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Unraveling O'Reilly's spin on Boehlert's article

Reported by Chrish - January 31, 2008 -

Bill O'Reilly took another shot at MediaMatters last night 1/30/08 in his "Pinheads and Patriots" segment, for Eric Boehlert's article "Fox News is in for a very rough 2008." True to form, he misrepresented the facts to make his point.

O'Reilly said

"On the pinhead front, the far-left Web site Media Matters is perhaps the most dishonest enterprise in the country. Now the smear factory has put out an article that says FOX News will have a rough year in 2008.

Well, if the January ratings are any indication, Media Matters is once again lying its you-know-what off. FNC has the top six-rated news programs on cable and eight of the top 10.

"The Factor" once again dominates the field. On the nights I was here in the chair in January, we hammered our competition at 8 p.m., beating them all combined. In fact, with about four million viewers for both 8 and 11, we beat a number of entertainment programs on the networks.

Media Matters is run by liars and defamers. They are far worse than pinheads."

As Media Matters notes,

"Boehlert did not address Fox News' overall ratings. Rather, he compared Fox News' and CNN's ratings during major campaign events in January -- the big primary and caucus events, as well as the high-profile debates -- to support his argument that Fox News will have a "tough year."

Boehlert also pointed out that "of the 10 most-watched debates this election season, Fox has aired just two, compared to CNN's five." Further, Boehlert cited the altercation between O'Reilly and a staffer for Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) at a New Hampshire campaign event as one of many potential reasons for "discomfort inside [Roger] Ailes' Fox News empire." O'Reilly did not address any of Boehlert's specific assertions about Fox."

As long as we're de-spinning "Calliope Bill," let's address his final and gratuitous slap at rival MSNBC. O'Reilly added

"By the way, MSNBC's ratings in January, dismal. Its morning program down by 30 percent in key demos, while "FOX & Friends" continues to soar."

TVNewser explains in Once A "Poor Man's Bill O'Reilly," Scarborough Now A "Must-Have Fix" that

"...while that's true (Morning Joe is down 33% in the A25-54 demo and 25% in Total Viewers), it comes as a year-to-year comparison. And in January 2007, Don Imus was drawing some of his highest numbers ever on MSNBC."
Apples and oranges, but O'Reilly got his disengenuous smear out there.