Olbermann Still Lying About O'Reilly, Fox Ratings

Sunday, 09 Nov 2008 08:45 PM

By David A. Patten

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MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann has won the Worst Liar in the World Award once again.

His latest big fib is not a new one.

He continues to claim that he is beating “The O’Reilly Factor,” the longtime king of cable news programs hosted by Bill O’Reilly of Fox News.

But the numbers show otherwise. But that apparently doesn’t bother Olbermann.

MSNBC took out a full-page ad in The New York Times proclaiming “A Sweeping Victory” for its ratings and declared “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” the No. 1 cable news program.

Independent ratings consistently show O’Reilly gets about twice the ratings Olbermann does.

Although Olbermann frequently leads his viewers to believe he has overtaken “The O’Reilly Factor,” in this case the numbers really do speak for themselves.

O’Reilly’s program, which Fox airs at 8 and 11 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, averaged about 4 million viewers a night during the month of October, compared with Olbermann’s average of about 2 million, according to TVbytheNumbers.com, a leading Web site that analyzes the Nielsen ratings.

Olbermann not only overlooks the fact that O’Reilly trounces him but also claims the opposite is true.

“Bill O’Reilly gets pummeled in the ratings,” Olbermann recently declared.

Olbermann wrote on MSNBC’s Web site on Oct. 24 that O’Reilly “has seen the ratings spike here at MSNBC and decided that it is the result of a fraudulent conspiracy . . . ”

So how can a news network tout ratings that actual Nielsen research doesn't support?

The explanation is an almost-invisible line of fine print at the bottom of the ad, stating it refers to the 8 to 9 p.m. time slot for the dates Oct. 27 through Oct. 31, for viewers between 25 and 54 years of age.

In other words, MSNBC is touting one time period or ratings category, which is the exception to the overall ratings.

Consider: According to the Nielsen ratings, show on Thursday, Oct. 30, was the single most-watched program on cable television that week, other than Disney’s “Hannah Montana” and “Monday Night Football.”

The second-most-watched program the week of Oct. 27 was O’Reilly’s program that Tuesday.

And by the way, O’Reilly also hosted the fourth-most-watched cable program that week.

The highest any of Olbermann’s programs placed that week was 19th. (It was the only Olbermann show to crack cable’s top 40 programs that week.)

“O’Reilly’s lead in average viewers is large and has never been challenged by Olbermann,” Bill Gorman, co-founder of TVbytheNumbers.com, tells Newsmax. He points that “Olbermann has substantially increased both his average viewers and adults 24 to 54 substantially over time.” But data shows Reilly continues to regularly outpace Olbermann even in that key demographic group.

Olbermann appeared elated this past week with the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. But the win may be a Pyrrhic victory for the liberal news anchor. Olbermann had positioned himself as the anti-Bush, anti-Republican news source on MSNBC. With Democrats firmly in control of the White House and Congress, it’s questionable that his audience will grow.

Fox, meanwhile, may be a big beneficiary of the Obama win.

So far, the “early returns” suggest Fox may be growing already. On Nov. 5, the day after the elections, Fox kept about 12 percent more of its Election Day audience than MSNBC.

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