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    Olbermann Watch, "persecuting" Keith since 2004


    September 28, 2005
    There Is No Column C

    Tuesday night's Countdown found Keith in full spin mode, taking a cheap shot at the President in the opening teaser, then tackling the juicy topic of Michael Brown's testimony. He stated there is a "huge pie chart of blame" for all the "various responses" to Katrina--but his viewers must wonder what he's talking about, since Olby has consistently avoided any discussion of failures by state or local officials.

    KO's first guest was George Haddow who worked in FEMA under...guess who? Of course, Bill Clinton! On OlbyPlanet, FEMA was a federal agency that didn't exist during Republican administrations. That must be, because Olby only interviews FEMA-ers who worked under Bubba. Asking Haddow where the blame fell, the disaster expert (who co-wrote a book with Jane Bullock, favorite guest on Air America) obediently replied that 70% fell on "the Bush administration". Another surprise.

    Then came Olby fave John Harwood, a frequent guest because he follows KO's chief dictum: don't disagree with the host. Olby, fresh from an incoherent attempt to blame the President for some sort of PR gaffe that Bush had nothing to do with, used the same tactic again. Laura Bush taped an appearance on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (tonight's Olby Talking Point, mentioned over and over), and Keith immediately characterized it as "a political miscalculation". If KO's agenda were any more blatant, you would see the anvils falling right on the screen. Harwood went on to characterize the hearings as a show to benefit Congressional Republicans.

    Keith devoted a full segment to the intricacies of the Anna Nicole Smith inheritance case (never let it be said that Olby is above prostituting himself for the chance to show sleazy video), including a painful "puppet theater" embarrassment. Another segment dealt with the woman who talked killer Brian Nichols into giving himself up. Why did this merit such a fulsome treatment? Because the woman had read to Nichols from The Purpose-Driven Life, and it turns out that she had also given him some crystal meth. A great opportunity for Olby to ridicule earlier reports of the events as "almost divine intervention", and to emphasize that "it was just a small passage" that was read from the hated faith-based book.

    And of course, Tuesday's "worst person in the world". Did Olby pick from Column A (Republicans/conservatives) or Column B (Fox news personnel)? As faithful readers know, there is no Column C (Democrats/liberals). Tuesday was a Column B day, as KO again chose Geraldo Rivera. Olby first criticized Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times for her report about a nonexistent event (Rivera nudging a relief worker out of the way to get on camera). But this merely served to tee up Olbermann's hyperbolic personal attack on Mr Rivera as an "absolute asinine jackass". Rivera's crime? He had the temerity to ask the Times to retract its false report, continuing to insist until the Times complied.

    So what is it that Olby found so repellent? That Mr Rivera didn't just roll over when the "newspaper of record" printed lies about him? Or that the Times caved in and printed a mealy-mouthed, halfhearted correction of their smear? Probably the latter, since we know that there's nothing that Keith dislikes more than retracting false stories.


    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (19) | | View blog reactions

    19 Comments

    Dear Mr. Dollar,

    How can you deny the obvious truth of George Haddock's assertions. The Office of Blame Attribution has performed the calculations, under the guidance of Paul Krugman, and confirmed Mr. Haddock's assertions. In fact, the official calcuation has the Bush administration at 82% to blame for Katrina. You see, Mr. Haddock forgot to calculate in Global Warming, which has increased exponentially since Clinton left office.

    What's amazing about you right wingers is how you deny the empirical calcualtions of the trusted officials of the people. You assume that Mr. Haddock just pulled a number out of the air when he said that Bush was 70% to blame. Only an idiot would do something like that, and Mr. Haddock is no idiot. And only a complete moron would allow a statement like that to be broadcast without response. I don't need to tell you that Keith is no idiot.

    By the way Mr. Dollar, I hear that Katrina has propelled MSLSD from last place to the penultimate ratings position! A triple wammy for the DNC and MSLSD -- Bush takes a hit, race relations are in the news, and ratings rose! Wahoo!

    Johnny,

    In the piece about Mrs. Bush appearing on Extreme Home Makeover, didn't I hear Keith ask John Harwood what was next for Mrs. Bush, "to become a Democrat"? As though Dems are the folks who help others. As if those Bible-belt churches, with their majority Republican congregations, haven't done a yeoman's job of easing the burden of Katrina victims.

    But I've watched Extreme Home Makeover and I'm glad that Keith might associate that show with Democratic largess. As fond as I am of tv home decorating shows, I'm proud to be a mean ole Republican who can't stomach the sort of tear-jerking maudlin b.s. on Extreme Home Makeover.

    I can't imagine a Republican anywhere wanting to be the recipent of that sort of self-congratulatory pity, just like most of us would rather have been consumed by the tsunami or Katrina than be the object of sympathy from self-righteous celebrities.

    It pains me to see the President and Mrs. Bush kissing the media's butt for a sliver of good press. In that sense, Keith is right if he made the "Democrat" comment. The best thing that could help the poverty in New Orleans isn't bigger govt checks or programs, it's that the city would get a mayor and the state would get a governor who could bring industry into Louisiana. To do that you have to control crime and taxes.

    Being from Atlanta, I've seen city and state governments that can create a striving environment for all groups of citizens.

    But I digress...

    Anyway, Johnny, good job, and I did want to alert you to the fact that to Keith, Harwood, Fineman, whatever Newsweek reporter who's available, ARE the balance. They are the rebuttal, in a sense to the guest who's been invited because their message is Keith's message.

    Harwood works for a conservative group like the WSJ for goodness sakes! He's surely able to be unbiased about the WH and conservatives! And goodness knows, Keith doesn't want to give one of those people air time to defend themselves...

    Krazy,

    I have it on good authority that the piechart that Keith mentioned is from The Office of Blame Attribution. It shows Bush as being 70% to blame for the Katrina devastation and Fox News as being 60% to blame.

    It's a strangely shaped pie, but Krugman is proud of it...

    Incorrect Assertions:
    1) �taking a cheap shot at the President�
    Once again, this is your �avoid criticizing Bush at all costs� opinion. Olby, correctly IMO, equated Laura Bush�s cameo with Bush�s flying over the Gulf Coast rather than actually seeing, firsthand, the devastation of the area. Can you honestly state that the President�s �fly-over� was nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt?
    2) "since Olby has consistently avoided any discussion of failures by state or local officials."
    While I don�t have the time to watch Countdown all the time, I do know, this ignores:
    a) Olby covered the levee boards failures as wasteful spending. Note: He specifically mentioned how a Republican was fired for targeting wasteful spending by the board.
    b) Olby covered Blanco�s admission �that there were failure[s] at every level of government, state, federal, and local.�
    c) Olby covered how there was a �huge disconnect here between the leaders, the governor and the president, in terms of what they thought was happening and what was really happening on the ground� in discussions with Richard Wolfe of Newsweek.
    Olby has made it quite clear to those of us who don�t have blinders on that he believes that there were failures at all levels, but that the federal governments has the lion�s share of blame.
    3) �George Haddock, who worked in FEMA under...guess who? Of course, Bill Clinton! On OlbyPlanet, FEMA was a federal agency that didn't exist during Republican administrations.�
    a) Haddow, not Haddock, unless you were trying to make some lame joke.
    b) You know as well as I that news shows contract out one or two guys and, usually, pass them around to each other. I suppose Rita Cosby, Joe Scarborough, and Tucker Carlson have the same view that you posted above?
    c) What Republican would you get? Magaw? Can�t, he�s undersecretary of the TSA, I believe. Albaugh, the Halliburton lobbyist?
    d) You also know as well as I do that it is highly unlikely that any former Republican official will ever criticize the present administration even when the admin is wrong.
    4) �who co-wrote a book with Jane Bullock�
    Nice avoidance of the word �textbook� (Intro to Emergency Mgmt). This way it looks like that they wrote some wacko book together.
    5) �Another surprise. Haddock went on to characterize the hearings as a show to benefit Congressional Republicans.�
    What show were you watching because it wasn�t �Countdown with Keith Olbermann.�
    6) �incoherent attempt�
    Once again an incorrect opinion. As your inability to effectively argue against my post of Mon/Tue night showed.
    7) �Olby fave John Harwood, a frequent guest because he follows KO's chief dictum: don't disagree with the host.�
    Insipid comment. I note that you neglect to mention that Harwood is the national political editor for that oh-so-liberal paper the Wall Street Journal. I guess only on OlbyPlanet are there no liberal newspapers.
    8) �to blame the President for some sort of PR gaffe that Bush had nothing to do with�
    a) I must have missed Olby specifically blaming Bush.
    b) Even if he had, have you ever heard of the imperial �we�?
    9) �Laura Bush taped � and Keith immediately characterized it as "a political miscalculation�
    �immediately�? Olby introduced the story (with footage, IIRC) before his interview with Harwood. Only at the end of the interview did he query, not characterize, if the appearance might be a mistake. Since you don�t want to provide the context, I will. He did not question if the cameo was a mistake, but if a show that won�t appear until Nov. might be a mistake because �this will be reopening old wounds� (e.g. remind people that the feds screwed up).

    Unfortunately, I don�t have the time to point out the other (I think only) four more.

    1. It's a cheap shot because it's just resurrecting another Olbermann Talking Point (OTP) from days before, with zero relevance to the topic at hand.

    2. A) and B) represented taped pieces, one of them recycled from NBC News. In fact, right after the levee scandal piece was played, Olby jumped in to bring up levees in Netherlands (!), trying to make the point that the corruption in LA was insignificant. C) is the "disconnect" statement that really says nothing about any failures of the state or local officials. Olby has avoided placing blame anywhere other than in DC like vampires avoid garlic.

    3. You let your guard down here. To quote you:

    You also know as well as I do that it is highly unlikely that any former Republican official will ever criticize the present administration...

    Yes, so the point of who Olby books as a guest is not to get factual information, or balanced commentary. It is to find people who will criticize the Bush administration. I'm glad to see you finally see what Olby is up to. Now the trick is getting you to admit that it is not exactly fair and balanced journalism.

    4. Your point is frivolous.

    5. A valid point. It wasn't Haddow who made that characterization, it was Harwood. My mistake, but which guest said it hardly affects the greater point.

    6. "Once again an incorrect opinion." Are you saying if it disagrees with your opinion it is "incorrect"? If an opinion can be "correct", then it's not an opinion, it's a fact. I say it was incoherent, and in my opinion it was. And my opinion is just as "correct" as yours.

    7. What does it matter what paper he works for. Was William Safire a lib because he wrote for the NY Times? I suppose Al Hunt is a right-winger because he worked for the WSJ for years. Your distraction completely avoids the issue at hand: Harwood and Olby are ideological soulmates.

    8. Another frivolous point.

    9. "Immediately" might be an overuse of argumentative license, though it did come in just his fourth question--a leading question that used the phrase "political miscalculation". And if you paste that phrase onto an event, whether in a leading question or in a statement, then you are characterizing it. It feeds into another OTP: the adminstration makes one PR blunder after another.

    I have spoken!

    I think Belligerently Informed needs to shorten his/her name. Let's go for a more accurate moniker like "Belligerent".

    Olbermann may have magnanimously pointed out a REPUBICAN (TOOT TOOT!) who voiced concern over New Orleans levees, but here's how our objective anchorman summed up the entire issue of infrastructure right down to the administration having failed to halt flooding after a hurricane...

    ****"But, nationally, these are leaders who won re-election last year largely by portraying their opponents as incapable of keeping the country safe. These are leaders who regularly pressure the news media in this country to report the reopening of a school or a power station in Iraq, and defies its citizens not to stand up and cheer. Yet they couldn't even keep one school or power station from being devastated by infrastructure collapse in New Orleans � even though the government had heard all the "chatter" from the scientists and city planners and hurricane centers and some group whose purposes the government couldn't quite discern... a group called The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    And most chillingly of all, this is the Law and Order and Terror government. It promised protection � or at least amelioration � against all threats: conventional, radiological, or biological.

    It has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water."****

    I sure hope Sec. Chernoff is working on that pesky San Adreas Fault business. After all there's plenty of warning that there WILL be another earthquake at some time. The Home Land Security boys should rolling up their sleeves like Habitat for Humanity and building earthquake proof housing and highways to keep our citizentry safe. Afterall, if the infrastructure fails in earthquake alley it means that those terrorist earthquakes have won and our govt has been asleep at the helm....

    Olbermann doesn't engage in thoughtful analysis. He opportunistically goes for thirty miles of criticism after being handed the opportunity for ten. He's the equivalent of a Daily Kos fan or a Freeper or any other rabid partisan.

    1. A cheap promotional stunt (like the 'fly-over' and Mrs. Bush's cameo) deserves what you would call a cheap shot. "Cheap is as cheap does."

    2. " A) and B) represented taped pieces"
    But it still doesn't detract from my point that Olby covered them.
    2b. "Olby jumped in to bring up levees in Netherlands (!), trying to make the point that the corruption in LA was insignificant."
    That's funny, b/c when I (and others I have spoken with) heard him say that on air we all thought something like "yes, covering the Netherlands with well constructed dams would cost ONLY 8 billion, pocket change to the damage that poorly constructed levees would be"
    Why did I think that? Because of his previous discussion about good construction would cost billions and his discussion on how buildings left in standing water would be infected (?) by mold, e.g. damaged.
    In addition, the Neth (being roughly 1/3 the size of LA) is far larger than NOLA. If the amount he quoted was correct, then they spent roughly 1 million per mile of construction. If equitable, that would mean only 250 million for well constructed levees in NOLA, so every million counts.
    Context: everyone should learn it, and use it.

    3. You let your guard down here. To quote you:

    You also know as well as I do that it is highly unlikely that any former Republican official will ever criticize the present administration...

    Yes, so the point of who Olby books as a guest is not to get factual information, or balanced commentary. It is to find people who will criticize the Bush administration.

    The quote ended with "even when the admin is wrong." It is impossible to get factual information from someone who (like you seem to do) refuses to admit when their side is wrong. What would be the point? What is left is to find someone who has no stake in the outcome, or, at the least, has less of a stake.

    6) "If an opinion can be "correct", then it's not an opinion, it's a fact."
    THAT is an incorrect opinion. Let's do a little English lesson.
    dictionary.com : "opinion - A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof"
    "not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof" e.g. 'fact'
    I currently believe that the ratio of national debt to gdp has risen under GWB.
    That is my opinion.
    I am now looking it up.
    Yes, indeed it has risen. Now it is a fact.
    If it was not a fact, then I had held an 'incorrect' opinion.

    7) "What does it matter what paper he works for."
    What matters is the context (there's that word again) in which he works for the paper. Which is why I pointed out that he was the national political editor for a conservative newspaper. It is unlikely (my opinion) that they would hire a liberal for such a position.

    4) & 8) Which I take to mean, once again, that you can not argue the veracity of my claims.

    I'm over time, so I'll quit with this ...

    For now.

    1. A cheap promotional stunt (like the 'fly-over' and Mrs. Bush's cameo) deserves what you would call a cheap shot. "Cheap is as cheap does."

    2. " A) and B) represented taped pieces"
    But it still doesn't detract from my point that Olby covered them.
    2b. "Olby jumped in to bring up levees in Netherlands (!), trying to make the point that the corruption in LA was insignificant."
    That's funny, b/c when I (and others I have spoken with) heard him say that on air we all thought something like "yes, covering the Netherlands with well constructed dams would cost ONLY 8 billion, pocket change to the damage that poorly constructed levees would be"
    Why did I think that? Because of his previous discussion about good construction would cost billions and his discussion on how buildings left in standing water would be infected (?) by mold, e.g. damaged.
    In addition, the Neth (being roughly 1/3 the size of LA) is far larger than NOLA. If the amount he quoted was correct, then they spent roughly 1 million per mile of construction. If equitable, that would mean only 250 million for well constructed levees in NOLA, so every million counts.
    Context: everyone should learn it, and use it.

    3. You let your guard down here. To quote you:

    You also know as well as I do that it is highly unlikely that any former Republican official will ever criticize the present administration...

    Yes, so the point of who Olby books as a guest is not to get factual information, or balanced commentary. It is to find people who will criticize the Bush administration.

    The quote ended with "even when the admin is wrong." It is impossible to get factual information from someone who (like you seem to do) refuses to admit when their side is wrong. What would be the point? What is left is to find someone who has no stake in the outcome, or, at the least, has less of a stake.

    6) "If an opinion can be "correct", then it's not an opinion, it's a fact."
    THAT is an incorrect opinion. Let's do a little English lesson.
    dictionary.com : "opinion - A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof"
    "not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof" e.g. 'fact'
    I currently believe that the ratio of national debt to gdp has risen under GWB.
    That is my opinion.
    I am now looking it up.
    Yes, indeed it has risen. Now it is a fact.
    If it was not a fact, then I had held an 'incorrect' opinion.

    7) "What does it matter what paper he works for."
    What matters is the context (there's that word again) in which he works for the paper. Which is why I pointed out that he was the national political editor for a conservative newspaper. It is unlikely (my opinion) that they would hire a liberal for such a position.

    4) & 8) Which I take to mean, once again, that you can not argue the veracity of my claims.

    I'm over time, so I'll quit with this ...

    For now.

    BTW, Cecilia:
    "He opportunistically goes for thirty miles of criticism after being handed the opportunity for ten."

    That was a smashingly well-written comment considering Olby's history as a sportscaster.

    Also, BTW:
    My double post was a result of the site saying I was not registered after I had already registered and then not confirming that I had posted. Y'all should check into that.

    1. Yes it does, if you're a Rush Limbaugh or an Al Franken. Not if you are pretending to be a newscaster on what purports to be the newshour of record on a cable news station.

    2. I never said Olby didn't cover them. I said he avoided discussing them. He runs the taped pieces NBC provides (adding his own asides to insert spin when the tape doesn't have enough for his purposes), but then brings in someone from his Amen chorus to paint things as he wants them painted. His bringing up of levees in the Netherlans is an example of the former--he attempted to show how much they cost to maintain and contrasted it with mere million or so that was mentioned in the corruption piece. Sure, his little aside basically tried to marginalize the news value of the NBC report he just ran, but that's a small price to pay to promote his spin.

    3. If Repubs are reluctant to criticize a Repub adminsitration, by the same token so are Dems hesitant to do the honors for Dem politicians. So why is Olby constantly bringing on all the DEMOCRAT APPOINTEES who so deftly avoid placing any significant blame on Blanco or Nagin? It's because he doesn't care about interviewing someone who will not be reluctant to place blame on Democrats. He wants someone who will just point the finger where he pleases. If you are correct then Olby shouldn't have on former employees of either Dems OR Repubs, but rather independent experts with no visible political slant. But he doesn't do that, does he? Not as long as former Clinton appointees are around to spin for him.

    6. It is not an opinion that 2+2=4, it is a fact. Saying 2+2=5 is not an incorrect opinion. It is an ignorant error. That's how it was explained to me when I studied logic, but your mileage may vary. Semantic quibbling can often become little more than a distraction.

    7. There is nothing conserative about the WSJ DC reportorial staff. Don't you recall that the hard-left Al Hunt was a bureau chief or something similarly exalted for them for years? He wasn't picked for the liberal slot on "Capital Gang" because he was a rightie. Your notion that they wouldn't hire a liberal for those positions is just factually wrong. It might even be an "incorrect opinion"!

    Belligerently,

    You can't logically argue that a former Republican appointee could only be a partisan and then turn and suggest that a former Democratic appointee could be anything approaching objective.

    If those old Repub administration officials can only flak, then by that logic, Dem ones can only bomb throw.

    The statement about the Wall Street Journal is just as ridiculous. I can't tell if you're arguing that Harwood's analysis must be spot-on when critical of the Bushies because he works for a paper with a conservative editoral page and therefore would usually be sympathetic to conservatives or if you're arguing that Harwood is objective because he doesn't work for a paper with a liberal editorial page-- such as the New York Times. That's an argument that would make every New York Times and Washington Post reporter suspect...

    And here we only thought Harwood a bad guest because he so rarely says anything that presents a POV contrary to the one Keith is pushing...

    Which has made us wonder why Keith can't merely have an actual Republicans and/or conservative guests appear, who was there to actually defend the party and administration from whatever charge or criticism against them that Keith is airing that night.

    But I suppose the best we're going to get is a reporter who works in the same building as John Fund and Peggy Noonan or Pat Buchanan.

    Thanks....

    Belligerently,

    I'm glad you liked the comment. However journalism shouldn't be a team sport. Olbermann shouldn't be trying to score one for his side...

    Too, I couldn't tell you the rules of most sports at gun point, so any sports analogy I make is purely accidental.

    I'd like to comment on Olbermann's choice of Bill Bennett as Worst [Republican/conservative/libertarian/Fox News employee] In the World.

    Media Matters, an Olbermann fav source, has a link where William Bennett, on his radio show, is discussing with a caller the effect of the abortion rate on social security. During the discussion, Bennett argues that one should be careful in jumping to conclusions with abortion stats and careful too of the consequences of those conclusions (I paraphrase).

    During the course of the conversation, Bennett says, "You could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down".

    Please go to Media Matters and learn the context behind what Bennett was saying and that Bennett went on to say that such an act would be "morally reprehensible".

    Below is a link to the Department of Justice site and stats on the percentage of crime based on race of perpetrator. Blacks are 7 times more likely to commit homocide. (Of course they are 6 times more likely to be a victim of it too.)

    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm

    Therefore Bennett is CORRECT in his point. (Remember they aren't talking about crime or the the root causes of crime. They are talking about the effect that the abortion rate could have on societal issues and why you must be careful of conclusions that can be drawn)

    However,Media Matter seems to argue that the validity of Bennett said is not the issue. MM argues that the mere suggestion of what Bennett said is...reprehensible....therefor analysing crime by race is reprehensible.

    Bennett is guilty of that most treasured of New Age liberal speech crimes-- racial insensitivity. I suppose the DOJ is guilty too for even compiling such stats.

    Thanks Countdown and Media Matters for your thoughtful analysis and objectivity.

    As usual...

    Cecelia, what you (and most neo-cons) don't get is not the validity of the statement but the fact that Bennett felt it necessary to say "every black baby". Why didn't he say just 'baby', or even "white baby"? That would be just as true, statistically. No, he felt he had to include 'black baby' to show that the birth of a black person is automatically going to increase the crime rate, that is, that black people are born criminals. That is stupid, untrue and racist. (Even the WH "

    Cecelia, what you (and most neo-cons) don't get is not the validity of the statement but the fact that Bennett felt it necessary to say "every black baby". Why didn't he say just 'baby', or even "white baby"? That would be just as true, statistically. No, he felt he had to include 'black baby' to show that the birth of a black person is automatically going to increase the crime rate, that is, that black people are born criminals. That is stupid, untrue and racist.
    Even the WH knows it: �The president believes the comments were not appropriate,� White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.

    Now, that time, it was my mistake! 'post', 'paste' well they're close, aren't they?

    Belligerently,

    Not that you really give a tail-end of a rat, but if you'll go back and listen to recording of Bennett, you notice that he brought up a book called Freakonomics, by economist Stephen D. Levitt.

    In the book Levitt argues that the drop in crime is related to the abortion rate. It's not a new argument and it's one that Levitt has been making for years and the book is just the latest installment in this discussion. In a paper Levitt co-authered for the Harvard Quarterly Journal Levitt wrote:

    "Teenagers, unmarried women and African Americans are all substantially more likely to seek abortions. Children born to these mothers tend to be at higher risk for committing crime 17 years or so down the road, so abortion may reduce subsequent criminality through this selection effect."

    Bennett said "black babies" because that's what Levitt has argued,though he was less direct in this book, Freakonomics.

    And no matter how it's couched THAT is what is meant when one argues that crime rates have been reduced by abortions.

    African-American women disproportionally compromise the underclass. Kids raised in that environment are more likely to commmit crimes. DOJ stats show blacks 7 times more likely than whites to commit violent crime. Black women are more likely to have abortions. Therefore with increased abortion in that pop we now have a reduced crime rate.

    Bennett didn't make that argument, the author of a currently popular book (Levitt) does. Bennett simply dropped right into the middle of the issue when discussing it with a caller on his radio prgram. He went straight to the most current "proof" offered by those making a case about the economic and societal effects of abortion. And he rejected it and said it was a bad basis for rejecting abortion.

    I know it's more fun for Bennett's enemies to make hay with a cartoon caricature scenario. So ultimately, why would anyone care what you think.

    Belligerently,

    I'm excerpting from a Richard Cohen column from the Washington Post.

    If you're not familiar with Cohen, he's a liberal and not a conservative corporate shill...

    You can read the entire column here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/03/AR2005100301492.html?nav=rss_opinion/columns

    This is to Keith Olbermann and his classy "Worst Republican or libertarian or conservative or Fox News employee In The World" segment.

    Cohen writes:

    "For prominent Democrats, it seemed it was not enough to forget their manners about DeLay. They then abandoned their party's tradition -- I would say "obligation" -- of defending unpopular speech by piling on William Bennett, the former education secretary, best-selling author and now, inevitably, talk show host.

    Responding to a caller who argued that if abortion were outlawed the Social Security trust fund would benefit -- more people, more contributions, was the apparent (idiotic) reasoning -- Bennett said, sure, he understood what the fellow was saying. It was similar to the theory that the low crime rate of recent years was the consequence of high abortion rates: the fewer African American males born, the fewer crimes committed. (Young black males commit a disproportionate share of crime.) This theory has been around for some time. Bennett was not referring to anything new.

    But he did add something very important: If implemented, the idea would be "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do."

    He should have saved his breath. Prominent Democrats -- Harry Reid in the Senate, John Conyers and Rahm Emanuel in the House and, of course, Pelosi -- jumped all over him. Conyers wanted Bennett suspended from his radio show. Emanuel said Bennett's comments "reflect a spirit of hate and division." Pelosi said Bennett was out of the mainstream, and Reid simply asked for an apology.

    Actually, it is Reid and the others who should apologize to Bennett. They were condemning and attempting to silence a public intellectual for a reference to a theory. It was not a proposal and not a recommendation -- nothing more than a possible explanation. But the Democrats preferred to pander to an audience that either had heard Bennett's remarks out of context, or merely thought that any time conservatives talk about race, they are being racist. The Democrats' obligation as politicians, as public officials, to see that we all hear the widest and richest diversity of views was suspended in favor of partisan cheap shots. (The spineless White House also refused to defend Bennett.) Because I came of age in the McCarthy era, I have always thought of the Democratic Party as more protective of free speech and unpopular thought than the Republican Party. The GOP was the party of Joe McCarthy, William Jenner and other witch-hunters. Now, though, it is the Democrats who use the pieties of race, ethnicity and gender to stifle debate and smother thought, pretty much what anti-intellectual intellectuals did to Larry Summers, the president of Harvard University, when he had the effrontery to ask some unorthodox questions about gender and mathematical aptitude. He was quickly instructed on how to think."

    Cohen is wrong about one thing. Democrats have LONG been about politically correct speech strictures and guilt by association.