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    Olbermann Watch, "persecuting" Keith since 2004

    October 21, 2005
    Burning Man

    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.

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (26) | | View blog reactions


    The liberal Ronnie Earl has sold his soul to get a mug shot of Tom Delay. He has risked his reputation in the process, and I'm sure other liberals have as well (though they don't know it yet). They all were just waiting for the mug shot of a depressed Delay with numbers on his chest.

    I guess they didn't count on the fact that Tom Delay's lawyer is a genius. The lawyer leaves all the reporters waiting at the wrong court house scrambling for a perp walk while Tom saunters smiling into another court house to have a pleasant booking with a NO NUMBERS mugshot! HA HA HA HA!

    Poor Olby -- the shot of Delay is third rate propaganda at best. Did the "Countdown" team paste numbers on the photo?

    Now the REAL fun begins! Democrat Ronnie Earl has to actually present evidence that Delay did something! Seems Ronnie always has a hard time with this part of the trial. After the dismissal or aquittal, Ronnie will have his chance to be investigated. I predict a nice big shit sandwich for Ronnie. Will Keith be paying attention?

    I think the Miller case has to be the biggest media morality play I've ever seen. The whole thing just reaks of irony. I read some sort of memo or e-mail or something from Miller's boss at the the New York Times saying he had been misled about Miller's involvement with Libby. I thought reporters were supposed to be involved with their sources.

    Chris Matthews was babbling something about sources being fine as long as they aren't government sources going after another entity in order to protect their turf. Well, hell, I thought that was what Mark Felt was all about.

    Evidently, if you work in government you can only be a source if you're giving info on "the man". More specially, if "the man" is a Republican in power.

    I'm just wondering when the media will do the correct thing and refuse leaks about the investigation and grand jury testimony because those leaks are illegal.

    I leave Rove and Libby to the prosecutor. If they willfully and knowingly hurt a "secret agent" in order to hurt her husband, then they should be indicted. But I seriously have my doubts about whether Plame's career was hurt at all. I have been surprised that Matthews refuses the idea that perhaps what ROve and Libby were doing was to say, we didn't hire this chump. He's lying. What Olbermann thinks doesn't bother me. He's such a knee-jerk partisan you could write his script for him.

    But Matthew's and most of the media's attitude in all this is just incredibly hypocritical. It's amazing how terribly willing they'd be cut off their own nose if they thought it might get Rove or Libby indicted.


    From here on out I think Craig Crawford should be referred to as "Olbermann's Brain".

    Now THAT is brilliant! Great, Cecelia!

    Cecilia wrote:

    "It's amazing how terribly willing they'd be cut off their own nose if they thought it might get Rove or Libby indicted."

    I agree Cecilia. However, I think it is amazingly great! The NY Times had a nice drop in profits last quarter. That paper is in big trouble. Meanwhile, Fox news is still going strong. I say we need more MSM self-nose-cutting in the future.


    I like MSM self-mutilation only to the extent that these guys take a look at themselves from a perspective that isn't just from the left---example: how did we fail to "speak truth" to corporate/conservative power, etc, etc.

    These guys are willfully tone-deaf to ANY suggestion that there might be some sort of institutional liberal bias among them. When I heard part of Craig Crawford's book title "Attack the Messenger", I immediately thought of Bernard Goldberg and the media's systematic dismissal of anyone who suggests they are biased to the left, as being a rightwing zealot.

    It's interesting that journalists will readily bemoan that they are unwilling servants to their corporate media puppetmasters or their own ambition, but get them to admit that they have the sort of instrinsic institutional bias of the type that THEY see everywhere else in society, and just hear the names they call you...

    But back to Plamegate-- what bothers me is that this issue has gone way beyond the facts of the case, into making it a touchstone for their hatred of the Iraq War and their own conventional wisdom that somehow they failed to stop the White House from taking us to war. (That other countries were convinced Iraq had weapons is something they ignore.) While the Plame case was inspired by criticism of the war and the case that was made for it, the legal issues are not and to make those issues into to some sort of symbolism for the war's unjustness, or media self-mutilation over being "sold a bill of goods" is not fair to Miller, Rove, Libby, and the country. It's biased, outrageously self-important and dishonest. It colors their reporting and hampers their ability to be objective. There's time enough to do that sort of broad analysis with the benefit of hindsight. Not before the fact.

    This reveals that it is NOT at all about the public's right to know. Evidently, it wasn't a good thing that reporters told the public about Joe Wilson's inaccuracies or bad motives. Rather, this is about what the MEDIA thinks the public should be told. It's about what they think is good for us... etc.

    Anyway, the whole thing is a shocking. It's so emblematic of the media's immense sense of self-importance and their sense that their only allegiance should be to their own narrative.


    Look beyond the immediate issues to the big picture. The New York Times is the liberal flagship. That ship is now taking on water. Bill Keller attacks Judith Miller immediately after the paper relentlessly backed her up for months. Pinch Sulzberger walked arm in arm with Judy when she left the pokey and a mere two weeks later she is being demonized by her own people. All these contradictions make the Times reporters and editors look like politicians. In fact, they ARE politicians, and now everyone can see it. In the past, the Times hid its bias, or the bias became evident years after the fact (e.g. the notorious white washing of Stalin's atrocities by the Times' Walter Duranty). Now the Times has to deal with, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, the NY Sun, Powerline, etc.

    In the past, the Times determined what the MSM talking points were. Now the truth gets out through the internet, radio, cable news, etc. The old lies fall apart.

    The Times executive staff is now attacking its own writers. Judy Miller didn't "lie" about WMD's. She did a decent job following the story. There was uranium in Iraq (, and there were weapons stock piles. The Times wants to push the "Bush lied" angle, so Judy is eaten alive. Meanwhile, Joe Wilson lies like a rug but is defended since he is the key to hurting Bush, Rove and Libby. Concurrently, the Times keeps getting scooped by other newspapers regarding Judy Miller and Plamegate. All of this is transparent to the people paying attention. In the end, the truth will filter out in books and talk shows as the Times cannibalizes itself. (I wonder who will write the first really damaging book regarding the inner workings of the NY Times -- maybe Judy Miller will?)

    The Times needs at its core a stamp of credibility from other news sources and from readers. The erosion of that credibility is vital. Otherwise, the Times will continue to set the stage for debate and frame discourse. You can forget about social security reform, common sense fiscal responsibility and reasonable political discourse as long as the Times sits at the head of the Media pack. You can also continue to see 15 point poll increases for horrible candidates like John Kerry unless the Times is stopped. Forget about this phony Plame scandal. Rejoice in the further damage it has inflicted on the most dangerous paper in America.

    Krazy writes, "Forget about this phony Plame scandal. Rejoice in the further damage it has inflicted on the most dangerous paper in America."

    I understand your point, but I don't think that anything short of the mortality rate of the baby boomer generation, will effect the influence the NYT has on the rest of the media.

    And to my sensibilities, estimating the Plame investigation primarily by the harm it has done to the NYT, feels a bit like cutting off MY nose to spite a political opponent.

    C writes:

    "And to my sensibilities, estimating the Plame investigation primarily by the harm it has done to the NYT, feels a bit like cutting off MY nose to spite a political opponent."

    Not really -- Rove and Libby are aides, nothing more. The same amount will (or won't) get done in Washington. Rove and Libby are less than a footnote. The NY Times has been an infected wound for at least six decades. Remember, that crappy paper has undue influence. The Times single handedly propped up Kerry, a political corpse. They almost got him a victory despite a complete lack of competence, trustworthiness, and ability. If Kerry were President now, Iraq would indeed be Vietnam, and our economy would be in a shambles. Forget about talking points and aides de camp falling on their swords. This is a time to pummel the MSM and the NY Times in particular.

    "Talking points"? If referring to Rove and Libby as "aides, nothing more" isn't a lame attempt at the political spin that comprises talking points, then you aren't just krazy for keith, but crazy.

    Rove and Libby aren't merely aides in the sense that they get the president and vp their morning coffee. Bush called Rove "the architect" of his political persona.

    But I don't think I really have to explain any of that to you. It's an issue of focus and yours seems to be that the death of your enemy is more important to you than the well-being of your allies.

    Get some perspective.


    I see you've absorbed the liberalthink that Rove is an indespensible master of the universe and guides every thought in the White House. Why do you think that? 'Cause the NY Times tells you that!

    Rove did engineer the REELECTION! That was his masterful work. As for his relevance now, it is limited. If he is so perfect, why did social security reform, tax reform, the Iraq war, and now Harriet Miers end up being openly attacked non-stop and brutally savaged by liberals? Where is SuperRove with his cape and magical powers? Rove knows how to win elections, and will continue to help with elections in the future. If he is helping the Prez with his current decisions, then Rove is best out of the White House anyway! I mean, friggin' Harriet Miers for SCOTUS? What the Hell were they thinking!

    And who is "Scooter" libby? For the sake of God, get your head in the game. These guys are good guys, and ham-handed indictments a la Ronnie Earle regarding the two is unfortunate, but not insurmountable.

    I also believe that they will be charged, if anything, with perjury. The prosecutor is a zealous but fair man by all accounts. If Libby and Rove were dumb enough to commit perjury in a bullshit non-crime scenario, then they will need to learn from it a la Martha Stewart. Is it fair? No. Is it the end of the Bush administration? No.

    Bush is not running for reelection. His agenda will still putter along feebly as it has since the start of his second term. Let the liberals use all their energy and hatred on a man who is not up for reelection -- in the end it will hurt them more than it helps. Iraq will be Bush's great legacy and will alter history. All the anti-Vietnam ant-Iraq anti-war anti-American zealots and the terrorists will be forced to smell the coffee when Iraq is a stable Democracy, and nobody can stop that now.

    Death to the New York Times!


    You also write,

    "But I don't think I really have to explain any of that to you. It's an issue of focus and yours seems to be that the death of your enemy is more important to you than the well-being of your allies."

    I have heard similar statements from anti-war zealots. The conflict between liberalism/socialism and conservatism/capitalism is not a friendly endeavor. There will be casualties, just as in Iraq. These are indeed unfortunate and lamentable. However, the main strategy has to be to protect the free market and capitalism against dangerous socialists and the NY Times. Otherwise, you will find yourself taxed out of existence with double digit inflation and socialized healthcare.


    I'd suggest that the preserving capitalism and free markets is 'somewhat' effected by whether Republicans get elected to office, but I'm not so sure that's entirely true anymore. Seems Republicans politicians can dream up govt programs and go into the "protection racket" if the pressure is right.

    Surely you understand that any indictment, whether for the initial charge or for perjury during the investigation, will escalate the all- Rove-all-Libby show and will broaden it into a congressional investigation with implicating Cheney and ultimately President Bush as the goal. And it'll go full steam all the way into Nov 06.

    You don't think that might hurt Republican chances in 06? You don't think this disingenuous media narrative that somehow they, themselves and the American public were sold a lie by the administation and its dupe Judy Miller, won't hurt Republicans in the longrun? It's a meme that will never go away now, you let Rove and Libby be indicted for ANYTHING and it'll be written in stone.

    That's distressing to me no matter how much the NYT has to fall on its sword and or cannabalize one of their own in order to achieve it. The NYT will continue being the "paper of record" for a long time to come. They'll successfully distance themselves from Judy Miller in a matter of no time. But Bush and co. will be screwed, glued, and tattooed with a narrative that doesn't stand up to anyone with a clue as to what was being said about Iraq, in the world at large, before the Bush folks were even elected or even what Joe Wilson had said himself in his report.

    That's not some unfortunate sideshow in the process of watching Pinch Schulberger squirm. It's the main event.

    "Print is the sharpest and the strongest weapon of our party."

    --Joseph Stalin

    Control of the media is the PRIMARY battle. All political problems can be traced directly to VOTERS. Media tell voters hoe to behave and if they blindly comply, havoc ensues. Cecilia, I think you need to reevaluate the improtance of the press.


    You're going to have to be more logical than that. I've been bemoaning the effect of media bias on a matter of national importance and you've been giggling over some embarrassing internal struggles between Judy Miller and her editor and arguing that they are of more consequence than the media's rush to judgement about two powerful Bush Administration members.

    If anyone needs to "examine the importance of the press", for all the reasons you mention, and for the specifics of the political impact of what's happening NOW--- it's you.

    I changed the settings that was preventing comments even on posts where comments were set to "open". You can now post comments freely (without even using TypeKey) so long as the comments are enabled for the post. As a rule not every post will have comments enabled, those that do will be kept open for a week or two or when the thread burns out.

    Hey C --

    The "Pinch" and Judy show is no laughing matter. The Times suffered greatly after Jayson Blair's antics. Now Judy (one of their most "revered" reporters) is in a public battle with her own paper over a quite absurd issue. This is good. Forget about this overblown "leak" story -- it's going nowhere fast. The Times has been a fount of liberal dogma for decades, and is the MAIN SOURCE of liberalthink in America. Ending the Times political influence is of utmost importance.


    It's way to early to view the Plame things as dwindling and I don't think the what's happening at the NYT is something that has any significance to the Right.

    What's happening now is similar to one of those "town meetings" that used to occur on Nightline, where the media solemnly critiqued its own performance. Remember those solemn occasions?... They nearly always consisted of Ted Koppel, Bernard Kalb, and some Yale professor of journalism, tsk-tsking over how the media had failed to be liberal enough on some issue. You know-- some regrettable incident of media bias or shortsightedness, such as their having wandered aloud about whether Muslim terrorists had bombed the federal building in Oaklahoma, instead of grasping that it was rightwing militia groups that were the real threat to our country.

    Right now the Times is having spasms because Miller made the mistake of reporting what was being said about Iraq at the time-- by the FBI, the CIA, Brit MIA, etc. It seems 20/20 hindsight is reason enough to hang a reporter for having been useful in some way to a Republican. God help her...Miller had a close White House source who wasn't outting the administration in some way. She even agreed to source Libby as being a former govt official, in stories, though she never actually did that.

    That last bit of Miller 'evil-doing' intrigues me. I'm not a journalist, but if I were, I might agree to something preliminarily just to hear what the person wanted to tell me. Afterwards I'd argue over what I would term them, and if we couldn't agree to something accurate, I'd at least have the info and consequently an avenue to explore so I could try to get the info out in another way. Bottomline-- does anyone really know what sort of chess game Miller and Libby were knowingly and willfully playing with each other. It seem obvious they both were doing just that. It seems obviously too, to me, that they enjoyed it and that there was a bit of flirtation and attraction in their relationship. What Chris Matthews terms mafiaesque in Libby's prose to Miller about Aspens in the fall, I see as a woman being chatted up with that sort of akward attempt at intimacy that men make when they're on the prowl.

    But anyway, again--what's going on at the NYT is just another exercise in self-flagellation that they'd never indulge in if Miller's reporting of now discredited info had helped a Democrat. THAT is what has the NYT newsroom in a tizzy...

    I don't think it's any real help to conservatives, Krazy. It's just some sort of ritual media blood-letting over a sin committed against liberalism.

    It ain't and never will be about us.


    You state:

    "What's happening now is similar to one of those "town meetings" that used to occur on Nightline, where the media solemnly critiqued its own performance. Remember those solemn occasions?"

    You forget that they used to be the only game in town. The "new media" critiques are the new sheriff.

    You also state:

    "I don't think it's any real help to conservatives, Krazy. It's just some sort of ritual media blood-letting over a sin committed against liberalism."

    I disagree. Years ago, the Rather memo fiasco would never have occured, Swift Vets would have been ignored etc. The media is no longer controlled by leftists alone. That is why they are trying to regulate political speech on the internet (see POWERLINEBLOG.COM for more on that issue). The Times is self-destructing, but the pressure is from without more so than from within. The Judy Miller fiasco would have been hidden from view and she would be a martyr today without other media outlets investigating the affair. I don't think you fully realize the strangle hold the NY Times used to have on political discourse. The Times is the equivalent of "Pravda," and alternate media sources are killing them.


    I'll agree with you that its the access to alternative voices that have hurt the MSM and the NYT in general.

    It's certainly NOT their own contortions over what they view as some sin against liberal politics. They periodically send someone into the volcano as an offering to their own graven (self)image as truth-seekers in the Edward R. Murrow tradition or something...

    And as good big as the internet is, the NYT is still the "Paper of Record" with no forseeable end in sight.

    I think just the reality that there can be an Olbermann, who can have Joe Wilson and Al Franken on SOLELY so that they can flak for themselves and their political ideology, with no balance whatsoever, is emblematic that things haven't changed much yet. Keith can say that he was pressured not to have a leftwinger on every night...but it doesn't that MSNBC put up too much a fight... (BTW-- if the term "reactionary" suits anyone-- it's Olbermann. Oh, how he longs for the days of Camelot, when a Democratic president could have a former girlfriend of a mafia member as a mistress with good ole boy (albeit progressive good ole boy) silence in the press and conservative positions were kept securely within the pages of National Review. Too bad the public was (and is) deluded by conservative thinking...)

    MSNBC would NEVER let Scarborough or Carlson get away with presenting only one side. In fact those guys have to go out of their way to tone down the partisan label. And on Fox, O'Reilly and "reactionary" Hannity at least have to contend with a guest who doesn't echo their viewpoint. That Chris Matthews tries to provide a semblance of balance speaks more to his rudimentary sense of both sides of an issue than to any pressure MSNBC exerts.

    C wrote:

    "And as good big as the internet is, the NYT is still the "Paper of Record" with no forseeable end in sight."

    Oh, I see the end quite clearly. Newspapers will in general lose audience and rely on the internet. The Times will be just another source of stories for the global media superhighway. They see it too, believe me.

    I'm sure radio broadcasters never imagined that they would play second fiddle to network TV. Likewise network TV to cable TV.

    Speaking of Tom DeLay... has anyone noticed how his Botox work makes John Kerry's look 'subtle'.


    I loved DeLay's mugshot. Pure genius. I imagine liberals biting their cheeks and pulling their hair out every time they see his mug glamour shot.

    I didn't notice the effects of botox on him, but he does have that excessively smiley southerner thing going on.

    Krazy: "I didn't notice the effects of botox on him, but he does have that excessively smiley southerner thing going on."

    The worst.

    Personally, I prefer morose southerners.

    Hey Cecilia!

    Check out this article!

    "NEW YORK The March FAS-FAX set off landmines with reports of steep declines at many papers, most prominently some top Tribune Co. properties. The September numbers are not much more encouraging."

    The NY Times pads its numbers with an aggressive National circulation strategy, but NY Times subscriptions in New York again declined.

    Is it coincidence or am I prescient?

    Thanks for the link.

    I never doubted that more people are getting their information via the internet and cable news.
    What I have trouble with is making the leap that this means MSM liberalism is waning.

    Maybe it's more indicative of waning attention spans, depth, and literacy. Are more people more interested in the world around them and are they flocking to the internet and the Drudge Report... for in-depth analysis...