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Keith Olbermann was almost giddy on Monday's Hour of Spin, as he gleefully ran "six minutes" of video from the Scott McClellan press conference. Hell hath no fury like a pack of news hawks scooped by a local paper because they weren't given their handout. Keith also boasted that he would reveal "the legal penalty Mr Cheney will now face". Note: not the penalty he might face, or would face if adjudged guilty of something. Judge Olbermann has ruled.
After a typically pretentious historical reference (to a satirist from a century ago), Olby introduced Dana Milbank to discuss what we predicted in these pages he would obsess on: why did it take so long for this to be made public? Just how badly KO wants to inflate this story was made clear when he asked Milbank:
And this becomes his legacy?
Incredibly, this Big News bled over to the #4 slot, where Olby claimed that Cheney did not have some required stamp, even though the Veep's office had asked to be issued all necessary permits. Since there's a one-year grace period, that means there is no legal penalty at all. Is this what Judge Olbermann was hyping? Lame.
Next KO interviewed the reporter who broke the story, the same one who was interviewed on all the other news outlets yesterday. That was followed by a childish simulation of the accident in the style of a 1980 computer game. We should just be thankful it wasn't more puppet theater.
In the #3 slot Olby ran a regurgitated NBC piece about the British tape of UK soldiers beating protesters. Oddly, the newspaper was never identified, nor its ownership by Rupert Murdoch, an association that KO loves to trumpet when it suits him. Then the "potentially scandalous" photo showing President Bush in a photo with Jack Abramoff somewhere in the background. It's a Countdown Where's Waldo moment, but it was so important that the discredited David Shuster appeared to explain the "significance" of it all. KO suggested that the White House should release more photos "to get ahead of this", and the reliable, trustworthy Shuster gave Olby megadittoes for that thought, adding that unnamed "top Republicans" think the same thing.
In a masterful bit of OlbySpin, KO did some damage control over the appearance of Jane Harman and Tom Daschle on Meet the Press. They expressed support for terrorist surveillance and had not objected to the program when they had been briefed on it. Watch how elegantly Keith explained it all away:
Did they save face there because they didn't protest in 2001, or is there a tactical change here by the Democrats regarding the spying program?
Pay no attention to what they said. It was just face-saving. The Hour of Spin at its finest.
The blizzard (NBC taped report) and celebrity news were followed by the sons of Mickey Mantle. (KO filled that segment with stuff like: I am a consultant with Topps baseball cards... When I was a kid... I did a long interview...) In the Media Matters Minute, Olby selected William Donahue ("worser") from the Soros website. Another conservative was chosen from today's blue blogs (Ann Coulter) as "worse", and a Republican (from the Dept of Veterans Affairs) was "worst person in the world". The pattern holds: never a liberal.
When it was time for KO's heavy-handed signoff, there was an awkward pause, a loud "uh", but no "mission accomplished" reference.