This morning on CNN’s Reliable Sources, Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz interviewed Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC’s Countdown.
Kurtz tried to press Olbermann into conceding that he is thankful for Bush’s unpopularity because his show’s success is due to his criticisms of the Bush administration. Olbermann responded that if given the choice between his current success and a new President, he would choose the latter:
KURTZ: But in a sense, the Bush administration has been very, very good for Keith Olbermann.
OLBERMANN: Honestly? No. I’m an American citizen, I think this has been a disastrous presidential administration. I would have given what I have, in terms broadcasting success in the nature of this newscast, I would have easily said…if I were given the choice of this or some responsible presidency in the last four years or eight years? I would have taken a responsible presidency.
Kurtz then accused Olbermann of making criticisms of Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly as an attempt to boost his ratings. “This is a clever way you get some ratings, the guy who dominates the ratings,” Kurtz said. Olbermann said that he is just trying to hold O’Reilly accountable:
KURTZ: Are you obsessed with the guy?
OLBERMANN: No. … The viewers not only enjoy this segment but expect it. Because there is a sense that if you do not answer or put on the record somewhere that O’Reilly has just denied that there are 200,000 homeless vets, if you don’t do it somehow, the lie will go to the record books.
Nobody used to say anything about O’Reilly’s “making it up as he goes along,” Olbermann argued. He later assured Kurtz that if Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) or Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is elected President the show would “not change much.”