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An obsessive Keith Olbermann fan, who has been agitating for months to shut down OlbermannWatch, claims to have now filed a police report against the Managing Editor of OlbermannWatch (me) and called web host provider for OlbermannWatch demanding that the company take down the site. This as a result of a dispute which began when OlbermannWatch refused to accede to her demand that the site remove an e-mail exchange between Keith Olbermann and a TV producer in Washington, DC in 2004.
Last December, a TV producer from Washington posted a comment on OlbermannWatch.com which appeared to be an e-mail exchange between him and Keith Olbermann. There was nothing particulary shocking in the exchange - nothing Keith has not said publicly in the past. Given the nature of the site, I wished to comment on the exchange so I wrote a post based on excerpts from the e-mail exchange.
For the convenience of OlbermannWatch readers, I copied and pasted the e-mail exchange from the comments section into the "extended body" portion of my post. The producer subsequently posted three additional comments on OlbermannWatch.
It is my understanding from that producer that several days later Keith Olbermann, who had been on vacation, learned of the e-mail exchange being posted on OlbermannWatch and responded aggressively including contacting the producer's employer in Washington, making vague legal threats about copyright infringement, and demanding that the producer get the e-mail exchange removed from OlbermannWatch. OlbermannWatch was also informed that the head of the MSNBC PR department pressured a well-known "cable news" blogger to remove a post linking to OlbermannWatch(the blogger complied). The producer called me to inform me of Keith's actions and express his fear that he would be terminated by his employer as a result.
I felt badly for the guy as it was Christmas eve, he was newly engaged and had just started his job. Before he went any further I informed the producer that if the purpose of his call was to request that I remove the e-mail exchange with Keith I would gladly do so because it would generate tremendous publicity for OlbermannWatch as I would report the reason why the request had been made [the behavior of Keith Olbermann] and publicize that fact. I pointed out that the e-mail exchange was a minor story but Keith Olbermann's response was a much bigger story. I added that I was willing to help mitigate the damage but I was not going to remove the e-mail exchange without any explanation especially after it had generated dozens of comments and links from many other blogs.
I made the producer aware that over the Christmas weekend the post would "roll off" the front page of my blog and so long as the comment section was not active the entire matter would drop from view so that if his objective (and Keith's) was to quiet things down the best course of action was to do nothing. The producer asked to think about it. He called me back several hours later and informed me that he did not wish to ask me to remove the post. As his three comments had been made after accepting his new job he asked if I would remove those comments and I did. He also asked me to remove any mention of his employer from the site and I did. I went even further and posted comments to five other posts so that the link would drop off the "recent comments" section as well.
This is the first time I am telling the whole story publicly because by this time Sileo has had a chance to establish himself at the company he joined in December and ought to be "safe" from the "Wrath of KO" at this point.
I made changes to the site on the morning of Christmas Eve and hoped for the producer's sake that the matter would just fade into the archives. That same morning, I began getting a series of e-mails from a pro-Keith OlbermannWatch reader, who has since publicly identified herself as Marisa McNee, a graduate student at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. I had not heard from McNee for several weeks, ever since she had posted a series of inane, anonymous comments on OlbermannWatch on the topic of Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org and then began sending e-mail after unsolicited e-mail to complain about the content on OlbermannWatch critical of Keith Olbermann and other people and organization that McNee, apparently, supported. I later learned that during this time, and ever since, McNee had been concurrently publishing vile, profanity-laced, defamatory comments on her web site which singled me out by name.
Marisa McNee was also posting comments on the post about the exchange which was keeping it on the home page. I attempted to discourage her so that post would drop off the "recent comments" but she was oddly persistant. I believe I now know why she was so persistent. Marisa McNee, who runs a bizarre Keith Olbermann Fan site, a "QuickTopic" discussion board at http://www.quicktopic.com/29/H/CCZ5hH7RnZhQ, was under the impression that Keith had been unaware of the publication of his e-mail exchange with the TV producer until she e-mailed him that week.
Based on an e-mail exchange between Keith Olbermann and another reader, Joe Davis, I now believe that McNee was wrong. She was not the person who first notified Keith that his e-mail exchange with the TV producer had been published on OlbermannWatch. It appears from the e-mail that the first Keith had heard about the matter was in an e-mail sent to Keith after Davis had read about Keith's e-mail exchange via a link on Instapundit.
The Olbermann-Davis exchange is reprinted in its entirety below.
This matter has now come to the fore because Marisa McNee now claims to have filed a police report with the Ann Arbor police department based on a comment thread on the OlbermannWatch site which owes in origin, in large part, to my refusal last December to accede to her demands that I remove the Olbermann-Sileo e-mail exchange.
Marisa McNee claims that the Ann Arbor police intend to assign a detective to investigate her claims and to make contact with my local police department in New Rochelle, NY as well as the local District Attorney's office in White Plains, NY. I have been informed by my web hosting provider that McNee also called their offices on Friday informing that she had filed a police report with the Ann Arbor police and demanding that the web hosting company shut down OlbermannWatch.
The apparent basis for McNee's latest complaints against OlbermannWatch is that OlbermannWatch published a link to web page on a web site owned by a medical center in California affiliated with the Stanford University Medical Center. The web page contained information about Dr. Francis McNee and includes a photograph of Dr. McNee. Marisa McNee has stated that Dr. McNee is her her father.
McNee is apparently claiming that it is against the law to publish information about an OB/GYN on the web.
Given the the Stanford University web site is the organization displaying the information and photo of Dr. McNee, not OlbermannWatch, it was not clear why she was directing her complaints against OlbermannWatch. Based on McNee's response to my inquiry about her various threats against me and OlbermannWatch, I believe now that the entire matter revolves around the issue of abortion and abortion providers.
If you are interested in the study of left-wing loons, read the "mother of all comment threads" here to get a sense of the "case" against me and OlbermannWatch.
E-MAIL EXCHANGE BETWEEN KEITH OLBERMANN AND JOE DAVIS
From: joe davis
Date: December 21, 2004 11:07:35 PM MST
To: "Olbermann, Keith (NBC Universal, MSNBC)"
Subject: Re: explanation- see yr own words Re: (your) will to unfairness
Well Mr. Oberman, as you know it is a brave new world of new media and while Matt Cooper may go to jail I don't imagine anyone has much to worry about in this case. In any event I consider myself 'advised' if not intimidated but I will gladly give up my source! No one 'sent' this to me- rather it was posted on a blog and linked to the king blog- Instapundit -where I happened upon it. Have your lawyers start there if you must litigate.
Here are the links:
(If your correspondence had anything of a personal nature in it I might understand your pique but while I find the substance of your responses silly (see below) and your tone a little patronizing there is nothing about them that should cause you any sense of violation or embarrassment beyond what you should feel from your public statements as I have heard them on your tv show )
On Dec 21, 2004, at 8:32 PM, Olbermann, Keith (NBC Universal, MSNBC) wrote:
Please be advised that this was a private communication in answer to a viewer's e-mail.
At no point was anyone given authorization to distribute this publicly, and in so doing several copyright laws were broken. I would assume you were unaware of this, but I advise you to point this out to the individual who sent this to you.
From: joe davis [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 11:23 PM
To: Olbermann, Keith (NBC Universal, MSNBC)
Subject: explanation- see yr own words Re: (your) will to unfairness
Perhaps you are unaware of this MEME:
To: 'Tom Sileo'
Subject: RE: From A Fellow Journalist
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2004 10:11:44
But it's a political judgment to compare these wars -- and to buy into the concept that Iraq is even part of a war on terrorism. If you've made your mind up about that, and start with an assumption that that's just TRUE -- a starting point -- then you've already made a political judgment about the incumbent president.
We were assured -- I was alive then -- that Vietnam was essential to keeping the communists out of North America. Seriously.(my bold)
And my father, who served during Korea, considers Iraq "bullshit."
The poor ratings of MSNBC owe to incredibly unstable scheduling. For three years we did not have the same nightly line-up for more than six weeks successively. We've now gone over a year since the last change. The 6-9 PM ratings have doubled. I'm afraid tv success is much more of a function of constancy and style than it is of political tone.
On Dec 21, 2004, at 7:20 PM, Olbermann, Keith (NBC Universal, MSNBC) wrote:
What on earth are you talking about?
I haven't broadcast or written anything even referring to Vietnam since the Swift Boat Ads story in August.
In fact, I've been on vacation since last week.
From: joe davis [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 10:55 PM
Subject: (your) will to unfairness
No one ever seriously made the argument that we were in Viet Nam in order to prevent a NV invasion of the US. This 'argument' was only made facetiously by those who believed that virtually all anti-Communists initiatives of the cold war from Korea to Nicaragua were paranoid follies. The arguments propounded by JFK and LBJ were based in part on the 'Domino Theory' which worried a victory in VN would presage other successful communist revolutions in SE Asia- not an invasion of the US main land. ( I defy you to Nexus/Lexus one speech from one responsible elected official related to the making of US fp in those years who made this claim.) You probably believe that because the DT did not happen the theory was (a priori) false but many (liberal) people as smart as you thought it was a possibility at the time. (Parmenides fallacy also refutes the illogical conclusion that because it didn't happen it wouldn't have absent the war but I fear I am taxing your powers of patience and comprehension here) They also had moral (liberal) arguments that would be familiar to anyone who has listened to Tony Blair speak about Iraq. If you ever have occasion to interview any of the millions of refuges from that sad revolutionary success story you may begin to understand what they were talking about. There were also 'real politick' considerations apart from the containment of communism in SE Asia such as our undertaking the French treaty obligations to the South in an attempt to keep France in NATO (it didn't work but that's the French...)
When you characterize those liberals (JFK-LBJ) who were in favor of defending the South against a communist takeover as paranoid yahoos or cynical demagogues who scared Americans into believing we were under threat of a NV invasion you are exposing yourself to ridicule from responsible people. (I was alive then too)