Olbermann named Beck third "Worst Person" for Nazi/NY Times comparison; Bozell took top honor for touting debunked WMD discovery

››› ››› BEN FISHEL

On Countdown, Keith Olbermann honored Brent Bozell and Glenn Beck with first and third-place honors, respectively, in his nightly "Worst Person" award segment: Bozell for repeating the Republican assertion that a recently declassified report found there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq prior to the U.S.-led invasion, and Beck for comparing The New York Times' report on a Treasury Department program designed to track terrorists' international financial transactions to condoning the genocide committed by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

On the June 28 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann honored CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck, also a nationally syndicated radio host, with third place in his nightly "Worst Person in the World" award segment for comparing The New York Times' report on a Treasury Department program designed to track terrorists' international financial transactions to condoning the genocide committed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. As Media Matters for America noted, Beck claimed the Times is "fighting for the same thing that Al Qaeda wants," adding: "[C]an you imagine The New York Times coming out and saying, 'Hey, the ovens aren't so bad,' back in World War II. Can you imagine that? I don't know. Sure, there are some Jews in there, but I bet they might make some good pizzas in there too." Olbermann then named Media Research Center president L. Brent Bozell III winner of the "Worst Person" award for touting the baseless assertion by Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) that a recently declassified report found there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq prior to the U.S.-led invasion. As Media Matters also documented, Bozell stated that "[t]he hardened historical narrative" on WMDs in Iraq "needs to be amended" because of this purported discovery.

In addition, in a segment titled "Factor Fiction," Olbermann noted that Fox News host Bill O'Reilly attributed MSNBC's low ratings to "karma" and called MSNBC president Rick Kaplan one of the "bad guys who got theirs." Olbermann then noted, as Media Matters documented, that O'Reilly had ignored the fact that the second quarter ratings for 2006 revealed a drop in viewers for every show on the Fox News Channel, including an 8 percent drop in total viewers for The O'Reilly Factor and an 11 percent drop in Factor viewers in the 25-54 demographic.

From the June 28 edition of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:

OLBERMANN: Also here, Jones in for Star. The departure of one of the hosts of The View turns into an on-air verbal brawl. That's ahead, but first, time for Countdown's latest list of nominees for "Worst Person in the World."

The bronze to radio host Glenn Beck. Here's his version of the anti-New York Times hysteria. Quote, "Can you imagine The New York Times coming out and saying, 'Hey, the ovens aren't so bad,' back in World War II. Can you imagine that?" He continued: "I don't know. Sure, there are some Jews in there, but I bet they might make some good pizzas in there, too. The New York Times is just -- I don't get it. I don't understand it." Unquote. Mr. Beck, do you understand this? Resign your job and leave this country.

Our runner up, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah who now says there was nothing in the Senate that could be -- they could be doing that was more important than banning flag burning. "I was asked this afternoon by a large body of media: Is this the most important thing the Senate could be doing at this time? I can tell you, you're darn right it is." Senator, heard anything about this war we have going? Or the terror thing?

But the winner, Brent Bozell, "Red Beard," again, from the rabid right spin machine, the Media Research Council [sic]. He has targeted this show now for his latest MRC action alert, you know, sending us infinite e-mails that make everybody here laugh. Our inbox now has literally dozens of them demanding that we quote, "Tell the truth about the WMD that were found in Iraq." OK. We'll do it again. There weren't any. Rick Santorum tried to pretend there were. And if you believed him, you may actually be a sheep. Thanks for writing. Brent Bozell of the Media Research Council [sic] -- today's "Worst Person in the World."

[...]

OLBERMANN: Yes, Bill-O came off the tracks again Tuesday night in a rant split evenly between the two avenging angels who haunt his dreams: Air America Radio and MSNBC. Ecoutez et traduisez [listen and translate], as they said in French class.

"If you've read any of my books" -- which one? The soft core porn novel that was reviewed on Amazon as a real load in the pants or the advice book for kids that came out just as the Andrea Mackris scandal broke?

"If you've read any of my books, you know I believe in karma. Do bad things, you'll get yours eventually."

Now, you know why I'm here, Bill. You've done bad things.

"Do good things, you'll be rewarded. Recently, two bad guys got theirs."

Here, Bill went off into some story about management changes at Air America, a radio network he called "disastrous," which I understand was the birth name of Dee Snider from Twisted Sister. He eventually meandered towards the point.

"We believe there is major chaos at that far left concern."

As an aside, Bill, who's this "we" you always talk about? You and Ann Coulter? You and your multiple personalities? You and your loofah?

O'REILLY [clip]: There's also major chaos at MSNBC where Rick Kaplan has left --

OLBERMANN: Bill made another funny. See, by overemphasizing the word "left," he is sending a subtle signal to the dim bulbs in his audience that former MSNBC president Rick Kaplan might have had personal political beliefs that tended towards "liberal" or "left." Bill invented the term.

"[W]here Rick Kaplan has left after pretty much destroying that place."

Bill, boy. Bill-O! Hey! Over here. Back in reality-based reality. The latest ratings have come out. From a year ago to right now, MSNBC's ratings are up 12 percent overall, 13 percent among viewers 25 to 54, and at the hour you and I are on head-to-head, we're up 37 percent and you're down 20 percent and -- I know, I'm sorry, too many numbers in there. You were assured there would be no math.

"Closing in on its 10th anniversary, MSNBC's ratings are lower than they were six years ago, which might be ridiculous."

You just sort of got lost in that last sentence, huh, Bill?

Listen Slappy, Fox's ratings are lower than they were five years ago. Bill-O, 267,000 of your nightly viewers have vanished since last June. Call Fox Security, they're missing! All 11 of Fox's regular shows ratings are down, four of them are down by 15 percent or more. If [Fox News host] John Gibson loses any more audience, he won't even need a microphone. And your boss, Jabba the Hut, he's taking out ads threatening to fire his own employees. Your ratings whuppin' stick is now smaller than your falafel.

Bill, seriously, it's slipping away from you. You don't know what to do. You can't even lie well anymore. Seriously, I understand. It's called panic. Like what happened to you in Scranton, and Hartford, and Boston with that thing with the egg on Zippy [Zip Rzeppa], the sportscaster's face. And at ABC, when Rick Kaplan got you fired. It's terrifying. You begin to see the audience dying off and the creases deepening in your forehead and the loofahs drying up. You make mistakes, you trust the wrong people, you blame Al Franken, you yell at somebody, you yell at everybody. It feels like the ladder is teetering. You're tired, you're depressed, you're anxious, you're balding. Let me give you three words of advice, Bill-O: Keep it up!

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