Accuracy in Media

MSNBC talk show host Keith Olbermann spends a lot of time blasting people he disagrees with like Ann Coulter ( Coultergeist), Brent Bozell (Worst Person in the World) and especially Bill O’Reilly (Bill-O).  But just how fair and balanced is Keith?

I spent a week documenting the guests on Olbermann’s Countdown show and The O’Reilly Factor just to see for myself if Keith was slanting the news.

Here are the guest lists from September 1st through September 8th.  I have omitted entertainment reporters and writers.

Olbermann- Chris Cilizza (, Howard Fineman (Newsweek), Juliette Kayyem (Harvard Kennedy School of Government), Thomas Kean, Jr. (Republican Senate candidate, NJ), Howard Wolffe (Newsweek), Roger Cressey(worked for Richard Clarke), Richard Ben-Veniste (9/11 Commisioner, Democrat), Sean Maloney (Clinton White House 1997-2000), Craig Crawford (MSNBC), Tom Nicoletti (Former FBI Agent), Thomas “Mack” Mclarty (Former Clinton Chief of Staff), Judd Legum ( and Dana Milbank (Washington Post).

O’Reilly- Victor Navasky (The Nation), David Lane (Attorney for Ward Churchill), Wendy Murphy (Attorney), William Cohen (Former Secretary of Defense), Michelle Malkin (conservative columnist), Kirsten Powers (Democratic Strategist), Juan Hernandez (New American Pioneers), Mitt Romney (Republican Governor of Massachusetts), David Zolman (Plural Marriage advocate), Bernard Goldberg (Former CBS reporter), Felice Gaer (Anti-Khatami activist), Gary Hart (Former Democratic Senator from Colorado), Juan Williams (commentator), Laura Schwartz (Democratic strategist), Marvin Kalb( Former CBS reporter) and Linda Chavez (conservative author and commentator)

What do all the Olbermann guests have in common?  They all bashed President Bush or his policies.  Tom Kean, Jr., may be a Republican, but his appearance was for the sole purpose to explain why he thinks Donald Rumsfeld should resign. 

Compare that to O’Reilly’s guests which run the gamut from far right to far left with a few fringe characters thrown in. 

While I often find O’Reilly pompous and arrogant the fact remains that he has a wide range of interesting guests and stimulates debate.  Olbermann on the other hand only wants to bash the administration and makes no effort to bring any balance to his program and still disguise it as news or even worse factual.

The public apparently agrees because no matter how much vitriol Olbermann spews, his ratings remain in the tank.  In the important 25-54 demographic he trails Bill by a 3 to 1 margin and with all viewers nearly 5 to 1.  He isn’t even close by any measure yet he manages to stay on the air. 

Hey Keith, it’s time for a reality check.  Get over your ratings envy and move on.

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