Olbermann Attacks O'Reilly for Something He Didn't Say, Calls Him a "Joke"

January 28th, 2006 1:49 AM

On his Countdown show Friday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann delivered his latest attack on FNC host Bill O'Reilly during his show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment for saying something the FNC host did not actually say. Referring to O'Reilly as a "joke," Olbermann accused O'Reilly of attacking MSNBC for not covering the case of a Vermont judge who initially sentenced a child rapist to only 60 days in jail. In fact, O'Reilly complained that the "network newscasts" had ignored the story, which would only include ABC, CBS and NBC newscasts.

During his regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, Olbermann normally chooses three nominees to be awarded the dishonor of that name. His three nominees are labeled as "Worse," "Worser," and "Worst." On Friday's show, after giving the second place distinction of "Worser" to conservative columnist Ann Coulter for joking that Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens should be poisoned, Olbermann moved on to dishonor O'Reilly with the label of "Worst": "Speaking of jokes, tonight's winner. [Photograph of O'Reilly displayed on-screen] Him again. He walked right into another propeller."

Olbermann went on to recount erroneously that O'Reilly had criticized MSNBC for ignoring the story of Judge Cashman and pointed out that he had covered the story on his Countdown show on January 6th. Olbermann concluded by quipping that he had made a bet in the "'When does [O'Reilly] have his actual nervous breakdown?' pool."

An examination of the Thursday January 26 'Talking Points Memo' segment of The O'Reilly Factor shows that the FNC host, instead of attacking MSNBC for ignoring the story, in reality charged that "the big liberal newspapers like The New York Times and the network newscasts totally ignored the story."

After recounting that "far-left media," including several Vermont newspapers, had attacked O'Reilly for pursuing the story, O'Reilly's reference to MSNBC came when he veered somewhat off topic charging that his show's "power threatens the left-wing media" because his show "holds them accountable for their selective reporting and spin." Then, without using Olbermann’s name but instead naming MSNBC, O'Reilly referred to the Countdown host's tendency to "cheap shot Fox News on a daily basis."

Though not stated directly, O'Reilly was referring to Olbermann's frequent and gratuitous attacks on O'Reilly, and Fox News in general, routinely delivered on his Countdown show. In fact, on January 25th, just one day before O'Reilly made his comments, Olbermann had contended that O'Reilly "has gone bonkers," and suggested that Fox News ideologically is just to the left of Vlad the Impaler, an infamous mass-murderer from the 15th century who inspired the story of Dracula. (See earlier Newsbusters posting for more details.)

Below are complete transcripts of Olbermann's comments about O'Reilly from his January 27 Countdown show as well as relevant comments from O'Reilly's 'Talking Points Memo' from the January 26 The O'Reilly Factor:


From MSNBC’s Countdown January 27:

Keith Olbermann: "Speaking of jokes, tonight's winner. [Photograph of Bill O'Reilly displayed] Him again. He walked right into another propellar. He has now ripped us here at MSNBC on the air for supposedly not covering the case of Judge Edward Cashman of Vermont, the guy who sentenced a serial child rapist there to 60 days in jail initially. Here's the thing, Bill. The Judge Cashman story, we covered it here on Countdown on January 6th of this year. You didn't start covering it until January 9th. By the way, in the "When does he have his actual nervous breakdown?" pool, I bought the entire month of November. Bill O'Reilly, once again, today's "Worst Person in the World"!

From FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor January 26:

Bill O'Reilly: "It was only the far-left media which supported Cashman. And Vermonters should remember that newspapers in Rutland, Brattleboro, Bennington and Montpelier-Barre all attacked me and Fox News for aggressively covering this story. Americans should also remember that the big liberal newspapers like The New York Times and the network newscasts totally ignored the story. They were simply apathetic that a little girl's human rights had been violated by a vicious predator and a misguided judge.

"In the weeks to come, 'Talking Points' expects even more attacks on Fox News. The Cashman case proves we can get things done. And that kind of power threatens the left-wing media establishment which loathes Fox News because we hold them accountable for their selective reporting and spin. Outlets like MSNBC, a true ratings disaster, continue to cheap shot Fox News on a daily basis. The boss over there, far-left martinet Rick Kaplan, has virtually destroyed that network as a credible source of information. Kaplan badly damaged CNN as well before he was fired there."