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Countdown with Keith Olbermann for Wednesday
Host: Keith Olbermann
Read the transcript to the 8 p.m. ET show
Updated: 5:45 pm Feb. 23
Guests: Wayne Slater, Paul Rothstein, Jack Hanna
OLBYWATCH GUIDE: #5 story in the backwards news hour: the Bush tapes. And who better to drag in to comment on them than Wayne Slater, author of Bush's Brain. (There's that phrase again!) KO seemed most interested in the ethics of making secret recordings. Perhaps it was the novelty value (to KO) of ethics that attracted Olby's interest. Or maybe it was his disappointment that the contents of the tapes revealed no embarrassing smoking guns for the Bush-haters who are his main constituency.
So just six minutes in, a double OlbyConvergence: first from Bush tapes to Swift Boat vets. KO picked up the New York Times "news" that USA Next has hired consultants to build support for the Bush Social Security proposals. The "news" here is that these are the same consultants the Swift Boat vets hired. Stop the presses.
Next we OlbyConverge to "Jeff Gannon". KO proved himself incapable of reading a direct quote from the New York Times, since the onscreen text differed from his words. But hey, it was a chance to run yet again that montage of Jeff Gannon questions, that so closely tracks the research done by Media Matters. KO spent more time rerunning Gannon clips than he did on excerpts from the Bush tapes.
In comes the hirsute Paul Rothstein, everyone's favorite apologist for the left, to ponder whether Gannon has a viable lawsuit against anyone (despite the fact that no such suit has been drawn up, let alone filed). Counselor Rothstein opined that extraneous personal attacks on Gannon might well be a fruitful ground for a lawsuit, but Olby quickly countered by suggesting it was Gannon's fault that this stuff was out there in the first place. (The legal principle known as...OK, it's not a legal principle at all, just an Olbyism.) He didn't give Rothstein a chance to analyze his insights.
[Isn't American Idol on tonight?]
#4: Because of the important news that Jeff Gannon hasn't filed a lawsuit, we didn't get to the next big story until nearly twenty minutes in. Recycled NBC News weather stories. Kind of like Keith sitting on the bench while someone else is up at bat. He puts up with it because he knows he will have a chance to take a swing shortly.
[There's still over a half hour to go until tonight's 24?]
After an all-too-short commercial break, "Oddball" (The Laughing Stagehand was very aggressively miked tonight), the Top 3 Newsmakers (someone slipped up; Mr Bill O'Reilly wasn't mentioned), and another soothing block of paid advertising, the viewer is finally dragged, kicking and screaming, to:
#3: Bush overseas, which Olby framed as proof that Bush critics were right all along--W would have to come crawling to the Europeans he dissed earlier. An NBC dispatch from David Gregory was a little more even-handed than that in its reportage. After mentioning that Hillary Clinton said the insurgents were losing, Olby did a run-down of recent attacks in Iraq. He swerved into the Korea story, reporting that Kim Jong Il has said he's willing to return to 6-party talks (the very course that the President has insisted upon, though KO didn't note that).
[How much longer? Is it time for Medium yet? At this rate, it will never be ten o'clock.]
#2: Hunter S. Thompson. John Raitt. Sandra Dee. The flying grandpa. Paris Hilton.
#1: More hard news. Waitresses who lose weight. A gorilla lawsuit. Paper thrown at the camera.
Finally, it's 9:00 pm Eastern. 24 is starting. The Jack Bauer Power Hour will be a breath of fresh air. But after an hour of Olby, a C-Span hearing on projected hoe-handle distribution for fiscal year 2005-2006 would be a welcome improvement.