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Friday's Countdown emanated from Tampa again, with the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann more heavily made up than ever:
To get the spin started at whirlwind speed, KO twice referred to John Dean as an "expert" witness. Krazy Keith is the only alleged "journalist" would consider a disbarred lawyer to be a legal expert! He showed some of Dean's testimony before the committee looking into a censure motion, but no clips of any of the other witnesses--some of whom really are legal experts. If you don't know why, then you don't know KO. Olby served up his usual leading questions:
And when does startling translate into public reaction or into Congressional reaction. I guess we, we've come full circle in the questioning here, this goes back to your appearance today, when does somebody sit up and take notice and say, it's not about Republicans and Democrats, it's about what the Constitution says the President's supposed to do, not do, and what the Constitution says the Senate and the House are supposed to do, and not do?
Oddly, there was quite a bit of testimony today about what the Constitution says about the President's powers, but Keith didn't show any of it! And of course, of all the witnesses, the only one who gets the seat of honor at The Hour of Spin is the ex-con. Needless to say, Krazy Keith didn't bother to mention that only two Democrats even bothered to attend the hearing!
We looked back into the OlbyWatch archives to analyze KO's coverage of the NSA issue. Leaving out the interviews with reporters and politicians (none of whom supported the program), first we'll list all the Countdown interviews with "experts" who were critical of the NSA program or thought it to be illegal:
Do you want to see that second list again? OK, here it is:
[sound of crickets]
Ahem. OK, moving right along... KO also chatted with his favorite felon about aluminum tubes and the Big News that some people in the intelligence community "dissented" from the official position that they had nuclear uses. Of course, Olby spun it as Bush knowing that the tubes were not nuclear, rather than as what it was: a conflict of opinion. Then he followed up with a regurgitated NBC report on the released hostage. Krazy Keith intro'd the segment thusly:
Tonight some conspiracy theorists are criticizing Jill Carroll, suggesting in a political context that she's suffering from Stockholm Syndrome...
He went on to say the report casts her demeanor in a different light, but the NBC report certainly did not reject the possibility that Stockholm was involved. Did KO even watch this before introducing it? And why does he think it would be a "criticism" if someone fell prey to a known aftereffect of a psychological trauma? No matter, from there it was on to steroids again, followed by another fine, fine edition of "oddball".
The #3 slot was billed as the third anniversary of Countdown, but it was actually Olbermann O'Reilly Attack #76. Olby bragged that his ratings were up (not mentioning the Olympics lead-in for that ratings period, or that even artificially inflated he still loses to Mr Bill by as much as 9 to 1). Then Krazy Keith really went bananas: he claimed he "never said anything factually incorrect about the man". There he goes again, with another little white lie...or given his freaky complexion, perhaps it's an orange lie. For those unfamiliar with Krazy Keith's record of "factually incorrect" statements about O'Reilly, here are just two incontrovertible examples. KO ran yet again his bash-O'Reilly montage, updated with New Footage!, to put a cherry on The Liar's Olbsession sundae.
Celebrities took over the entire #2 story slot, and the #1 story was the oddball month in rewind. In the Media Matters Minute, after viewing the clips that site posted from yesterday's Countdown, Krazy Keith scanned their list of conservatives and Republicans and chose Neil Boortz as "worst person", for criticizing Cynthia McKinney's hairdo. Video to appear at Media Matters on Monday.
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 44th day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
If the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann obsesses on steroid stories even when there is no news on the subject, you can imagine how manic he becomes when there are actual developments. "Two exclusive interviews!" he roared. How will we contain our excitement? Reporting again from Tampa, looking cartoonishly fresh from a generous application of Man-Tan, Krazy Keith made steroids the lead story (#5 on the backwards newshour). A new investigation. George Mitchell appointed. Oh, and did we mention, "Two exclusive interviews!"?
We shouldn't complain. At least he's not slanting, spinning, and distorting the news. As far as we know, that is; we don't claim expertise on coverage of sports (aptly described by the great Dave Diles as "the toy department of our lives"). Then again, Krazy Keith did manage to to imply that had Republican Rumsfeld been commissioner, professional baseball would have been destroyed; and that Democrat Senator Mitchell had succeeded in his investigation of drug use in baseball, before the investigation has even begun. Other than that it was interesting to see Jason Giambi wonder to Olby "how was the grand jury leaked?" That's another of those breaches of security (like the NSA surveillance program, or the CIA prisons) that KO is totally uninterested in. The stereoidapalooza overflowed into the #4 slot, with Joe Torre in a taped interview.
By this time, Keith must have been worried about his audience of blue blog buffs, so he inserted a special promo for his Friday show with...ta-da!...John Dean! Keep plugging, Keith; people can't wait to see another of your "exclusive" interviews. After all, it will only have been all of 48 hours since your last John Dean interview. Following "oddball", our Olby was back in form. Introducing a regurgitated NBC report on the freed hostage in Iraq, KO gave one of his pretentious sermons about how all the reporters there "know", while critics of the media don't. Who said glittering generalizations represent sloppy, careless thinking? Then an additional rerun from the mothership: the survivor of the mining disaster.
After still another plug for Friday's Countdown: a report on the rape allegations at Duke University (regurgitated from NBC), celebrity news, and an especially stupid segment on Silvio Burlesconi. In the Media Matters Minute, Olby slammed Justice Scalia once, and Mr Bill O'Reilly twice (including the "worst" slot) for comments on the media (attack #74) and a Cardinal's position on immigration (#75). George got his money's worth tonight; the quid-pro-quo video clip should appear at MM within the next 24 hours.
Dogs that didn't bark? The FISA judges testify, of course. And if we look at msnbc's own website, we find: Bush meets with leaders of Canada and Mexico, dozens die in Ferry mishap, Moussaoui jury deliberations, immigration talks shake Arizona, etc etc. What do all these major stories have in common? None of them was covered on Krazy Keith's Kountdown.
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 43rd day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
It's Wednesday, and the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann was back, in the flesh (apparently having stocked up on a case of Man-Tan). The Big News tonight was "The Democrats Have a Plan!" It was an exciting burst of PR for the alleged "national security" policy that the Dems have cooked up. Olby's excitement over all this (note the exclamation point) stands in stark contrast to his reaction to the government's publication of a National Strategy for Iraq just a few months ago. Cue the harp music, let the image wash into blurriness, as we give you an instant flashback to how Krazy Keith handled that announcement--by cracking wise:
Is the implication here that we didn't have one of those already?
Keith also ran a clip from Sen Reed (D), with Keith reading off the Senator's military record as if Keith were his official biographer. And that was just a prelude to KO complaining that the President's speech that day broke "no new ground"; it had "very little in the way of actual strategy"; what strategy there was is "debatable".
OK, cue the harp again, fade back in to the present. That was then, this is now. How did Olby treat today's Democrat proposal (a political tract, as opposed to an official government document)? First, the clips were all of Democrats: Pelosi, Wesley Clark, Madeline Albright, etc. Unlike the Iraq Strategy coverage, there was no soundbite from any critic or member of the opposition party, let alone one with a lengthy military record Keith could rattle off. And KO gave today's Democrats something he didn't bother to give the Iraq Strategy coverage: a featured softball Hour of Spin interview! Harold Ford was the honored guest, and we don't need to tell you he has a (D) after his name. Keith just doesn't do (R)s unless his producers force him to, and that only happens maybe once a year, if that.
Note that everything Keith said back in November could be applied to the "policy" that the Democrats released today: no new ground, very little actual strategy, debatable. In fact, reporters at the press conference raised some of those very issues. But KO, who loves showing the press hectoring Scott McClellan, took pains not to show any of this Q&A. And of course, those points never came up during his powder puff interview with Ford, where Krazy Keith peppered the Congressman with challenging questions:
The Vice-President did another one of the interviews today in which he alluded to a link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda, speaking of trips to Iraq. How exactly do you combat that when the facts don't seem to have much to do with one of the main arguments about this?
And we thought Larry King was master of the toothless interview. Olby left his teeth in a glass by his bed! And he gets away with it, because he conveniently never got around to reporting those documents ABC News translated (except for the one that was negative to the administration).
Just to make sure that The Hour of Spin stayed as completely slanted as a Tilt-A-Wheel run amok, we get John Dean! The excuse for his showing up is upcoming testimony about the unconstitutional "censure" motion proposed by Olby hero Russ FoolsGold. There was more talk about "domestic spying", illegality, and the like. Needless to say, Keith continues to ignore telling any of his deluded viewers about the ruling of the FISA Court of Appeal, let alone the testimony of a panel of FISA judges who just told Congress that the President acted legally when he set up the NSA surveillance program. Say, wasn't that a Congressional hearing just like the one felon Dean is going to attend? Why do you suppose KO never reported on it? Why do you think none of those judges will ever get to sit in the seat of honor on the Countdown set for a probing interview with Krazy Keith?
Hard to believe, but all that spin whirled about before even the first commercial break. The #4 slot brought us a recycled NBC report from Norah O'Donnell about Laura Bush's staff, and after "oddball": Barry Bonds and steroids! #2: swearing (regurgitated) and celebrities; #1: the psychotic cat (only two or three days old--the news, not the kitty).
A Republican candidate in California was a "worst person" runner-up for publishing a photo of Turkey erroneously labeled as Iraq. A Democrat actually got a mention too: Cynthia McKinney, who avoided metal detectors and punched a Capitol Hill police officer. But don't worry, KO didn't break his streak--she was only a runner-up. The "worst person" was "comedian" Rush Limbaugh, for something he said about a golfer, what, seven days ago? Why is it all of a sudden news today? Oh, because the blue blogs just picked it up, and the only blogs Keith reads are the blue ones.
Dogs that didn't bark? We already referenced the testimony of the FISA judges. Krazy Keith also spiked the story of Jim McDermott (D), who was just slapped down by a federal court for leaking to the press a secretly taped phone call of John Boehner (R). Here's a "domestic spying program", and Olby won't even report on it!
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 42nd day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
On Tuesday's Hour of Spin, it was back to the regurgitated Michael Schiavo interview. Keith Olbermann's variety of "journalism" led him to ask the tough, hard-hitting, uncompromising questions. Examples:
Olby himself appeared only on tape. Countdown had a substitute host, and for the record, the other topics covered included the new Chief of Staff, Jack Abramoff, spring break, and iPod underwear. It's too bad KO wasn't present for that last, as it would have given us a great segue into this little nugget that a spy from Seacaucus sent us. If you ever wondered, what does Krazy Keith listen to on his iPod, well, we have the answer. Our source (not The Laughing Stagehand) sent us Olby's favorite mp3, which he undoubtedly has playing on a continuous iPod loop:
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 41st day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
Monday's Countdown had a predictable spin on the immigration debate: it's bad for Republicans. That's no surprise coming from Keith, and so it was not exactly a shocker to hear the ever-flexible Howard Fineman echo that take. Howie twice referenced Republicans trying to "criminalize" illegal immigration. Um, Mr Fineman? Illegal immigration is already a crime. That's why they call it "illegal".
In another indication of the ever-increasing influence of Olbermann Watch, Olby was forced to report some of last week's news: Hillary Clinton's immigration comments, which KO developed into a "what would Jesus do" formulation. Other politicians have raised that question regarding abortion, gay marriage, or a myriad of social issues, but they never received the fawning approval of Fineman and his Giupetto, the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann.
Then KO moved on to his other Big Story, another one of those memos that he finds so conclusively authentic (unlike the ones found in Iraq, which he simply ignores). This one said President Bush and Tony Blair had pretty much decided to go to war in January. Really? No kidding? Of course, Olby had to morph this little story into a personal smear:
It was only last week that President Bush could be heard, in the tone of voice that might be the verbal equivalent of wagging the finger, "No President wants war," he said. Tonight, more evidence to suggest, at least in his case, that might not have been true.
To pull off this non sequitur, it's necessary for KO to expect his gullible viewers to overlook a key point: a decision to go to war and a desire to go to war are two different things. See Keith, it's like this. You can say the President decided war was inevitable, based on this piece of paper. But in every war, there is a date when the decision is made that war is inevitable. Does this mean that every one of those Presidents really wanted nothing more than to get into a shootin' war, and if they say otherwise they are lying? Here's a hint to the answer to that question: NO!
In the #4 slot, a recycled NBC report dealt with port security. And Olby finally got around to mentioning the Moussaoui trial again. Of course it was only a few sentences. Anything more and people might remember how KO ridiculed the prosecutor and the government, never telling his audience that the Judge reversed herself to grant the prosecutor's request for additional witnesses. After "oddball", the "top 3 newsmakers" included a mention of Tom DeLay. Say, would this be the Novak report that Abramoff has no information whatsoever for prosecutors that would implicate DeLay? You know, the Great Scandal that Krazy Keith has been telling us has Tom shaking in his boots? Umm, no, it was something about a concealed weapons permit. The Abramoff case only gets Olby's attention when it suits him, and Novak is never cited except when he's critical of Republicans.
Halfway through The Hour of Spin, and we're into sports news and the murdered preacher. After the nightly serving of celebrity gossip, it's time for another visit to the Countdown archives for news not from yesterday, or even last week. Olby set the Time Tunnel for February (so long ago that what we're getting is more history than news), as he went back to the Michael Schiavo well, regurgitating once again his hard-hitting, provocative interview, taped some seven weeks ago. KO kept calling this Schiavo's "first cable interview", pretending like he had never aired part of it before. Which he did, back in early February, only to be slapped down by NBC President Steve Capus, who ordered him to hold it until the Today Show interview ran. Schiavo ticked off the people who crossed him by not agreeing with his desire to pull the plug on his wife:
There were "worst persons" as well: an indicted Massachusetts Republican was a runner-up. Jerome Corsi, the Swift Boat coauthor, was "worst", admitting that one of his columns was heavily cribbed from a Debbie Schlussel column. But wait. Is this not old news as well? Indeed it is, almost a month old. Why does it make today's "worst person" list? Perhaps because it was just now that the blue blogs decided to flog the story, and the only blogs Keith reads are the blue ones. Besides, he needed a conservative for the "worst" slot, so he found one, even if he had to go 28 days back in time to do so.
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 40th day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
Was our Olby a little off his game tonight? Leading off the show, he referenced the "controversy" about NSA searches. Controversy? Not on Countdown, where every person he has interviewed about the program has had the same opinion: it's illegal. How is that a "controversy"? No matter, he went on to talk about a lawsuit involving "international phone conversations". Is this the same Olbermann who just a few weeks ago was ridiculing the administration for using the term "international"? KO quoted an attorney who believes his law office was the subject of "clandestine searches". Only Keith decided to pronounce it CLAN-dis-TYNE.
Naturally the attorney, who had no evidence whatsoever against the federal government but was suing anyhow, was Krazy Keith's honored guest. Again, our Olby wasn't quite up to par:
OLBERMANN: Do they have any reason to suspect--[SIGH!]--that you were talking to a terrorist?
THOMAS NELSON: Well, one of my clients has been designated as a specially designated terrorist, so I think that was part of it.
Hmm. Perhaps he'd better explore another angle:
OLBY: Are you scared by this?
NELSON: No, I'm angry.
One more try:
OLBY: Mmm. Scared on behalf of the constitution, perhaps.
Bingo! "Untrammeled executive power". Keith finally got the money quote, but it was a long journey. Particularly long when you consider that NPR reported on this lawsuit weeks ago. Don't mention how old the news is, and no one will guess that it's just an excuse to flog a favorite talking point.
Turning to politics, Olby brought in Craig Crawford to complain about Bush using "signing statements", and of course Olbermann's Brain joined right in. We don't recall either of them complaining about the many signing statements recommended by Janet Reno's Justice Department or implemented by the previous administration. But we'll have to cut Olby a break on that one; during the Clinton years he was too busy complaining about "persecutor" Ken Starr and comparing him to famous Nazis.
Krazy Keith may not have been at full fighting strength Friday night, but even when he's a dollar short, he can still pull off a neat piece of spin. Talking to Brain he referenced the ABC documents that have made headlines everywhere except on The Hour of Spin. But the only document he mentioned was the one about the Russkies tipping off Saddam on our war plans. Not one word about Saddam's people meeting with Usama Bin Laden. Not one word about their plans for further "cooperation". Not one word about Iraq's goal to find new channels to "activate their relationship" with UBL. Even when KO is just phoning in it, he still manages to filter out anything that doesn't fit the tint.
After the nightly Barry Bonds Bash and "oddball", Olby did an interview with a talk radio host who was discussing Condi Rice. He meant to say her becoming football commissioner would be a "coup" for the NFL, only he slipped up and said "coon", immediately apologizing. The guy was promptly fired. For his part, Keith right off the bat suggested that his slip might represent "a racial epithet" lurking in the back of his mind, but quickly backed off. It was not an uninteresting interview, but KO came to this story a day late: Hannity & Colmes had the guy on yesterday.
Then the intellectual Countdown audience was treated to segments on drunk laws in Texas and celebrity news. The #1 story was all about the video of the falling cat, and an interview with the owners. Yes, the same owners who made the media rounds over 48 hours ago. Two days late, but hey, at least it wasn't Michael Musto.
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 37th day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
It's Thursday, and the burning question is: will Keith Olbermann flog his invented "Bush attacks the media" story yet again? Or to put it another way, does a bear sleep in the woods? Sure enough, tonight we were told that the media are not negative enough, a sentiment attributed (with a large dose of Olbermann Creative Interpretation) to the State Department. Note that this report, quoted from by Olby with extreme selectivity, came out something like a month ago. So how does it come to be the top story now? Remember, flog, repeat, flog, repeat.
As he introduced Dana Milbank, Krazy Keith again trumpeted his lie that Bush has launched "a war against the media". Olby brought up the ABC email, leaked to "the infamous, deplorable Matt Drudge", and said it sparked of desperation by the White House. What, he knows the leaker? Without even conducting a Great Leak Case investigation? Silly rabbit, everyone knows Karl Rove keeps an archive of all emails from "Good Morning America" producers. Milbank, for his part, carefully distanced himself from Keith's smear of Drudge. Of course, KO would undoubtedly rush a special "worst person" designation for any Fox executive who would write such an email about, say, Madame Hillary. But instead, in a tour de force of spin, Olby twists it around and bashes Matt Drudge.
After a gratuitous slam at Fox News, KO touched on the NSA surveillance program--oops, sorry, the "domestic spying" program. This served as a pretext to drag in, yet again, the discredited David Shuster, to speculate on why the President may have given Pakistan a clue about the phone intercept plans. This Big News, by the way, is not a month old--it's four years old! And yet moments before, Olby was slamming Drudge for printing a "two-year-old memo".
The law firm of Shuster and Olbermann also bloviated about The Great Leak Case, rather confusingly for Countdown viewers, since they were talking about the time it will take to give Libby copies of some classified materials. Why would that puzzle people who rely on The Hour of Spin for their news? Because when the judge granted that defense motion, Olbermann didn't bother to report it. Every little twist in the case is faithfully reported by Krazy Keith--except the ones that favor Libby.
If you were after the major news of the day, you could have changed the channel at the first commercial break. Because the #4 segment marked the return of Bash Barry Bonds, then "oddball". Hard news for the highly educated Countdown audience continued with the #3 story dedicated to Debra Lafave, complete with a psychiatric expert. In the #2 slot was a Countdown "expose" about American Idol. "At least four" of the contestants, it was asserted, are actually "professionals". One of them had a bit part on a sitcom, another had a role in a local stage production of "The Lion King". But since none of this is against the rules, where is the "scandal"? Either this is an attempt by Olby to grab some of the Idol ratings, or its just a Krazy Keith jihad against another Fox program with a lot more viewers than he'll ever get.
So baseball, true crime, American Idol, what could possibly come next? Celebrity news! And in the #1 slot, Tom Cruise, Scientology, and South Park--again! Fidel Castro made "worse" in the Media Matters Minute, but not for being a brutal dictator, or making his country a prison. It was something about underpants. Barbara Bush was "worst", so the never-a-Democrat-or-liberal streak continues apace.
Of the many dogs that did not bark, how about Hillary Clinton's remarks that cracking down on illegal aliens is contrary to Scripture and the teachings of Jesus? Krazy Keith has never been reticent to slam Republicans or conservatives for mingling religion and politics--recall his two-night extravaganza with Michael Shiavo, his ranting about Justice Sunday, or how he and the author of "Bush's Brain" bemoaned that the President was trying to implement his own "religious agenda". Yet there is no "worst person" status for Hillary, not even as a runner-up. And true to form, her comments were not even reported! If that reminds you of how KO treated Mayor Nagin's statement about the hurricane sent by God, or Dick Durbin's comparison of US troops to Nazis, there's a good reason for that. Olby didn't report any of those on Countdown either.
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 36th day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
It's "Operation: Attack the Media". That, according to Krazy Keith, described the President's town hall discussion with military families on Wednesday. One of the questioners criticized media coverage of Iraq, and the President said...well, he said, there are all kinds of ways people can communicate, and you can never suppress the free press. And there you have it: Bush attacking the media. As another example to "prove" his premise, he ran a clip from yesterday where Bush said the terrorists know their attacks will get coverage, and he doesn't blame the media for that because they have to cover it. Aha! Bush "attacks" the media twice! Then a few clips of Laura Ingraham: more proof that Bush is attacking the media. Is there something we're missing here?
Olby regurgitated some footage put together by NBC as damage control for Ingraham's withering criticisms. Lots of stuff about reporters in danger, but to KO that's not the fault of the terrorists who are targeting journalists. No, it's Laura Ingraham's fault. It's Bush's fault. After Keith lectured Laura ("unforgivable", "desperate", "stupid"), Richard Wolffe was brought in to cast light on this controversy. "It's not a bias of the media", he predictably claimed--predictably, because if he were to say anything else, he wouldn't have been sitting in that chair. All Olby could say to that was, "Amen". In fact, that's what he can say to each of those ideological clones who parade before the Countdown cameras.
Meanwhile KO speculated that the "experiment" of the President facing critical audiences appears to be over. Hello! Earth to Krazy Keith! When was the last time anybody who disagreed with your spin was permitted to sit for an interview with your almightyness? You're great at calling Laura Ingraham names from the safety of your Seacaucus cocoon, but you're too much of a wuss to to do it to her face and give her the chance to respond. How insecure are you that you don't dare face anyone who might actually challenge your preconceived spin? Then again, maybe it's not just the insecurity. Maybe you just realize how ill-informed and inadequate your knowledge base is. Nah. You're just a coward.
As if to prove our point, KO dragged out Helen Thomas, the rabidly anti-Israel "reporter" who claims George W Bush is the worst President in history. Last week the Daily Kos, and now Helen Thomas. What a fearless journalist our Olby is. Willing to talk face to face to anyone--as long as they parrot his views. Spalding has never seen so many softballs as were tossed by KO in this "interview". Typical hard-hitting Olbermann question:
Did the President answer your question yesterday?...He went off on a tangent about the adjective or rather the verb "want"...
After oddball and multiple teases, Krazy Keith finally got around to O'Reilly attack #73. Mr Bill is campaigning for a multiple child rapist to get something more than probation, and the local paper decided to attack O'Reilly personally (specifically his settled harassment suit). As far as Olby is concerned, personal attacks are just fine, if they're against one of his enemies. (Anyone else does a personal attack, they end up as a "worst person".) KO took a statement from the paper as absolute fact, even though its accuracy is disputed by the Fox producer involved in the conversation. No verification, no seeking the other side, and also nothing new for The Hour of Spin.
Then who to bring on to discuss Bill O'Reilly's accuracy? None other than self-admitted professional liar, David Brock. Yes, tonight the Media Matters Minute became the Media Matters Segment! See what putting up clips of Olbermann can get you? A seat on the Countdown set. So deranged has Krazy Keith become that he actually said this:
He gave out the email of this man Jeff Bruce on tv on Monday. This stuff's bordering on harassment now.
Jeff Bruce's email appears online at the bottom of each of his columns at the Dayton Daily News website. This is "harassment"?!? Olby had better adjust his medication. All of this Big News was more important than the Moussaoui trial, which only makes Countdown when Keith can use it to embarrass the administration. His hapless viewers still don't know that the judge backed off the decision that he was trumpeting so maniacally last week. Instead, Kourageous Keith treated his meager audience to news about lost luggage, celebrities, and a missing dog.
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 35th day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
On Tuesday night's Countdown, the spin began even as the opening credits rolled:
Any credibility left? Anyone?
Olby was talking about the President's press conference, with the subtle headline "Beat the Press" seen in big bold letters behind Krazy Keith and his wig. Olby referenced Lyndon Johnson in 1969, and then ran clips from the presser. Bloviation was supplied by Jim VandeHei of the Post, no doubt invited back because of his track record of astute analysis, as when he told Keith that Dick Cheney would "never" speak about his hunting accident. An NBC report from Norah O'Donnell talked about declining poll numbers and conservative disillusionment, because those subjects never get any coverage on The Hour of Spin.
To introduce a regurgitated Lisa Myers report about Naji Sabri, an Iraqi who was feeding information to the CIA, Olby put it this way:
[He] was insisting that Saddam had no biological weapons program, and the administration simply ignored him.
Note how Keith, who is quick to accuse "Mister" Bush of semantic hairsplitting, only mentioned biological weapons (he pulled the same trick in his earlier tease). But there was more to Myers's report than this one aspect flogged by KO. Sabri also said that Saddam had around "500 metric tonnes of chemical warfare agents", that production of the agents had been renewed and that Iraq had additional stockpiles left over from the Iran-Iraq war. Myers rather airily said that on this Sabri was "wrong", but of course she has no way of knowing that.
"Oddball" preceded a segment about the New York Daily News report that Bill will have to clear his public comments through Hillary. So what else is new? Howard Fineman, Pundit for All Occasions, called it a "soap opera of power". Then after no report on the Moussaoui trial (to KO it's only news when he can use it to embarrass the administration) we got a #2 story about the "return" of the antiwar entertainers. What, they went somewhere? It was an excuse to give free publicity to Susan Sarandon, Cindy Sheehan, and their ilk. It's more of that canny Olbermann News Judgment: hype Susan Sarandon, ignore Moussaoui. Perhaps Countdown has done similar stories on pro-administration entertainers, but oddly none come to mind. Then celebrity news and the Deborah Lafave non-trial.
Tuesday's Countdown, though rich with propaganda points, still couldn't match the dizzying centrifugal force of the spin on Monday's edition. But there's always the Media Matters Minute to help balance the scales. This time Olby chose Ann Coulter as "worse", reaching all the way back into last week's entries. Whether that's too far removed to earn Keith his reciprocal video clip posting on the Soros site remains to be seen.
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 34th day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
The President gave a speech today, and that means it's time for Krazy Keith to come up with one of his "gotcha" moments. This one came at the very top of the show, as Olby claimed Bush's denial of a "direct connection" between 9/11 and Saddam was a contradiction, because after 9/11 Bush said Saddam had harbored terrorists:
So that direct connection, once removed, was what, a dream?
It's getting to the point where KO's semantic tricks are so transparent it's like he's not even trying. What in the wide world of sports is a "direct connection, once removed"? Is that something like a circle, but with square corners?
But the Big News of the day that led off segment #1 turned out to be the Big News of three days ago: speculation about warrantless physical searches reported by US News and World Report. Sure it's already 72 hours old, but what dead horse has Olby ever refrained from beating? Chitra Ravagan, reporter for US News, was the guest and actually mentioned the Aldrich Ames case. Keith completely avoided any follow up on that point, instead wondering about why this story hasn't "exploded".
For his "expert" witness, Olby brought in Kate Martin, the far-left "Democracy Now" favorite who also rushes to preen before the Democrat pseudo-hearings run by the likes of John Conyers. Martin's preposterous commentary was full of ignorance and propagandizing, which made it ideal for The Hour of Spin. One example:
It's pretty clear that warrantless searches of Americans' houses are unconstitutional.
It is? What court has ruled that, Ms Martin? Why wasn't Aldrich Ames released from prison and his conviction overturned? Could it be because the President has inherent constitutional authority to conduct warrantless searches for foreign intelligence information? Of course you will never hear that expressed on Countdown, not even as a dissenting voice. Because in Olby's Echo Chamber, views that do not conform with those of Krazy Keith don't make it to air.
The Great Leak Case led off the #4 segment, and that meant another visit from the discredited David Shuster. His purpose was to speculate that Libby's defense won't "hold up very well" and is a "long shot", while "nonpartisan" Keith compared the principals in the case to The Three Stooges. Shuster had the brilliant insight that Libby may try to "blame somebody else". We are floored by his discerning legal acumen.
After "oddball", KO finally got back to the much-hyped rhetorical sleight-of-hand he cooked up. You remember, the one where the President did make a "direct connection" between Saddam and 9/11. Except as redefined by Olby, that "direct connection" is a connection that's direct, except for the part where it isn't, because it's "once removed". This time, we got more extensive soundbites:
PRESIDENT BUSH: I didn't say that there's a direct connection between September 11th and Saddam Hussein. We did say that he was a state sponsor of terror. I was very careful never to say that Saddam Hussein ordered the attacks on America.
KEITH OLBERMANN: Then that must have been a different George W Bush who gave the State of the Union Address on January 28th, 2003.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al-Qaeda. Secretly and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop one of their own.
So where exactly is the contradiction? Today: "state sponsor of terror". 2003: "aids and protects terrorists". Today: never said Saddam "ordered the attacks on America". 2003: he never said it then either. Is Olby so far gone that he thinks even his credulous lemmings are not going to see through such an obvious confidence trick? Apparently so, because this was his "convincer":
Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda in the same sentence, separated by seven words. September 11th and Saddam Hussein, two sentences later, separated by six words.... Who does the President think he's f'ing kidding?
So now it's the number of words in the sentence that determines the "direct connection"? Sorry, the "direct connection, once removed"? Who does Krazy Keith think he's kidding? Here's an idea: let's ask Craig Crawford. Olbermann's Brain chortled that this was "Presidential prevarication" and dutifully embraced all of KO's subterfuges, only in a more annoying fashion, if that's possible. It was somewhere around Brain's 14th snicker we realized that we haven't seen an hour of news this slanted, propagandistic, and one-sided since we last listened to Radio Havana. Aha, a "direct connection, once removed" between Keith Olbermann and Fidel Castro!
Weather was the #2 story, followed by the usual dose of celebrities, and then a full segment on Tom Cruise. Happy day! Fox News wasn't the "worst person in the world" tonight, but Olby took the opportunity to slam their journalistic abilities anyhow. The ultimate irony, considering the slop that passed for "news" on Krazy Keith's Monday night show.
There are always dogs that don't bark when it comes to Olby. Last week KO had a high old time ridiculing the prosecutor in the Moussaoui case. That story ran exactly once, an exception to Keith's rule to flog items night after night (repetition is a key component of propaganda). Why has it not been mentioned since? Well, since the original Countdown report, the prosecution filed a motion for the Judge to reconsider barring any "aviation" testimony. The motion was never reported on Countdown. Then the Judge backed off her previous decision, allowing the testimony back in with different witnesses (which is what the prosecutor asked for in his motion). The Judge's decision was never reported on Countdown. In The World of Krazy Keith, a trial is only important when it's not going well for the administration. When it is, all of a sudden it's no longer news.
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 33rd day of The Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
It's been a while since I have watched Countdown. And, as a result, it's been a while since I have read the comments in OlbermannWatch. I felt the mission of OlbermannWatch had been achieved when Keith cried to the Hartford Courant that he was being "persecuted" by OlbermannWatch. For reasons that are a mystery even to me I decided to glance through the comments today.
I did notice that resident Cuckoo from Michigan, Marisa McNee is back posting under yet another psuedonym - "Sherry Starr". Long time readers will recall Marisa as the University of Michigan graduate student who tried to get OW web hosting provider, the Ann Arbor Police and the FBI - among others - to shut down OlbermannWatch. I'm not even going to bother to look at the web log files - her obsession with KO's sartorial splendor is a dead giveaway.
Trekkie seems to be a new addition to the collection of KO fanatics and loons who seem intent on frequenting this site.
I gather some other nutcase is posting as, variously, Real Liberal, Gaius Baltar, JDogg66, Curious George, Iron Mike, Mr Roboto Imperious Leader, and MVK. If that person is not Marisa then maybe Marisa can explain to that person how "effective" hiding behind such psuedonyms can be in hiding one's identity from the staff at OlbermannWatch Maybe we can have a contest to see how long it takes for OW to post that person's home address, phone number, place of work and a satellite photo of their house. Right, Marisa?
I did notice that the Olberfans discussion group is "gone". Maybe someone can provide a new link to that collection of whack jobs so we can all enjoy an unvarnished look at how the minds of KO fans really work (or don't work).
It seems that "someone" has taken it upon themselves to edit the Keith Olbermann entry on Wikipedia. For those not familiar with Wikipedia, anyone can edit the site. In this case it appears that the Olbermann.org folks have taken upon themselves to provide a one-sided view of KO that only a Loony Lefty could love. Here are a few "objective facts" from Keith's entry....
"(On leaving ESPN) he became increasingly unhappy commuting to ESPN's studios in Bristol, Connecticut, due to the area's remote location and lack of an active social scene. Those issues, coupled with whispers that he could be difficult to work or get along with contributed to his departure from ESPN in 1997."
Whispers? Keith is notorious for insulting just about everyone he works with. Keith has been known to alienate newsrooms by announcing to no one in particular "I can do everyone in this place's job better than they can" and stomping off.
"Olbermann and Chris Matthews' Hardball, also on MSNBC, tied for 1st place on MSNBC (and 21st place in all of cable news) in February 2006 with 400,000 viewers each for the month, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Talk about a stretch...there are 4 shows on during primetime on MSNBC and and Keith "tied for 1st"? is that liking winning a "participant" ribbon for a potato sack race during gym class in elementary school?
"Olbermann quickly became known and loved for his acid wit, his brutally honest reporting style and clever catch phrases, as well as his tight chemistry with co-anchor Patrick"
"In an explicit and controversial monologue, he attributed his tumor (and the resulting fear and pain) directly to his 27-year habit of smoking pipes and cigars."
Keith was roundly criticized by his peers for what was perceived as a petulant, self-absorbed comment; his boss Rick Kaplan unloaded on Keith for his lame attempt to equate his minor surgery to Peter Jennings death.
A link to Rolling Stone is labeled "Pro-Olbermann article" while a link to The Cornell Review is labeled "conservative article accusing Olbermann of bias".
On the plus side there is a link to Joe Hagan's article in The New York Observer where Keith sites me as one of the two bloggers he reads regularly and Mark Glaser's article in Online Journalism Review which quotes me at length. I don't see the Hartford Courant article.
Anyone right-minded individuals interested in providing a little editorial balance to Wikipedia? This would be an on-going project to monitor and update the Wikipedia entry everytime the Keith's KOooks deface Wikipedia with their loony left, pro-Keith rants.
I'm not sure whether I'm going to start posting over here regularly or not. I did get a Tivo recently and the ability to pause Keith's ramblings when he starts to go off the deep end might be a new, welcome way to watch the show. Plus, Tivo has a "delete now" key.
Friday's Countdown opened with what was purported to be the biggest news of the day: a new Pew poll. For Olby, the Hot Story was that people were asked for a one-word description of President Bush, and "America answered" with "incompetent". Actually, 29 people out of 710 so responded, but that's close enough for Keith. Dana Milbank, without his makeup and funny costume, thought it would be funny to combine some of the one-word answers into two-word phrases:
If you look at the top six words, you get some interesting descriptions. You can get "good liar", "incompetent Christian", or "honest idiot".
Dana went on to suggest that the polls indicate a "tidal wave" for the Democrats, but alas, because of the way districts are drawn, it won't be that easy. Keith then led into a regurgitated NBC report about airport screening by complaining that he had to remove his sneakers and other people didn't. As always, it's all about him. The report included a demonstration of a homemade bomb blowing up a car. Given NBC's track record in these kinds of demos, we cannot take this at face value.
As the #4 story began, Olby was back flogging the "dangers" of criticizing judges, because the politicians seeking to "limit" their jurisdiction are encouraging a "dangerous fringe". When Vincent Bugliosi wrote a book slamming half the Supreme Court and saying they should be impeached, we didn't hear anything from Krazy Keith about criticizing judges. Clarence Thomas, Judge Bork, Judge Pickering: these judges were called racists, extremists, and worse. Keith Olbermann didn't express any outrage. Countdown Crony Jonathan Turley talked about how "extremely dangerous" all this "talk" in Congress is. But neither he nor Olby noted that the US Constitution expressly gives Congress the right to limit the jurisdiction of the courts.
Then Keith came up with another gem:
Soon after the Sept 11 2001 terrorist attacks, lawyers from the White House and the Justice Department argued that the same legal authority that allowed warrantless electronic surveillance inside the United States could also be used to allow physical searches of terror suspects homes and businesses without court approval. Does that send chills down your spine?
Turley was right on message:
Well it does. It's horrific.
Does the name Aldrich Ames ring a bell? Why wasn't it "horrific" back then? The Commander in Chief has the authority to detain and kill the enemy but not tap his phones or search his house? Don't expect any of these questions to have been answered by Olby or his clone, let alone asked.
After "oddball" came a recycled story on naked women (Keith only teased this one three times) and another about car crashes caught on tape. Serious news for the intellectual Countdown audience continued in the next segment with cell phones in theaters (regurgitated from the mothership) and the usual celebrity gossip. The #1 story proved to be about a hockey team giving out Dick Cheney hunting vests.
In the Media Matters Minute, Olby started off with a slam at the St Patrick's Day parade, because they have this odd notion that an event honoring a saint should not be a showcase for lesbian propaganda. Then Keith gave his obeisance to the Soros site, selecting two items from their impartial, unbiased listings. And by an amazing coincidence, both were about Bill O'Reilly. He was runner-up (attack #71) for criticizing Neal Gabler but not Cal Thomas, who said similar (but not identical) things on the same program. Neither Media Matters nor Krazy Keith pointed out that it was Gabler--not Cal Thomas--who called Mr Bill a "demagogue".
And it was back to the MMers for "worst person", again O'Reilly (attack #72), for this exchange regarding an interview he did with Normal Mailer. A caller to the radio program suggested that Mr Bill was too easy on Mr Mailer, and Mr O replied:
O'REILLY: I think his book is interesting to read. I don't agree with it. But I think he's honest. I think he's passionate. I think he loves his country. Why would -- why would I want to go in and denigrate him? That's what I have Lis here for.
WIEHL: That's right.
O'REILLY: Every time I want to do that, I just go over to her and whack her around. So -- figuratively speaking, of course. Ay-ya-ya --
WIEHL: You'll get in trouble for that one.
O'REILLY: Yeah. I'm in trouble constantly.
Wiehl is Lis (or as Olby pronounced it, "Leez") Wiehl, a co-host on the program. Media Matters rushed to defend her honor against being rhetorically challenged by the evil O'Reilly, and naturally Krazy Keith ran with it as well. Ms Wiehl is an attorney, a law school professor, and a commentator on NPR. But according to Olby, she is a helpless female appendage who needs Media Matters and Keith Olbermann to protect her from Bill O'Reilly's speech. Why she hasn't realized that fact, and blindly continues to co-host the radio program with Mr Bill, must have Krazy Keith mystified.
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 30th day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
On Thursday night's Hour of Spin, Keith Olbermann was desperate to find some way to make the air assault in Iraq a negative. He settled on the question of whether the President specifically authorized it or not, took Scott McClellan's response (it was authorized by the commanders in the field), and then tried to conflate that into a "Bush didn't even know about it until after it happened" meme. McClellan said no such thing, but that didn't stop Olby from propounding his theory to Time's Michael Duffy:
Does it still politically make the President look less than informed when the Press Secretary has to sort of tap dance around this question, did the President know about this in advance?
To summarize Duffy's answer: No. Then Krazy Keith went on to the new national defense strategy, asking a few sarcastic questions about WMD and the like. Dan Goure, an MSNBC analyst, opined about Operation Swarmer. As is often the case when KO is forced to use an in-house expert rather than one of his ideological cronies, the analysis was fact-based and informative. But that didn't stop KO from trying, with another of his patented run-on leading questions:
Harkening back here to my previous conversation with Michael Duffy, do you find it at all unusual for the military commanders in the field, on an operation of this size, of this impact, perhaps of this symbolic importance, to be acting, in essence, if not independently of the White House, then kind of, to the White House, outside the White House's periphery of vision?
To summarize Goure's answer: No. On to the #4 story, DC scandals. In The Great Leak Case, reporters have been subpoenaed by the Libby defense team. This was deemed a Big Development, yet a minute later, Olby is telling the discredited David Shuster that the subpoenas are no big surprise. But it led the #4 story! Don't try to figure that out. It's that canny Olbermann news judgment again. Shuster went on to talk about how "funny" a Jack Abramoff email was (he was asking friends to serve as character witnesses), while both Shuster and Olby had a good laugh at Katherine Harris and her Senate race. Shuster ingratiated himself by saying that ballots in Florida "are counted a little differently".
Keith introduced "oddball" with a reference to the classic Peter Sellers character, Inspector Clouseau. Or as KO pronounced it, Inspector Clew-Joe. With the #3 story, Countdown became Entertainment Tonight, with a feature on tv shows that kill off characters, and a report on some FCC fines that gave Olby a chance to take a cheap shot at Brent Bozell. The theme continued with the #2 slot, enhanced with the added benefit of a free plug for the NBC show "Deal or No Deal", which conveniently will air tomorrow night. Lots of clips from the show, an explanation of the rules, and Countdown "experts" who say things like "people do not like to lose". This is the kind of intellectual reporting that keeps the erudite throngs who flock to Countdown every night coming back in droves.
After the usual dose of celebrity news, and a "worst persons" segment that dealt with squirrels and dogs, we were treated to Mo Rocca talking about evil twins and rugs (not the one Keith wears, however). What, Michael Musto wasn't available? Once again, Olby cited "the conservative magazine Insight" (the same report that he has been flogging night after night), and brought up fraud-indictee Claude Allen, taking care to note that he was a protege of Clarence Thomas. As is usually the case when Rocca appears, Krazy Keith used that same odd-sounding forced laughter (even The Laughing Stagehand can't bring himself to chuckle at Rocca's shtick). Is it actually possible that Mo makes one long for the insightful, witty repartee of Michael Musto?
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 29th day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
Poll results led off the Wednesday Hour of Spin. A new NBC poll shows Bush approval at 37%, with a disapproval rate the highest ever for "Mister" Bush. There's also a new Rasmussen survey that puts the approval rate at 43%. Did Keith Olbermann report those numbers? Does the sun rise in the west? Norm Coleman's comments about the White House staff were elevated to blockbuster status. When was the last time Olby found Coleman's opinions to be so newsworthy? Just asking. Tom de Frank had to put up with Krazy Keith's bizarre run-on questions:
Doing the basic math on just the position of Chief of Staff, obviously the toughest of the jobs in that personal spectrum anyway, Andrew Card is now seven months away from beating the record of Sherman Adams under President Eisenhower for the longest serving Chief of Staff in history, and history majors will remind us that things did not end well for Sherman Adams, is Card in some kind of bullseye here?
Then it was back to Russ Feingold's so-called "censure" motion. Olby talked about the Democratic reluctance to join Russ's crusade, and wondered aloud:
If not now, then when?
To get a balanced perspective on the whole censure idea, KO brought in an unbiased, impartial analyst: the Daily Kos himself. Well, compared to Olby, he might just appear impartial. Does it surprise anyone that Keith would bring on the bluest of the blue bloggers, a guy way out there where the busses don't run? After all, he's brought us Lawrence O'Donnell, Arianna Huffington, and worse. How many un-blue bloggers has KO given a primo interview spot on Countdown? Just asking.
By the way, Kos told KO: "The Daily Kos community loves you". That's our "nonpartisan" Keith, champion of journalistic ethics and implacable foe of conflicts of interest.
In the #4 segment, Olby found another mountain in a molehill, describing it as the government "destroying our freedoms". The crime? The FBI took photographs of an antiwar demonstration. And? And?!? And nothing. A bunch of people were in a public place, and the FBI took pictures, like any person standing in the area has a perfect, 100% right to do. (You don't want your picture taken? Then don't stand around on the public street.) Of course, Keith brought in an ACLU flack to damn the FBI, but didn't allow anyone to speak to the other side of the issue. Is there a rule on The Hour of Spin that Olby can never give both sides of a story? Just asking.
After the second (or was it the third?) "Bill O'Reilly is an idiot" promo came "oddball", that favorite segment for the intelligent, sophisticated Countdown audience. Then the nightly Barry Bonds Bash, followed by another promo for the latest Bill O'Reilly attack. (If anyone's counting, and we are, this will be #70.) Whatever did Mr Bill do this time to raise the ire of Krazy Keith, the man who says the best response is "just to ignore"? No, not yet. This was just another tease to keep the Daily Kos crowd tuned in through the commercial.
Finally, #70 arrived. Keith declared himself an "expert" on Bill O'Reilly, and moved in for his latest salvo. There was a collection of narcissistic clips of Keith (with Steven Colbert) saying stuff like "O'Reilly is an idiot", and another clip of Keith (with his special friend Al Franken) along the same line. This is truly made to order for the sophisticated, intellectual Countdown audience. Those neanderthals who watch the evil Fox channel are mindless ignoramuses. But Countdown viewers? There's nothing they like better than smart, erudite, witty repartee, like "O'Reilly is an idiot". William F Buckley might be taken seriously some day, if only he had Keith's ability to elevate the discourse to such exalted levels.
But what exactly did Mr Bill do? What set off attack #70? Umm, nothing. It was just an opportunity for Olbermann to raise the threat level to orange, and for Krazy Keith to have an Olbgasm watching his hip persona on the plasma screen. And it possibly proved useful in another sense as well. We wonder, is there a nexus between Olby's frenzied personal attacks on Bill O'Reilly and embarrassing articles in major New York newspapers that Krazy Keith would like to avoid talking about? Just asking.
The #1 story was another of Olby's favorite preoccupations: Tom Cruise. Not only that, but with the creepy Michael Musto. The intelligent, well-informed Countdown audience, like KO, must have been in hog heaven. Meanwhile, in the Media Matters Minute, the ball was again in Keith's court, since the Soros site had already put up OlbyVideo of yesterday's Pat Robertson attack. Tonight, Olbermann carefully perused the latest from Media Matters and chose to make Rush Limbaugh "worst person in the world". Is it really credible that no liberal ever says anything that merits this distinction? Just asking.
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 28th day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
It was just Monday when Olby used Countdown for his own personal reply to columnist Lloyd Grove. You will recall he made the columnist and assistant his "worst persons in the world" because Olby didn't like the selection of C-SPAN interview quotes they used in the "Lowdown" column. KO's bizarre, off-the-wall attack, on national television yet, did not go unnoticed.
In today's New York Daily News, Mr Grove replies, referring to our Olby as "Krazy Keith" and suggesting he try the "insanity defense". It's a delicious item from someone who really gets the essence of Olby.
When you think of Keith Olbermann, the first word that comes to mind is not "insight". It's not the first magazine that comes to Olby's mind either, given that it isn't on the approved reading list of Media Matters or Daily Kos. But on Tuesday's Hour of Spin, for the third time in about a month, KO suddenly cites the "conservative Insight Magazine" for a report about the Bush administration. And by coincidence, it again just happens to be an article that reflects negatively on the White House. When did Keith ever report any insights from Insight that were not of the Bush-bashing variety? How about never? For that matter, when has he ever referred to "the liberal Guardian newspaper"? Or the "liberal magazine, The Nation"?
After citing a new CBS poll (while still ignoring Rasmussen), Olby talked about the "misguided" war on terror with John Harwood, then the Richard-Armitage Plame-leaker rumor of several days ago with Norah O'Donnell. Harwood opined that, in the Mousawi trial, there was a "mistake by the prosecutor", citing it as an example of Bush administration incompetence. But it was a career attorney for the TSA who wrongly told witnesses about previous testimony. When the prosecutor learned of it, he immediately informed the Court.
In the #4 segment, a regurgitated NBC report on the new book, "Cobra 2". The emphasis was on mistakes made in the war planning. A key revelation in the book, that even Saddam's own generals thought Saddam was hiding WMDs, and that the generals believed Colin Powell's UN address to be accurate, was not mentioned. Another pretentious introduction led into "oddball", then the nightly Bash Barry Bonds session, which stretched on for nearly nine uninterrupted minutes. For the #2 story, Olby showed his versatility, and changed the subject from sports to...sports! A taped report on "March madness".
The usual celebrity news segment was larded with KO's self-serving plugs for his own upcoming appearances, including one on Err America with his special friend, Al Franken. That's our "nonpartisan" Olby. The final segment was all about Howard Stern with David Letterman. Lots of clips, carefully edited to omit a Stern comment that was favorable to Fox News. That would have conflicted with the little Fox wisecrack Keith slipped into the Media Matters Minute. KO didn't have to scour the Soros site very long before finding one of his favorite targets. He slammed Pat Robertson as "worser" for his comments about Islam. In typical Olbermann fashion, he did not explain how Robertson's remarks were wrong. Why address substance, when you can just attack the messenger?
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 27th day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
Now here's a shocker. The most important news item of Monday's Countdown was Russ Feingold's stunt: introducing a motion to censure the President. And of course, Olby had his unique spin on it. All those evil Republicans came out against it: Specter! Frist! Cheney! And they did so before the motion was even offered! Olbermann did not tell his viewers that Democrats, including Joe Lieberman and Harry Reid, also said they were not supporting it. And they did so before the motion was even offered! Our #5 question on the Countdown: why was this omitted?
Neither KO nor Howard Fineman explained that there is no such thing as "censure" of a President in the constitution. Why confuse viewers with any of those pesky, unimportant "separation of powers" arguments? They went on to discuss the "tired" White House staff, and KO reported on a former White House aide pinched for fraud. The Claude Allen arrest was such a big deal Olby brought in a second crony to speculate about it: Michael Fletcher of the Post. And yet the bribery scandal surrounding Rep William Jefferson (D), recently fueled by an ex-aide's guilty plea, remains unreported on The Hour of Spin. Our #4 question: why would that be?
A regurgitated NBC piece covered the President's Iraq PR offensive. KO noted a new Gallup poll that has Bush's approval rating at 36%, but not a new Rasmussen survey that places it at 42%. The #3 question on our Countdown: why not?
Another Olby non sequitur: Oddball was introduced with a reference to the discovery of Uranus in 1781. Then we learned all about the recent tornadoes, via a pair of taped reports. Next was a visit to the true crime department, courtesy of another regurgitated report from the mothership, followed by the daily dose of celebrity news. The final story was a nice chunk of free publicity for the return of The Sopranos.
Among the "worst persons in the world" were Lloyd Grove and his assistant, because Olby didn't like the Olbermann C-SPAN quotes Mr Grove chose to highlight in his "Lowdown" column. KO spent an inordinate length of time explaining why Mr Grove and Katherine Thompson were guilty of writing "inaccurate, journalistically reckless stuff" and referred viewers to the OlbyBlog, where he calls for them to be (you guessed it!) fired. Oddly, in that same C-SPAN interview, Keith was talking about his shots at Bill O'Reilly, and advising Mr Bill as to what the "clever" way to respond to attacks would be: "the brilliant response is just to ignore". Our #2 question: why does Keith's advice apply to everyone except him?
As the clock neared 9:00 pm, i.e. "24"-time, we reflected on yet another dog that did not bark. Follow: Keith Olbermann hypes every little twist in The Great Leak Case into a big, important story. Scooter Libby can't blow his nose without Olby dragging in David Shuster to explain it all. Yet the Great Leak Case was ignored on Friday's Hour of Spin. It was ignored again tonight. But there was a major development on Friday. Olby has had two chances to report it, but for some reason he spiked the story:
I. Lewis "Scooter'' Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, can review summaries of some classified White House briefings to aid his defense against perjury charges, a federal judge ruled.... Even with the limitations, the ruling may make it difficult for Fitzgerald to continue the case against Libby, according to Scott Fredericksen, a white-collar criminal defense attorney at Foley & Lardner LLP in Washington. "It's Christmas for the Libby defense,'' Fredericksen said in an interview. The decision "puts the government to a Hobson's choice of either producing the documents or dropping the case.''
Our #1 question on the countdown: why did Keith Olbermann cover every development in the case except this one?
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 26th day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
Circumstances conspired to make us three minutes late for Friday's Hour of Spin. When we joined the party, Olby was trumpeting his latest selectively chosen poll, and talking to Mike Allen of Time about Justice O'Connor's speech. Not having heard it, for some reason we get the idea that KO may just be overhyping this a bit, based solely on his track record. But you won't convince Allen of that, who will have to clean off his nose after this bit of obsequious kowtowing:
I'm so glad that you picked up on this. And I think now that you called attention to it, it's going to launch a thousand op-eds.
Right. Keith Olbermann and Countdown set the journalistic agenda for a thousand newspapers all over the planet. OlbyPlanet, that is. Allen is truly the most ridiculous item of the day, but it's exactly the sort of thing that will get him a return invite. Much was made of O'Connor's criticisms of people who dare criticize judges. It's unclear just how outraged the former Justice really is, given that she has been widely quoted as saying she timed her resignation from the high court to make sure a Republican President would name her replacement. But that was not mentioned.
KO next went to politics, running a pulled online ad from an obscure Republican candidate that focused on culture war issues. Keith, of course, picked up this story from one of the blue blogs. We don't recall him ever focusing on over-the-top online ads from the left, and there have been plenty. The discredited David Shuster made an appearance from a GOP confab to speculate about politics '08.
In the #4 slot, the Olbermann ret-con of the ports controversy continued. For the second day in a row, KO talked about "xenophobia", "blowback", and all the stuff he cared not one whit about before Republicans managed to derail the proposal. A regurgitated NBC report handled the details, Then "oddball", where the same Keith who fretted about "xenophobia" had a high old time ridiculing some footage from Japanese television.
After the nightly Bonds rehash, the #2 story was a nice bit of cross-promotion for the mothership: an interview with Conan O'Brian. Then the usual grab-bag of celebrity news, and a plug for Keith's upcoming sit-down with Brian Lamb on C-SPAN. Another visit from the disturbing Michael Musto dealt with male stars in women's wear and a reality show for a Bin Laden niece. When Musto noted that John Travolta's career was "in the toi-toi", it was another memorable Countdown moment.
In the Media Matters Minute, the winner was...well, do we have to tell you? Suffice it to say, it's Attack #69, for saying:
You know, in a sane world, every country would unite against Iran and blow it off the face of the earth. That would be the sane thing to do...
Of course, Olby stops there, not bothering with the rest of the quote:
But we can't do that, and now, the U.S.A. is basically has to take this kind of rhetoric. I mean, there's nothing else we can do but go to the United Nations and say to the Security Council, "Look, you can't let these people have nuclear weapons. If you do, there's going to be a war." So it's between war and sanctions.
And that's the hour of spin for this, the 23rd day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
For the past two weeks, Keith Olbermann has been using The Hour of Spin to propagandize against the Dubai ports purchase. He repeatedly lied that the deal would result in "turning security at six key ports" over to the UAE. And that brings us to Thursday, the day when the unexpected happened. Republicans brokered an arrangement that would keep Dubai out of US ports. Olby praises Republicans, sings "happy happy, joy, joy"? Not exactly. According to KO's new talking points, this makes Bush a "lame duck" (said not once, but twice), and Dana Milbank chimes in with an angle that never got three seconds of attention on Countdown until tonight:
The country doesn't look terribly good in the eyes of the world. We look like a bunch of xenophobes.
Keith didn't even bat an eyelash at that; all previous spin was rendered inoperative at 8:00 pm EST. He forges ahead to note that a pair of singers have criticized the administration's Katrina efforts, and adds:
Is that it? Is that the final nail?
Then another favorite Olbermann target: Rick Santorum. He meets weekly with lobbyists to discuss fund-raising for his reelection campaign. Because nobody else ever meets with lobbyists to discuss fund-raising. The discredited David Shuster gleefully called it "death by a thousand cuts", while KO suggested that Katherine Harris's campaign is "dead in the water" because of an Abramoff connection. Because no one on the other side of the aisle has any Abramoff connections, do they, Mr Reid?
After a second tease of upcoming O'Reilly Attack #68, the #4 story told us about water on a moon of Saturn via a regurgitated NBC report. Then "oddball", another tease about O'Reilly, and Barry Bonds, steroids, and the commissioner of baseball. Fay Vincent (former commissioner) was interviewed, and then there was still another promo for O'Reilly Attack #68.
Finally, the Big Moment came. Olby, desperate that his extravaganza of last week has not ignited a maelstrom of outrage against the Evil Irishman, relied on one of his tried and true propaganda tricks. Repeat. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. He treated us to the same footage we heard last time, regurgitating some of the claims of last week's ridiculous "expert" guest (the one who actually argued that callers have "a first amendment right" to talk on Bill O'Reilly's radio show!). We heard again how Bill had the call taken down from his website, and nothing about how Olbermann has his own comments removed from websites when it suits his purposes.
Scrounging through Lexis/Nexis, he came up with a reference in a Denver newspaper, so he splashed that on the screen. He ran a satire bit from Al Franken (described by Olby as "my friend") and his Err America show, and comments by Howard Stern. ("Now will you please give me that interview, Howard? Please?!?") KO had his guest, melodramatically hidden in shadow, insist that he did not try to swear or use obscene words. That's really believable, since the guy, who won't give his name, doesn't have a tape of what he said, only what made it on the air before the delay kicked in. The guy's big scoop? He had a call from Fox on his answering machine. Did he return the call? No. Did the Fox guy call back? Err, no. So, one might ask, how does he know it really was somebody from Fox? One might ask that, but not Olby, who summed it all up:
It makes me shiver for the democracy.
That led right into celebrities, and this must have been Keith's Best Night Ever: he had Tom Cruise news! The #1 story was internet porn; by then we'd had our fill of Mr Sanctimony and admit to bailing out early.
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 22nd day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
What do you have when a master of spin accuses someone else of spinning? Is that Spinning Squared? Spinning to the Ultimate Power? That's what we wondered when Olby led off Wednesday's Countdown with this comment about Tom DeLay's 62% victory in his primary race:
Tom DeLay's spinning an easy win in his Texas primary, but the numbers tell a completely different story.
Now rewind back just 24 hours, when Howard Fineman was telling KO:
He's got a couple of not totally incredible or uncredible opponents in this primary. He'll probably win more than 50 percent, which means he wouldn't have to have a run-off. Were he to get less than 50 percent, then that would be an indication that he's toast in this election.
So as it turns out, he did get more than 50%. In fact, he got more than 60%. As of yesterday, that would not be an indication "that he's toast in this election". But talking points can reverse themselves on a dime in The Hour of Spin, so today KO insisted:
It could be "Lights Out" for the exterminator's political career.
It might be troublesome to bring back Fineman and ask him to reverse himself so quickly, so Olby chose Richard Wolffe, who aped KO's slant, but with more urbanity. The topics also included Katrina, levees, and the ports deal.
Keith moved on to Jack Abramoff, quoting him as saying he worked with a lot of "top Republicans", per a Vanity Fair interview. The interviewer came on to highlight the portions of the article Olby wanted highlighted. Needless to say, Olbermann again talked about Abramoff's hat, and David Margolick had to explain to the unknowing Keith about Jack's religion. It's about time someone did. Naturally, Olby showed not one whit of embarrassment at basically being called out for ridiculing the religious practices of orthodox Jews. It's lucky John Gibson hadn't done that. That would be "worst person" fodder.
The 4th story was the church burnings, statistics about which Olby had twisted to imply the fires might be racially motivated. As the regurgitated NBC report showed, it turns out they had nothing to do with race. Oops. Then came "oddball", a recycled report about Debra Lafave, and another one about online predators. Teri Hatcher's childhood abuse concluded the segment.
The #2 story on the backwards newshour was five people in Turkey who walk on all fours (no we're not making this up!): another regurgitated tape. Then KO's idea of celebrities (like David Hasselhoff), nonentity "worst persons" (with a slam at Fox, natch), and more baseball stuff to bring the show to a welcome end.
That's the Hour of Spin for this, the 21st day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
Tuesday's Countdown might have left some viewers confused: for almost half its length it seemed like Keith Olbermann had transformed the program into his own personal edition of SportsCenter. Barry Bonds, steroids, Kirby Puckett, baseball... Finally, 35 minutes into the show, KO finally got to more substantive news: scandals, but only Republican ones.
The Great Leak Case, of course, Tom Delay, Katherine Harris, and Abramoff. The latter had been headlined by KO as a "chill" sweeping through Washington, because it was "Jack Abramoff threatening to name names" about the ongoing investigation. On The Hour of Spin this was something that had Washington trembling. In truth, Abramoff threatened nothing. His attorney made an argument that this information would come out in the sentencing hearing unless it is postponed. Not nearly as exciting as Olby's version.
Howard Fineman was tonight's designated KO facsimile, reflecting back Olby's speculation and innuendo just the way Keith likes it. Neither one mentioned the bribery and corruption investigation surrounding Congressman William Jefferson. Wrong party.
The #2 story was a taped report from California on a deputy being charged with voluntary manslaughter. Celebrity news followed, and then a segment on the passing of Dana Reeve. But there's always the Media Matters Minute, guaranteed to please old buddy David Brock. This time Olby picked out a Rush Limbaugh comment about Hillary sounding shrill, like an ex-wife...and based on that Keith named Rush "worser"! Huh? It's never been easier to become of the "worst persons in the world": just disapprove of She Who Must Not Be Criticized, and you're in.
If Countdown is to be believed, there was no news today about Iran, the bomb, UN scandals, India, nonproliferation treaties, or Howard Stern. (Oh, wait, Olby isn't likely to grovel before Stern for a while. That ungrateful turncoat went and gave another exclusive interview to those hated Fox people.) Others may waste time on these trivial fluff stories, but they don't have the incisive news judgment of Keith Olbermann.
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 20th day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
The top-billed story on Countdown for Monday was "Beat the Press". It seems the administration is going so far as to investigate leaks of classified information. And this is wrong...because? For the last umpteen weeks Olby has been exulting in The Great Leak Case, crowing about how it "roars back to life" when an insignificant nugget of news finds its way into some publication. What is so different about this leak investigation? Oh, it was about leaks Keith likes. Gotcha.
The Bush administration continues to ever more resemble the character Sideshow Bob from the Simpsons, forever stepping on a rake...these people are much more worried about who had the audacity to reveal the existence of the rakes in the first place.
Um, like Scooter Libby? Like all the reporters who got hauled in front of the Grand Jury, or even went to jail? Today KO was alarmed that the Espionage Act might come into play, quite a contrast with the Olbgasm he had when it was mentioned in the Great Leak Case. To explain it all, Craig Crawford was tonight's designated ditto machine. Olbermann's Brain giggled:
This idea that the government has criminalized leaks leads us to a place that the only thing we get is official information.
Wow. Not that long ago Brain was chuckling over the Libby investigation, crowing that "the floodgates are opening". The foot's on the other leg now, eh? Olby asked about the whistleblower act. Like Keith, Brain was clueless as to how it doesn't apply to leaking classified information to the press. So once again Olby's ignorance is passed on to his unfortunate viewers. After mentioning an "infringement on democracy" (huh?) and the "stupidity" of the administration, KO moved on to Pat Tillman and the "friendly fire" investigation. Josh White of the Washington Post gave spin-free, fact-based analysis.
Keith turned to the #4 story: the Muslim student who tried to kill over a dozen people to punish the US. Earlier KO noted these attempted murders and made a comparison with a town being developed by Catholics, calling them both "religious extremes". Monica Novotny handled the report, and she had the common sense not to drag Catholicism into it. Then Keith turned to the town of Ave Maria, Florida. An NBC report from Michelle Kosinski led KO into the Christian Exodus project--a much fringier proposition that even talks about state secession. Nice way to tar both with one brush. To get the facts, Olby interviewed Tom Monaghan, who devised the Ave Maria project? Umm, no. It was the Christian Exodus guy? Errr, not exactly. No, Keith went to his ideological buddy, Bob Edgar. Natch. None of those bothersome differing points of view in the Olbermann Echo Chamber.
The #2 slot was taken up with the death of Kirby Puckett; it even subsumed the Media Matters Minute. From there it was a Voyage to the Bottom of the Barrel, as the creepy Michael Musto joined Keith for a look back at the Oscars. They trashed Jon Stewart's hosting abilities, but of course Musto had a unique take on it:
Why hire him to host when you're not going to let him trash the administration?
Michael Musto, the quintessential Countdown guest. And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 19th day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
When did Keith Olbermann ever cite Human Events as a source? Friday night was probably the first time, and the reason was transparent. Olby reported that, according to the "right-wing" publication, Michael Chertoff was on his last legs as Homeland Security Director. That's all Human Events has to do to win KO's approval, just print a rumor that Keith can use against the administration.
Tom DeFrank of the Daily News had no confirmation of this, but Olby was ready with other leading questions. One of them was designed as damage control to distract from his Wednesday night lie: the distinction between "topped" and "breached". Keith claimed that "the President's defenders" had "latched onto this" (does that include Lisa Myers?) and asked:
Does it really matter how the water might have gotten there...?
More spin! It's not how the water gets there, it's how much water gets there from an overflow vs a 300-foot hole in the levee. Then beating the same dead horse from yesterday, he complained that nobody had picked up on his brilliant observation regarding why these tapes came out now and what happened to executive privilege. In a name-dropping moment, he mentioned he had lunch with John Dean. Surprise.
A taped piece from NBC covered the Duke Cunningham sentencing. After the second tease for an upcoming O'Reilly attack, a regurgitated report from the mothership told of the President's visit to Pakistan. Then, more teasing of his upcoming O'Reilly attack, "oddball", and then another promo for the O'Reilly attack. By this time, O'Reilly's name has been mentioned far more than Olbermann's!
In the #3 slot, we finally got O'Reilly Attack #67. Bill O'Reilly is "threatening" callers to his radio show for mentioning the name of Keith Olbermann. He told a caller that he was going to contact Fox security and have the local authorities "hold him accountable". KO went another rag, saying:
Several of the callers now claim they have been contacted by someone identifying himself as the director of Fox News security.
They do? And the source for that is what? Olbermann didn't say. (Never mind that the radio show is on Westwood One, and not Fox.) So we will tell you the source, even if Keith won't. The only "evidence" we found: anonymous emails to far-left websites! Now doesn't that little tidbit have some wee bit of bearing on the credibility of these claims? How does Olby know they were really callers? Or that they really were contacted by "Fox security"?
Of course, being the responsible "journalist" that he is, he contacted Fox security to verify this, right? Um...err...well...no. Then he at least checked out the claims of those alleged callers who got the purported callbacks, right? Well, no. Don't you understand? He doesn't need to do that that. Daily Kos printed an anonymous email. And under KO's "one [far-left] source" rule, that's good enough for him.
In the past we've chided KO for lifting items from blogs and claiming they were news. Now he's gone completely around the journalistic bend. We knew as soon we saw this on Media Matters, Daily Kos, Crooks & Liars, and the rest of the extremist sites that KO would take it completely literally. We know he has no ear for sarcasm or satire. But his desperate claim that not only was it all dead serious, but that "Fox security" actually was calling people for the crime of mentioning the name "Olbermann"...well, even we didn't expect Olbermann to sink that far into depravity.
After interviewing a crony who said O'Reilly needed to be "investigated" (!), Olby had another arrow in his quiver. This was a piece of spin that will go into the Propaganda Hall of Fame. Attempting to refute O'Reilly's claims of a larger viewership:
Here are the official ratings, adults 25-54, for Wednesday night of this week at 8:00 pm Eastern. O'Reilly 309,000, this program 231,000.... Our audience was 75% of Ted Baxter's.
Why is this spin? After all, KO was just giving the numbers, right? Follow: It's Friday. Thursday's ratings have been out since this afternoon, but Keith gives us Wednesday's numbers. Why? What Olby doesn't mention is that Wednesday was the night of his much-hyped and heavily advertised interview with Buck O'Neil. He got a big bump in the ratings--that one day. In other words, because of that one day's hump, what he said about ratings was technically true, but by choosing an unrepresentative sample he made an argument that was fallacious and intentionally misleading.
So what were the Thursday numbers that Olby was so careful not to report? In the same key demo, O'Reilly: 483,000; Countdown: 198,000. How about for the entire month of February, again in the adults 25-54 demo? O'Reilly: 454,000; Countdown: 163,000. Needless to say, the number for total viewers (O'Reilly's 2,228,000 vs Olby's 400,000) is even more lopsided.
Oh, we almost forgot to mention that KO jeered O'Reilly for removing this call from the audio on his website. This from Keith Olbermann, who 16 days ago had his own comments expunged from a friendly website because they were so embarrassing. What hypocrisy!
Keith takes stories from rabidly partisan far-left internet sites, accepts purported anonymous emails to them as proven fact, does nothing to verify them, and puts it all out as "news". He is actually so buddy-buddy with the blue blogs that he contacts them ahead of time to let them know that he would be doing this segment, a further descent into the muck of unethical behavior. Some day journalism schools will teach entire classes on the Olbermann Syndrome. That is, unless Olby wises up and can elevate his standards to at least to the level of, say, Jeff Gannon.
Update: Inside Cable News looks at the whole phone call business and comes up with an angle we hadn't considered. It makes sense. And the more we think about it, the more sense it makes. ICN's most powerful point is that, if O'Reilly had cut the caller off because he mentioned Olbermann, then Olbermann's name never would have made it on the air. They use a 7-second delay. The mute button was hit to keep something else from airing, and given that O'Reilly went on to talk about callers who use obscenities... Read ICN's analysis for yourself. It certainly doesn't make Olby's treatment of this any more defensible. If anything, it makes him look even more foolishly reckless.
Thursday night found The Hour of Spin sticking to formula. Whatever Olby's latest talking point happens to be (ballots in Ohio, the hunting accident, Valerie Plame, etc), Keith makes it a big story day after day. So tonight it was Katrina, Bush, Brownie, and the tapes. He played again the clip of Dr Max Mayfield, and ran a lovely montage of Democrats railing against the administration. Somehow, there just wasn't time to run any clips of Republicans.
A recycled NBC piece included a clip from a newly leaked tape (apparently from the White House) where Brownie was praising Bush's handling of the situation. But for us the highlight of Lisa Myers's report was this stunning validation of what Olbermann Watch said just yesterday:
Today Mayfield told NBC News that he warned only that the levees might be topped, not breached. And on the many conference calls that he monitored, nobody talked about the possibility of a levee breach, or failure, until after it happened.
Exactly! Precisely! In its own roundabout way, NBC News basically admitted that KO lied on yesterday's show. (Of course, readers of Olbermann Watch knew that 24 hours ago.) Perhaps all of this is why The Liar was looking so sour after the report ran:
Dana Milbank (without funny costuming) was called in and opined that the President said things "very publicly that turned out not to be true". He could have been talking about Olby! KO, of course, was more interested on why the new tape, more favorable to the administration, appeared now, and wanted to know "what happened to executive privilege?" Somehow, the previous night's olbfuscations, laid bare by Lisa Myers, never came up.
The #4 story: Dubai called on Bill Clinton for advice on how to handle the ports controversy. According to Keith this was not a "metaphor" (the preferred OlbySpeak terminology). This time it was "symbolism for the world's estimation of the current President's leadership skills". Howard Fineman, the shapeshifting pundit, made small-talk with KO about the politics of it all.
After "oddball", The Great Leak Case made its obligatory appearance. It seems that Bob Woodward might have an audio tape of an interview with someone who might have been Bob Novak's original source. The discredited David Shuster was again the point man. KO suggested it looks like Karl Rove will have to testify, and Shuster agreed. Do you get the feeling that Keith, despite the "expert testimony" of Lawrence O'Donnell, is beginning to set his sights somewhere below the "inevitable" Rove indictment, and instead will settle for making a scandalpalooza out of Karl just sitting on the witness stand?
Another True Crime story (regurgitated from NBC) led into the nightly celebrity segment. And then...more celebrities, with the disturbing Michael Musto. We wondered why there was no Media Matters Minute tonight (the "worsts" were all unknowns). We checked out the Soros site and found the pickings slim for Olby's purposes. The MMers were too busy haranguing reporters for not asking about:
newly released video of President Bush receiving warnings that the New Orleans levees might fail.
Oops. After NBC just smacked him in the face on this point, with his credibility submerged even more deeply in its own watery grave, Keith probably felt it best not to repeat that lie again.
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 15th day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.
Wednesday night's Hour of Spin found Keith Olbermann celebrating Christmas in March. The reason for this latest Olbgasm? What KO called "The Bush Tapes".
the one in which the President is warned that the levees could be breached, four days before he told the American public no one could have anticipated that the levees could be breached.
Keith introduced excerpts from the newly released videos showing the behind-the-scenes preparations from the day before the storm hit:
The tapes revealing that Mister Bush and his Homeland Security Secretary were warned in no uncertain terms, before Katrina hit shore, that the storm could breach levees...
And then, with a smug note of triumphalism, Olby, for what must be the 89th time, ran the clip of Bush saying he didn't think anyone anticipated the levees would be breached. Adding, of course:
That does not appear to be true.
It was all done with such much hype and theatrics that the credulous were undoubtedly convinced that KO had in fact ensnared "Mister" Bush in his reportorial web. But instead of swallowing The Liar's propaganda, we cheated. We focused on what the people on the tapes actually said. Here's a shocker: breaching the levees was never mentioned by anyone on Olby's tapes!
Only one person talked about levees. That was Dr Max Mayfield of the Hurricane Center:
I don't think anyone can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levees will be topped or not, but that's obviously a very, very grave concern.
What an audacious, brazen bit of spin this is! Keith wants people to believe that topping the levees--which simply means they overflow--means the same thing as a much more serious breaching. For the record, a breach is a break or a gap in a wall, which is what eventually happened, but not what anybody talked about on the "Bush Tapes".
How about it, Olby? If "Mister" Bush was warned "in no uncertain terms" that the levees could be "breached", how come it's not on the tape? If the tape says he was warned about levees "topping", why did you rewrite those words and change their meaning? Was the truthful version just not damaging enough for your purposes? Maybe you should make yourself "worst person in the world" for this, you think?
Richard Wolffe of Newsweek didn't bother to note this latest Olbfuscation, especially when peppered with KO's leading questions:
If there is tape of you not doing the job, and then afterwards boasting that you had done everything that you could do, that's almost as bad as the actual malfeasance or misfeasance, is it not?
Is it malfeasance or misfeasance to lie about the news to fit a propaganda spin? KO didn't ask Wolffe that question. Instead, he went on to talk about how the "post-Katrina spin" has now been "erased", and it's going to affect the President's credibility. Well, Olbermann should be an expert on how spin can affect one's credibility.
After a regurgitated NBC report on Dubai, it was off to True Crime, in a report lifted from ITV on the Great Britain bank robbery. The "oddball" intro referenced 1784, if anyone is keeping track, and after another crack about Bill O'Reilly (attack #66), it was time for Keith to prostrate himself before Howard Stern again. Obviously Tuesday night's guest wasn't sufficiently obsequious to The King of All Media, so tonight's segment was a bit of damage control. He called in Joe Tacopina to analyze the legalities of it and--surprise!--Tacopina took Stern's side. When it was over, KO pleaded to the camera: "Please, Howard, can I have that interview now?" (Note to the impaired: that sentence was satire.)
The #2 story was about law firm emails gone crazy, then the usual batch of celebrity news, and the baseball interview with Buck O'Neil.
In the Media Matters Minute, Fox News was a runner-up ("worser"). It was another variation on an old theme: display a screenshot showing a question that was up for discussion. Then pretend like that question is an affirmative statement, ridicule it, and ignore what was actually said. It's already an old trick, but if KO can indulge in his rabid hatred for Fox, it's good enough. Besides, it means more video clips tomorrow at Media Matters! "Worst" was Nancy Grace, for supposedly padding her resume. Since she is conservative, at least on issues of crime, that means both the Fox slot and the conservative slot were covered. Fair and balanced, Olby style.
And that's The Hour of Spin for this, the 14th day of the Keith Olbermann CoverUp.