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On his program Monday, Bill O'Reilly had another episode of Ratings Derangement Syndrome. I first reported this malady exactly one year ago when O'Reilly became unhinged at what he believed was a conspiracy by Nielsen to destroy him:

"The bottom line on this is there may be some big-time cheating going on in the ratings system, and we hope the Feds will investigate. Any fraud in the television rating system affects all Americans."

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Of course the Feds have no oversight authority to investigate private polling firms. And O'Reilly had no evidence of wrongdoing anyway. It's also interesting to note that O'Reilly has no problems with Nielsen's data now that they are reporting a rosier picture of his program's performance. But he still has his knickers in a twist over any media critic who dares to question his primacy. This most recent outburst began with a declaration dripping in hyperbole and delusions of grandeur.

"Fox News is now the most powerful news organization in the United States of America, and that means in the world."

It is statements like that that require linguists to create new adjectives, because supercilious, delusional, and narcissistic, simply don't cut it anymore. O'Reilly still doesn't get that Fox reaches a mere 1% of the American public. The vast majority of news consumers are opting to watch programs other than his. O'Reilly was responding to criticism from Time Magazine's Joe Klein, who raised O'Reilly's ire by saying that, "Fox News peddles a fair amount of hateful crap." O'Reilly ought to be grateful to Klein for being so gentle. The truth is Fox News peddles a huge amount of hateful crap. But instead, O'Reilly's misguided indignation led him to spew a batch of unmitigated lies:

"Look what's happened. Fox News thirteen years on the air, OK?. Wipes out every other cable network, OK?. It's not even close. Now, we're approaching, the Factor is approaching Katie Couric numbers. We're real close to Katie Couric numbers. We beat everybody else. Good Morning America. Nightline. I think the Today show is a little bit ahead of us, but it's close.

First of all, Fox News does not wipe out every other cable network. They lead only amongst cable "news" networks. TBS, ESPN and USA, routinely beat Fox News (it's not even close), but O'Reilly failed to make that distinction.

Secondly, O'Reilly's contention that he is approaching Katie Couric numbers is laughable. Primarily because it wouldn't be that much of a feat. Couric is worst performing broadcast news program. But to compound his comedic dishonesty, he doesn't come close to Courics ratings. Couric's average of approximately 5.5 million is almost twice O'Reilly's 3 million viewers. and the top rated NBC brings in about 8.5 million, nearly triple O'Reilly.

Finally, O'Reilly doesn't beat Good Morning America. Nightline, or the Today show. Setting aside the fact that these shows don't even compete with O'Reilly, and their time periods have an entirely different potential audience, he still fails to best them. In fact, the Today Show also nearly doubles O'Reilly's numbers. He could have claimed a victory over CBS's perennial loser, The Early Show, but for some reason didn't bother.

In the end, this is just another display of O'Reilly's dishonesty and arrogance. And despite his objections, and his egotistical fantasies, he is only illustrating why knowledgeable observers do not regard Fox as a news network. It is merely a platform for self-serving propaganda, manic paranoia and partisan disinformation.

Originally posted to KingOneEye on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 09:52 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I DON'T CARE (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sorry to yell but we know BillO is full of it and if it feeds his delusional viewers, that's his issue.  If they don't want to acknowledge the free falling GOP, I'm in no mood to let them know that is happening.

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 09:53:54 AM PDT

  •  He's unintentionally hilarious! (7+ / 0-)

    The bottom line on this is there may be some big-time cheating going on in the ratings system, and we hope the Feds will investigate. Any fraud in the television rating system affects all Americans

    Yeah! F*** health insurance! What I wanna know is whether Nielson is monkeying around with O'Lielly's ratings because that could affect World Peace!

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 09:55:19 AM PDT

  •  Fox Lies. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snakelass, Floande

    They went to court and claimed that the first amendment allows them to flat out lie.  "Fair and Balanced" is a trademarked marketing slogan and nothing more.

    Ivory Soap is a Sell-out - It's only 99 and 44/100% pure!!

    by Jonze on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 09:56:46 AM PDT

    •  except they didn't (0+ / 0-)

      Read the court opinion here:

      In December 1996, WTVT hired the appellee, Jane Akre, and her husband, Steve Wilson, as a husband-and-wife investigative reporting team. Shortly after... they began working on a story about the use of synthetic bovine growth hormone ("BGH") in Florida dairy cattle. Their work on this story led to what could be characterized as an eight-month tug-of-war between the reporters and WTVT’s management and lawyers over the content of the story. Each time the station asked Wilson and Akre to provide supporting documentation for statements in the story or to make changes in the content of the story, the reporters accused the station of attempting to distort the story to favor the manufacturer of BGH.

      In September 1997, WTVT notified Akre and Wilson that it was exercising its option to terminate their employment contracts without cause. Akre and Wilson responded in writing to WTVT threatening to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") alleging that the station had "illegally" edited the still unfinished BGH report in violation of an FCC policy against federally licensed broadcasters deliberately distorting the news. The parties never resolved their differences regarding the content of the story, and  consequently, the story never aired.

      In April 1998, Akre and Wilson sued WTVT alleging, among other things, claims under the whistle-blower's statute. Those claims alleged that their terminations had been in retaliation for their resisting WTVT’s attempts to distort or suppress the BGH story and for threatening to report the alleged news distortion to the FCC... After a four-week trial, a jury found against Wilson on all of his claims. The trial court directed a verdict against Akre on her breach of contract claim, Akre abandoned her claim for declaratory relief, and the trial court let her whistle-blower claims go to the jury. The jury rejected all of Akre’s claims except her claim that WTVT retaliated against her in response to her threat to disclose the alleged news distortion to the FCC. The jury awarded Akre $425,000 in damages.

      While WTVT has raised a number of challenges to the judgment obtained by Akre, we need not address each challenge because we find as a threshold matter that Akre failed to state a claim under the whistle-blower's statute...

      I realize there are all kinds of web sites out there devoted to the 'Fox went to court to demand their right to lie about the news' claim, but don't you find it in the least bit suspicious that none of them link to the actual court decision, or provide copies of the filings by the parties, or excerpts of the trial transcript?

      No, you read it on the internet and it paints Fox in a bad light, so it must be true...

      Sean Parnell
      Center for Competitive Politics

      Congress shall make no law...

      by Sean Parnell on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 12:29:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sean... (0+ / 0-)

        I have seen your rebuttal to this many times. I appreciate your position and believe it has some merit. I have not researched it in any detail myself.

        However, you could just leave a brief comment and a link to your supporting source rather than repeatedly pasting long tracts that have nothing to do with diaries like this one. I think it may even alienate people who would otherwise agree with you.

        I would appreciate it if you did hijack my diary with this extraneous topic. I know someone else brought it up, but there's no need to compound it when you can just direct them to more info and leave it at that.


          • Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly FREAK SHOW Stickers •••

        by KingOneEye on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 03:24:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My apologies (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I certainly didn't mean to "hijack" the diary (I assume you meant you'd appreciate it if I DIDN'T hijack the diary), my apologies and point taken. I've been meaning actually to do a blog post of my own on my own site regarding this, I'll probably try to do that shortly and do as you recommend, just link to it.

          It would certainly save me some time too, given how often this thing pops up here!


          Sean Parnell
          Center for Competitive Politics

          Congress shall make no law...

          by Sean Parnell on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 07:33:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  ratings for the big three... (5+ / 0-)

    who else considers their own ratings to be news, besides Fox?

    •  That's a great point. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MsSpentyouth, snakelass, IreGyre

      I am constantly amazed at how often O'Reilly and other Fox Schlocks report on their ratings as if it's news. And worse, they argue that it's proof that their news is "better."

      McDonalds is the most popular restaurant in America. I don't think anyone regards that as evidence that they have the best food. What they have is a product that is targeted at the lowest common denominator and loaded with seasoning and filler. Just like Fox News.

        • Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly FREAK SHOW Stickers •••

      by KingOneEye on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 10:05:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Number one in cable (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingOneEye, snakelass

    Fox is number one on cable news by a mile. that said on an average day 1-1.5% of America watches fox. Still foxes ratings are more than MSNBC & CNN combined.
    Seems like wingers need to hear what to think, progressives are not watching all that much cable news, they must read.
    It`s all relative, fox news sunday competes with the networks and has half the ratings of the network shows so only hardcore conservatives watch fox but they do stir up some trouble.

  •  ratings ranting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingOneEye, snakelass, JDog42

    Ford sold a lot of Pintos too.  At least they were somewhat useful.

    "If all else fails... immortality can always be assured by spectacular error."

    by mydailydrunk on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 10:05:31 AM PDT

  •  O'Reilly's ego must have been (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingOneEye, snakelass

    smashed with the election of Al Franken.  

    "Politics is not left, right or center ... It's about improving people's lives." -Paul Wellstone

    by maggiejean on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 10:18:18 AM PDT

  •  Billdo is watching the ratings??? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snakelass, ukit, JDog42

    I wonder how he feels about Glenn Beck kicking his ass? Nothing to put it all in perspective like getting your clock cleaned by a crazy crying guy with a bad haircut. Poor Billy.. He is not the cable news king any more. He has been replaced by a younger even more batshit screeching head.

  •  Bill O'Reilly wants to be Bill O'Relevant (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingOneEye, snakelass

    It's going to take some major universe-shifting to get ratings that would re-coin P.T. Barnum's famed quote: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can fool Fox News audiences pretty much any time you put a fool on the air."

  •  I guess becoming the primary source of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingOneEye, snakelass

    news for the illiterate is some kind of accomplishment.

    Some people make you want to change species

    by ulookarmless on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 10:47:33 AM PDT

  •  Nice to hear more people repeating the 1% (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingOneEye, snakelass

    figure. That sort of drives home the point. Yes, Fox is going gangbusters in their niche market - but that's really only because ALL conservatives in that niche watch it. If 33% of liberals and moderates watch CNN, 33% watch MSNBC, and 33% watch other networks, but 100% of conservatives watch Fox, guess who gets the higher ratings?

    But it doesn't mean Fox is some sort of supreme overlord of the media as is often portrayed by the MSM.

  •  O'reilly is able to claim as such because.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snakelass, wyvern

    Fox is 24/7 and is able to change the format of the MSM.

    Up until 1996, there was no known talk radio partisan format on TV.  News outlets Shaun on such opinionated style format.

    We can all agree this is the situation today.  Then Fox was successful in the courts for lying and manipulating "news".  That further distorts the "news" and generates more cynicism from the public.  Fox paid NO price but was rewarded with more viewership.

    2002, after 9/11, Fox saluted the FLAG and became the dominant rating king in the cable "news".  This was the final nail in the coffin.  Whatever was left as far as news were concerned, simply evaporated.

    O'reilly, is a wordsmith.  He was telling NBC, ABC, CBS, HLN, CNN and MSNBC that Fox sets the agenda.  The WH simply told the truth about Fox and who is their most ferocious defender, the MSM.

    •  fact check (0+ / 0-)

      "Then Fox was successful in the courts for lying and manipulating "news"."

      Utterly false. See my comment above. This is an urban legend that won't die, it seems. Rather than cut and past AGAIN from the Florida 2nd District Court of Appeals decision, I'll just ask you to do one simple thing: verify and support your claim. And linking to other sites that fail to verify and support the same claim doesn't really cut it.

      So, find for me one or both of the following two items:

      1. Court transcripts from the trial court
      1. Legal filings by Fox in the case (trial or appeals levels)

      If you can do that, and point to where Fox said "We have the right to lie and distort the news as we please" or similar, than I'll acknowledge you are correct. I believe that Kos has a saying as far as standards for supporting charges, something like "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Well, this probably falls somewhat short of "extraordinary," but it seems fairly significant if true. So find the evidence.

      Sean Parnell
      Center for Competitive Politics

      Congress shall make no law...

      by Sean Parnell on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 12:37:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't really care if you are president of .. (0+ / 0-)

        the world, Sean Parnell.

        I have made my points and stand by them.  If you do not like it, that is your problem, not mine.  Fox is not a "news" outlet, period.

        You have fingers, google.

        •  Ah, so I'm supposed to prove a negative? (0+ / 0-)

          I have googled it. Not available. I have, however, read the transcripts of what Akre and Wilson claim are the scripts they wanted to run, and what WTVT wanted them to run. it's like a catalog of whining and pettiness. "We wanted to have 8 scientists in that segment saying how bad BGH was, they only allowed us 2! And we could only refer to them as scientists in the field of public health and experts in cancer, and not list all the books they've written! And we had to have Monsanto spokespeople in the piece too, even though they weren't telling the truth! And we could only put something right after them showing them to be lying, we couldn't directly say Monsanto lied! Boo hoo!"

          For crying out loud, if they wanted to do that they should have written a book, not tried to shoehorn 45 minutes of reporting into what I'm guessing would be about 20 minutes spread over 4 segments.

          Fox edited the piece - that's what stations do. Some of it's for content, some of it's for time considerations, and some of it is for tone - say "public health concerns" instead of "cancer" because lots of people tune out "cancer scares" these days. It's nothing different than any other reporter goes through, and somehow Akre and Wilson believe that a really, really tough piece on BGH that Fox was going to air just wasn't tough enough. I think any news station in the country would have fired them for being so stubborn.

          You can read the transcripts here:

          Read that, and tell me what a "puff piece" it was on BGH and Monsanto, and that the editorial judgements by Fox (They won't let us talk about Agent Orange!) are wholly illegitimate that that no reasonable editor would make similar requests.

          There is no case here, Akre and Wilson lost ALL of their claims in court except one whistleblower claim that actually had nothing to do with whether Fox inappropriately tried to edit the story but instead on whether Fox fired them simply for threatening to report them to the FCC, and then they lost that at the appeals court. There's nothing in the record anywhere I've seen to suggest that "Fox News got the court to rule that their lies were protected" or whatever twisted version of the myth you're relying on.

          You are of course free to stand by your points, but for a member of a "reality based community" you sure seem to take this on faith, despite obvious evidence to the contrary and little to support it.

          Sean Parnell
          Center for Competitive Politics

          Congress shall make no law...

          by Sean Parnell on Tue Oct 27, 2009 at 01:38:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Let's see... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snakelass live in a country of around 300 million.  As far as literacy, your country is somewhat of an embarrassment.

    Out of that 300 million, a relatively significant percentage of the population hates the government, is prone to believe conspiracy theories about the government & loves the adrenaline rush that comes with constant inferences to a violent overthrow of the government.  As an added bonus, the president is black, which of course means he's not a real president...he's a fake.

    If you're of this disposition, do you watch NBC, CBS or ABC nightly news?  Hell no; it's all government propaganda.

    Do you watch CNN or MSNBC?  Of course not.  Those networks are full of secret  Obama-worshiping Manchurian candidates.  Everybody knows that.

    Do you watch Fixed News?  Of course!  They are the only one telling me the truth!

    Hence your #1 ratings.

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