OlbermannWatch.com "My Faves" Set
OlbermannWatch.com Favorited Photos from other Flickr Users
Got OlbyPhotos? See some on Flickr? DO NOT email us. Send us a FlickrMail instead. Include a link to the photo. If we like the photo you will see it displayed in the Olby Flickr Flood above.
New to Flickr? Sign up for a FREE Flickr account!
New to YouTube? Sign up for a FREE YouTube account!
|Subscribe to Olbermann Watch Mailing List|
|Visit this group|
No Olby on Countdown tonight. Apparently he gets Halloween off.
For those OlbyWatch readers wise enough to also read The National Debate, you know I have been working on various "clean up" projects with my computers, my servers, my blogs and my life.
I just got around to cleaning up OlbermannWatch over the past few days. To do this I exported all of the posts as of last week, deleted all the spam comments and trackbacks by hand, change all the settings so that comments=closed and trackbacks=not enabled. I then changed the default settings so that trackbacks and comments are always off. I left every legit comment - no matter how inane.
The biggest impact on readers is that some threads that were active are now closed. I got one request to open a comment thread and will do that once the reader tells me which one. What I would want to do here is open and close comments more selectively.
You will also notice that after a long absence I have put a few posts up here myself. Now that I have things organized the way I want I intend to get back to posting here and get back into the business of "persecuting" poor Keith.
OlbyKooks still at it:
George W. Bush could have won the 2004 presidential election due to large-scale vote fraud without election data showing the patterns that the Election Science Institute and pollster Warren Mitofsky claim must exist if vote fraud had occurred.
OLBERMANN: And that gets us back, as a last point, to where I started this segment. You were good enough to come on this newscast with me late in the summer of 2003. It was August or September. And by coincidence, either the next day or the day before, Jeanine Garofalo had been a guest on the newscast. And I got called into a vice president's office here and told, "Hey, we don't mind you interviewing these guys, but should you really have put liberals on, on consecutive nights?" That's just over two years ago. Al, can you believe that the country was actually at that point that recently?
FRANKEN: I can believe that. And I can believe - see, when you hear that there's this liberal bias to the mainstream media, I mean, you're attesting to the fact that a vice president at MSNBC was, you know, two nights in a row, to have two liberals, if you can and this is a crude way to do it but if you put divide people into liberals and conservatives, the chances of that are one-half, I mean, essentially, aren't they, or are they one-quarter? I guess it's one-quarter that you would have two of any kind on two consecutive nights.
FRANKEN: But over the span of how many years have you been on now?
OLBERMANN: This is...we're about two-and-a-half.
FRANKEN: OK. After two-and-a-half years, you'd think that might happen a few times.
OLBERMANN: Yes. Thank goodness we have steered out of that time...
A Childers of Duluth, MN writes:
Your kidding right? Is this a serious website or some kind of joke?
Nothing could be more serious work than monitoring the activities of Keith Olbermann. The only joke is that Keith is described by MSNBC as a "news anchor".
Jon Snyder of Eria, PA writes:
Have you noticed a change in Olbermann's gig fairly recently? I used to flip by his show months ago and always hated the goofy title tune and his occasionally silly liberal-slanted comments, but lately he seems to have tacked hard left. He's been more vocal. Like Matthews he's always slanted left and that has always intruded, but it's been a lot more noticeable lately. Tonight he had on Al Franken, for example, and they both made fun of the right. Do you think maybe his bosses asked him to go "out there" more so that he can appeal to people who might be turned off by O'Reilly? In other words, to turn him into the resident air america guy as a way to separate himself from the pack.
Just seems like he's being repackaged a bit. Thanks.
Congratulations on coming out of that coma. Now...what was your question?
MoonlightEagle from Tulsa, OK writes:
I've been reading OlbermannWatch for quite some time and I have a question for you: do you ever allow "guest bloggers"? I've been getting more and more irritated at the anti-Bush pieces being run on Countdown, and have been wanting to see if you would be interested in having someone new submit a review of the show?
As a longtime OlbermannWatch reader and someone irritated with Keith you are obviously a thoughtful, intelligent person. We are always happy to have enlightened individuals such as yourself submit a guest post.
Looking forward to your first post.
Reaganite of Dixon, IL writes:
Olbermann GRATES on my nerves... I can only stand to watch his show after I've exhausted all other options, so I thank you for doing the dirty work! Olberman should have to register as a special interest group with the FEC!
I'm a regular reader and I've started a new blog and was wondering if you would consider blogrolling me. I already have you locked into mine and will keep you there regardless of your decision.
Couldn't agree more. Sorry but 501-3c non-profit corporations are prevented by law from endorsing partisan web sites. Keep up the good work.
Paul Sonderman of Ipswich, OH writes:
You were premature in accusing me of hijacking your site. Looks like you riled a real hacker. Or perhaps you're exploring an alternative, albeit annoying, revenue stream. After you asked me to stop posting at TND, I stumbled across a link pertinent to our original argument (before it veered off course). Cecelia suggested I post it there, which I did, but it quickly became mired in a cesspool of spam.
Cheers and good luck eradicating your vermin. Rest assured, I don't intend to post on TND again. I had blocked email from you, but have removed the block temporarily, should you care to respond.
Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
PB Worthy of St Cloud, MN writes:
I asked a friend of mine who owns a construction company - and who knows a lot about construction - doing it, what it costs, etc.Â He tells me that with a general estimate he made regarding the costs - which I am sure could be calculated and verified - at NBC Humanity Plaza â€“ staff, utilities, food, union wages, on and on â€“ for a week - that all those costs could have probably built another 15000 - not 1500 but 15000Â - Habitat for Humanity homes.Â He tells me these are the standard first time buyer southern ranch - approximately 1000-1200 square feet, 2-3 bedrooms.Â Â Â They are being collapsed - then shipped south - Â put back up and finished.Â It seems to me - Â in 10 years (more likely 10 days, no make that hours) Â - few of us will remember Couric and her yilk showboating at 30 Rock - Â but 10000+ more families might have been living in their own home - with possiblyÂ a legacy - for the very first time -Â to leave their children - if it werenâ€™t for the MSMâ€™s need to applaud themselves and make themselves do-gooders for everybody to see.Â Â The spirit of giving and volunteerism is loose in this country right now - especially the south - Habitat needs but to ask once for volunteersâ€¦.but I guess what would be needed here is for the media to do some good, quietly, generously â€“ when the cameras werenâ€™t running â€“ they werenâ€™t congratulating themselves â€“ and nobody was lookingâ€¦Don't hold your breath.
The folks at the broadcast news divisions and cable news channels covered Katrina as if it were a reality show so why should it surprise anyone they covered the Superdome as if it were "Big Brother", Bush dealing with Mike Brown as "The Apprentice" (as in "you're fired, Brownie!") and the rebuilding effort as an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Keep an eye out for New Orleans Idol, Desperate Louisiana Housewives and Survivor: The Convention Center.
The Malcontent has some thoughts on Keith's spelling skills.
On Friday, after referring to Valerie Plame as a "covert operative" (something neither the indictment nor prosecutor Fitzgerald was willing to do), Olby reveled in the indictment of Scooter Libby. The entire Hour of Spin was dedicated to The Great Leak Case. Not satisfied with a supposedly "impartial" viewpoint (VandeHei of the Post, again), KO turned to two heroes of the far left: John Dean and Lawrence O'Donnell ("Liar! Creepy Liar!").
The choice of O'Donnell, the discredited hack who was fired by MSNBC, is particularly rich. O'Donnell laid out a preposterous theory of the upcoming trial that displayed an appalling ignorance of evidentiary and criminal law. Why exactly does Olby continue his attempts to resuscitate the career of this deranged snake? Let's look at some of Lawrence O'Donnell's Greatest Hits, as documented in his hysterical rantings at Arianna Huffington's Blogarama:
Somehow Keith didn't manage to bring up any of these prior inconsistent statements to O'Donnell. Olby also pitched softballs to convicted felon John Dean, ever eager to smear anyone in the Bush administration, who asserted Libby lied without even bothering with "allegedly".
But analysis from Joe DiGenova? Victoria Toensing? Pat Buchanan? Even Chris Matthews, who all but salivates on screen at the thought of indictments, puts on people who occasionally disagree with him (even if he doesn't let them get in a word edgewise). But Keith Olbermann is above all that. He doesn't care about balance, or fairness. He doesn't even have to listen to his bosses at the network. The Hour of Spin is his own little fiefdom, and Keith Olbermann is not going to disappoint his 300,000 viewers with anything but Soros-approved propaganda.
If Countdown makes The Great Leak Case its top story on days when there are no developments whatsoever, it's no surprise that on Wednesday night, Olby was once again beating that persistently vegetative equine. Jim VandeHei returns yet again for another exercise in bloviation and tea-leaf reading.
Having served up several fawning profiles of Fitzgerald, Olbermann ran a piece on Rove attorney Robert Luskin, which gleefully pointed out that Luskin is a liberal Democrat, and referred to him as "Rove's brain".
After noting some very strained analogies to Watergate (did you know Thursday is H.R. Haldeman's birthday?) KO gave gratis air time to a publicity stunt from Congressional Democrats asking Fitzgerald to extend and widen his investigation. Their claim is that the administration's speeches in favor of the Iraq War were illegal. Yes, the ultimate criminalization of speech.
Maurice Hinchey (D) was invited in to give this preposterous theory some faux credibility. Olby fancies himself a journalist, but the words "first amendment" didn't pass his lips. His inquiries boiled down to asking if these arguments were really a crime, based on the technicality of their not having been made in testimony to Congress. None of the alleged "lies" were themselves critically examined, let alone challenged. So while pretending to question the theory, Keith at the same time put forth its underlying thesis as something assumed to be true. Spin is always most effective when it is subtle.
We're dealing with family matters for much of this week, so sometimes (like tonight) our reports will be abbreviated. Not that there will be anything unpredictable from Olby and Company; these reports pretty much write themselves. Please use the comments to flesh out these brief outlines and fully develop the latest outrages from the Hour of Spin.
Tuesday night's focus: The Great Leak Case. Blather with Howard Fineman, the shape-shifter of pundits, exploring all the different ways Libby, and especially Dick Cheney, could maybe, possibly, be indicted. Typical Olbermann: bring on yet again the discredited, scandal-ridden Air America hack Al Franken. And not in the worthless final segment, but right after the first commercial break. We hit fast forward whenever that repellent sissy threatens to appear on our orthicon tube.
What Republicans made "worst persons in the world" tonight? Bill Frist. What Democrats or liberals made the list? Yeah, right. Only on Bizarro Planet.
Monday was a very busy news day. Major developments included Hurricane Wilma, Baghdad explosions, and the appointment of the first new Federal Reserve Chairman in nearly 20 years. A reputable news program could lead with any of these stories. But then there's the Hour of Spin. No way does Olby consider these insignificant matters worthy enough for the coveted opening segment, not when he can talk about The Great Leak Case!
And talk about it he does. Keith tries his best:
Is there any news, even scraps?
The Post's Jim VandeHei tries to let Olby down gently:
I'd like to say there is, but there really isn't.
So what if there's no news? KO can still spend the first ten minutes of the program talking about the fact that there's no news, and wondering if there will be news tomorrow. The key to propaganda is repetition, even where there is nothing to repeat.
For the second time in as many weeks, Olby shocks his audience by interviewing a Republican (Terry Holt). He brings up (for the third time, and we're still only in the first segment!) Sen Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who offended Keith by suggesting that an indictment for lying wouldn't be as serious as an indictment on the underlying crime.
Oh, and the appointment of Mr Bernacke to the Fed? KO disposed of it with a few sentences at the end of the segment, noting it was "another case of Mr Bush promoting from within".
#4 was the Baghdad bombing, handled with a recycled NBC report. Keith failed to note that this was another trick by Karl Rove to distract from the fact that there was no news about The Great Leak Case. #3 was the hurricane, #2 something about a CEO who spent a lot of money at a strip club, #1 baseball.
And then the "worst persons in the world". Who would KO bash tonight? Republicans? Conservatives? Fox News employees? How about all three? Yes, it's an Olby trifecta! Second runner-up: the Department of Homeland Security. First runner-up: Ann Coulter. Hmm, that leaves only some Fox news employee for the top spot. Now who exactly might that be?
Olby quotes Bill O'Reilly as saying:
Now in the Great Depression, every American got spanked. And those Americans went to war during World War II and won the very intense conflict and showed bravery across the board, the Greatest Generation. The Greatest Generation, almost down to the man, was spanked, 'cause that's the way we did it in America. OK?
Olby picks up the spin from the George Soros website that highlighted this statement, ripping away the context and putting his own (actually George's) frame on it:
The Big Giant Head again, explaining to his radio audience that we won the Second World War because of spanking.... He's about four minutes away from being committed.
It turns out that O'Reilly was talking about corporal punishment. His point (not unreasonable) was that kids got spanked in the 1920s and 30s, yet they grew up to be The Greatest Generation and won World War II. So it's wrong to suggest that corporal punishment, done responsibly, causes some sort of psyche-warping trauma. This becomes clear with O'Reilly's very next sentence, which Olby conveniently omitted:
So I'm not believing all these sociologists, these fruitcakes, who run around going, you know, you look at a kid cross-eyed, he's going to grow up to be a heroin addict. I'm not buying that.
Bill O'Reilly did not say "we won World War II because of spanking". Selectively editing his comment makes it look that way, but such dishonest propaganda tricks are merely an elegant way to lie. And that is the evil of Olbermann--loathsome villainy is disguised with a facade of faux sophistication. He isn't even truthful about himself.
The least suspenseful question in all broadcasting: wondering what story will lead off the Hour of Spin. It is, of course, the latest collection of gossip and speculation about Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and the Great Leak Case. Fitzgerald launched a website; the NY Times says there is jeopardy; the LA Times claims Libby plotted to counter Joe Wilson. And before you can say "George Soros", it's time for C4--Countdown Crony Craig Crawford:
It's hard to imagine he would launch a website just as he was ending the case.
Olby, proving again that the MS in MSNBC stands for Maximum Speculation, asked about leaks:
Who might be defending themselves in this matter?
Crawford theorized that it's "practically the entire high command of the White House", and added, "the floodgates are opening". Keith made a big deal about Andrew Card spending the weekend with the President; Crawford obediently giggled in agreement. Olby, moving in for the kill, decided to play Chris Matthews and paint some suspicion on a favorite target:
This campaign against Wilson, that supposedly faded in Spring of 2004, meaning the talking points email they sent me might have been the last shot fired, coincidentally, this was supposed to be Scooter Libby's idea, all by his lone self, and his boss didn't know about it?
Yes, that's all one sentence. After C4's obsequious response it was on to Tom DeLay, and of course Keith talked about The Mug Shot. Chip Reid told KO that the Dems don't have an overriding agenda. The #4 story was weather, followed by a segment on a child custody battle in Pennsylvania. Olby's guest was Wendy Murphy, a bit of a surprise as she appears regularly on The O'Reilly Factor. It was a highlight because Murphy spoke so much that Mr Humility barely got a word in edgewise.
Seeing that the #2 story was about baseball, and #1 is invariably worthless drivel, we were tempted to skip out early. But duty required us to stick around for the "worst person in the world": former FEMA Director Michael Brown. We thought maybe, just this once, Keith might just sneak a liberal or a Democrat in for this honor. After all it's Friday, and his meager audience is probably approaching negative numbers--George S won't even notice. But Olby always lives down to expectations.
The Hour of Spin opened Thursday night with Olby detailing all the latest leaks (from an investigation of leaks):
The President of the United States today dismissed the growing controversy over what his political brain and the Vice-President's Chief of Staff had to do with the CIA leak as "background noise"...background noise can quickly get loud enough to eliminate all of the foreground.
But then it wouldn't be background noise, would it? No matter, Olby couldn't contain his enthusiasm; he sounded like he had drunk 87 cups of coffee and a few bottles of Jolt Cola. Does anybody remember how Keith behaved back when it was Ken Starr investigating a Democrat administration? Peabody, set the WayBack machine for 1998:
We'll be beating that dead horse again this evening. Round up the usual suspects, it is, God help us, day 301 of the Clinton-Lewinsky investigations.
What a difference a change of administration makes. But back to the present. Olby's nonpartisan description of the President's statement:
Not dissimilar to sticking your fingers in your ears and saying, "La-la-la-la-la-la-la".
KO brought in crony John Harwood, and pitched a typical Olby softball:
Does this story go, has it already gone, will it never go, from being merely a leak investigation story, to a the administration deceived the country story?
Harwood knocked it out of the park:
No, I think it is that, Keith. I think you're exactly right.
Ah, music to Keith's ears; just what Olby wants and expects from his interviewees. KO's next guest on the same topic: Leon Panetta. That's Keith: fair and balanced all the way. He makes sure we hear every point of view from A to B. Olby's observation:
This page in the rundown for tonight's show was given a title by our producer that shook me. The title simply was, "White House in Crisis". I already hosted a news show on this network that had that title some years ago. Is it applicable now? Is in fact, in your opinion, this White House in crisis?
There's a tough one. How would Leon Panetta, one of the most partisan of partisan Democrats, possibly respond to that tough, challenging, take-no-prisoners question? We won't keep you in suspense any longer:
You've got a White House in crisis.
After a few cracks about Tom DeLay's mug shot, Keith moved on to the #4 story, about the ongoing operations in Afghanistan. Hold the phone! How did Afghanistan suddenly appear on Olby's radar? When was the last time he even had a report from there, let alone make it one of his top stories? Don't bother checking. The war, and the US troops, couldn't be less important to Olbermann, judging by how he has routinely ignored them week after week. But the allegation that American forces had burned the bodies of Afghan terrorists immediately whisks Afghanistan to full feature prominence on the Hour of Spin. And they wonder why people sometimes think the media really do loathe the military.
#3 was a bunch of true crime reports (sort of like the Rita Cosby hour compressed into five minutes); the weather was story #2; basketball stuff was #1. With half the show taken up by this sort of drivel, and the other half larded down with Olby's spin and unfunny asides, it gives you an idea how much real news makes it into Countdown.
If Karl Rove sneezed on his way into the White House, that would be the lead story (#5 in their backwards count) on the Hour of Spin. Olby is grasping at every straw in order to keep this investigation at the top of every show. On Wednesday night, Keith didn't have anything as verifiable as a sneeze. No, it was another Big Story from another anonymous source. At least this time he went with the New York Daily News instead of Raw Story.
It's a "bombshell", gloated Olby: a source told the paper that some time ago Bush had chewed out Rove for the leak scandal. Immediately KO put on his track shoes and laid out his series of logical leaps, complete with on-screen graphics:
So in comes Jim Vandehei of the Washington Post, and Olby all but drools over the possibilities:
Does it, if correct, tip over, generally speaking, a house of cards here? I mean, could everybody from Mr McClellan to Mr Rove to the President be inescapably described as having lied, in some way, during this, or even with this story, even with that idea, that it could be true, is it still all more nuanced than that?
Do those sentences, if transcribed accurately, per se, strike anyone, generally speaking, as being inescapably describable, even by many, as, in some way, preposterously pretentious and, even with that idea, unnecessarily wordy, yet, in a sense, just, ipso facto, plain horrible English usage? Oh no, he's got me doing it now!
Mr Vandehei had a pin ready for Olby's balloon:
What we have to deal with is the facts that we know...it's a confusing enough case to not go down these roads that we don't even know are accurate.
But Keith had a Plan B. What about that New York Times report that Fitzgerald isn't going to issue a report? Doesn't that show he's going to indict someone? Once again Vandehei set Olby straight. Fitzgerald wasn't appointed under the old special prosecutor law, which expired some time ago. Under the old law they could issue public reports; under current law, he's just another Federal DA and if he gives anyone a report to anyone it's to his boss the AG, not the public. Then again, maybe Mr Vandehei was just trying to get Olby to Stop Talking!
Next it was time for another fawning profile of Fitzgerald. After all, Olby hasn't run one all week. This time the descriptions were even more flowery:
Keith cut this report short to make note that a warrant has been issued for Tom DeLay to report to a Fort Bend jail for booking. Olby didn't mention that the issuance of the warrant was a purely political move, since DeLay and his attorneys already had an agreement to present themselves when required. After a few anti-Miers words, there's finally a commercial break.
In the next slot, it's Saddam's trial, which Olby teases as follows:
Legal arguments with the judges. Can he get a fair trial?
Keith--as always--in perfect sync with the daily talking points of the left wing press. He brings in Paul Williams of the American University, who patiently explains to Olby that the Iraqi people, Saddam's victims, have a right to their day in court. KO wasn't about to take that lying down:
The US premise of going in there is at least questioned now; the new Iraqi government was, at best, co-birthed by Iraqis and Americans. Would this process, theoretically, not have been more legitimate at the World Court, at the Hague, even subtracting from the equation the idea of Iraqis getting their day in court, symbolically?
Yikes! Somebody put a cork in him! Williams replied to Olby's Niagara of verbiage in a far more direct manner:
It has now essentially become an all Iraqi Tribunal. There were crimes committed against the international community, but the victims of the crimes are the Iraqis themselves.... The Iraqis are perfectly capable of giving Saddam a fair trial and his day in court.
Olby made a few more weak tries at disparaging the first day of the trial, but the good Professor cut him down on every point. So Keith was reduced to Saddam Hussein Puppet Theater. Fast Forward.
The #3 story marked the return of the FEMA-bashing segment. Read the transcript if you care--most of it was taped so at least you won't have to work your way through a tortured maze of convoluted OlbyGrammar. #2: somebody won a jackpot and it hasn't gone well for him. Keith did a little piece on William Shatner, and made fun of how Shatner speaks. #1 was about a David Copperfield publicity stunt.
Runner-up for "worst persons in the world": Living Proof Christian Broadcasting. The winner? Those "right wing nuts" at Sinclair Broadcasting. Rhetorical question: has Olby ever identified any "left wing nuts", let alone honored them with "worst person" status? Send all replies to notinthislifetime.com.
What do you do if you want to flog a story and there's no real news being made? If you're Olby, you run with rumors and speculation. Anything to make the CIA leak the top story of the day. Actual quotes from just the first two minutes of the show:
But never let it be said that Countdown doesn't adhere to solid journalistic practices:
We've confirmed separately that there was a Cheney quits rumor...
On OlbyPlanet, that's called having two sources:
1. There was a rumor.
2. "We" confirmed there was a rumor.
Hey, that's close enough for MSNBC. Unfortunately, Dana Milbank didn't play along and gave the story the horse laugh. But Keith wasn't about to give up. The moonbat lefty websites are always a good source of juicy propaganda, so Olby once again went back to that well:
The website RawStory says the person who's supposedly been flipped on this occasion is John Hannah...
Raw Story? Raw Story?!? The "editor" of Raw Story is the guy who brags that he has the "proof" that Bush was AWOL from the National Guard (apparently unaware that there is no such thing as AWOL from the Guard), and lists among the site's great journalistic achievements:
the outing of Congressman David Dreier and the relevation [sic] conservative newspapers in his home district participated in a deliberate effort to keep Dreier's sexuality out of their pages
Undoubtedly, Olby is the only host of a national "news" hour that would admit to, let alone brag about, relying on a source of this caliber. Imagine what would happen if Bill O'Reilly claimed he got a story from the Operation Rescue Gazette? But we digress. Keith's breathless reporting of Raw Story's latest "relevation" made it sound like Big News, but that old wet blanket Milbank threw cold water on this one too:
The John Hanna rumor has been around for months. It's been circulating around blogs for months.... Nobody has any confirmation that it's true.
Harriet Miers was the next victim to appear in KO's sights. The shock here was seeing Sen Grassley (R) appear on screen. Looks like Keith's producers are making him do stuff against his will again. Grassley has not endorsed Miers, so KO has still managed to avoid interviewing any supporters of the nominee. And Olby did make this one of the shortest interview segments we've ever seen on the Hour of Spin.
Keith then picked up an item that echoed around moonbat circles such as Daily Kos and Think Progress. Poor Ed Schultz, the lefty talk-show host, is not going to have his program aired on Armed Forces Radio as he thought. (To be precise, it didn't start on Monday because they needed approval from Pentagon honcho Larry DiRita and he is still out of the country, but that didn't exactly make it into KO's piece.)
For Schultz, and therefore for Olby, this was naked political payback because last week Schultz criticized the Pentagon. Like he hasn't done that before. Keith gave him a powder puff interview, but then balanced it by talking to a Pentagon spokesman. Hah! Fooled you! Or not. The day Olby balances any leftist with the other side of the story is the day the sun rises in the west.
The premier Olbsession resurfaced in his "top three newsmakers" segment where he referenced a Bill O'Reilly interview in Newsday:
And speaking of a big piece of poop, #1: Bill O'Reilly.
The Laughing Stagehand cackled at that one. But wait, there's more. Since O'Reilly mentioned that a few years hence he might retire, Keith yelled "We Won!" Then he started sissy-prancing around his desk, throwing papers every which way, screaming "Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!". The emergency desk at Bellevue immediately dispatched an ambulance.
It must have been divine intervention. Just as Keith began the Hour of Spin, out went the power. It's hard not to believe in miracles when that happens. It came back in short order, but the first few minutes of propaganda were lost. When we came in, Olby was chatting it up with Howard Fineman, Pundit for All Occasions. It was the CIA leak case again, with a special emphasis on the speculation (KO's stock in trade) about Cheney.
Then, marking another increment in Olby's progression from lifting items from left-wing blogs to having the left-wing bloggers as guests, up popped Arianna Huffington. They picked over Judith Miller's "credibility" (which is under question because she is "too close to her sources"). Having to put up with that grating Zsa-Zsa Gabor accent caused us to think: if only that power outage had lasted a few minutes more. Naturally, Keith found a way to bring up Cheney again, because it would be a lost opportunity not to draw upon Huffington's awesome expertise on the intricacies of federal law. Rumor is that tomorrow Olby will bring on Yahoo Serious to analyze the epidemiological implications of avian flu.
A taped NBC report on the Miers nomination; more taped segments on rumored instances of euthanasia during Katrina and "donor fatigue". Then Olbermann had to correct something he apparently said during The Big Blackout, crediting a quote to Lyndon Johnson that LBJ never said. He was considerably kinder on himself than he was to Michael Chertoff when the latter referred to Louisiana as a city. Back then, Olby took such slips much more seriously:
Well, there's your problem right there. If ever a slip of the tongue defined a government's response to a crisis.... We now have Mr. Chertoff's indelible announcement that Louisiana is a city.
Indeed. If ever a slip of the tongue defined a sports-guy-playing-newscaster's ignorance and total lack of qualifications. We now have Mr Olbermann's indelible announcement that LBJ said something he never said. Live by the snark, die by the snark.
Karl Rove ... blah blah...
Terror alerts ... blah blah blah...
Football sex scandal ... flying cats ... Tom Cruise ... blah bl-blah blah.
Sorry gang. Olby over-exposure has caused me to go off the deep end. Unlike what happens with some poisons, your immune system does not build up an OlbyTolerance over time.
Please use the comments section to convince Cecelia to volunteer to be an OlbyWatch "flying monkey" for just one night a week. Help restore my sanity.
We saw it coming this morning, when the White House had one of those PR events that just goes bad. The President spoke with a group of soldiers in Iraq, and it had everything: clumsy satellite delays, stilted responses, and even footage of the Pentagon PR lady coaching the soldiers on how to respond. Regardless of what other news was made today, there could be no doubt that this would be Olby's lead story.
And sure enough, KO came through. It was a "dark day for President Bush", said Keith, and then introduced a long series of clips edited to highlight the most embarrassing moments. But we got another glimpse into the Olbermann psyche. Mr Humility, who some time ago appropriated Edward R Murrow's sign-off in an attempt to leech for himself some of Murrow's journalistic reputation, stated that he was going to give this story the "You Are There" treatment. Now he's trying to equate himself with Walter Cronkite, who may not have been fair and balanced but on his worst day never approached Olby's fanatical partisanship.
And then Keith ran clips from what he described as "the most contentious White House press briefing in 31 years". Huh? Like he's been to any of those briefings. We've seen a lot of stormier exchanges than the ones Olby showed. Again, Keith invoked Cronkite: "You Are There". Maybe next week he'll start channeling Ted Baxter: "Good Night and Good News".
The clips, it should be noted, showed various White House reporters pummeling Scott McClellan with questions. Among the journalists identified were Vandehei of the Washington Post, John Roberts of CBS, and Bob Franken of CNN. But when Carl Cameron of Fox was shown asking questions, he was not identified on screen. Petty? Sure. But Keith never removes anyone from his enemies list.
Olby continued both stories into segment #4, starring Countdown Crony Dana Milbank. Quoth Keith:
I felt personally sorry that George W Bush was put in that position today.... This great political machine. What in God's name has happened to it?
Milbank had a brilliant explanation:
It's the curse of Cindy Sheehan. Remember, beginning of August, he refuses to meet with her. That was just the beginning...
Milbank also had another trenchant observation: the President blinks 40 times when he answers a question. Umm, OK. Thanks for sharing, Dana.
Luckily story #3 was a baseball controversy, so hitting the fast forward took us directly to #2: what has happened to tv theme songs? Countdown never fails to cover all the important news of the world every night.
The worst persons in the world turned out to be "our friends at NASA". Keith ridiculed their "Deep Impact" project that revealed considerable information about the precise make-up of comets. Somehow, it isn't at all surprising that Olby, for all his pretense, arrogance, and attempts to bask in the reflected glory of newscasters from days gone by, is at heart just another anti-intellectual. Way down deep, he's shallow.
Wednesday night's Hour of Spin began with a recitation of Bush's poll numbers and the fuss over the Miers nomination. Yes, those were judged the most important developments on the planet. Keith mentioned that six of ten GOP members of the Judiciary Committee had expressed "dissatisfaction" with the nomination, and posed a question:
Is that tempest limited to the extremeright?
That is not a typo. For Olby "extreme right" is one word, and to Keith it defines anyone to the right of Howard Dean. By the way, this question was posed to John Harwood. Yes, him again. And he was followed by Jim Vandehei, bloviating about the leak case. Again. Well at least KO didn't re-resuscitate Lawrence O'Donnell. ("Liar!" "Creepy Liar!")
When Vandehei mentioned the possibility of an indictment under the Espionage Act, Keith was suddenly shocked! Shocked!
My jaw just dropped when you said that. Espionage Act! That's the first time I've heard that.Puh-lease! Who does Olby think he's kidding? That theory has been all over the internet and in the news for months. His mock astonishment at something that has been flogged by all his favorite moonbats is about as convincing as one of his puppet theater fiascos.
After quake coverage and miscellaneous fluff, Olby got to the meat of it: his "special report" on the "nexus of politics and terror".
The theory is that terror alerts are tied to bad news for the administration, and Olby cites things like Powell's address to the UN or the murder of contractors in Iraq as the kind of bad news that triggers the alerts. (Only Powell's UN appearance was considered quite the success at the time.) And of course he brings up the latest terror alert on the subways as a distraction from Rove's testimony, even though it was New York, not the feds, who made it public.
The whole, of course, is a demonstration of post hoc, ergo propter hoc--the logical fallacy that because B followed A, that must mean that B was caused by A. Olby himself references this as a caveat, but quickly brushes aside the point as if it were just a technicality. In fact, Olby himself admitted that a similar nexus could probably demonstrated between terror alerts and Wal-Mart openings. So then what was the point, except to propagandize with insinuendo?
We noticed that tonight, this segment wasn't called a "special report" as had been advertised. Keith referred to it as "commentary". And he announced that we wouldn't get all 13 examples (you can read them all at his blog) in order to make time for a response from Asa Hutchinson. What's this? A special report is demoted to commentary? And it's abridged? And a previously unmentioned appearance by Asa Hutchinson is shoehorned in? And Hutchinson is a (gasp!) Republican!
We have reason to believe that none of these unexpected events were part of Olby's original plan. He wanted this to be a "report", not a "commentary". And as always, he never intended to permit someone with an opposing point of view to appear--especially a conservative Republican. But the honchos at MSNBC, those producers who make him do stories he doesn't want to do, were not about to let Keith sink the hapless news channel's reputation any further into the mud of baseless rumor mongering. So Olby had to swallow his pride and let someone on the air who actually disagreed with him, even if it meant cutting his diatribe short.
Asa Hutchinson, of course, demolished Olby's pet theory in short order:
I don't think it measures up to close analysis. If you accept that theory, you're arguing that because Karl Rove had a bad press day, the mayor of New York goes on tv and expresses a terrorist threat concern. And that to me does not measure up to logical analysis.
Really, Mr Hutchinson. This is Countdown. What did you expect?
Tuesday night's #5 story was the New York subway threat that has reportedly been determined to be a hoax. Olby immediately did a subtle ret-con to make it look like he was on to it all along:
So there was reason to be skeptical, as so many of us were when the Mayor of New York talked about credible intelligence, at almost the exact moment that people in many of the agencies that supplied him that intelligence, were dismissing it as everything except credible.
Umm, no, Keith. You were riding the conspiracy theory, that this was cooked up by the White House as a distraction. That would mean that the feds were promoting this alert--which is the exact opposite of what actually happened and what you are now trying to suggest you believed all along. Nice little sidestep, but we caught you shifting position.
#4 was Bush and the rebuilding of New Orleans. Mr Impartial made the editorial comment that the decision to follow the city's plans for recovery, rather than a federal plan, was a "happy landmark". Then a clip of the President:
If there's any mistakes made at the federal level, I of course accept responsibility for them.
If there's any mistakes made at the federal? IF? IF?!?
What a great intro for yet another reiteration of the FEMA ice-shipping story, this time in a recycled NBC report from Lisa Myers. The report blew the lid off the unnecessary spending of a few hundred thousand dollars. Keith railed, "And you are paying for it!" Quite a different reaction than he had to the millions wasted by the local levee board, when Olby rushed to minimize the loss because levees in the Netherlands cost so much.
After a gratuitous slam at the Reagan library, #3 was the nightly Karl Rove segment, without Karl Rove. Olby gave him the night off, and set his sights on Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Keith mentioned Judith Miller's previous run-in with the Prosecutor, the case where her phone call tipped off terror suspects that a raid was imminent. Olby said he just learned about this incident from NPR. Fox News viewers, and people who read blogs not funded by George Soros, have known about it for weeks.
A mostly fawning profile of Prosecutor Fitzgerald ("tough", "fearless", "apolitical", "dogged", "straight-shooter") was followed by yet another visit from Craig Crawford the Countdown Crony. Olby again brought up the Judith Miller story he heard on NPR today as if it were news. Perhaps we should be happy that Keith mentioned it at all, even if it took the NPR imprimatur for him to do so.
#2 was all about the bird flu. According to KO all the fuss over the possible pandemic is another administration trick to scare people, and to distract from all the bad news.
All right, he didn't say that. I made it up. But you can read similar sentiments on left-wing blogs. And it does sound so very Olbermannian, doesn't it?
The #1 story was the ridicule of Harriet Miers's papers that were released today. The guest was Harry Shearer, "social critic" and blogger at The Huffington Post. C'mon, you didn't really expect him to book a writer anywhere to the right of Comrade Lenin, did you? Shearer called Miers's writing "adolescent", Olby snorted with laughter, and the Hour of Spin mercifully ended.
The first story (#5 on the backwards newshour) was the Pakistan earthquake. Instead of a recycled NBC report, Keith ran a recycled package from ITV. (If Fox can get a reporter in there and file live reports from the scene, why can't MSNBC?) #4 was the New Orleans policemen beating up a suspect (this was a recycled NBC piece).
It must have really steamed Olby that he had to report actual news of the day, thereby pushing the nightly Karl Rove spot back to the #3 spot. KO teased that "new evidence" has shown up, then introduced the segment with a lengthy tangent about the Teapot Dome scandal! Oh, the "new evidence" Olby promised? Judith Miller's notebook (not merely yesterday's news, but last week's news) and an email sent by Karl Rove (reported by Michael Isikoff yesterday). Jim Vandehei of the Washington Post bloviated for Keith using the "on the one hand, on the other hand" technique: it could be harmless, it could be conspiracy. And so on.
Encouraged by cronies like Craig Crawford and the Olby worshipping bloggers, KO donned his tinfoil chapeau once again to suggest terror alerts are all a White House trick to distract people from bad news. Considering that on the Hour of Spin, bad news for the White House is found just about every day of every week, it's not clear exactly when a terror alert wouldn't coincide with one of Olby's anti-Bush jihads. But in case you want to swim in the paranoia pool with Keith & Company, KO announced that Wednesday's Countdown will feature a Special Report on the subject. We're sure it will be "special".
We've said, more than once, that Countdown is the most biased newshour on American television. Thursday night's installment may have achieved a special distinction of its own: the most biased single broadcast in the history of the program. This is going to be a bit lengthy, so get comfortable (an adult beverage may help) and prepare for a dizzying onslaught of spin using every trick in Olby's playbook.
Of course, despite the ongoing terror threat on the subways of New York, the top story was Karl Rove. An introductory montage shows Rove in footage altered to black and white rather than color. A favorite trick of propagandists, since psychological studies show people associate such black and white footage with mobsters, criminals, and the like.
Another tactic is repetition. This is about as subtle as a falling anvil: Olby just hammers a point by making the same statement twice within the space of just a few seconds:
The prosecutor has warned he cannot guarantee Rove will not be indicted. Prosecutors not asking Rove to testify; he himself apparently offering, according to sources close to him, an 11th hour appearance that comes with this very important caveat, as we mentioned. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald warning that Rove, in writing, that he cannot guarantee Rove will not wind up being indicted.
We got the point the first time, Keith. Oh, and don't overlook the other bit of OlbySpin hiding in that paragraph, the "11th hour appearance". Mr Nonpartisan doesn't mention that Rove made this offer to testify back in July.
Then, for some balanced, thoughtful analysis, look who Olby drags in: Lawrence O'Donnell! The same Lawrence O'Donnell who lost it on-air, forced MSNBC to apologize to viewers, was stripped of his political analyst position, and has been all but banned from the channel. He now writes for The Huffington Post--so Keith has graduated from lifting items from loony blogs to inviting the loony writers themselves to appear as expert commentators.
O'Donnell doesn't disappoint. It was hard to hear what he was saying, because every time he opened his mouth we had an uncontrollable urge to yell "Liar! Creepy Liar!" at the screen. But we did make out some of what he was rambling about:
You can always rely on Larry for hard facts. And you can depend on Keith for an OlbyConvergence that will make the tinfoil hat crowd all atwitter. First he mentions the President's speech and Nancy Pelosi's response (the latter gets a much longer soundbite than the former--surprise!). Then KO adds:
After came a supposed terrorist threat from the New York subway system. Stop what you're thinking. It's just an amazing coincidence that terrorists just happen to make these threats until there's bad news about the administration that it needs to pre-empt. Just a coincidence.
Repetition is a key to effective propaganda, so a minute or so later, Olby drops the anvil again:
Be afraid, but not too much because we stepped in on this. But remember, be afraid anyway. Timing: coincidence.
And just in case the Olby sycophants didn't get the message, a minute later, with Rogue's Gallery star Craig Crawford, Keith just happens to mention it again:
We've cobbled together in the last couple of hours a list of at least 13 occasions on which whenever there has been news that significantly impacted the White House negatively, there has been some sudden credible terror threat somewhere in this country. How could the coincidence be so consistent?
Of course, Crawford is a reliable Olby echo chamber:
Those of us who bring it up get accused of treason.
Keith is on a roll:
If a politican takes any issue and seems to be using it as a last line of personal political defense, does history, does our history not teach us, and supposedly the politician, that he risks trivializing the issue, that he risks sounding like Joe McCarthy on Communist infiltration?
After a few more snide cracks ("Did he just get the memo?"), Keith mercifully ends the interview by quoting Rick Santorum. Say what? Why is he citing Santorum, whom only a month ago he named "worst person in the world"? Oh, Santorum said something critical of Bush. That suddenly makes him a reputable source of opinion on OlbyPlanet.
All this, and we're not even fifteen minutes into the show! The #4 story is the "supposed" terror threat, with Olby noting that the feds do not consider it as credible as the New York Police. How exactly does that fit into the OlbyTheory that the terror alert is another Karl Rove trick to distract people? Umm, it doesn't. But that doesn't stop Olby from bringing it up again (Repetition! Repetition!):
Can coincidences like that, in that volume, really be coincidences?
Evan Kohlman was there to respond to Keith's moonbat theory, and KO couldn't have been very happy when Kohlman replied:
This particular piece of terror related news, this threat against the subway system, I'm not sure it's generated of national politics. The reason being the source: it's really coming from New York. And the federal agencies you'd really think would be spouting off President Bush's policy, like the Department of Homeland Security, are the ones that are pouring water on it.
Oops. Here Keith has been flogging his pet theory since the opening credits, and someone finally realizes it doesn't hold water. Olby tries to regroup by complaining about contradictory information that "becomes the lead story on national news". But that sort of rings hollow, because on the Hour of Spin, it wasn't the lead story. Karl Rove was!
The #3 segment brings us Keith's take on the Harriet Miers nomination. Once again Olby highlights all the groups with doubts about the nomination, this time quoting James Dobson. Yes, the same James Dobson who was the victim of one of Keith's Kampaigns earlier this year. He's now a respected commenter on the Supreme Court.
For a live interview, Olby brings in the anti-Bush, anti-Iraq-war, anti-free trade Pat Buchanan. He just happens to also be anti-Miers. You know, just like all the conservatives who get any attention at all on the Hour of Spin. Of course, this is one interview where KO doesn't raise his moonbat conspiracy theory about the timing of terror alerts. Instead he references loony internet sites that allege right-wing opposition to Miers is some sort of sneaky Karl Rove trickery. The sound of another anvil crashing to the floor. George is getting his money's worth out of Keith tonight.
The "worst persons in the world": the school board of Duvall County, Florida, who made a rule that if a student opts out of having his records made available to military recruiters, they won't get their picture in the yearbook. This horrible injustice is notable, because when Olby commented that "they do it that way in Iran, too", a familiar sound was heard. Yes, The Laughing Stagehand was back, cackling unconvincingly at KO's unfunny bon-mot.
Speaking of unfunny, Olby ended the show with another painful Mo Rocca segment. At least he didn't bring up the terror alert conspiracy theory again, but that didn't make it--or the entire 60-minute slog through Keith's tortured paranoia--any less excruciating.
When Keith gets fixated on some talking point, he's like a dog that won't let go of a bone. Tonight's Hour of Spin was another example of Olby's pattern of outreach to conservative voices: Trent Lott, Sam Brownback, and George Will were all cited and quoted by KO. Of course, they are all critical of the President's appointment of Harriet Miers. That's why Olby, who ordinarily doesn't give their views one minute of attention, featured them tonight.
He did show one clip from a Miers supporter: Justice Nathan Hecht. Why did Keith use this comment? To serve as a straight line for an OlbySpin wisecrack, of course. Hecht, speaking of Miers's religious background, said:
She has been a committed member of a mainstream conservative evangelical church for a long time...
Mr Nonpartisan then cracked:
As we try to digest that use of the phrase "mainstream conservative evangelical"...
Right, because on OlbyPlanet conservative is not mainstream, and evangelical is a pejorative. One of KO's Rogue's Gallery, Dana Milbank, couldn't resist chuckling at Olby's oh-so-hip "witticism". Keith also read a long quote from Maureen Dowd's latest column (also anti-Bush; Olby isn't ever going to break this pattern) to introduce an entire taped report predicated on Dowd's vicious slime.
Speaking of patterns, Olby named Progress for America (conservatives) as the worst persons in the world. Runner up was Sen Stevens of Alaska. Did we mention that he is a Republican? It's amazing that liberals and Democrats never seem to do anything worthy of "worst person" status from KO, but Geraldo Rivera can make the list just for asking that a newspaper correct a false story.
Hey Olby, here are some suggestions for you. How about Charlie Rangel, for equating George Bush with Bull Connor? Actually Charlie said Bill Connor, then Bill Connors, then Bull O'Connors, and a few other variations--just the sort of verbal gaffes that you love to ridicule when someone like Michael Chertoff makes them. Or how about Rangel calling the Vice-President "sick"? If you're looking for outrageous statements made on talk radio, why haven't you mentioned Randi Rhodes of Air America, who likened the treatment of Katrina refugees to the freaking Holocaust?!?
What, you didn't see any of these on those George Soros websites you frequent? Oh, that explains it.
Just let something appear in the left-wing blogs, and within hours it's all over the echo chamber. And when that happens, the odds are good that it will pop up on the Hour of Spin. Olby may have no use for the Media Research Center, but he never misses the talking points from Atrios and his ilk. The far-left blogger published a photo that shows Harriet Miers briefing the President; it is dated the same day as the "Bin Laden Determined to Attack America" document. This tells us what about Ms Miers? Nothing, but substance has never been a requirement for partisan hacks.
And speaking of partisan hacks, Keith grabs this huge scoop and runs with it. Look! A picture of Harriet Miers! And it was taken on August 6, 2001, no less! Stop the presses! Show the picture at the very top of Countdown. Show it again two minutes later. Don't say anything about what relevance it has to the Miers nomination because then you would have to admit it has none.
For some reason, Olby brings on Tucker Carlson to discuss Miers. Yesterday Keith cited two conservative blogs (an event analogous to a planet leaving its orbit). Today he brings on the bow-tie. Of course, just as with Power Line yesterday, his sudden outreach to the conservative side of the spectrum is limited to people who are critical of the President. (If you got all your news from KO, you'd think every conservative on the planet was mad at Bush.) And there are great quotes from Olby about the President sprinkled throughout this interview:
Then it was off to Leakville, where the next big scoop was that a "new theory" has emerged. First a clip of the President who stumbled over a few words:
Those of us in the White House need--should not discuss the case.
Like an armadillo snatching an unsuspecting insect with its tongue, Olby leapt:
Remember, Freud said there is no such thing as misspeaking.
Just for a change of pace, Keith brought in John Harwood to speculate what could, might, possibly be true in the "new theory". Our understanding of AFTRA rules is that one more appearance by Harwood on the Hour of Spin, and MSNBC will have to list him in the opening credits as a co-anchor.
Finally, Olby ran a piece of free publicity for the new Edward R Murrow movie. Murrow, you see, fought against Sen Joe McCarthy, who had America "in the grip of hysteria". Keith lifted his closing line, "Good night and good luck", from Murrow. We wonder what Freud would have said about that kind of egocentric conceit.
Tonight's Countdown was not memorable for its FEMA-bashing segment, because there wasn't one. Instead, Olby gave FEMA the "worst person in the world" slot for the same ice story that he flogged some time ago. And there was nothing particularly notable about the latest installment of his Tom DeLay jihad--inviting the author of Bush's Brain as an expert commentator is SOP for KO.
No, the highlight of the Monday Hour of Spin had to be Keith and his crony Craig Crawford finding a way to use the Harriet Miers nomination to suit Olby's purposes. All of a sudden, Keith is quoting Power Line and Public Advocate. By the sheerest coincidence, they happened to be critical of the appointment. Just take a few shots at Bush, that's all a conservative blog has to do to get recognition from Olby.
After commenting that the President's Appeals Court nominees were "toxic", KO referenced Andrew Sullivan (according to Olby, he's from the "conservative end" of the blogosphere) who, naturally, was critical of the Miers appointment. This exchange followed:
OLBY: Is it possible that the President decided simply on two people from essentially his team, his side of the ball if you will, but basically the two people he thought would make the best Supreme Court Judges, regardless of their actual political orientation?
CRAWFORD: I think that's where it comes down.... He is a more moderate conservative, perhaps a country club conservative, more so than we thought before. It tells us a lot about him. He's not the firebrand, right-wing, evangelical conservative he campaigned as.
OLBY: Millions of people hearing you say that, and hearing me say this, who just feel like the earth just spun off its axis.
Keith considers conservatives appointed to the Court of Appeals to be "toxic", but a nominee welcomed by Harry Ried simply must have been chosen on merit. No surprise there. But note Olby's admission that "millions of people" will be surprised to hear him--Keith Olbermann--say Bush did something right. No kidding. We've been insisting all along that Countdown has simply been an Hour of Spin. Now Olbermann has confirmed it, to his "millions" (not!) of viewers.