Olbermann named O'Reilly "Worst Person" for suggesting Soros funded IU study

››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER

On the May 7 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann named Fox News' Bill O'Reilly the winner of his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment for, as Media Matters for America documented, suggesting that a recent Indiana University study -- which found that "O'Reilly called a person or a group a derogatory name once every 6.8 seconds, on average, or nearly nine times every minute during the ['Talking Points Memo'] editorials that open his program each night" -- was funded by philanthropist George Soros.

As Media Matters noted, Soros' Open Society Institute (OSI) donated $5 million to Indiana University in 2005, but the donation was directed to establish an endowment for the American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan, with the U.S. Agency for International Development providing another $10 million. OSI has partnered with IU in other ventures, such as developing higher education curriculum in Azerbaijan, preparing Burmese refugees for college, and developing a degree program for teaching second languages in Kazakhstan. According to the IU press release about the study, "The researchers received no grant funding for this study."

During the show, Olbermann said of O'Reilly: "Bill just made the Soros stuff up. And as if you needed to spend [$]5 million to know Bill-O insults people."

As Media Matters has noted (here, here, here, and here), O'Reilly is a frequent finalist in the "Worst Person" competition.

From the May 7 broadcast of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:

OLBERMANN: And our winner? Bill-O. Remember that Indiana University study that, while he claims he never does these personal attacks, he in fact calls a person or a group a derogatory name once every seven seconds during those yakking notes memos that he does? He's now claimed that this is just another smear by George Soros, who apparently owns the University of Indiana. He claims Soros donated $5 million to Indiana University.

Well, Soros did donate $5 million to IU, but not to study O'Reilly -- rather to fund Indiana's educational outreach in Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, and Burma. In fact, the university says, the O'Reilly study got no funding. Bill just made the Soros stuff up. And as if you needed to spend [$]5 million to know Bill-O insults people. Bill "Orally": today's Worst Person in the World!

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