The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

24 February 2006

Keith Olbermann, Phil Donohue, MSNBC, FOXNews, O'Reilly Factor


FNC Host's Response To Olbermann's Attacks

Update: Leftist Response below

After enduring months of public attacks from an angry rival, what's the most clever and effective way to fight back?

For the FOX News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, waiting for MSNBC's Keith Olbermann to slowly hang himself may have been the best strategy. While Olbermann has never missed a chance to take a shot, the O'Reilly Factor host has ignored it all, until now.

Call it the art of war.

With Olbermann frequently calling O'Reilly "the worst person in the world", "Countdown" sometimes resembles an on-air anger venting session for Bill's enemies.

Now, just as Olbermann had likely written off the possibility of a two-way battle, the MSNBC host has suddenly received what he's always wanted: a response.

Be careful what you wish for.

Instead of attacking Olbermann personally, O'Reilly simply dug out his predecessor's ratings, revealing higher figures than the "Countdown" host has since been able to achieve.

Before Olbermann, do you remember who occupied MSNBC's 8pm timeslot?

Phil Donohue!

That's right, the ill-fated Donohue talk show had better numbers than his much-hyped successor has been able to achieve.

Kicking his return fire up a notch, O'Reilly has begun an online petition drive, calling for his longtime nemesis Donohue's MSNBC return. Collected signatures will be submitted to NBC programming suit Robert Wright.

From Thursday's Factor "Most Ridiculous Item" segment:

Time now for the most ridiculous item of the day.... bring back Phil!

Bring back Phil Donahue. It was three years ago this month that MSNBC fired Mr. Donahue for low ratings.

We felt bad for Phil. They didn't give him much of a chance. Phil actually said his firing was a mistake and he was right.

His successor, after three long years on the air, actually has fewer viewers now than Phil did when he left. Not good.

Bring back Phil!

So in the interest of fairness, we have a petition on Bill O' to bring Phil Donahue back, Marlo too if she wants. Kind of like the Maury-Connie show.

If enough of you sign a petition, we'll send it over to NBC and hopefully Phil will get the chance he deserves.

Let's all go to bat for our pal Mr. Donahue.

To not do so, would be ridiculous.

And here's the petition language:

Dear Mr. Wright:

We, the undersigned, are becoming increasingly concerned about the well-being of MSNBC and, in particular, note the continuing ratings failure of the program currently airing weeknights at 8:00 EST.

It is now apparent to everyone that a grave injustice has been done to the previous host in that time slot, Phil Donohue, whose ratings, at the time of his show's cancellation three years ago, were demonstrably stronger than those of the current host.

Therefore, in an effort to rescue MSNBC from the ratings basement and to restore the honor and dignity of Mr. Donohue, who was ignobly removed as host three years ago, we ask that you immediately bring Phil Donohue's show back at 8:00 EST, before any more damage is done.

Is it a gimmick? Of course, but a funny one.

After Donohue's last Factor appearance, where physical restraints seemed necessary to keep him from attacking the host, who would expect O'Reilly to push for his return?

Good blog find: OlbermannWatch.

UPDATE: liberals at Daily Kos can't take a joke, it seems: they're circulating a petition of their own to get O'Reilly fired. Take a look at their first grade playground-level O'Reilly reader "poll":


Bill O'Reilly Smells Like:

-- Falafel
-- Feet
-- A Teenaged Boy's Bedroom
-- Cat Puke
-- Dog Turds
-- Sulfer
-- Spoiled Milk
-- Serious BO
-- Onions
-- Viagara

What in the world is "sulfer" or "Viagara"?

Your Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately purchase, bring vital support to the Radio Equalizer's efforts. Thanks again!



    MSNBC's Olympic update with Tucker Carlson has improved the afternoon time period by 82% in household ratings (0.31 vs. 0.17) and 71% in viewer delivery compared to pre-Olympic first quarter (377,000 vs. 221,000). "Hardball with Chris Matthews" at 7 p.m. ET is up 56 percent compared to pre-Olympic first quarter (635,000 vs. 408,000) and "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" has grown by 28 percent (493,000 vs. 385,000).

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 24 February, 2006 09:08  

  • Responding to O'Reilly's attack on "unprofessional" NBC, Olbermann awarded Fox News host another "Worst Person" citation

    After O'Reilly Factor host Bill O'Reilly blasted NBC Television Networks for taking "cheap shots" at his own Fox News network, MSNBC's Countdown host Keith Olbermann declared O'Reilly "Worst Person in the World," pointing to numerous instances in which he said Fox News engaged in the same kind of tactics O'Reilly decried.

    During his January 30 broadcast, O'Reilly -- a frequent recipient of Olbermann's "Worst Person" awards -- accused his cable and broadcast news competitors at NBC Networks of violating "a code among most in TV news of respect and professional courtesy," but did not provide any specific examples. O'Reilly cited what he called NBC's "major problems" -- prime-time programming that he said is "dead last" among networks; the "ratings failures" of its cable shows -- and asserted, "That is no excuse for unprofessional behavior."

    Breaking from his typical practice of singling out three people for his "Worst Person" awards, including two runners-up, Olbermann devoted the entire "Worst" segment to a detailed rebuttal of O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" segment from the January 30 broadcast of The O'Reilly Factor. "As a public service, I'm going to read portions of his remarks and then translate them into what he's actually saying," Olbermann said.

    In response to O'Reilly's claim that Fox "has good relationships with ABC News, CBS News, and generally CNN," Olbermann pointed out, "That's probably why Fox bought those billboards across the street from CNN headquarters taunting them about ratings, or issued that anonymous statement comparing CNN to the Titanic, or the one about Ted Turner losing his mind."

    Responding to O'Reilly's characterization of the competition between Fox News and CNN as playing out with "class, not bitterness," Olbermann said, "Which is why we at Fox News compared CNN's Paula Zahn to an outhouse and a dead muskrat."

    Finally, to O'Reilly's accusation that NBC engaged in "unprofessional behavior," Olbermann responded that O'Reilly's own purported "unprofessional behavior is with one of your women producers on the phone."

    From the January 31 broadcast of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:

    OLBERMANN: And now, a little out of traditional sequence, Countdown's nominee for today's "Worst Person in the World:" And Bill O'Reilly is at it again -- the second time in four shows -- whining about cheap shots from MSNBC and NBC. This time, he opened his program with it, ostensibly starting with a patronizing update on the health of ABC's Doug Vogt and Bob Woodruff, whom he identified as 'Woodriss.' There was a lot of guff about the code among most in TV news of respect and professional courtesy, but most of what Mr. O'Reilly was saying was his typical obtuse shorthand of bullying and another word starting with bull. As a public service, I'm going to read portions of his remarks and then translate them into what he's actually saying. The bottom line is, as the oldest cliché goes, he can dish it out, but clearly, he cannot take it.

    "Fox News has good relationships with ABC News, CBS News and generally CNN ..."

    That's probably why Fox bought those billboards across the street from CNN headquarters taunting them about ratings, or issued that anonymous statement comparing CNN to the Titanic, or the one about Ted Turner losing his mind.

    "... but 'Talking Points' is troubled by the behavior of NBC, which cheap shots Fox News on a regular basis and has been doing so for some time."

    You know, I've got to confess. It never occurred to me before, but when we quote your own words back to you about how the Catholic Church was out to get Christmas, or how we should let Al Qaeda attack San Francisco, they must seem like cheap shots.

    "It is only a few people doing this, but NBC president Robert Wright allows it to happen. Wright knows exactly what's going on, because he's been made aware of it."

    Maybe he hasn't, Bill. Mr. Wright is the chairman, not the president, of NBC, so your postcard of complaint may have gone to the wrong office. And, by the way, let us leave our bosses out of this, Bill, or I'll have to call yours, and you know how much Satan hates to be disturbed while American Idol is on. By the way -- I ain't callin' Rupert Murdoch the devil, by the way.

    "Now we understand that NBC has major problems. Its prime-time programming is dead last. Its cable operations are ratings failures ..."

    In the cable ratings for the year 2005, USA Network, owned by NBC, finished three full places ahead of Fox News. And as to MSNBC, since February of 2005, our respective ratings tell a very interesting story. In what was described today by News Corp. as quote "the money demo," Countdown's ratings are up 34 percent, but O'Reilly's have shriveled by 21 percent. Bill's obviously among our new viewers.

    "... but that is no excuse for unprofessional behavior ..."

    Unless, that is, the unprofessional behavior is with one of your women producers on the phone.

    "There is no question that the amazing success of Fox News has affected all TV news operations ..."

    Like bird flu.

    "... but CNN, for example, usually competes with class, not bitterness."

    Which is why, we, at Fox News, compared CNN's Paula Zahn to an outhouse and a dead muskrat.

    "Likewise we respect ABC and CBS for their work ethic and competitive zeal."

    Especially since David Letterman kicked the crap out of me on CBS earlier this month.

    "But there's something very wrong with NBC, and if it continues, 'Talking Points' will go into greater detail about the problems besetting that network."

    Is this that code among most in TV news of respect and professional courtesy you mentioned, Bill, or do we get to that part later?

    "We hope Robert Wright will right the situation, and believe he has the power to do it. But, perhaps, we're wrong about Wright."

    Bill made a funny. Hee-heee.

    "Maybe, he's out of the loop. Or maybe, he just doesn't care. Well, he should care. We'll let you know what happens."

    This is Ted Baxter, WJM, good night, and good news.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 24 February, 2006 09:16  

  • Well, the other thing is that his %28 is nearly all in the 18-49 demo. He's kind of their Gold Midas right now. O'Reilly's ratings haven't increased in awhile and never among that demo. Keith Olbermann's really funny, besides.

    By Blogger Adam H. Berkowitz, at 24 February, 2006 11:01  

  • Olberman needs to get back to sports. Oops, he was fired from several jobs. My bad.

    Patrick/Olberman were a good tag team till Olberman's hat got too small.

    By Blogger tradersmith, at 24 February, 2006 11:12  

  • It amusing that O'Reilly is now a "cut 'n runner"

    O'Reilly: U.S. should leave Iraq "as fast as humanly possible" because "there are so many nuts in the country"

    Just a couple of week (weaks?) ago he called people that said that "pinheads", but then Bill doesn't use name calling.

    By Blogger Robert, at 24 February, 2006 11:36  


    Olbermann: "I'll Sign That Petition!"
    Following up on this post about Bill O'Reilly's petition asking Bob Wright to can Keith Olbermann and bring back Phil Donahue. TVNewser asked Olbermann for his reaction to the petition, and he wrote:

    "I'll sign that petition!

    We'll be doing this as tonight's number three story. Honestly, I should send him a check each week.

    And I know why he won't use my name. He tried to, in 1998 -- and he mispronounced it."

    The entire Countdown staff will sign the petition during tonight's broadcast...

    By Blogger Justin, at 24 February, 2006 14:16  

  • I think MSNBC should dump their whole line up. Nobody is watching!

    By Blogger PCD, at 24 February, 2006 14:21  

  • Brian's Lies Watch - Day 5, Post 4

    It's been 3 posts and 4 days now since Brian lied in his story about the media attachment to Rush Limbaugh's latest/greatest Lie!

    New readers, old reader-liars - do you really want to line up and agree with a liar?

    Check for yourself (those of you who DON'T wish to ignore the truth) - the post at issue: "Flash: Rush Errs" on this site.

    Don't trust this man, or his "reporting"

    question for Brian - did Rush Limbaugh make up this angle of the story? - "there's a racial element here, too"

    By Blogger TJ, at 24 February, 2006 15:19  

  • Boy, it's funny that the only thing that can boost MessNBC's ratings are the bottom dwelling Olympics themselves. What's next...are they going to shell out to carry Pro Bowling or maybe the Professional Mini Golf circuit?

    In case none of the idiots here haven't noticed, the Olympic ratings are a laughing stock. Fox is so undeterred, they aren't even running repeats of their regular shows against it like the other networks.

    By Blogger Dr. T, at 24 February, 2006 16:19  

  • Another thing about Olbermann...he was one of the main influences that destroyed SportsCenter as well. (Stuart Scott drove it into the grave.) I know plenty of sports fans that stopped watching SportsCenter because of what he helped bring about. Did MessNBC think he would fare any better in a different format?

    By Blogger Dr. T, at 24 February, 2006 16:23  

  • Pro Mini Golf!

    Oh, man. Childhood memories of North Carolina without cable - only 4 channels to watch, and one of those was PBS...

    watched quite a bit of mini golf (Putt-Putt - For the Fun of it!) for lack of a good Star Trek rerun - because I was near-constantly glued to the TV.

    Least that and bowling are more tolerable to watch than Oreilly & Hannity

    By Blogger TJ, at 24 February, 2006 17:09  

  • robert posted: It amusing that O'Reilly is now a "cut 'n runner"

    And Falafel Bill is not the only moron to change his mind. The great wingnut Bill Buckley of the NRO now admits Iraq is a failure...a futile waste of blood and treasure. 2300 hundred US service men and women dead & 400 billion of our tax dollars down the drain... and what did we get? A civil war that is going to create a lot more terrorism for the US. Good job, neo-cons.

    So will Maloney pin O'Reilly or Buckley for "undermining our troops" with their "defeatism"? Of course not. Maloney would have to stop sucking O'Reilly's falafel first.

    By Blogger HeadHunter, at 24 February, 2006 18:05  

  • 1. TJ: Give it up. You've been discredited. Maybe you'll do better next time with another post.


    2. How about some regular ol' non-Olympic ratings?

    The Scoreboard: Tuesday, February 7, 2006: Total viewers:

    O'REILLY: 2,541,000
    Zahn: 612,000
    Countdown: 441,000
    Grace: 645,000

    Quite simply, O'Reilly is crushing Olbermann like a grape. Bill has between 5 and 6 times the audience as Keith.

    By Blogger frankenlies, at 24 February, 2006 18:43  

  • So people like watching freak shows, so what? Wait a minute! That's why I visit Baloney's Blog.

    By Blogger pbrauer, at 25 February, 2006 00:28  

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