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O'Reilly Lying About His Ratings?

Reported by Judy - May 10, 2006

Fox News likes to brag about its ratings, even though they are only a fraction of network television. Sometimes it does so in a way that is just plain silly, as when it claims Brit Hume's "Special Report" is the highest rated cable show in its time slot that originates in Washington, D.C. Why not just say it's the highest rated cable show hosted by a white male with the initials "B.H."?

Other times, Fox News eschews the micro-category and just -- well, Keith Olbermann reports, you decide.

Olbermann on Tuesday (May 9, 2006) presented a segment called "Factor Fiction," dedicated to exposing the lies of Fox News blowhard BIll O'Reilly, who shares the 8 p.m. ET timeslot with Olbermann on MSNBC.

As only he can do, Olbermann aired O'Reilly's comments on "The O'Reilly Factor" ratings and then "translated" them.

"The ratings for April are in and for the nights I anchored the Factor, we improved our total audience over April 2005," intoned Olbermann, as he read a transcript of O'Reilly's remarks, adding that, "No one gets to fudge the ratings like that."

Olbermann's translation: O'Reilly's ratings actually dropped by 3 percent from April 2005 and his audience last month was the smallest since May 2005.

Olbermann went on quoting O'Reilly as saying reports of the Factor's falling ratings come from "the Fox hating print press" and then quickly switched to his translation: "Print press? What other kind of press is there -- wine press?"

And of course, loofahs and falafels earned a mention, as they usually do when Olbermann is on a roll dissecting an O'Reilly sermon. This time, Olbermann brought them up in his translation of O'Reilly's comments that critics of his show are trying to "prop" up the competition.

Olbermann then went on to explore what Fox News calls "the money demo," the demographic age group made up of people between ages 25 to 54, which advertisers target. In that category of viewers, O'Reilly had 412,000 viewers, the lowest since August 2001, making April the 13th month of declines in the last 17 months.

Meanwhile, Olbermann said his own ratings were up by a third since last April.

What made this segment was Olbermann's tight writing, razor-sharp delivery, and nimble camera work between the on-screen graphics and Olbermann's presentation. Oh, yeah, his great wit helped a lot, too.

But don't take my word for it. Watch the video.

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