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    Olbermann Watch, "persecuting" Keith since 2004

    October 7, 2005
    Anvil Chorus

    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:

    • The is probably because...
    • He is likely to be indicted...
    • The prosecutor's possible intentions...
    • ...consistent with the possibility...
    • That raises the likelihood...
    • They may be on the verge...

    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.

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (4) | | View blog reactions



    A fine piece of reportage. I think you ran out of gas at the end though. I caught the Buchannan segment, and normally one could talk of this segment for several paragraphs without getting tired.

    After all, it is not often that a nut like Buchannan LAUGHS AT A HOST because that host is too crazy. Buchannan actually made fun of Olby when Keith asked for comment on a Moonbat LibBlog conspiracy theory about the Miers nomination. In effect Olby parroted the notion that all the controversy has been engineered and is really a vast right-wing conspiracy!

    Oh poor paranoid Keith. How will it all end? Will he walk into a subway again, or will he fall off a bicycle? Will he see a ghost in the middle of the road and swerve into a tree? You know people are too coddled in this world when a guy who believes in conspiracies and boogeymen has his own show.

    It must be wonderful to be an MSNBC journalist. Judging by Olbermann, that job allows to speculate all sorts of things, on air, no matter how incredulous.

    It also allows you spew saliva while ranting "rude pig" over Rush Limbaugh and to bash an Anne Coulter doll around the set. Evidently your boss and co-workers don't recognize any inconsistency when your next trick is to intimate that FOX News is politically biased. Or that you'd be anointing Neal Cavuto or John Gibson "Worst Person In The World" if they behaved that way on air.

    But it was heartening to learn last night, that Karl Rove, despite his imminent indictment, still has the wherewithal to pull off a bit of subterfuge with the help of New York City authorities.

    Now THAT bit of conspiracy talk with Craig Crawford and later the terrorism expert gave way to what had to be one of the biggest "Duh, Sherlock" moments on television. While Olbermann blathered on that it taken his people a mere hour on the phone with the feds, to call into question whether the New York folks had over-reacted, I'm sure every person in who was watching immediately thought well then why are you saying this must be a 'wag the dog' White House job? Craig Crawford thought it too, but why would he disagree with Olbermann with the air time he's given? When the terrorism expert gave voice to the obvious, there had to be a collective "duh, Sherlock" in all households tuned in.

    Then later there was yet another conspiracy concerning Harriet Miers that I remain pretty confused about. I'm not sure if the scenario is that Republicans are pretending to be upset at Bush's selection because Miers is a stealth Ann Coulter, or if Miers is being offered up as a sacrifice to go down in flames so that Bush then pick Ann Coulter and the Dems will have no recourse since his first selection was thwarted.

    Someone else figure it out. Here's a guy who back in the old days made fun of Clinton conspiracy theorists because they did all sorts of spinning because Hillary went into Vince Foster's office and took papers shortly after his death. A guy who admonished his audience to leave then Kerry campaign chief Joe Lockhart "out of it" when people speculated on Mary Mapes setting up an arrangement for Lockhart to meet Bush's chief accuser in 60 Minute's infamous TANG piece. A piece that aired right before an election. A guy who when Sandy Berger removed documents from the National Archive after a call from Clinton and before appearing before a senate subcommittee, said not a word about any of this, but intimated that the Berger investigation had leaked out because Rove wanted to deflect from the senate investigation news.

    Goodness. If Keith wasn't real, you'd swear he couldn't ever be. That no network, other than Comedy Central, would put someone like that on the air and then call him an anchorman. That he must be some sort of compilation by a conservative version of Stephen Glass.

    In the wildest dreams of the most paranoid conservative, Keith could not have been imagined. Nope, that skunk is only too real and thank God for that. He's a living example of every complaint anyone has ever voiced about a liberal media.

    If reincarnation is true then Keith can look forward to coming back as a Monica Lewinsky type. That's his karma...fer sure.

    Cecilia, you are such a good writer. Are you sure we can't talk you into becoming a regular writer for OlbermannWatch? Once a week, that's all we ask.

    Oh, Johnny, that's so sweet of you to say that.

    I've got a confession to make. Some of the stuff I write is simply to crack my husband up. This site is my homepage and he sees it and reads it once in while and just goes to pieces.

    Not that I'm not serious about Olbermann being simply hideous.