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Keith Olbermann had the long knives out on Friday's Hour of Spin. He took a tempest in a teapot and blew it up to gargantuan proportions with tabloid words like "firestorm" and "outrage". A rather tepid letter from John McCain and John Warner about torture was the hook on which Olby hung such phrases as "sparks will fly" and "fireworks". Howard Fineman was obsequious to Keith's spin as always:
[Bush] did everything but rip up the legislation with this so-called 'signing statement', which has become very fashionable with this President.
Olby described the President's statement as reserving the right "to ignore that ban when he felt like it". Neither KO nor Howie bothered to note that McCain himself has stated that the torture ban could and should be ignored when the circumstances are "urgent".
There were more little digs at Bush, the White House, and enemies of The Great Olbermann. Yesterday's Pat Robertson story was revisited with Bob Edgar from the National Council of Churches. (This also gave Keith the opportunity to do some free cross-promotion for a new NBC series that depicts religious families as dysfunctional.) It should be recalled that Mr Edgar, a former Democrat Congressman, was among those who made a PR visit to Baghdad before the war and wrote about the delights of the potluck dinners and religious freedom. Olby's representative of mainstream Christianity had even argued that there shouldn't be sanctions against Iraq.
In the Media Matters Minute, Keith carefully scanned the Soros site for an appropriate zinger to toss at one of his enemies. One might think that, since he named Robertson "worst person" yesterday for implying that Sharon's heart attack was divine retribution, tonight he would focus on the President of Iran. After all, that wild man went much further than Robertson ever did, saying that he hoped the heart attack would kill Sharon. But, alas, that comment was not on Soros's smear list. So Olby picked Rush Limbaugh as "worst", because he had made a mistake in attributing something to the FISA Court. Media Matters just pointed out Limbaugh's error, but, in what is starting to be a pattern, Keith took it on himself to escalate the odious rhetoric:
He lied about it, told it backwards, which his why his listeners live in ignorance.
It's not enough just to lift stories from a Soros smear site night after night. Olby also has to crank up the invective, call people liars, and impugn their motives. Not everyone who hosts a failed tv show is so desperate as to turn to character assassination, but then not everyone is as egotistical, arrogant, and hypocritical as Keith Olbermann.