The 10 Biggest Douchebags in TV News

July 7, 2009

The human race has more access to more information than ever before. Anything we want or need to know is literally within reaching distance of our fingertips. Unfortunately, some of the people who deliver it make us long for the day when news was tied to a brick and thrown at your front door. The news may not have always been accurate or even true, but at least it gave you something useful, like a brick. These are the TV talking heads who make us wish they would just stop talking.

10. Keith Olbermann

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It pains us to put a man on this list who goes after some of the more egregious placeholders below with the foaming mouth of a rabid dog that swallowed a couple of extra strength Alka-Seltzer tablets. It is the more personal stories that get to us. He sometimes likes to dedicate part of his nightly MSNBC show to taking down people who have tried to take him and his network down by addressing their stories and gossip on the air. It's the news, not the World Wrestling Federation. If you have a beef with someone or a rivalry that needs fixing, do the classy thing. Address it off the air, slap on your rassling spandex, and challenge them to a no-holds barred cage match at Madison Square Garden. Then make sure the rest of us can watch it on Pay-Per-View.  On second thought, lose the spandex. I just realized Olbermann has a lot of beefs with Rush Limbaugh.

9. Rick Santelli

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Source: CNBC

The worst public relations job in the world right now has to be the guys and gals who represent New York stock trading firms. They must just sit in their offices all day long and dream about the easy, carefree workdays they led when they worked for the tobacco companies back in the 1980s. Rick Santelli doesn't seem to mind being their spokesperson when he's reporting live on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade and screaming about the losers getting money from the government with the kind of crazy indignation that you usually only see in Raiders fans or transients who argue with their shoes in public.

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8. The hosts of Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends

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A lot of news shows, particularly morning news shows, are finding themselves in such dire financial straits that they have to take on sponsors that almost engulf their entire show, like the way MSNBC's Morning Joe did when they struck a deal with Starbucks. Fox & Friends should be next, except they really should think about striking a deal with the makers of Seroquel. Every day, hosts Brian Kilmeade, Gretchen Carlson, and Steve Doocy find something that they are convinced is a threat to the American people that, if not immediately addressed, will give them herpes or something. Except it's not something that actually has an effect on the people that are watching such as lack of affordable health care, increased standards for education, or a mandatory 10-foot strip club lap dance law. It's usually something that comes with two scoops of crazy.

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7. Ed Schultz

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The left wing media sphere needed a red meat-eating, gun-totin' good ol' boy and Ed Schultz stepped up to the plate with his little space of airwave called The Ed Show. MSNBC was happy to do it, for reasons other than the fact that they could prove they are keeping America safe by having one less gun out there that Dick Cheney could operate. They could also use his image to prove that not all gun-loving, high school football career-bragging average Joes are the reason their state is red. Unfortunately, he uses it to show that left-wingers can be just as loud and psychotically crazy as those on the right. He yells and screams just about every night, even as people are trying to talk, and uses his mutant power of projection (his X-Men name is "Diaphragmanny") to void the warranty on that new surround sound system you saved all summer to score. His behavior paints himself as the kind of TV screamer who probably thinks "Network" was a documentary.

6. Lou Dobbs

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What if all news shows abandoned the idea of diversifying their news stories and instead decided to focus on just one topic? That's exactly what Lou Dobbs' show is like. It's the journalistic equivalent of Neopolitan ice cream if Neopolitan ice cream didn't come with strawberry or chocolate. Every issue on his show is linked back to his number one cause, illegal immigration, in some bizarre, twisted "Kevin Bacon Game" way. He has not only used it to create his slice of CNN ratings heaven, but it's also become a fun trick he can do at parties. Just name the issue and he'll link it back to illegal immigrants. Give it a try, any one will do: healthcare reform, the bank bailout, Barbara Eden's navel...


5. Glenn Beck

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Imagine if a major nationally syndicated news network gave that guy at the bus station who screams about how the country is controlled by genetically-modified gerbils his own television show. That's not what Glenn Beck's show is like. But if you gave that guy a haircut that looked like Steve Martin had enlisted in the Army, then you'd have the Glenn Beck Program. A man so scared of his country's future under a non-Bush president that his white hair reflects his emotions (when he's happy, it turns spruce green), Beck treats every story with the wild-eyed look of a crazed conspiracy theorist who could prove his wackjob claims if the voices in his head would stop trying to talk over one another. He's made wild, unsubstantiated claims about how the U.S. Census and gay marriage will rip through the very fabric of America. He feels so strongly about these issues that he has broken down in tears on more than one occasion while he is still on the air. 

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We would tell him to "soldier up," but that would just make him think that we're being invaded by space aliens.

4. Sean Hannity

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It's hard to know where to start with Sean Hannity, so we'll go chronologically, which is the first time the word "logic" and "Sean Hannity" have ever appeared together in the same sentence. He hosted Fox News' first and only debate show with liberal commentator Alan Colmes where every debate consisted of just how wrong Colmes was on any particular issue. Then when Colmes left the show, he replaced his once formidable opponent with…Sean Hannity. Just about every news clip and sound byte on his show is taken out of context to fit his editorials and chopped up more than Steve Buscemi in Fargo.

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His panelists are stacked to the nines with such insightful and well-reasoned news analysts like former Saturday Night Live actress Victoria Jackson. The news can swing whichever way Hannity wants it to when it's on his show. It's the television equivalent of riding a seesaw with former Chicago Bears defensive lineman William "The Refrigerator" Perry.

3. Alan Colmes

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The only person worse than Hannity is his former counterpart, a weak-kneed left wing pundit who became the first person in television history hired for a news debate show to not participate in the debate. His trembling voice and weakened frame served as the perfect ying to Hannity's yang, if by perfect you mean letting an injured wildebeest share the same space with a fully grown African lion for 30 minutes a night. I've seen punching bags that put up more of a fight.

2. Bill O'Reilly

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I could dedicate a new New Testament-length list of reasons for why Bill O'Reilly has one of the douchiest shows in the history of television. He yells and bullies guests who dare to express an opinion that he doesn't hold to at least within 1/100ths of a percent. He calls people he disagrees with pinheads and tells them to "shut up" while he is interviewing them and if they don't, he shuts their mic off. He stalks people who won't go on his show. Actually, he doesn't even stalk these people himself...he gets one of his staff members to do it for him.

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I'll bet he even makes his staff stalkers go on a coffee run while they're out rummaging through Gore Vidal's garbage bins. The man singlehandedly put the "news" in "nuisance".


1. Nancy Grace

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Ever hear of the legal phrase "innocent until proven guilty"? Nancy hasn't. Her legal expertise seems to reflect that of a gossipy hair salon owner who bases all of her proof and evidence on the walls of public bathrooms and highway CB radio chatter. Every case that comes across her news desk is stamped guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which is her style because reasonable doesn't seem to exist in her vocabulary. And if the case happens to fall apart or fail to garner a conviction, she has a rather neat way of addressing the necessary correction: She gets someone else to report it! Sounds like someone went to the Bill O'Reilly School of Broadcast Journalism. I believe it is located right in between the Mike Tyson School of Voice and Diction and the Alan Colmes Debate College.

Luckily, not everyone falls for her crap.

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Danny Gallagher is a freelance writer, humorist, reporter and spandex tester living in Texas. His website is Danny Gallagher.net. He can also be found on MySpace and Twitter.

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