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On Tuesday night's Countdown, Keith Olbermann opened the show by framing the top story as a "war of words" between Vice-President Cheney and Howard Dean. If one had any doubts as to which side was favored at the Hour of Spin, they were erased when Olby put a graphic up on screen showing a snarling Cheney side-by-side with a jovial Dean:
After a clip of Cheney saying "we will prevail", KO subtly opined:
And HL Mencken thought journalists kept repeating things in the hope that eventually they would come true.
Olbermann also ran a clip from Rep Murtha, prefacing it with the preposterous statement that Murtha is "trying to break through the din". As if there is any Congressman as little-known as Murtha had been who is getting the kind of press he's getting these days. Olby dragged Murtha into this not because the representative made any particular news, but because Murtha had appeared on the Today show. Meanwhile, Keith once again totally stiffed Sen Lieberman, who gave a major foreign policy address today. Hey, it's not like he did something important, like appear on a tv show.
Olby brought in one of MSNBC's house experts, Col Jack Jacobs, who dismissed as meaningless all of the clips that Keith ran:
From a military standpoint, not a single one of them knows anything at all about what he's talking about.... The only statement I've heard recently that made any sense at all was one today from Sen Joseph Lieberman, who said all these public statements don't make any military sense.
Oops! That's the speech Olby spiked--in order to make time for meaningless rhetoric from Murtha et al. Another Great Moment in News Judgment. Keith tried another tack, bringing up Rumsfeld's plan to streamline the military, framing it by giving Col Jacobs two alternatives, both of them negative:
Was it a bad idea altogether, or did it merely not fit Iraq?
Col Jacobs is too smart a cookie to fall for the Fallacy of the False Alternative:
It's a good idea globally. It's actually not a bad idea for Iraq.
Not surprisingly, Olby ended the interview. After another Bad News from Iraq report (recycled from NBC) and Saddam's trial, the subject turned to poll numbers, Tom DeLay, and Duke Cunningham, via another NBC piece.
At the halfway point, the #3 story proved to be a lame attempt to one-up Olby's bete-noir, Bill O'Reilly, who will be running a cable exclusive interview with Howard Stern Wednesday and Thursday. Keith introduced what he bannered as a "Howard Stern Exclusive", Stern's sit-down with the perky Katy Couric--also recycled (in this case from the Today show, not counting all the other showings on MSNBC). In a desperate attempt to blunt the Factor juggernaut, KO will be playing the second half of this "exclusive" rerun tomorrow night.
The #2 story was sports fluff, while the #1 slot was reserved for the "widely made up" war on Christmas. It was a red-and-green opportunity for Don Quixolby yet again to make war on his enemies: O'Reilly and Fox News. (He tactfully avoided any mention of Joe Scarborough, or Tucker Carlson.) As if Keith alone weren't bad enough, alleged comedian Mo Rocca joined in. His shtick was so painfully unfunny that even The Laughing Stagehand couldn't muster a chuckle. It just laid there, and died there. But be warned: Olby teased that Rocca will be his guest again tomorrow night. We can't wait.