O’Reilly is the song “Off That” deals with issues O’Reilly would likely support. Throughout the chorus, Drake raps about items they are “off” of, including many things O’Reilly would consider to be staples of the “gangsta rap” he often attacks. They are off “over-sized clothes and chains,” “rims,” “making it rain” and more.

Will O’Reilly continue the beef? It’s more than likely. It can only help both sides – it promotes Jay-Z’s album, and highlights the continued power of O’Reilly. Maybe NBC News will get a break this week.

Here’s the new song (O’Reilly reference around 1:30):

What’s More Important For Daily Show: Being Funny Or Being Accurate?

oreilly_8-23After Bill O’Reilly’s fact-checking of Jon Stewart’s Fox News smackdown, the whole exchange got the Reliable Sources treatment today.

One of the central questions raised – what is more important for a comedy/news hybrid like The Daily Show: being funny or being accurate?

Anne Kornblut of The Washington Post brought up the question:

I’m glad he has a new target besides Olbermann. There’s a new fight going on. Look, we have to be…I think all of us here are careful about how we describe the protesters and giving them credence. They operate in a different universe. And certainly, I think, Jon Stewart’s goal in all of this is to be funny first and probably accurate first-ish.

Is it okay that Stewart operates in a world where he’s only accurate-ish? We’ve raised questions with segments that were both funny and, at the very least, misleading before. And at a time when people view Stewart as such a stalwart of the news industry, taking some license with selective editing – for the sake of comedy – is not entirely fair.

Stewart’s interviews can at times be brilliant, and his media critique especially relevant. But the accurate-ish portions of The Daily Show give fodder for people like Bill O’Reilly to brush him off.

Another guest David Frum raised a separate issue: shouldn’t cable news networks be providing more comprehensive coverage? He said they should be asking, “Look, we’re a cable show, we’re the middle of the day, not a lot of people are watching anyway. Why not use this time to really explain what’s going on, dare to go into a little bit more in depth than the old network news did?”

That sounds like wishful thinking-ish to us.

Here’s the clip:

Bill O’Reilly Changes Course, Attacks Jon Stewart

oreilly_8-20Apparently Bill O’Reilly didn’t like being the target of some of Jon Stewart’s jokes during Wednesday’s Daily Show segment about Fox News’ new role as complaining and critical liberals.

So even though O’Reilly noted early on that “I like Jon Stewart,” he felt he had to “set Mr. Stewart straight.”

O’Reilly played several expanded clips that give greater context to quotes used by Stewart. In most instances it did give a better, and more accurate, indication of what the soundbite really meant.

O’Reilly also brought up the fact that he had praised Pres. Obama on The Daily Show, and Stewart had praised O’Reilly. But now: “We now do know how Barack is going to govern, and some of us are very worried about that…[Stewart] continues to dance down the liberal yellow brick road.”

Also, O’Reilly said it was “frightening” that “some young people actually believe he’s presenting an accurate picture of the country on his program.”

Here’s the clip:

Bill O’Reilly’s NBC Anchor Attack Leads To Best (Demo) Night Of 2009

Cable news ratings, August 19, 2009: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

• Fox News’ 8pmET host Bill O’Reilly had his best night of 2009 last night — a show during which he went after NBC anchors — in the A25-54 demographic, averaging 1,101,000 viewers. That means the program had more demo viewers than every prime time CNN show had total viewers. O’Reilly also had the top program of the night in total viewers, with 3,701,000.

• The best non-FNC show was once again Countdown with Keith Olbermann in both the demo and in total viewers, with 476,000 in the demo and 1,207,000 total viewers.

• Fox News continued the streak of topping all the cable competition combined, beating CNN, MSNBC, HLN and CNBC during prime time in total viewers and the demo.

Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:

TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Beck

 

492

Blitzer

 

129

Matthews

 

168

Prime

 

94

6 pm Baier

 

391

Blitzer

 

159

EdShow

 

169

Prime

 

105

7 pm Shep

 

397

Dobbs

 

188

Matthews

 

182

Issues

 

137

8 pm O’Reilly

 

1101

Brown

 

201

Olbermann

 

476

Grace

 

256

9 pm Hannity

 

813

King

 

255

Maddow

 

353

Issues

 

186

10 pm Greta

 

651

Cooper

 

185

Olbermann

 

295

Grace

 

134

11 pm O’Reilly

 

599

Cooper

 

187

Maddow

 

236

Showbiz

 

131

TOTAL DAY 415 167 155 127
PRIME TIME 859 214 375 186
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Beck

 

2044

Blitzer

 

684

Matthews

 

486

Prime

 

225

6 pm Baier

 

1812

Blitzer

 

635

EdShow

 

466

Prime

 

155

7 pm Shep

 

1686

Dobbs

 

624

Matthews

 

638

Issues

 

370

8 pm O’Reilly

 

3701

Brown

 

687

Olbermann

 

1207

Grace

 

653

9 pm Hannity

 

2637

King

 

884

Maddow

 

1044

Issues

 

455

10 pm Greta

 

2229

Cooper

 

584

Olbermann

 

754

Grace

 

416

11 pm O’Reilly

 

1764

Cooper

 

447

Maddow

 

538

Showbiz

 

417

TOTAL DAY 1565 569 445 293
PRIME TIME 2865 718 1002 496
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.

O’Reilly/NBC Feud Takes New Turn; Network Exec Happy It “Has Nothing To Do With Us”

gregory_8-20When we talked to CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus this week about the network’s big victory Sunday, we ended the conversation with a question about the GE/FOX feud. “Thank heavens it has nothing to do with us,” he told Mediaite.

The GE/FOX feud shows no signs of letting up, with Keith Olbermann again targeting Fox News hosts during his “Worst Persons” segment last night, and still throwing in a Bill O’Reilly reference at least once a week. And on The O’Reilly Factor, the Fox News host turned his attention to a new NBC News anchor.

In a segment that was teased online and on-air all day yesterday, O’Reilly had Bernie Goldberg on to talk about several stories, including a comment from David Gregory during Sunday’s Meet the Press. “The show is now declining in the ratings fairly quickly, because Mr. Gregory is a left-wing guy, and says stuff like this,” said O’Reilly, before playing a clip of Gregory describing the New Hampshire gun carrier at the town hall event while also talking about Timothy McVeigh.

“If you look at the sum of NBC’s reporting on the protests for the last five weeks, it’s all the same,” said O’Reilly. “It all comes down to groupthink. And the groupthink is ‘these people who come out to the town hall meetings, protest health care, are all a bunch of yahoos.”

Attacking NBC News anchors, whether it be Gregory, Brian Williams, Matt Lauer or others, has a more stinging effect than again going after MSNBC (or “NBC properties” in general). And the cycle continues…

Here’s the clip from The Factor (segment begins around 1:45):