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If there is anyone well connected to the echo chamber, it is Keith Olbermann. Tonight's Hour of Spin gave us a perfect example. Yesterday, the President gave an extensive interview to Brit Hume on Fox. Last night Olby ignored the sitdown and everything said in it. It just wasn't news. However, overnight the leftist bloggers started focusing on Bush's statement that he thinks Tom DeLay is innocent. (Which he is, until proven guilty.) Conference calls were made, talking points emailed, and questions formulated. Harry Reid and his cohorts gave an accusatory press conference. And by tonight, as if by magic, the meaningless, unimportant, non-newsworthy interview was suddenly The Top Story. It provided an entire segment of fodder for Keith and guest Dana Milbank to chew over. Too bad he didn't think to report any of this yesterday, but how could he? He didn't have his marching orders yet.
After all this important news, the Iraq elections were a mere footnote, relegated to a two-minute tape recycled from NBC. More of KO's insightful news judgment at work. Then, in introducing a follow-up on the great expose of the Pentagon gathering information on war opponents, Olby stated:
When during VietNam it turned out the Pentagon was doing this, even the Nixon administration got apoplectic and ordered it stopped.
But the Nixon administration wasn't just gathering data. It was actively spying on protesters and infiltrating their organizations. Even Lisa Myers, who did the original report and the follow-up, doesn't claim to have proof of infiltration. This is the sort of rhetorical embroidery that Olby delights in ridiculing others for, but any notion that he himself is misinforming the public would just go over--way over--his head.
In the #3 slot, Keith again took up the Christmas issue. KO talked about the Congressional resolution regarding the traditions of Christmas. He played John Dingell's poem about Bill O'Reilly as proof that the whole controversy was "imaginary", inserting clips of Mr Bill at random points. Hey, it's an excellent way to give more free publicity to O'Reilly. Mr Bill had over 2.5 million viewers on Wednesday. If Olby keeps this up, O'Reilly may go over three million by the end of the week.
You know Olby would want to interview a guest who would parrot his talking points and not offer any kind of opposing point of view. And as KO himself might put it, as sure as there's an "X" in Christmas, that's just what he did. Keith talked to Dingell, and immediately brought up O'Reilly (again!) and John Gibson (note to self: keep an eye on the ratings for The Big Story). Keith repeated the mantra that the whole controversy was made-up and a fabrication, but didn't mention that Gallup has just completed a poll on the issue. That's right, it's such a non-story, concocted out of whole cloth by Bill O'Reilly, that Gallup is now polling on it.
But there was one great moment. After Olby said--twice--that the house never did pass the resolution, Dingell corrected him. "It was voted on today." (And passed, overwhelmingly.) When Keith sighed, we suspect that it was a way to cover his embarrassment. Not only does he not know who is in the cabinet, he didn't even know what happened to the bill that he spent an entire segment misreporting on!
The #2 story was the man who caught a baby dropped from a burning apartment building, courtesy of Monica Novotny (who deserves better than scrounging for scraps at the egotist's table). #1 was a self-plug for Olby's own inclusion in an article about mavericks and troublemakers. "Egotist" wasn't so far off, was it?
In the "worst person" segment, KO acknowledged the previous day's error (he showed a picture of Max Cleland while slamming Neel Boortz), and gushed that Cleland is really one of the "best people" in the world. But Thursday's worst was Jeanine Pirro, a Republican (natch!) candidate for Senate in New York. She was seen laughing after a funeral. Wow, that's pretty serious, Keith. You've never gone to a wake? And don't try to tell us you never saw this video. C'mon Olby, it's not too late to name him "worst".