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'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Dec. 28
Host: Keith Olbermann
CONCERNS ARISE ABOUT THE PENDING HEALTH DISASTER FOLLOWING THE TSUNAMI IN SOUTH ASIA: Dr. Daniel Lopez-Acuna, World Health Organization
U.S. AIRWAYS AND TROUBLES WITHIN THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY: David Field, Airline Business magazine
AN EX-OFFICIAL SPEAKS OUT ABOUT HOMELAND SECURITY FAILURE: Mark Hosenball, Newsweek investigative correspondent
WHY CANT WE BETTER PREDICT THE LOCATION AND STRENGTH OF FUTURE EARTHQUAKES?: Dr. John Rundle, seismologist at University of California at Davis
Read the transcript to the 8 p.m. ET show
Updated: 12:23 p.m. ET Dec. 29, 2004
Guest: Alfred Ironside, David Field, Elecia Battle
OLBYWATCH GUIDE: I've noticed an additional pattern in KO's reports that smacks of political bias. Perhaps not as faithful as Henry Hanks' astute Olbermann Apology Equation, but we shall see how durable it remains over time.
I call mine, "OLBYconvergence": To report a story or issue in the news not related to the Bush Administration, and then append to it a story that reflects poorly on Bush's Administration. The relationship of the former (Story A) to the latter (Story B) can be tenuous and even coincidental, and KO doesn't even have to state explicitly that they're related at all. Minimally, one story merely has to immediately follow the other. The intent is that the viewer will perceive that there's an association--preferably causal--between the two. Not only does this 'convergence' link Bush to stuff he's not responsible for, it also artificially amplifies the seriousness of legitimate problems for which the administration is indeed responsible.
So, I'll slap "OLBYconvergence" at the beginning of each applicable example here, and in future posts.
Keith's first utterances about the tsunami were from John Donne's inspiring words on the benevolence and compassion of mankind, followed immediately by an allegation that "experts in Thailand failed to warn of the possible tsunami out of fear of damaging tourism there, in case they were wrong." After showing a powerful amateur video of the devastation, KO returned to this 'failure to warn' story that appeared in one newspaper---the Scotsman, in the UK---and based on unnamed sources who disagreed with on-the-record officials who Keith said had affirmed that "tourism was never a factor in whether or not they issued a warning in Thailand over this past weekend".
Perhaps Keith should have also mentioned that the Scotsman reported that "The [Seismological Bureau of Thailand's Meteorological Department] did issue warnings of the impending tidal wave Sunday", even though it was said that the "threat was underestimated". Frankly, when the government says a tidal wave is coming, that's when I get my kids and my own butt away from the beach, regardless of how much the alert may be downplayed.
This was the second day in a row that Keith reported the 'news' that Arthur C. Clark--who resides in Sri Lanka-- was fine and unaffected by the tsunami. Judging from this, and his obsession with the alleged voting fraud in Ohio, I suspect KO may be an avid science fiction fan.
The first, but certainly not the last, OLBYconvergence to be noted:
OLBYconvergence: Story A was the voter fraud in the Ukraine; Story B was the VoteFraud2004inOhioButNotPennsylvania. KO's been presenting this pair for several days, since the Ukraine story first broke. From a loon's perspective, one might even justify it as "news", given that name-brand loons like Jessie Jackson and Cong. John Conyers have conflated the two stories in various ways.
KO reported that the final preliminary count showed that Viktor Yuschenko defeated incumbent Prime Minister Victor Yanukovich, and that Yanukovich is not conceding defeat and will challenge the results. But it looks like a victory for this particular OLBYconvergence: Expect more of it.
Story B of course was the alleged Ohio vote fraud. But it's both instructive and entertaining to see the segway KO used: After reporting the apparent suicide of Transport Minister Heorhiy Kirpa, KO shifted to Ohio with this: "The Yuschenko man said it is possible Kirpa was, 'coerced to commit suicide.' And in this country, one of the great nonevents of the year, the Ohio recount is complete." Was that smooth or what?!
But that was nothing compared to KO's opener to Story A: "It would have been implausible a year ago today to predict as 2004 ended today mountain earns would be talking about elections in Iraq, Ukraine and Ohio." That was followed by reports of terrorist attacks in Iraq and the urgings that it be postponed (hint: disastrous election to be in Iraq); followed by the aforementioned Ukrainian debacle (hint: disastrous election that was); followed by the Ohio recount results, the impending lawsuits and possible challenge in Congress (hint: disastrous election via OLBYconvergence).
Referring to the aforementioned "great nonevent" that KO keeps reporting on, he suggested why both the loony left and the mainstream couldn't care less about the recount results. Apparently that doesn't include his own audience.
Yet he does, so OlbermannWatch must too. He reported that the associated press "says the president's margin of victory was narrowed by 285 net votes, a total of 118,457." Dog That Didn't Bark: That's still a margin much greater than that of several other states.
KO said next: "Green Party observers say, however, in 86 of the 88 counties, state laws about which precincts were to be recounted by hand were broken." Precincts were broken? That typo needed a rewrite. Anyway, from that quote from the wacky Greens, KO segwayed out with this keeper: "From the serious news to the seriously strange news, ice castles and the men who love them. This is our next edition of "Oddball."
Another OLBYconvergence: Story A: latest items on the financial woes of airlines and flight delays. Story B: failure of the TSA regarding airport security.
KO introduced these stories with a cute "the bad news / worse news" juxtaposition, and used a quote from "the former inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security", saying that the aviation system is "a huge dysfunctional bureaucracy." This former inspector general (later identified as Clark Kent Ervin) was referring solely to airport security problems, and not problems involving misplaced luggage, scheduling delays, labor actions, and such.
Keith revealed that only after a report on Story A, and his interview with David Field of "Airline Business" magazine about Story A. Hence the method of convergence is shown. Olbermann: "Assuming that there is an airline industry left in the new year, will it be safe to fly?"
Keith said that Clark Kent Ervin's term at the Department of Homeland Security "was allowed to expire on the 8th of this month". Yet KO implied that since he's a whistleblower, then he must have been the subject of a purge. What sort of purge? KO Segwayed to the news that Deputy Director Jamie Misik was the next victim of Porter Goss' purge at the CIA, and quoted her saying, "It's not exactly [my] decision" to leave the agency (therefore: "I wuz purged!"). KO allowed the viewer to wonder if Misik was a whistleblower, or just fouled up?
Dog That Didn't Bark: At some point, KO might want to share air time with critics who are tiring of the whiners who fouled up what they were paid to do, and who can't seem to exit the scene quietly, leaving what's left of the integrity of the CIA, and it's supposed legacy of secrecy, intact. Hint: it won't be heard from the likes of Larry Johnson, formerly the Deputy Director in the US State Department's Office of Counter Terrorism, and a COUNTDOWN regular.
Kudos to Keith for resisting a play on the name 'Clark Kent' Ervin, and science fiction hero, Superman.