Last night Bill O’Reilly tried to take on Rachel Maddow criticism of Fox’s Shirley Sherrod story by boasting about FNC’s ratings. Maddow responded tonight by taking him apart, “You were trying to take the attention off me saying that your network Fox News continually crusades on flagrantly bogus stories designed to make White Americans fear Black Americans.”
Here is the video and a partial transcript via MSNBC:
After playing a clip of Bill-O bragging about Fox News’ ratings, Maddow said, “Here Mr. O’Reilly has a point. You and Fox get great ratings. It is so awesome how great your ratings are. Here’s the score card from last night. It is in TV ratings speak, but I think it will be clear enough. Here’s Mr. O’Reilly that 757 would be him at 8:00, and that 245 would be me at 9:00, different hour, but you know same point, and don’t tell Susan’s mom whose actually pretty sensitive about these kinds of things, but we’re actually outrated by all kinds of shows. “Deadliest Catch,” that’s about fishing. We get killed by a show called “The Closer” about which I know nothing about except it kills us in the ratings, and we get smaller ratings than WWE wrestling…. Of course, all of those shows also kill Mr. O’Reilly’s show in the ratings as well as everything else on Fox, as do Sponge Bob, reruns of NCIS, and Hannah Montana, Forever, which is totally understandable. They are all more watched than The O’Reilly Factor which is totally irrelevant.”
Maddow addressed O’Reilly’s straw man directly, “When you got all kicked your butt, and Madame on me, you really weren’t trying to tout your network’s ratings. You were trying to take the attention off me saying that your network Fox News continually crusades on flagrantly bogus stories designed to make White Americans fear Black Americans, which Fox News most certainly does for a political purpose, even if it upends the lives of individuals like Shirley Sherrod. Even as it frays the fabric of the nation, and even as it makes the American Dream more of a dream and less of a promise.”
She concluded, “You can insult us all you want about television ratings and you’ll be right that yours are bigger for now, and maybe forever. You are the undisputed winner. Even if nobody watches us except for my mom, my girlfriend, and people who forget to turn off the TV after Keith, you still would be wrong about the facts, your highness.” If you get into a discussion with any defender of Fox News undoubtedly at some point when they can no longer disputes the facts about FNC, they break out the ratings diversion. Bill O’Reilly tried to do this to Rachel Maddow, and she not only called him on it, but she also dismantled the Fox News ratings straw man diversion.
Ms. Maddow was one hundred percent spot on. Even O’Reilly’s supposedly huge ratings get dwarfed by tween programming, reality television, and cartoons. O’Reilly knew that he could not defend his network on the Sherrod, so he changed the subject as quickly as possible. If Maddow seemed absolutely giddy to be mentioned by O’Reilly, she was. Not because it will boost her ratings, but because her show is getting noticed, and having an impact. Rachel Maddow is one of the rare people in television who aren’t about ratings. As she pointed out, something matter more, like facts for instance. Bill-O would be wise to leave Rachel Maddow alone. She is too smart, and when he tries to take her on, he is in way, way, way, over his head.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association