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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Anna Wintour on Letterman: Turning the Publicity Tide? (Updated)

Picture 7Earlier this year it was 60 MinutesMorley Safer, but last night it was David Letterman who got to ask questions to Vogue editrix Anna Wintour.

Before we get to the interview, our most pressing question has to be: Why would Wintour, who seldom appears on television, agree to sit down with Letterman??

The September Issue — R. J. Cutler’s forthcoming documentary about the production of the September 2008 book — would be one plausible explanation. But Vogue has no financial stake in the film (Cutler has told the Times), so Wintour has no reason to care if anybody goes to see it.

Then again, buzz is buzz, and Vogue could certainly use some at the newsstand this month while Wintour’s business goes under McKinsey’s microscope. Then again, Late Show viewers never saw the September cover, and there was no mention of the latest issue. Not much of a sales pitch.

Maybe Wintour was on the show to promote Fashion’s Night Out — a retail stimulus event that she has helped organize to boost sales this September. But even that didn’t receive much mention beyond a brief plug.

Motivation aside, Wintour was a perfectly charming, engaged Late Show guest. After she removed her sunglasses and settled into the chair (legs crossed, hands resting quietly in her lap), she fielded questions with aplomb and gave as good as she got when it came to Letterman’s jokes: He asked “Have you ever put anybody in a head lock?,” and she replied ”Maybe you.” The pair also swapped anecdotes that they’d read in print about Wintour’s relationship with Vogue creative director Grace Coddington — a very polite way to talk about one’s friends and co-workers on late night television.

There were also thoughtful moments in the interview, for example when Letterman said, “You are bigger than what you do for a living … Is that a fair assessment?”

Wintour: “I read in the New York Times this week that I’m an ice queen, I’m a sun king, I’m an alien fleeing from District 9, and I’m a dominatrix. So I reckon that makes me a lukewarm royalty with a whip from outer space — what do you think?”

Wintour was referring to comments written by Maureen Dowd, “among others.”

Cutler’s documentary has given anybody and everybody a chance to write about Wintour. And If nothing else, Wintour’s appearance on Letterman was a chance for her to speak for herself. That must have been nice.

Anna Wintour with David Letterman last night (updated with full clip):

September Issue director R. J. Cutler and Vogue editor at large André Leon Talley on CBS Early Show last Thursday:

Morley Safer and Anna Wintour on 60 Minutes in May:


The O’Reilly Factor Beats Cable News Competition Combined

Cable news ratings, August 21, 2009: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:

• Fox News’ 8pmET The O’Reilly Factor was the number one show on cable news, and beat the cable news competition (CNN, MSNBC and HLN) combined in total viewers on Friday. The total viewer average of 2,551,000 was more than 500,000 total viewers ahead of the 2nd place show, Glenn Beck.

• HLN’s Nancy Grace is regularly topping CNN’s Campbell Brown at 8pmET in both categories. In the demo on Friday, Grace was 3,000 viewers away from finishing in 2nd place.

• The #1 non-FNC program Friday was MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show in the demo and Countdown with Keith Olbermann in total viewers.

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

544

Blitzer

103

Matthews

203

Prime

171

6 pm Baier

488

Blitzer

157

EdShow

189

Prime

176

7 pm Shep

355

Dobbs

138

Matthews

158

Issues

152

8 pm O’Reilly

556

Brown

120

Olbermann

284

Grace

281

9 pm Hannity

420

King

131

Maddow

289

Issues

119

10 pm Greta

361

Cooper

178

Olbermann

178

Grace

155

11 pm O’Reilly

350

Cooper

106

Maddow

151

Showbiz

174

TOTAL DAY 348 113 153 144
PRIME TIME 446 143 250 180
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

2035

Blitzer

623

Matthews

580

Prime

325

6 pm Baier

1875

Blitzer

668

EdShow

537

Prime

346

7 pm Shep

1592

Dobbs

614

Matthews

516

Issues

348

8 pm O’Reilly

2551

Brown

653

Olbermann

877

Grace

704

9 pm Hannity

1881

King

692

Maddow

848

Issues

334

10 pm Greta

1673

Cooper

519

Olbermann

534

Grace

397

11 pm O’Reilly

1305

Cooper

402

Maddow

426

Showbiz

287

TOTAL DAY 1329 525 430 307
PRIME TIME 2036 621 753 468
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.

Mediaite TweetFinder: Michael Jackson

Summer News Slump Ends for Some: MJ’s Death Ruled a Homicide

Michael_Jackson_-_Another_Part_Of_Me3Citing lethal levels of the general anesthetic Propofol at the time of his death, Los Angeles coroners have called Michael Jackson’s death a homicide. While this doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise to those who have been following the story closely, it likely ensures a continued media circus in the days and weeks to come. Also, the social media network “Twitter” is currently offline. Coincidence?

CNN reports:

Los Angeles’ coroner Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran reached that preliminary conclusion after reviewing toxicology results carried out on Jackson’s blood, according to an affidavit.

The drug Diprivan, known by its generic name propofol, is administered intravenously in operating rooms as a general anesthetic, the manufacturer AstraZeneca told CNN.

A source close to the investigation told CNN that Dr. Conrad Murray is believed to have administered the drug to Jackson within 24 hours of his death on June 25.

Investigators have searched Murray’s home and clinics for evidence related to the anesthetic propofol, according to documents filed in court.

Alec Baldwin Has No Interest in Making Joe Lieberman’s Day

alec-baldwin-bIn a July interview with Playboy, Alec Baldwin was true to his actor ego and ambitiously revealed his desire to enter politics. “I have sometimes thought I could move to New Jersey or Connecticut and run,” he told the classic skin-mag, singling out every lefty’s favorite turncoat Joe Lieberman as a potential opponent. “I have no use for him,” said Baldwin before admitting that “it’s all fantasy” because he wouldn’t ever be able to leave New York, as noted by Gossip Cop.

The half-hearted challenge seems to have left Lieberman a little shaken, though, as the Connecticut senator took to CNN’s “State of the Union” to dust off the potential contest, telling Baldwin: “Make my day.” In what might be interpreted as a smug tone and with a nervous chuckle, Sen. Lieberman continued, “You know, I must say that I respect Alec Baldwin as an actor and as a comedian, and if he wants to run, that’s his right.”

Fear not, Joe, because Baldwin has no real interest in running against you, as he made clear in a blog entry on The Huffington Post:

Lastly, no I am not moving to Connecticut to run against Joe Lieberman. As much as I think Lieberman is an enormous letdown to the party that gave him their nomination for Vice President, I am sure that Democratic Party leaders in that state will take care of themselves.

Check out the clip of Lieberman responding to the non-story below.