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    Olbermann Watch, "persecuting" Keith since 2004

    February 21, 2005
    Countdown - Monday February 21 2005 (8:00-9:00 P.M. ET)

    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

    #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.

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


    For a guy who quit a tv gig because he didn't want to harp on sexual peccadiloes, Keith sure doesn't have any reluctance to expound on the political significance of Gannon's.

    He also seems irrationally obssessed with O'Reilly's (alleged) extramarital proclivities making frequent references to the allegations of A. Mackris and the settlement paid out by Mr. O'Reilly.

    Given what's been made public of O'Reilly's monitored carrying on (hygienic preferences, etc.) I hardly think Olberman's preoccupation with O'Reilly's alleged sexual indiscretions in the face of his overt piety is particularly "irrational," especially given the slings and barbs that routinely eminate from Mr. Bill. I don't, however, find this cross-network verbal pissing match the least bit appealing, nor do I feel it graces either of them to so eagerly indulge one another in this manner. To cite Olby though, without mention of O'Reilly for such equally sophomoric behavior is hardly what I'd deem "fair and balanced".

    OK, then why don't you make it fair and balanced and cite the slings and barbs from O'Reilly. Since you say they emenate "routinely" it should be easy for you to give us, say, a half-dozen.

    Piety? O'Reilly? You obviously haven't read his books, he was bragging about all his one night stands, his fights, this guy is not pious at all.


    If you insist I spin my wheels, I'll dig a bit to report anecdotes to your satisfaction. But even a casual O'Reilly viewer (as am I) sees him insult and belittle opponents. And If we see it, regulars must witness even more of it. One recent exchange featured an interview in which he chastised Barb Boxer for her abuse of our "troops" in a comment she made as she interrogated Ms. Rice. The interviewee stated that Boxer had said "truth," not "troops" and that O'Reilly was mistaken, but he emphatically corrected her, saying (paraphrasing here) thay when one comes on "The Factor," one must be armed with facts, because he's gonna' call `em on stuff. His is no pedestrian call in show where one can make baseless assertions and get away with it. To anyone unfamiliar with the exact Boxer/Rice exchange, O'Relly appeared right and the interveiwee wrong, but the reverse was true. Yet this was a plank in his argument du jour. "No Spin Zone," my ass. He doesn't throw slings and barbs? Honestly? He bangs on KO's ratings and calls Boxer names. When he does present opponents, he often belittles them in some way or finds a way to minimize their views. Of course, he hates Franken because Franken has exposed so many of his lies, so he delights in referring to Al as a character he played years ago on SNL. Yeah, this guy's fair and balanced, all-right.

    Perhaps "piety" isn't the best word. No, I've not read his books, nor have I read Coulter's. I see enough of them on TV to know I don't want to bathe in their insipid diatribes. But as much as O'Reilly's been proven to stretch the truth, how can you take his braggadocia regarding sexcapades or anything else in his past as true? He lies about being from LEVITTOWN, lies about being a registered independant, lies about being a regular "Joe". "Arrogant," "pompous," "self-righteous," "holier than thou," may be better than "pious" to describe him. But to suggest that he doesn't sustain his inflated self-image at the expense of his political adversaries is delusional. And when he's caught dead-to-rights in a falshood, his retractions are usually benign and disengenuous, offered long after damage has been done. This guy shouldn't be anyone's poster boy. He's a charismatic, shamelessly arrogant, pompous, deceitful, take-no-prisoners self-promoter better siuted to a carnival midway rather than network TV...which, of course is why he's a perfect fit for Fox "News".

    I prefer to think of "fair and balanced" as more than just a brand of rhetoric.

    You know it never fails to amaze me that folks who champion tolerance, privacy, and being non-judgemental, will jettison that golden cargo in a new york minute upon discovery of that most easily ascertained mote: hypocrisy

    As long as it's in an opponent's eye, anyway...

    And in Olbermann's case it continues to be disgusting.

    He can certainly harp on the mote in Bill's eye, but ran like hell to avoid the one sticking out of Clinton's baby-blues.

    You know the guy who did damage control by going on Sixty Minutes to tell America he had learned not to cause pain in his marriage... the guy whose director friend coached him how to effectively say "I never had sex with that woman"...the feminist prez who turned out to be one more workplace predator...

    --The interviewee stated that Boxer had said "truth," not "troops" and that O'Reilly was mistaken--

    Well as it turns out, if you read Boxer's entire harangue, she expressed both sentiments at one time or another, just a few paragraphs apart.

    -- He lies about being from LEVITTOWN --

    Another Franken classic. I suppose when O'Reilly produced the deed to his house that still wasn't enough evidence. I'm wondering why Franken has never issued an apology or a retraction for lying about this levittown business. But if you believe Al Franken over the actual deed to the house, then next time you go shopping don't forget to stop by the Kool-Aid aisle.

    -- lies about being a regular "Joe"--

    Well, that's certainly a proven "lie" isn't it. After all, he isn't named "Joseph".

    --He bangs on KO's ratings--

    Here at least you manage to address my point. Despite the Olbermann Obsession with O'Reilly (which some have suggested has a wee bit of a homo-erotic flavor to it), despite Olby's repeated slams on O'Reilly, I can't think of a single time when Mr Bill has even mentioned KO's name on The O'Reilly Factor. On a couple of occasions Bill has responded to Olby--such as Olby's proven lie about the Great Punting Controversy--but never in a personal way, not using his name, just pointing out the proven fact that by every audience measure Countdown is a miserable failure.

    This, of course, was my point all along. O'Reilly doesn't start fights with Olby. It's all Olby's doing, his monomaniacal obsession with Bill O'Reilly. O'Reilly's responses have been above-the-fray and professional.

    Right on, Johnny. To appreciate the difference between how O'Reilly regards Olbermann and vice versa, one only need recall the "beam me up" meltdown that Olbermann displayed in a recent Countdown segment. Olbermann's strained efforts to find a chink in O'Reilly's armour over matters that are of no consequence and that nobody cares about, bespeak a man who is unhinged and desperate for attention.

    I don't watch O'Reilly regularly, to say the least, but the times I have watched, it strikes me that during his e-mail segment that he responds to attacks from all sides of the political spectrum. I suppose that one of the reasons he does is this to appear to be in the middle.

    Regardless of why, it's a professional, less personal, and more balanced way of answering critics.

    Blogged on Powerline today was one of those anti-capitalist, filthy languaged, paranoid screed that seem to come from even the most educated of folks on the left. I know Powerline gets a good many of these rants but I haven't seen them bother to reveal one of them on their blog before.

    I'm sure too our own beloved philanthropist and bon vivant, Bob Cox, is the recipient of quite a lot of hate mail (and not all of it from me) that he doesn't bother sharing.

    So reading Keith's blog publishing yet another batch of badly written and illogical e-mail from some Dobson fans, it strikes me that this is the cheapest of tactics.

    Olbermann displays one letter by a paranoid lefty lunatic but then says.... but it's the Dobsonites who take the cake.

    Oh come on. How many of we political junkies believe that anyone else would equate bad grammar and misspellings with the all too familiar paranoid rants of folks, both right and left, that make you uncomfortable even when these folks are agreeing with you.

    Olbermann may find the Dobsonites homophobic but any veteran internet maven knows it's the garden-variety political junkies who often take the fruit..cake....

    Bloggermann's Dobson letter blog is so selectively critical and so disingenuous. It's one more cheap and easy shot from an nasty little partisan.

    I have watched O'Reilly religiously for years, now I only see him maybe 2-3 nights a week, still a lot. I have read the Ihateoreilly site and others who accuse him of lying and I have never seen any of the things they accuse him of lying about hold up.

    What is it with all these accusations of lying anyway? This all started to me with Clinton getting nailed big time as a liar, the liberals were pissed and now they accuse everyone of lying, it appears to get even or revenge or something.

    Sometimes people lie but I don't see it as such a big problem. Even Dan Rather didn't lie a whole lot, the forged documents were an isolated incident in the overall scheme of things. The problem with bias isn't what you say, it is what you don't say.

    I don't understand why it isn't enough to just disagree with someone, rather than expend all this energy trying to make up lies they tell. I have seen more lying by those making the accusation than by the accuser, Franken is a good case in point, both with O'Reilly and with Coulter.

    I like O'Reilly a lot even though he can be obtuse and always has a knows better, in your face attitude. Most of the people he treats that way deserve it, including Barbara Boxer. Talk about arrogant!

    O'Reilly doesn't care what he says and doesn't care who it is. The first time he interviewed Bush he slammed him, it really pissed me off because he was saying things I thought were wrong, but O'Reilly has proven over and over again that he has, not a regular Joe but a working class attitude, which he does, and he honestly believed what he was saying about Bush.

    He agrees with the construction guys down the street and acts like one, including whistling at the ladies and having fun throwing a punch or two or three hundred here and there.

    What you see is what you get with O'Reilly, he has championed liberal causes and slammed Republicans all over the place but the liberals all ignore that because they are hyper sensitive to the way he belittles them as well, at least compared to the Republicans. I can tell you Jeb Bush is not fond of him, over the Rilla Wilson story which O'Reilly hammered on in the two weeks before Bush's second election for Governor in Florida.

    We need more people who are not ideological and will get in the face of the powerful and ask them the tough questions that need to be asked. Notice who won't come on his show. To his credit, GW Bush did, twice. Note Jeb will not. Also note Gore, Hillary won't talk to the press at all in an unstructured way and hardly in any way, Kerry won't.