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    Olbermann Watch, "persecuting" Keith since 2004

    January 13, 2005
    Countdown - Thursday January 13 2005 (8:00-9:00 pm Eastern)

    Read the transcript to the 8 p.m. ET show
    Guest: PENDING


    Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for January 13

    Host: Keith Olbermann

    Scheduled Topics/Guests:



    TRIVIAMANIA-THE POPULARITY OF TRIVA GAMES: Monica Novotny, "Countdown" correspondent

    Read the transcript to the 8 p.m. ET show


    The above were the listed topics for tonight from earlier in the day, which changed considerably by show time. Their lack of certainty about what to air certainly showed tonight.

    KO continued to demonstrate that he is out of his depth with political news tonight, and overall it was a weak show. Yes, he slammed Bush asap over the election in Iraq, and continued to feature the Armstrong Williams story (ever heard of CBS, KO? It's a network news show, anchor named Dan Rather?) and overall lacked energy. It was same old same old with the Bush bashing, but even that ran out of steam after the first two stories and the rest seemed like about sixteen unfunny odd ball stories. A mentally ill teddy bear? Puh leeze!

    The one bright spot was his report on the baseball steroid scandal, where his depth of background showed. He was of course sarcastic, but his sarcasm, relating to the players and the owners never shaking hands unless there is a strike to avoid, hit both sides and helped to illuminate the story, not make you shake your head over what an ideologue this guy is.

    KO's problem with politics is that he is constantly making extremely one sided sarcastic comments on his stories about Bush or Republicans, with no sense that once in a while they might be right about something, or that Democrats may worthy of a few sarcastic comments themselves. It is one way, all the way, and it gives a sense that KO doesn't really understand the context of the stories he is reporting on. Highlighting the Armstrong Williams story while ignoring Dan Rather is but one of many examples.

    His report on the Bush adminstration putting out the word to lower expectations was olbyconverged with his story on Williams, where he said we can raise expectations that Williams will get in even bigger trouble. Get it? Expectations? Yawn. Man was that clever. Is this the spot where we are supposed to laugh?

    Looks like we are moving into an Armstrong Williams centered universe, move over Sun, KO needs a Republican bashing story he can run with until, until, until another Republican makes a mistake he can massage into another week or more of non news blather. The blather on Williams tonight was, will the Senate investigate him? The astounding answer from John Harwood of the WSJ---"I don't know !!!!"

    Memo to Keith from Bill O'Reilly, who has a much better show than you do, and is a lot more balanced. Not every story has to have a sarcastic comment, or a slam on something you deem politically to the right. You can just report the news, if all else fails.

    Which he did finally on a nice piece tonight on the mud slide in La Conchita, with an extensive interview of the father there who went out for ice cream and tragically lost his entire family. A voice over person did almost the whole story, however, and Keith was only on at the beginning, but at least in his seven seconds he didn't try to squeeze in a sarcastic comment on that horrible tragedy like he did two nights ago, or a slam on the Orchard there which has absolutely nothing to do with this story. Maybe that's an idea, cut KO to seven seconds on each story. Air(head) America, here he comes!

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (25) | | View blog reactions


    RE: Jan. 13th broadcast:
    "You can just report the news, if all else fails.
    Which he did finally on a nice piece tonight on the mud slide in La Conchita, with an extensive interview of the father there who went out for ice cream and tragically lost his entire family."

    This piece originally appeared in the morning of the 13th on the "TODAY" show, as many of these in depth, well reported items are, e.g. medical news, lengthy interviews etc., and are recycled on "COUNTDOWN" in the evening.

    As a viewer of both shows on a daily basis, I've always been struck how often they re-use these reports and interviews on "COUNTDOWN".

    Urbancat: Well, that makes it even worse. If you are watching both these daily I hope you have a good supply of Malox, but at least the today piece was neutral journalism.

    I am starting to think more about Olby, when I wrote my original piece yesterday, I just sort of wrote what came to mind as soon as the show was over. Now I think they all seemed a little depressed, it was so low energy, and half the show was apparently rerunning already done pieces.

    My geuss--Olby is not long for MSNBC. Maybe they all got the news yesterday, or the new low numbers were sinking in and they could see the writing on the wall.

    Chris Matthews, here we come. :)

    Napablogger: Fear not! As I tape both of these daily events, when the going gets really rough, as in Ms. Couric's nauseating and constant self aggrandizment and interruption of guests, I just do a fly by. Lessens the agony considerably.

    It seems that after the merciless baiting, the quiet and speedy O'Reilly end run by accepting the Telethon appearance invitation left the "Clock" stuck in mid-tick and everyone on Countdown semi-stunned and fairly speechless by the blindsided backfire.

    The subtly of O'Reilly's handling of the entire situation was just classic and a beautiful thing to watch.

    I'm still in awe at the finesse. Guess that's what seperates "shooting from the hip; consequences be damned" from "shooting, but aiming first with a goal in mind".

    It's not nice for a supposedly "non-partisan" anchor (or whatever the title) to bait people relentlessly based on a personal like or dislike, especially when he may only know a smidgeon of the true story. They really do get fed up and tend to bite back in the most unexpected ways!

    For the life of me, I can't understand why a man w/ so much talent in so many areas, who can be very personable and pleasant, continues down this path of self destruction, always seeming to shoot his own feet out from under himself.

    O'Reilly does put his money where his mouth is.

    I think KO is simply jealous of O'Reilly because O'Reilly is so much more successful, so he tries to take him down a peg whenever he can.

    I think the reason KO is not doing well is that he is out of his league with politics---he simply doesn't have the background and thinks he can broadcast his opinions without knowing what he is talking about. That is why his sports pieces come across so much better.

    I also think he is liberal, and those people don't watch TV news that much, especially cable. The audience is mostly conservative to moderate and older.


    Chris Matthews is a liberal partisan but at least he's upfront about that and he will play hardball with the left as well. Not always...but usually.

    If Keith gets canceled I think Olbermann Watch should turn into Shuster Watch. MSNBC reporter, David Shuster on MSNBC's Hard Blogger has consistently blogged the sort of crap you'd find at Daily Kos or Eschaton. It's all bitterness, tortured logic and leftwings polemics.

    He wrote a recent 'I know you are but what am I' piece that attempted to deflect from the huge tv news scandal, Rathergate, by contrasting the forced resignations of some CBS staffers to the fact that no heads rolled in the Pentagon after the documents they relied on from Iraqi operative Chalabi turned out to be fradulent.

    He's right, there should have been some accountability at the Pentagon but frankly, right now, that's a point best made by someone who does not work in television news. Shuster could have at least pretended to soberly reflect upon what is the biggest network news scandal of a generation. For him to immediately go into finger-pointing deflection mode reveals him to be someone who is more partisan warrior than thoughtful journalist.


    "O'Reilly does put his money where his mouth is." I assume you're referring to his charitable activities. I've not read/heard of these--can you cite a few examples?

    "I think KO is simply jealous of O'Reilly because O'Reilly is so much more successful, so he tries to take him down a peg whenever he can."
    Thanks for stating your thoughts as opinion. While you may be right, it's difficult to say for sure, unless you happen to be a close KO confidant.

    "I think the reason KO is not doing well is that he is out of his league with politics---he simply doesn't have the background...That is why his sports pieces come across so much better."

    You could be right about this, however they're not essentially mutually exclusive. To determine the pertinence of Keith's background re his reporting of news, have you studied his complete resume?

    "I also think he is liberal, and those people don't watch TV news that much, especially cable."

    Again, you could be right. Perhaps Keith belongs to Have you evidence of his membership?

    Is there a study that cites the TV viewing habits of " liberals"? If so, please reference it; I'd love to read it.

    You don't have to "belong to" to be a liberal. That he is of that mindset is not an unreasonable conclusion based on the evidence he has presented for years.

    As for Mr Bill's charitable activities, they are many and several. But one concrete example: all the "Factor Gear" that he hawks at the end of just about every program. A percentage of his profits from this merchandise goes to charity. The percentage is 100%.

    Thanks, JD for the info of BO's charitable activities. I wonder what are among his favorite charities? Any idea? Is it posted anywhere?

    I think that you significantly dilute your arguments when you "lump and label" folks. By categorizing and labelling your opponents, at the least, you marginalize their personal opinions. At worst, you risk being dead wrong.

    Not all liberals are alike. And I submit that not all " liberals" (if there is such an animal) think alike. I've seen no loyalty oath. Liberals argue with one another. If Democrats can't define who they are, why do Republicans feel quailified to do so? You can be a "pro-life" Democrat; many are. Dems can hunt; many do. Dems can be pro civil union but anti-gay marriage. Dems can be anti-gay marriage and also be against ammending the constitution to prohibit it. Many Dems are devout Christians. The fact is, Dem or Repub, many don't buy into the entire party package and I feel that to chronically label and generalize based on political labels is a disservice.

    I listen to progressive radio and get emails from I watch Scarborough, O'Reilly and occasionally listen to Rush. I agree and disagree at times with all of them, but I have to assume that you'd describe me as a " liberal".

    How `bout the TV viewing habits of these so-called " liberals?" You got anything?

    He mentioned several of his charities once; the only one that sticks in my mind is the Wounded Warrior Project.

    Nobody ever claimed that all liberals are alike. And since you don't have the "paper trail" that Olby has, I would hesitate to describe you at all, let alone as a liberal.

    As for their viewing habits, it's just speculation, but since you asked--I would think that PBS, The West Wing (the Sorkin years), and of course Olby, would all do well in that particular demographic.

    >>How `bout the TV viewing habits of these so-called " liberals?" You got anything?>>How `bout the TV viewing habits of these so-called " liberals?" You got anything?

    Democracy Now! interspersed with Mash and Fantasy Island reruns...

    Johnny D. and Paul S.,

    I could be wrong but I think I heard O'Reilly state once that Wounded Warrior was a separate charity and funds raised for such were a "stand alone" total.

    You are correct Johnny D., all of the profits, 100%, from Factor Gear sales go to charities. Sorry to say I do not have a list of these, but will try and inquire as to which.

    Cecelia, I have seen Shuster but didn't realize he was a liberal like Paul--thanks for owning up, Paul, btw. :)

    Was this Chalabi on WMD or on Oil for Food? Or both?

    I would like to go after Matthews because he has his own show, his ratings are going up, and he says so many mean or nutty things to people. He says a lot of really just dumb things it seems like every time I watch him, very biased and easy to fisk. He wasn't like that so much when he first started his show but he has gotten that way more and more. I can't remember a single instance at the moment but if you watch him you know what I mean.

    Paul, Johnny answered the part about his charitable contributions, but what I meant was that he takes responsibility for what he says and believes in, and also admits his mistakes. I have seen that over and over, having watched his show almost daily since his first show.

    My opinion about his lack of depth in politics is based on watching him, it shows quick. What I perceive is that all his sarcasm is directed to Republicans, but it isn't very telling, it doesn't hit his mark. That tells me he really doesn't understand his target. Contrast this with Al Franken, or on the other side the Master herself Ann Coulter. Both of them can be very funny in their slamming of the other side, if you aren't too ideological yourself you can see it. I can't stand Al Franken but I have to admit that he is funny a lot.

    Keith is not funny, yet I think he does have a good sense of humor, it works with the sports stuff. Ergo, his problem is that he is shallow when it comes to politics, he doesn't really understand them like Franken does, so his humor falls flat. He either has to get an education or go back to sports where he belongs. I don't think he is really interested in politics.


    I watch Hardball all the time. I watch it more consistently than Olbermann. Matthew is often a jerk and makes no qualms about being biased. He also has the tendency to make every issue into something about him. I watched him interview Richard Perle last night and he let a few very cheap shots fly. I figure Matthews does this like Olbermann does it (although it's far less usual for Matthews) for professional validation and knee-slapping entertainment value with MSNBC staffers. 'That Chris... he sure doesn't pull punches...hahahaha', etc.

    But Chris will go after liberal folks as well. And he has the one quality that is so unusal in liberals that I always find it utterly redeeming: A working knowledge and general respect for his political opposition's philosophy.

    Tim Russert has that in spades but he is light-years further in his professionalism and talent than Matthews. Russert NEVER plays to the peanut gallery. Olbermann ALWAYS does. Matthews occasionally does.

    Paul, there is no way we could carry on a conversation like this unless we used generalities. Everyone has a pretty fair idea of what a liberal means, and also of what a right wing Christian means. There are many right wing Christians that voted for Bill Clinton, but most of them are against gay marriage and abortion rights.

    The reason I say that liberals and especially far left liberals, which is what I mean by liberals, don't watch as much TV is that the conservative shows are the ones that get the best ratings. If you have a neutral show, like CSPAN's morning call in show, you find that conservative call ins outnumber liberal ones ten to one.

    There was a big brouhaha about that back when, when after a while Brian Lamb divided the phone lines so that there was a Democrat line, a Conservative and Independent line. He took calls in order so that each view would get an equal voice.

    I had a friend down in Santa Barbra who belonged to Friends of Hillary, and they got on it so that more liberals would call in and they told them all what to say. It was funny watching for awhile because every liberal that called in would all say the same thing, like they were reading a script.

    Anyway, since Bush has been President I think the liberals have gotten a lot more energized and more of them are watching TV, but conservatives still outnumber liberals in that area.

    Cecelia, I agree with you about Matthews. But doesn't it seem he always says some off the wall opinion that is really dumb about things? I guess I will have to watch him again now so I can give an example. I actually do watch him ten minutes here or there, I saw the piece about Dan Rather with Tina Brown this week.

    He will go after liberals on occasion, true. So he is certainly better than Matthews, plus his is an opinion show, not a supposed straight news show. Russert is the best.


    Olbermann's shallowness and lack of sophistication concerning politics comes from the fact that he IS a Michael Moore/ lefty. (How's that for a label?...)

    Far from showing the sort of ignorance that comes from being apolitical or unversed, Olbermann's lack of depth is the sort that is representative of the utter ideologue. He doesn't bother with considering or representing both sides of an issue because to Olbermann that's what's wrong with TV today. He likes to characterize debate as being a Springer-like play for ratings.

    Giving any voice to conservatism is a sign of selling out to the rightwing corporate powers-that-be. With Olbermann there really is only one side.

    Cecelia, I agree with everything you said, but I still think he is a political lightweight. He is unversed, so I guess I disagree on that one point, I don't think he has read a history book or recent current events book in years.

    But, you know, I am getting out into psychic realms here which is probably a bad idea. That is the way he comes across to me, anyway.


    Re your contention that " liberals, don't watch as much TV" because "the conservative shows...get the best ratings," could that be due in part to the fact that most conservative TV shows (and Fox) have had longer runs than many of the so-called liberal ones (and MSNBC)? Righties are used to tuning in to Fox for validation; lefties: what, ‘the West Wing?� (BTW, I, for one never watched it). I suspect many are still watching Seinfeld reruns or "Everybody Loves Raymond" but that's merely conjecture.

    Since this site brought attention to Olbermann, I've mentioned KO to many liberal acquaintances and they didn't even know him, so obviously, they weren't watching. Others say they kinda' like the guy but aren't watching regularly. After 9-11, many of us--liberals and conservatives alike--became addicted to CNN and Fox, pretty much in equal doses, to the point of sleep deprivation. As the direct crisis waned, many liberals returned to CNN/PBS and MSM, because Fox was clearly not preaching to our choir and the others at least weren't routinely pissing us off.

    Liberals have never been well organized. We fight like bad neighbors. Rallies in the '60s an 70s, included peace/love "hippies," run-away teeny boppers, folkies, labor unions, bikers, academics, the ACLU, white and black militant groups, the women's movement, the urban league, NAACP, veterans/MIA organizations, the beginnings of the gay rights movement, traditional democrats, anarchists, Hare Krishna’s; you name it. It was a zoo. In my lifetime, the Democratic Party has always been a curious amalgamation of apparently disparate groups who, despite their differences, manage to find enough common ground to project a unified voice. I agree that this election has galvanized many dems and it will be interesting to see how long our interest lasts.

    Sorry for not responding to all of your points, Napa--I tried to address the main ones. Many thanks to all of you who responded so thoughtfully and provided such useful links/info/insights.


    Fair enough on the difference of opinion about Matthews.

    But you shouldn't be cowed by any objections about your delving into what you term as the "psychic realms".

    Analysis of and insight into personality is something that comes with the ability to perceive and to come to reasonable conclusions based on those perceptions.

    Even dogs have a shred of that ability...

    Why should you apologize for it?... :D


    You're right, you haven't said that all liberals are alike or think alike but others who post here have implied as much, mostly while making generalizations.

    I do appreciate the way you frame your points as speculation, for instance, when that's your intention.



    Thanks for your kind words. It's obvious from your input here that you're serious about your opinions. Because they so frequently (but not always) differ from mine, I appreciate your willingness to acknowledge my attempts to understand you and others who post here.

    No problem, Paul.

    I admire you very much.

    Thanks, C. Ditto.