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    Olbermann Watch, "persecuting" Keith since 2004

    February 7, 2005
    Countdown - February 7, 2005 ( 8:00-9:00 pm ET )

    'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Feb. 7

    Host: Keith Olbermann

    Guests: John Dean, Peter Riegert, Jerry Della Femina

    Read the transcript to the 8 p.m. ET show
    Updated: Updated: 3:58 p.m. ET Feb. 8, 2005

    OLBYWATCH GUIDE:The most important story of the day, according to Olby, is Watergate and the mysterious Deep Throat. The news: we don't know who he is. John Dean came on (relentlessly promo'd over the course of today as "the man who knows") and, surprisingly enough, didn't know who Deep Throat is, other than that he has heard hearsay that DT is "ill":

    DEAN: I just thought, let's keep it stirred's the perfect example of the epitome of an anonymous source....We won't know until that final moment comes.

    After flogging this non-story relentlessly for 13 minutes ("we could talk about this for another 17 hours", Keith gushed to convicted felon Dean) he did see fit to use an OlbyConvergence segue to a few words about the Pope's health. Olby showed his good taste by comparing the Pope's blessing to an Ashlee Simpson lip-sync job.

    #4: Emergency room treatment in 33 minutes. Thanks to the overwhelming importance of the first story, this segment ran barely three minutes. Teasers included another picture of Bill O'Reilly (the first was in the show opening).

    #3: The judge who was pulled over for drunk driving. By this point, the "news hour" is starting to resemble a random collection of those odd little stories that newspapers used to put at the bottom of the page to fill column space. Unmentioned by KO (but pointed out to us by commenter Paul S) is that this Judge just happens to be a Democrat--the only Democrat on the Ohio Supreme Court. I'm sure the omission of this fact was just an oversight. Somehow this gets morphed into a story on half-naked female prison guards in Iraq. Keith made sure the photos stayed up on the screen as the camera slowly zoomed in.

    Next came a recycled NBC report about the President's budget and a few words about Rice's trip. Obviously none of this deserved all the attention given to a truly monumental news item: Deep Throat Is Still Unknown. And then:

    OLBERMANN: Speaking of messes, Bill O'Reilly has another one, all of his own making again. Super-hyperbole at the Super Bowl.

    Yes, more videos of O'Reilly. Followed by yet another tease:

    OLBERMANN: The Super Bowl unplugged, from Bill O'Reilly's padded sports resume to the last-minute yanking of a tv commercial.

    KO's obsession is getting just a bit, well, creepy. When Olby moves into a new neighborhood, does some alternate version of Megan's Law come into play?

    #2: Interview on the death of actor John Vernon. Followed by "Keeping Tabs", where Olby finally got to talk about Bill O'Reilly, whom he called the "Factor fiction host". Mr Bill said in the Super Bowl program that he won the national punting title for his division as a senior. But Keith is a hard-hitting investigative reporter (except for vote fraud outside of Ohio) and he called Marist college to get to the bottom of this scandal. The big scoop? At that time, Marist wasn't playing in the NCAA, but in the National Club Football Association. And what's more, record keeping could be "haphazard".

    So Olby is saying what exactly? O'Reilly didn't win the punting title? No, he didn't say that. So what precisely is the "mess" that KO hammered interminably throughout the longest sixty minutes in cable news? Does it exist anywhere other than in Keith's tortured subconscious? Just what exactly is Olby's point? Please use the comments feature to explain just how this latest example of Olbermann's Obsession amounts to anything other than the square root of zero.

    #1: The Super Bowl ad. It's hard to think straight after sitting through all this but I think this is the only segment of the show without some reference to Bill O'Reilly.

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (11) | | View blog reactions



    #3: "The judge who was pulled over for drunk driving. By this point, the "news hour" is starting to resemble a random collection of those odd little stories that newspapers used to put at the bottom of the page to fill column space."

    Resnick is the only Democratic Supreme Court Justice in Ohio. It's been a front page story in Ohio ever since it occurred, with the video being run as if looped. She had also been victim of a vicious smear campaign by a PAC in 2000 that was found to be illegal and whose contibutors names, (mostly big corporations/Chambers of Commerce) were just released after years of legal wrangling.

    Although one wouldn't expect you to know all of this, this story is hardly as you described--a quick Google search "Ohio Justice Drunk Driving" bears this out.

    Also, for those of you who say KO never shows Dems in a bad light, here's one. Although obscure to many of you, it's a big deal in these parts.

    Also, I agree with your inferrence that the O'Reilly bit scoop underwhelming. O'Reilly routinely spins much grander yarns than this. Hardly worth a mention.

    "...O'Reilly scoop was underwhelming..." sorry.

    Paul, did Olbermann report that this judge is a Democrat? I checked the tivo, and Olbermann apparently didn't agree with you (and me) that this particular bit of info was relevant. No mention at all of her party affiliation. Curious.

    I mentioned Resnick's politics more to illustrate who she is and how that may relate to KO's story choice (my point being that this appears to have become a national story rather than small-time, bottom-page fodder) rather than to state that her party affiliation is actually relevant to her being arrested for DUI. His failure to mention her party affiliation means that he behaved like the other media sources I sampled, about half of which left it out--a trend that may break pretty much across party lines. Given the nature of this story, however, I feel a case can be made for not mentioning party affiliation. It's of interest--especially in Ohio--but not really material to her DUI arrest.

    She was clearly too sauced to drive and her initial denial is consistent with any alkie who's caught in the act. We expect our public officers to be above this and it's indeed disappointing when they fail us. She admitted her alcoholism and her guilt and is taking responsibility for this, her first such offense. Luckily, this incident claimed no casualties (except, of course, Resnick).

    Here in Ohio, many self-righteous repubs are toasting/castigating her as the primarily conservative local media milks Resnick's bad decision and arrest for all it's worth. The video is embarrassing and in it, she's clearly mortified. What do you think of the odds for her re-election for a 4th (final) term? I doubt she'll run. She'll be poison.

    I don't have a problem with the way Olby reported it, which may again illustrate his political leanings, but then again, I'm not looking for reasons to criticize KO. His mentioning Ohio's only state-wide office-holding Democrat being embroiled in a scandal, with or without reference to her affiliation is more than some national network anchors were willing to do.

    I do feel that as KO "inquisitors" I suggest that you may have bigger fish to fry than KO's take on Resnick. (And in saying this, I'm not suggesting that that this was YOUR intention, JD).

    Only he didn't mention that Ohio's only statewide Democrat was in a scandal. He mentioned that a Judge--party affiliation censored--was in a scandal. Do you really believe that if this had been a Republican Judge--in Ohio No Less!--Olby wouldn't have found a way to mention that fact, and drag in Ken Blackwell too?

    I have seen this story reported on the other cable news stations; I don't recall their mentioning her affiliation either, but then again those reporters don't have KO's history of carrying water for the Democratic Underground.

    Of course we have bigger fish to fry than just one story on one Countdown. But it's emblematic that KO gives more attention to this item than, say, Condoleeza Rice's 8-nation trip. In fact, he gave more time to the uber-hyped O'Reilly "mess" (that exists only in Olby's own subconscious insecurity) than to the Secretary of State's first overseas tour. It shows this backwards news hour is less like McNeil/Lehrer and more like The Daily Show.

    Hey, this instance, I actually agree with you on all counts (except for the DEGREE of your contentions and the Blackwell reference, which I'll just chalk up to humor).

    Like you, I noticed that many outlets who reported the scandal also left out Resnick's political affiliation, which was fine with me. Those who chose to do otherwise, merely showed their agendas, which should be known to regular viewers and shouldn't bother Resnick--one in public life should be ready for such indictments, especially in the face of scandal.

    No doubt, Condy's travels were a bigger story and as much as I detest O'Reilly, KO's rag on him, was at best, petty and labored. I hate it when accusers display the very behavior they openly ctiticize.

    Re McNeil/Lehrer v. Daily show, I'm not certain KO or MSNBC would argue this. He does try to mix sarcasm, gags, absurdities/oddities, etc. v. straight news, which makes him an easy target for such comparisons.

    I just think what it is just the sort of story that the media loves and Olbermann certainly can't resist. The point JD is making is that with Olbermann we must also factor in whether the story is about someone who is or really is not a liberal or conservative ideological or political player, when we consider his interest/enjoyment ratio.

    Who could watch this? It's embarrassing and humiliating for the person who's gotten herself in the predicament. No matter how much you're against drunk driving, most people who aren't of Olbermann's gleeful snark factor find the whole thing cringe-inducing and hope this woman gets the help she needs.

    I'd like to think you're right; I admire and agree with your sentiments but especially these days, many get positively giddy when an opponent errs so badly--regardless of the relative merits of the individual. The police video made my skin crawl. She knew she was "kooshed". Thank God they picked her up and no one was hurt. As much as I dislike Ken Blackell, I truly wouldn't rejoice if something similar happened to him (other than being thankful for its political ramifications). I'd prefer to see him leave public office due to something less humiliating.

    It is curious that given KO's politics and the other news he ignored to report this, why he did so? I wonder if it was in an effort to convince critics that he's "fair"? If that were the case, one would think he'd have mentioned her party.

    Curious indeed.

    Coming in late, so I hope no one said this already, I gave a 'cursury' review of all the comments. I think the point here is this: There is no doubt in my mind KO would have been referred to as the 'Republican' judge had she been republican.

    There is no doubt in my mind KO would referred to her as the 'Republican' judge had she been republican.