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On the Hour of Spin, the bias starts even before the titles run. On Wednesday night, Keith's opening tease used this elegant bit of phrasing:
The Democrats propose their own lobbying reform the day after the Republicans rushed out theirs.
Into the story itself, the hits kept on coming:
Not surprisingly, the Democrats much tougher on those trying to curry favor with the government, if not bilk it outright. One provision of theirs calling for criminal and civil penalties for companies defrauding the government in time of war. Halliburton? Halliburton who?
[snicker "He said Halliburton!" snicker]
And it is not often you will hear us praise the Democratic Party for political savvy...
[insert spit-take here]
...tapping Illinois Senator Barak Obama to be point man on ethics and reform: pure genius.
[what a shocker]
Olby went on to describe the Republican proposal as full of "loopholes". We'll be watching Thursday night to see if he seeks out the loopholes in Obama the Great's presentation. The topic changed to Hillary Clinton down on the plantation, and Keith poked some mild fun at the New York Senator. Surprisingly Newt Gingrich wasn't mentioned. Dana Milbank wasn't impressed with either ethics proposal, while Olby kept harping on those "loopholes".
Recycled NBC reports followed: the abortion decision, the kidnapping in Iraq, the plot to abduct Tony Blair's son, and the Pakistani air strikes. Yes, the taped piece did concede that several top Al-Qaeda operatives were likely killed in that strike. If you expected that Keith would acknowledge, let alone explicitly correct, his Monday statement that the people killed were all "innocent Pakistanis", then maybe you'd like to invest in our newly-perfected perpetual motion machine.
In the #3 slot, car chases that cause accidents. Olby again had telegraphed the spin for the night in the opening seconds of the program:
Why do police chase them if this could be the outcome?
Um, maybe because the police don't want to give escaping felons a get-out-of-jail-free card just because they go over the speed limit. Ya think? KO talked to an activist who is against these pursuits. The rules of Olbermann's Court were strictly observed: nobody with an opposing point of view was interviewed.
More recycled NBC pieces: cell phone privacy, a submerged car, and a rescue at sea. In the Media Matters Minute, Olby called Andrew Jones the founder of a "radical group" because, sez Keith, he wants to:
expose any UCLA professor who expresses left-wing political views.
This is, of course, an Olbyfication of what the group's actual purpose is:
to provide information on instructors who are "abusive, one-sided, or off-topic" in advocating political ideologies. The year-old Bruin Alumni Assn. says its "Exposing UCLA's Radical Professors" initiative takes aim at faculty "actively proselytizing their extreme views in the classroom, whether or not the commentary is relevant to the class topic." Although the group says it is concerned about radical professors of any political stripe, it has named an initial "Dirty 30" of teachers it identifies with left-wing or liberal causes.
How did the latter get morphed into Olbermann's caricature? It's all in a day's work for KO. But this is just small potatoes. It's the Media Matters Minute, so there must be allegiance paid to Olby's primary source, and he does so by making tonight's "worst person" none other than...[drumroll please]...Mr Bill O'Reilly! His crime:
I don't think Dr. King would be disappointed in where the economic situation is in the USA right now. I really don't. Because our system of government and economy gives more people the chance to pursue happiness in a meaningful way than any other system in the world. I'm the poster boy for that. And, you know, no matter what color you are, if you work hard, and you're persistent, and you get educated, you can make it here.
Now there's a worst-person-caliber statement if there ever was one. Fully deserving of Olbermann on-air O'Reilly attack #54. Somehow, it's much more serious than Ray Nagin (D) blaming the hurricanes on divine retribution. In case you had any doubt, Nagin's comments are still unreported on Countdown. Not to mention the other dog that again did not bark tonight: the William Jefferson (D) bribery scandal. Just like our world, Countdown with Keith Olbermann spins on.