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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.