Fox News' Bill O'Reilly loved, loathed in survey

Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:56pm EST
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By Paul J. Gough

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Guess it's true: You either love or hate Bill O'Reilly.

A Pew Research Center study found that the Fox News Channel commentator, who has long had the most popular show in cable news, tops the list as the public's favorite and least favorite campaign journalist.

O'Reilly was cited as favorite by 5% of those surveyed and least favorite by 6%. To be fair, 50% didn't have a favorite, and 60% didn't have a least favorite.

Also among the favorites, all cited by under 3%, were Tom Brokaw, Sean Hannity, Charles Gibson, Keith Olbermann, Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams, Wolf Blitzer and Katie Couric. Couric drew 5% for least favorite, with less than 3% for Rush Limbaugh, Olbermann, Hannity, Chris Matthews, Gibson and George Stephanopoulos.

O'Reilly can console himself as being the favorite campaign correspondent of 9% of Republicans -- the highest for the question -- and the least favorite of 10% of Democrats. Democrats tapped Olbermann as their favorite, while Couric was the least favorite of Republicans. It was Couric's interview with Sarah Palin in mid-September that started raising concerns about the Republican vp candidate.

On the other hand, it seems like viewers are turning the page on the election and turning their attention almost fully to the economic crisis. Pew said 54% of Americans are closely following economic news, with 31% following it "fairly" closely. The unemployment rate is gathering the close attention of 39% of viewers, along with 32% who were paying fairly close attention.

Meanwhile, 48% of the news coverage last week was taken up by the election and 21% on the transition for President-elect Barack Obama. Only 7% of the news coverage was devoted to the economy and 1% to unemployment.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter