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    Olbermann Watch, "persecuting" Keith since 2004


    February 2, 2005
    Olbermann, the Obfuscator

    As Olbermann continues to fan the flames and muddy the waters over the SpongeBob controversy (see Countdown, Feb. 1), countervailing efforts persist to clear up the confusion. The hard-hitting Mullenax News weighed in by explicitly describing the hard-edge gay agenda of the We Are Family Foundation, which extended so drastically beyond the benign sounding theme of "tolerance" that it prompted attempts to have it concealed.

    Olbermann is once again mentioned as Instigator-in-Chief of obfuscation among those in the media:

    Predictably, some media members also reported that Dobson was accusing the video of having a homosexual agenda. For example, MSNBC.com's Keith Olbermann, sarcastically said (in the Jan 20th Countdown With Keith Olbermann) that "if the folks from Focus on the Family are right, it could make you, your children or maybe your furniture gay. Or tolerant." Later, Olbermann quoted Mark Barondess, the lawyer for the We Are Family Foundation, who said that any critics of the video "need medication." Olbermann quickly added: "We here found it hard to argue with him."

    Perhaps the greatest disservice a journalist can do is intentionally misrepresent and slant a story. In the second week of this controversy, Olbermann finally acknowledged Dobson's claim that he never said the cartoon character is gay. But still doesn't concede the fact that Dobson felt the video itself was harmless to children. More cynical than that is KO's entrenchment that the differences center on "tolerance vs. intolerance"; "diversity vs. hate". It does not, and he knows it.


    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (17) | | View blog reactions

    17 Comments

    I think the piece that Olbermann did with the Church of Christ minister was the first bit of real discussion he's done about the tolerance video thing. I enjoyed it.

    He actually asked the minister a question about parents having the right to instill their own values in their children. Naturally it was in the context of not condemning or hurting gays rather than not agreeing with the concept that homosexuality is immutable and therefore value neutral. But until this piece the whole Countdown focus has been 'Dobson and followers suck!"

    Of course that sort of college-age insight... plays well with his chief audience but it's that atmosphere of snide insider/inside joke coolness that's going to end up taking his numbers down further.

    It's true that Dobson never said SpongeBob was gay. KO's admitied this, yet you continue to complain, even though he's softened his initial stance considerably.

    Dobson (Gary Krasner called him a "wacko")
    and his cronies take issue with the "We Are Family Foundation's" Tolerance Pledge, alleging a covert agenda to influence young, impressionable minds to accept among others, those whose "sexual identity or other characteristics" differ from theirs. The pledge follows:

    Tolerance is a personal decision that comes from a belief that every person is a treasure. I believe that America's diversity is its strength. I also recognize that ignorance, insensitivity and bigotry can turn that diversity into a source of prejudice and discrimination.

    (As damning as this is, it gets worse.)

    To help keep diversity a wellspring of strength and make America a better place for all, I pledge to have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity (Oh, oh--these are fightin' words) or other characteristics are different from my own.

    (http://www.wearefamilyfoundation.org/tolerance_pledge.asp)

    Dobson also alleges a bunch of linked gay stuff on the WAFF site (or was it tolerance.org? I don't recall) that's been suspiciously/conveniently removed since all this flak arose.

    Mr. Krasner says that KO continues to forward the notion that "the differences center on "tolerance vs. intolerance"; "diversity vs. hate," adding "It does not, and he knows it."
    Gary, are these KO's exact words? (Forgive me for not checking--I've tried, but since you've quoted him, I assume you were looking at a transcript or recording.) If so, I wonder how it is that you know what KO knows when you say ("...and he knows it.")?

    I think the crux of this controversy is that many fundy parents may not understand homosexuality and feel it's a sin. Many think one can "catch" it like a virus, or that one "turns" gay as a result of some exposure to homosexuality, a process that can be reversed with some diligent religious or biblical reprogramming. They think that if they can protect their children from it, they'll never become gay. They also subscribe to the notion (as does Dobson) that there's a liberal conspiracy to subvert their very Christianity by exposing their children at an early age to "liberal" concepts like homosexuality (here shrouded by the veil of "tolerance") and that by taking this tolerance pledge, they may become more receptive to programming by unholy "liberal" groups, including gays. They also seem to feel that gays are actively trying recruit new gays by turning straight people into homosexuals. Similar suspicions about black males were common in the post Civil War south and continued for decades...blacks were out to have sex with white women (with or without consent), a claim that substantiated or not, led to the lynchings of many a young southern blacks. Now, I know you're gonna' go ballistic with my use of this comparison, so go ahead. Hate is hate, prejudice is prejudice. I see little difference between these two situations. Misunderstanding, suspicion, fear and prejudice underly both.

    Many who accept the stereotypes and fear gays have little or no exposure to them. I do, and I can tell you that gays aren't recruiting. If they were, I could have "become gay" several times. They're quite content to court their own kind. You can't catch or turn "gay" (although public scorn has created a climate where many gays choose to deny or hide their sexuality). And here's another bulletin--it's not that fun to be gay! They get ridiculed in public, they get cursed. They get excluded. They get assaulted. They get killed, just for being gay. School kids are openly dissed, harassed and beaten for being suspected homosexuals. Adult gays are refused survivor's and other basic rights heterosexuals take for granted. And now, repubs want the Constitution to state gays they have no right have a loving relationship with a spouse. AS IF our Constitution is the Bible.

    You say hate's not at the root of this? Prove it. I say it's hate, suspicion, distrust, prejudice and more. I applaud the efforts of anyone who wants to promote tolerance among our young people and impugn those who, hiding behind the mask of morality, seek to continue to openly persecute homosexuals. Hey...the fundies say it's a sin. If they're right, the "queers" will "get theirs" when they must answer to St. Peter, for their "gayness," right? So why all the fuss? Let's just relax and love one another. My gay friends are very considerate, thoughtful and throw great parties!

    If either of my sons were to tell me they were gay, I'd be sad, because it's not an easy life. But I'd want them to be happy. I'd support them and their partners. I'd be proud of their accomplishments and encourage them through their failures, but I wouldn't consider their sexual preference to be among the latter. Although I believe God can forgive them, what comes of it in the afterlife is not my concern. Nor, I feel, should it be the concern of the fundies.

    Actually, the percentage of the population that is strictly homosexual as opposed to bisexual is very small. Most people who have had same sex sexual encounters enjoy straight sex as well.

    Several years ago, here in Atlanta, the police set up a sting operation in a suburban local park that was the territory of male prostitutes. They arrested the hookers and the johns and a local newspaper was hideous enough to publish the names of the johns. They were nearly all married men.

    I think the problem that has happened in our culture, when we're talking about sexuality is that instead of having a line with homosexuality on one end and heterosexuality on the other, and humans falling into any range in between, we've made each pole a species unto itself.

    Fundamentalists would tell you that it's not the temptation, whether for gay sex or straight sex outside of marriage, that is the sin, it's when it turns to lust and is acted upon. And it's the cultural acceptance of sex outside of marriage-- a societal covenant implicitly connected to procreation--- or gay sex, that fundamentalists and evangelicals feel is against God's law.

    I think Dobsonites would tell you that having homosexual desires is not wrong in itself, but acting upon them is. And that this temptation is not strictly the "cross to bear" of one particular species, but like any other sin, one in which any one of us could encounter.

    I think I've channeled fundamentalists enough. I appreciate the discussion, Paul.

    Paul,

    I never called Dobson a "wacko"

    The nondescriptive use of "tolerance" in the pledge is worrisome (children might think tolerance of lying or laziness is fine). And the standalone term "diversity". We are a nation of murders, muggers and illegal aliens etc etc. That's part of our greatness too?!

    And "diversity of beliefs"? Try that one on the college professors who treat conservative opinionators with contempt. Leave the children alone. At least I'm consistent. I'm writing an article on why children should not have to say the pledge of allegiance. they should only pledge to brish their teeth after eating and wait till they're older to make pledges regarding concepts involving greater nuances than that. (ie--how does a child deal with concepts of political dissent and a pledge of allegiance, etc)

    Olby had indeed distilled this issue to those simple catch phrases. read my last Countdown entry, where he's quoted.

    Spare us the sermon on homosexuals, and your presumption to understand the basis of their antipathy.

    Thanks for supplying your bonofides as a "friend of gay people". Since 1986 I've worked with gays in the HIV dissident movement. I also have friends who are gay. It doesn't affect my views and my observations: My life experience has showed me that issues involving culture, sex and sexual preference and religion are seen as VERY different than ethnicity, race, gender equality, or class. Thus imposing laws and pledges (on other people's children) on the former will not necessarily bring forth the same outcomes as when they were applied to the latter. Might even have counter productive effects.

    Please stop misrepresenting and slanting the arguments in this debate. We can write laws to stop some acts of descrimination against gays. But I don't know what it will take to make some people alter their opinions about the sexual practice itself. And the fundies conflate the two because the people behind all this include the gay orgs with some extreme agendas.

    I beg your pardon, Gary. You're right...you didn't call Dobson a "wacko." You called him a "wacko Christian conservative."

    Jan 20th in your OW post, you wrote:

    "KO capped off this particularly unremarkable show by aiming at a couple of easy targets: the recent exploits of socialite Paris Hilton, followed by wacko Christian conservative Dr. Dobson (from the group, "Focus On The Family")..."

    My apologies.

    I'll read through the rest of your note after supper.

    Paul

    You posess the annoying attributes of being a crank, and being technically correct in this case. Technically, because my intent wasn't to convey that I thought he was a wacko, but rather that he was viewed as such by KO, which was why I thought KO thought Hilton and Dobson were easy targets.

    So technically I did write it, but I'd forgotten I'd written it because my opinions about dobson were:

    1--initially influenced by believing Keith, who said Dobson called a cartoon character gay. So I didn't feel restrained by using the wacko label.

    2--my opinions of Dobson are still developing, as I learn what he actually did and did not say, no thanks to Keith.

    The only reason Dobson is a target is because he's politically active in the Republican party.

    How many Democratic ministers believe gay sex is sinful?

    Again, if Dobson was just one more man of cloth, among thousands in Christianity's past and present, who is preaching against the perils of johnny barley corn, nicotine, and the temptations of Eve (or Steve...) he wouldn't rate a nod.

    A very similar irony likely holds true for Rev Katherine Hawker's church. It would be interesting to see how the "tolerance" held out if her church had an influx of men who had other sorts of "alternative lifestyles". Men of...say... the Promise Keeper mold-- believing and championing men to take a dominate role in their households. Or say...men who lived with several subservent female sexual partners...Mormon-style but without breaking the law.

    I think Rev Hawker would quickly be directing them elsewhere.

    I still haven't finished your previous post, but must respond to this one while I'm still pissed.

    Sorry I read what you wrote rather than what you meant. I'll try to read more intuitively in the future.

    In less than a week, in just a couple of posts you've called me pedantic, knuckleheaded, a world-class putz and a crank, but I'm sure those are the least of my faults. Thanks for your "analysis." My turn.

    You offer opinion as fact and are quick to generalize but less enamored of backing up your contentions. When challenged, rather than substantiating your positions, you get defensive and combative, insulting opponents in an effort to marginalize their opinions. You're strongly opinionated, confident that you're right and have a hard time admitting being wrong. You're judgmental, decisive, passionate, and have a short fuse.

    So, what does this tell me? Your selective recall suggests that you could be a swell Attorney General. But the rest of your profile indicates that you possess the requisite skills to be president!

    Sorry, C--you beat me. My post is aimed at Gary.

    Well, I know you're getting used to hearing this from me, but you're wrong Paul.

    I don't think Gary's name-calling denotes confidence.

    Paul,

    Your picayune nature is your curse, and not any supposed misguided attempt to read what I meant to write. But enough about you, let's talk about me.

    I don't hide behind the cowardly journalistic method of venturing an opinion. I don't like to say "there are those who feel....". Or "critics say that....". I prefer to be direct. You're just not usd to it.

    I was polite to you at first. I gave you the benefit of the doubt, even tho I read how you wasted other people's time with your rants. I responded to your demand for evidence. i didn't think you actually wanted data and demographics numbers. You picked the wrong venue for that. I offered opinion based upon something that was generally recognized as true. But here's always a few nut balls out there who believe that the 9-11 attacks were planned by Bush, and stuff like that.

    C,

    How many Democratic ministers believe gay sex is sinful?

    -->I don't know, but a better question may be how many Democratic ministers are there?

    Again, if Dobson was just one more man of cloth, among thousands in Christianity's past and present, who is preaching against the perils of johnny barley corn, nicotine, and the temptations of Eve (or Steve...) he wouldn't rate a nod.

    --> Anyone preaching morality on a national stage is subject to scrutiny. Falwell, Pat Robertson, Earnest Angsley, the Pope; and we love to see them falter: Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker.

    -p

    I'm not interested in tossing turds at one another, Gary. The readers can judge for themselves. If they agree with your assessment of me, that's dandy.

    And C, I think that's the first time you've told me I'm wrong...(TODAY!)

    At least I know you both care.

    Gary,
    Finally getting to your previous post...

    YOU: The nondescriptive use of "tolerance" in the pledge is worrisome
    ME: Again, The Pledge-Tolerance is a personal decision that comes from a belief that every person is a treasure. NONDESCRIPT? The phrase "Every person is a treasure" seems descriptive enough.

    YOU: Children might think tolerance of lying or laziness is fine.
    ME: This program is intended to be facilitated by elementary educators in a classroom environment. Do you think this is what teachers will impart?

    YOU: And the standalone term "diversity". We are a nation of murders, muggers and illegal aliens etc etc. That's part of our greatness too?!
    ME: I REPEAT: This program is intended to be facilitated by educators in a classroom environment. No, I don't think this will be their message.

    YOU: Try that one on the college professors who treat conservative opinionators with contempt.
    ME: College kids won't be taking this pledge, nor will college professors facilitate it. Did you explore the URL I provided?

    YOU: Leave the children alone.
    ME: Elementary and middle school educators may differ with you on this. Prejudice is often learned at home. To counter it, one should start early. This has been proven effective with anti-drug programs like D.A.R.E.

    YOU: Spare us the sermon on homosexuals, and your presumption to understand the basis of their antipathy.
    ME: I presume nothing here and don't mean to preach. And don't belittle my experiences. It's just plain rude.

    YOU: My life experience has showed me that issues involving culture, sex and sexual preference and religion are seen as VERY different than ethnicity, race, gender equality, or class.
    ME: And since your life experience has shown you this, it's valid across the board. You must have lead an exciting life and have an extremely wide sample. Your decry my experiences but cite yours. Interesting.

    YOU: Thus imposing laws and pledges (on other people's children) on the former will not necessarily bring forth the same outcomes as when they were applied to the latter. Might even have counter productive effects.
    ME: I gotta admit, Gary...I've read this several times and I don't know what the heck you're trying to say. Sorry.

    YOU: I don't know what it will take to make some people alter their opinions about the sexual practice itself.
    ME: I don't know either, but is singling them out as deviant/unsavory/criminal is the answer?

    YOU: And the fundies conflate the two because the people behind all this include the gay orgs with some extreme agendas.
    ME: AS IF there are no fundies orgs involved who have extreme anti-gay agendas. In saying this I don't mean to legitimize either. There are wing nuts on both sides of this. That doesn't mean we should trash the whole educational concept.

    Sorry this is so long, but your post was pretty amazing.

    Paul

    first you say you want stop tossing turds, now you back again. inconsistent, wouldn't you say?

    "Again, The Pledge-Tolerance is a personal decision that comes from a belief that every person is a treasure. NONDESCRIPT? The phrase "Every person is a treasure" seems descriptive enough."

    -------> you're wrong on both counts. First, every person is NOT a "treasure". Timothy McVey is not a treasure. Neither are Islamists cells in the US, drug gangs, or even Michael Jackson, I might venture to say. It's wrong to confuse children with non descript platitudes. At least the religious folks are specific about the values THEY would like to teach in class, its merits aside. Second, the pledge is NOT a "personal decision". All pledges--by definition--are constructed as fixed statements that are IMPOSED of an individual. It's fine as a contractual transaction, such as a loyaly pledge or a no drug use pledge in exchange for gaining employment. But forcing children to recite philosophical concepts that they cannot fully appreciate at their age---like pledging allegiance to flag or your nondescript pledge---is wrong. Teach your own fuckin children to tolerate everyone. I'll teach my children to tolerate the people I think they should tolerate, and it won't be everyone--particularly moral equivalence fascists like you.

    "This program is intended to be facilitated by elementary educators in a classroom environment. Do you think this is what teachers will impart?"

    --------> You're really showing you naivete, or ignorance. not sure which. did you ever step foot in a classroom lately? Children ask questions. All kinds of questions: What is Gay? Just people of the same sex who live together. Why do they live together? They love each other. I love my brother and sister. yes, but these people have sex with each other. How can a man heve sex with another man? You get my point. It turns into sex ed. But even if it doesn't, the fundies look at people like that professor (Churchill) who called the 9-11 victims nazis, and it brings home what they already know: foot in the door liberal values leads to unrestrained indoctrination of values and practices you and I accept, but they vehemently oppose. Only arrogantly politically correct people like you cannot appreciate this.

    "College kids won't be taking this pledge, nor will college professors facilitate it. Did you explore the URL I provided?"

    ----------------> dum dum. I was pointing out the hypocracy on your side.

    "Elementary and middle school educators may differ with you on this. Prejudice is often learned at home. To counter it, one should start early. This has been proven effective with anti-drug programs like D.A.R.E."

    ----------------> You take me out of context. I obviously--by the entire discussion---am referring to sex culture, and religion. These are values taught and instilled at home, often through example, transferred through peers, will likely overshadow the effect of vague pledges to young children.

    " I gotta admit, Gary...I've read this several times and I don't know what the heck you're trying to say. Sorry."

    ------------> so am I. You devoted two long paragraphs waxing about how education and legislation led to abolition of slavery, equal rights, etc etc. My point here was that culture, sex, religion are more intractable prejudices. I know you're about to say, where's the evidence?!! It's my perception. for example, most whites wouldn't mind Bill Cosby or Oprah, or Collin Powell, or a black businessman living next door. But not a Black rapper or poor black. It's culture that people really care about---not race. people look past race. Sex and culture (which includes religion) runs deeper.

    "I don't know either, but is singling them out as deviant/unsavory/criminal is the answer?"

    -------------> Of course not. The question is whether or not you get into teaching someone else's children values relating to sex (yes sex, as it inevitably leads to as I described), and the damage to that very special relationship (parent to child). The large movement towards homeschooling is a sign of that resistance. people in my coalition homeschool because other people want to impose vaccinations on their children. I'm an atheist. I don't want religion taught to my kid because people with your kind of mindset feel that their character might improve with more religious teachings. I feel that I should decide which vaccines should be given to my child, and not the state DoH who use a one size fits all slide rule. Yrs ago when I had your arrogant utopianist liberal outlook, I minimized individual liberties and parent to child bonds. parental rights i thought was code word for backwoods ignorant rednecks.

    "AS IF there are no fundies orgs involved who have extreme anti-gay agendas. In saying this I don't mean to legitimize either. There are wing nuts on both sides of this. That doesn't mean we should trash the whole educational concept. "

    ---------------> yes, there are extremes on both sides. But the fundies are not asking to intercede on the teaching of values to your children. As an atheist, I would oppose it. But your side---they say, and have a case to show it---have greater agendas beyond "tolerance". though some fundies and conservatives don't even trust the libs to stay within bounds on that, and fear that ideologies that proactively endorse homosexuality, promoscuity, and such that their kids will be exposed to do not match their own.

    I'm done. take your last shot.

    Gary, You've added naive, ignorant, arrogant (twice), hypocritical, inconsistent, and "dum" to your list of insults. That's gotta be over a baker's dozen! The "turds" I mentioned are these very insults, which I won't return and no, I don't feel I'm being inconsistent. You drone on about what liberals think based on your "previous experience" as one. Maybe that's what NYC libs are like (and I doubt it), but I can tell you that it won't play in Peoria! (And yes, I have played there). I assume by your apparent, deep-seeded resentment of liberals that you were treated badly by them at some point. We have that in common.

    Even though I've tried to focus you on facts, you insist on making wild accusations based on grand generalizations that simply don't apply to me or my lib friends. I submit that there are likely to be as many liberal a-holes as there are conservative ones. My dialog with you indicates that I think you're neither, even though with every post, you seem eager to prove me wrong about that.

    FYI, My wife is a 2nd grade public school teacher. All of her friends teach as well. She's nearing retirement and yes, I have "set foot" in her classroom. One of my sisters is a 26-year elementary teacher (K-3). In college, I volunteered as her aide. I write educational TV programs, and although most of my work is in marketing and public affairs, I'm trained to write and indeed write for audiences of all ages. I'm happily married, attend church regularly with my kids (two, aged 18 and 21), neither of whom are promiscuous and both of whom make better decisions than I did when I was their age. My kids attend public school.

    We live in an enclave of fundy home-schoolers. My neighborhood is more like a campus; the parents teach, many of them have degrees in education, their kids change classes, walking from house to house; others are car-pooled into the neighborhood. So, I have a pretty strong exposure to that as well. I've got reasoned responses to every one of your accusations, but I'm not one to "piss in the wind." I really don't want to continue this. Feel free to interpret that as a "win." I wasn't keeping score. Thanks and be well.