Anatomy of a Keith Olbermann Lie

Stu's 3rd to Last Page, Fusion Magazine March 2010

By Stu Burguiere

Glenn is constantly attacked for being crazy, or apocalyptic, or fat (many/all of which I agree with) but lately the left has abandoned the "Glenn is a failure" narrative. Back in the day when we were only doubling and tripling the ratings at Headline News, we were routinely labeled "ratings failures" by the typical liberal blogs and columnists.

But as the numbers have grown, these attacks have generally dried up. One exception was our revisit of The Christmas Sweater, which aired in movie theaters nationwide this past December.

A liberal blogger reported that he had acquired ticket sales numbers for a few theaters running the show in big cities and declared the project was a flop. Any critical thinker would note that a couple of theaters couldn’t possibly give you the full story about a national theater event, but that was the least of the problems with his numbers.

Regardless, Keith Olbermann couldn’t resist. He went on the air with them anyway, using that one blog as his sole source. Think of the significance of that: A national news personality, trusting the unverified claim of one singular blogger.

I decided to pester our tour manager, Rich Bonn, for his magical spreadsheet which shows every ticket we sold and in which market. I thought it would be a fun experiment to get a statistical

measure on how badly Olbermann actually lies. Rich forbid me from printing all of the exact numbers, but I can generalize enough to make the point.

The blogger’s numbers weren’t just sourced poorly, they were wildly inaccurate.

Here is what Olbermann said:

"Remember the big Lonesome Rhodes/Beck extravaganza last week?"

Olbermann calls Glenn both Lonesome Rhodes and Father Coughlin.

One faked a hokey personality to win over an "aw shucks" audience; the other viscerally believed his wild anti-Semitic rants. They are the complete opposite of one another, yet Glenn is somehow both. Even Keith’s comparisons suck.

"[A] half live a half movie simulcast of his book The Christmas Sweater..."

Nope. Zero percent movie. Nice research Keith.

"In Washington, D.C., 30 people bought tickets to see Beck cry. In New York and Boston, it was 34 – but that was combined."

Ahhh…some actual numbers. He’s giving ticket sales for three cities here. Needless to say, they aren’t correct. The average error in his numbers was over 2,000%. Two. Thousand. Percent.

In reality, The Christmas Sweater: A Return to Redemption (mainly a rebroadcast of the previous year’s live show, something never mentioned by either source) was the most successful theater event in our history. That might not mean anything to Keith. Maybe he thinks all of our events have been failures. He knows failure well, so that would be understandable.

So, to make it more relatable, if you were to rank The Christmas Sweater event like they do movies, it would have been the number three movie in America that night. This despite appearing in 1/8th the amount of theaters as the number one movie (The Twilight Saga: New Moon) and only showing once per screen, rather than the six or seven times per screen like a normal movie.

Olbermann, still ignorantly clinging to his "Beck is a failure" thesis, continued:

"But of course you say, New York’s all socialists, fascists, communists; what about where the real people live,

like in Rockwall, TX? Ninety four tickets in Texas; 94 in a theater holding 193."

I know I’ve already explained how wrong his numbers were, so let’s investigate how stupid they are. He tries

to portray this theater as a failure, but if a movie could somehow sell tickets at the same rate that we did in this mythical example across a cinematic wide release, it would be in line for the largest opening weekend in history. Largest. In. History.

Finally, Keith caps it off with some ratings butchery:

"On top of which, Beck’s ratings among younger viewers for the first week of this month down 30% from the first week of last month."

I have no idea if this is true. Why? Because no executive at any level of any cable news network measures ratings this way. No trade publication even prints ratings for these "younger viewers" of cable news. Of course, he doesn’t define what that group is, so even if they were printed, you couldn’t check them. The cable news world runs on viewers aged 25-54, and, to a lesser extent, total viewers – but, unless you’re the Cartoon Network, not "younger viewers."

Regardless, no one in their right mind would compare the first week of a month to the first week of the next month. Unless you do this for a living, there is no way to comprehend how disingenuous this is. It’s like losing to the Cleveland Cavs by 60 two nights in a row, and then telling ESPN that Lebron James is a failure because his attempted free throws fell by 30 percent in the first quarter of game two.

The lesson here is not how wonderful our finances are, it’s that Olbermann performs the exact same mangling of facts about health care, war, taxes, etc. every single night. It’s also why we destroy him in the ratings. Every. Single. Night.


Send Stu hatemail at Stu@glennbeck.com

 


<< Return to the March 2010 Index of Fusion





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