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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.