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Countdown for Friday night followed the usual format: the top stories of the day, chosen not for the newsworthiness but rather for how badly they portray the Bush administration. Naturally the riots in Argentina were the first story, with both Olby and NBC's Kelly O'Donnell characterizing the protests not just as anti-American but also "anti-Bush".
When KO did a phone interview with a Washington Post reporter, suddenly the connection was lost. What followed was a demonstration of Olby's brilliance at ad-libbing, not to mention a fascinating display of just what pops into Keith's mind when he isn't reading from a script but has to "think" on his own:
Uh, we'll now, uh, turn it over instead, uh, to, uh, as we said, uh, uh, uh, the uh, the picture here was muh, probably not as simple as it seemed, it's very possible that the majority of those violent protesters have no interest in who Karl Rove is or in Iraq...
Karl Rove? Karl Rove? What in the Wide World of Sports does he have to do with this? We thought Olby was obsessed with Bill O'Reilly, but when he starts babbling, Tourette's style, and the first thing that comes out of his mouth is "Karl Rove", it's really time for him to adjust his medication.
The next segment (story #4) was a chance to bask in the latest Bush poll ratings (without bothering to note the curious oversampling of Democrats). Countdown Crony John Harwood joined in the fun, suggesting that somehow Arlan Specter's scheduling of Alito hearings in January was because Republicans are upset that the White House hasn't fired more staffers.
The #3 story comes after the halfway mark, and sometimes it represents a respite from the rampant bias and partisanship that mark the Hour of Spin. But not Friday night, as Olby dedicated this segment to the Big News that there were forged documents about Iraq seeking uranium in Africa, and that the Italians have figured out who was behind it. Keith declared the very idea that Saddam was after uranium "preposterous", and added:
The President used the false information in his State of the Union address.... Surely American intelligence agencies should have been independently determine that they were not legit before the President referred to them in the State of the Union.
The famous "16 words". That SotU reference was not to the Italian documents, but to the findings of British intelligence. Perhaps that's why Olby ran a silent video clip of the SotU. The President's lips were moving, but KO spoke over the video, telling us what he wanted us to think Bush was saying.
Keith recently hacked a statement from Patrick Fitzgerald into pieces in order to distort what was said, and now he's trying to fiddle with the wording of the State of the Union speech. After all, if he actually ran sound on that video clip, it would be clear that Bush specifically cited British intelligence, not Italian documents. Then KO would run the risk of someone remembering that the British report was not based on these documents at all, and that the Brits still stand by the findings.
Robert Collier was there to serve as Olby's echo chamber. Keith described him as from the SanFran Chronicle, and didn't bother to note that he has also written for Robert Reich's American Prospect, "an authoritative magazine of liberal ideas, committed to a just society, an enriched democracy, and effective liberal politics". How surprising.
Another huge surprise: the "worst person in the world" segment slammed Republican Tom DeLay. His crime? He accepted free transportation to DC to do a media interview. Fully reported, and completely legal, but good enough for Olby to plant another implication in the minds of the credulous.
And yet, DeLay was only a runner-up. The winner? "Fox News Channel", for paying DeLay's expenses. (Not quite true--it was Fox News Sunday, a program on the Fox broadcast network.) Keith was on his high horse, because that sort of thing would never happen at NBC. They wouldn't allow Meet the Press to cover travel costs for their interview subjects, would they, Nancy Pelosi? Mr Hypocrisy didn't bother to explore this angle.