The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

08 June 2007

Keith Olbermann, Bill O'Reilly, Boston Herald Libel Verdict


Olbermann's O'Reilly Attack Has Zero Credibility

Has Keith Olbermann run out of reasons to criticize Bill O'Reilly? Judging by last night's sleazy attack on the FOX News Channel host, our MSNBC friend must now be truly desperate.

This time, he's attempting to smear O'Reilly by accusing him of lying about the alleged verbal outburst of a Massachusetts judge against a teen rape victim in 2002. When the Boston Herald exposed Judge Ernest Murphy's antics, he sued and won, despite past US Supreme Court rulings that should have protected the paper.

On appeal, the state's Supreme Judicial Court earlier this year shockingly upheld the verdict, alarming media professionals in Massachusetts and beyond.

Because O'Reilly covered the story on FOX, he has become the latest target in a very vindictive crusade against the news media. Sure enough, that's where Olbermann has entered the picture, all too happy to provide a slanted take on the case and a forum for the suit's sore winners.

From Olbermann's show:

"Factor" fiction - judge vs. reporter

June 7: In fact, that judge never told a rape victim to "get over it. But that didn't stop Bill O'Reilly from airing the charge. Keith Olbermann talks with Howard Cooper, attorney for the libeled judge.


Factor Fiction: "Tell her to get over it". Six words, about a 14 year old rape victim, attributed to a Superior Court Judge by a Boston newspaper. Then broadcast nationwide, with righteous anger and calls for termination, by Bill O'Reilly. The outcry cost the Judge his health and his career, and put his life in danger. Even though he never actually said anything of the sort. Our third story on the Countdown, the paper was held responsible for libel. So why isn't Bill-O likewise liable?

And from the FOX- bashing NewsHounds:

Bill O'Reilly Implicated In Massachusetts Libel Suit

Reported by Deborah - June 7, 2007 -

Keith Olbermann reported tonight that Bill O'Reilly was directly implicated in a libel suit started in 2002 against The Boston Herald and the decision finding the newspaper libel was upheld in May 2007 by the Supreme Judicial Court. Judge Ernest Murphy sued the newspaper for a statement falsely attributed to him by Dave Wedge who reported in 2002 that Murphy said, about a 14 year old rape victim, " Just get over it." Bill O'Reilly had Wedge on The Factor and turned it into one of his grotesque crusades resulting in an international reaction of hate mail and death threats. Does this sound familiar?

Judge Murphy's lawyer,Howard Cooper, said video clips from O'Reilly' shows during the period when he was crusading against Murphy were used as evidence in the court . He explained that the original article by Wedge was a regional controversy but O'Reilly crusaded for two weeks about Murphy making it an international issue. Cooper said the Judge in the May 2007 ruling found O'Reilly guilty of republishing which created a situation of harm but decided Wedge and The Boston Herald were responsible for the problem.

The problem here is that Olbermann and his smear website friends haven't a clue about the case and might want to consider that the verdict is just as controversial with Bay State lefties as it is with the right. In addition, newspapers across the country have registered their opposition to the suit and its outcome.

In fact, some of the best recent blogging done on the case comes from Boston- area left- wing media analyst Dan Kennedy, who has been highly critical of the decision. Here's a link to his archive on the subject.

If he cares at all about his credibility, Keith may want to rethink such a black- and- white position on this complicated matter.

As far as O'Reilly's role, it appears to be little more than noting the Herald's reporting on the air. As a result, he certainly has nothing to apologize for, which is what Olbermann and his guests maintain should have occurred.

That Olbermann is now resorting to these kinds of segments says a great deal about how truly unhinged his crusade against O'Reilly has become.

ELSEWHERE: lefty blogs are furious about a Washington Post report saying the paper's FM radio outlet might consider carrying the Glenn Beck Show. But with a hopeless current format modelled after the stodgy broadsheet's coverage, why shouldn't the station try to generate some ratings? Anything is better than what they're doing now.

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  • Brian,
    Forget the libel verdict for a moment. One thing the Herald has conceded was that its reporting was grossly inaccurate, including information that the Herald reporter shared with O'Reilly's TV audience. Shouldn't O'Reilly correct the record for his viewers? Or at least let Murphy's atttorney appear (which he has asked to do)?
    To not do so is anything but fair or balanced.

    By Blogger Justin, at 08 June, 2007 09:51  

  • FYI, the Washington Post Radio format airs on both AM (1500) and FM (107.7) frequencies in the D.C. area, not just FM.

    I fully concede (as would most other local listeners) that the Post format is a stodgy loser.

    It's just my belief that being associated with the reactionary Glenn Beck would damage a Washington Post brand name that still has some value outside of radio circles.

    By Blogger Everett W., at 08 June, 2007 19:17  

  • And of course they would move WTOP to FM only, I think 103.5. By the way, 1500 comes in at night here in CT-Stan despite the presence of 1490 WGCH. Twenty years ago that didn't seem to be the case as at midnight WGCH would sign-off leaving WTOP a bit more in the clear.

    But irony of ironies, The Washington Post once owned WTOP Radio and TV channel 9 (now Gannett's WUSA). I think Bonneville or some other company may have owned WTOP Radio at one point and now the 1500 dial spot once again belongs to the Post as WTWP.

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 08 June, 2007 22:16  

  • The reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine will be effective in putting a stop to all these nasty little internecine corporate squabbles.

    With all the time you all once spent talking, you will have good time to LISTEN for once.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 08 June, 2007 23:12  

  • Le problème, mesdames et messieurs, c'est que l'on ne peut croire à rien que le monsieur O'Reilly dise.

    By Blogger metrodorus, at 09 June, 2007 00:27  

  • Justin,

    It appears you might need to go check the transcript of the show in question (the relevant portion is available at

    O'Reilly offered the judge the opportunity at that time to come on the program; the judge declined. O'Reilly also stated at the time that the judge had denied making the comment in an interview with the Boston Globe.

    Maybe if KO had not cleverly edited the clip to exclude that part, his viewers would be more aware of the facts, and why O'Reilly was not included in the suit.

    Maybe KO is the one who should correct the record for his viewers, although fair or balanced are the last things anyone would ever call Olby.

    By Blogger Scott, at 10 June, 2007 02:07  

  • I'm making bvelieve I'm Glenn Beck, and I am getting a kick out of this.

    By Blogger TC, at 11 June, 2007 12:17  

  • I guess it's good to have goals...

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 11 June, 2007 21:34  

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