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"COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN" (8:00-9:00 P.M. ET)
Host: Keith Olbermann
MICHAEL JACKSON OPENING STATEMENTS: Harvey Levin, host, creator and executive producer of "Celebrity Justice"
BTK SERIAL KILLER CONFESSES TO SIX CRIMES: Clint Van Zandt, former FBI profiler
Read the transcript to the 8 p.m. ET show
Updated: March 4 1:10 p.m.
OLBYWATCH GUIDE: KO led off the program with the most important hard news story of the day: Michael Jackson. "Your tax dollars in action", sneered Olby, as if he didn't see what's so bad about a grown man's fascination with little boys. After the chitchat with Harvey Levin, the topic swerved to the BTK killer. It was amusing to hear Olby's description of the accused. As he rattled off various facets of the suspect's persona, KO's voice jumped up several tones to emphasize the phrase "a church leader". More bloviating, this time with Cliff Van Zandt.
#4: Bush's strategy to sell his Social Security program isn't working. And what's more, it's dishonest: Bush claims there's a 6-year gap in life expectancy between blacks and whites. But the LA Times says no, it's only a two-year difference, if you don't count things like crime-related deaths. (Perhaps if we don't include things like illness and old age the numbers will be even more amazing!)
The real Olby fully emerged in an item about "propagandist" Ann Coulter.
Crediting no outside source, he revealed that Coulter referred to Helen "Thompson" (yes, that's what he said) as "that old Arab" on her website, but the version of that column sent to newspapers read "that dyspeptic old Helen Thomas". Hey, where else are you going to get the hot scoop on big news like this? Possibly from the left-blog Crooks and Liars, or Olby's comrades at Media Matters, both of whom by some amazing coincidence happen to have flogged this story just today.
After Oddball and the Top 3 Newsmakers (strangely absent any mentions of Bill O'Reilly or Jeff Gannon--but maybe the Coulter bit was supposed to compensate), #3 brought us the big explosion in Iraq. After a recycled NBC report, reliable Roger Cressey talked about the Bin Laden-Zarqawi connection, or rather Olby's suspicions about whether it's real. Then KO made note of some vaguely critical remark Colin Powell made about Rumsfeld. The resignation of the Syrian government in Lebanon, which was big news earning large blocks of live coverage this morning, got a few sentences. The Pope's health was an afterthought.
#2: An interesting Lisa Meyers report on how jailed terorrists communicated with their followers. It's not surprising that the most interesting and significant real news was a) recycled from NBC, and b) not reported by Olby.
Finally #1: An Oscar wrap-up with the smirking Michael Musto of the Village Voice. Musto said Chris Rock will be back because he got "good ratings" (he didn't mention they were 6% below last year), although he said Rock made Letterman look good.
So endeth another backwards news hour. Sitting through this once a week, in the words of a great President, is "hard work".