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"COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN" (8:00 P.M.-9:00 P.M. ET)
Host: Keith Olbermann
Always eager to find some sort of partisan spin in any story, Keith Olbermann bellowed in his opening spiel:
Are the neo-cons drooling? Is this seen as an opportunity to make American political hay out of Middle East reality chaos?
Well, does Olby see this as an opportunity to make partisan hay out of Israel's war on terror? Apparently so. The Hour of Spin began with some taped reports from NBC, plus an actual, real, live person in Beirut reporting on the waiver of evacuation fees. (Oops, there goes one of the evening's planned spin points.)
After just one commercial break, substantive war coverage gave way to the "political impact" of it all. The Wolffe Man said the President wants to make this "look like a UN operation". KO was ready with the snark:
What a difference three years and 600 miles can make.
And of course the patented Olby leading question, with the obligatory slant making everything somehow bad for Bush:
Should it want to intervene at some point, has the administration squandered any of its leverage in this region? Has Iraq made it less likely that Israel's neighbors would accept some sort of deal brokered by the US?
KO skipped oddball to report on various other stories, including the stem cell controversy (calling the embrios "clusters of cells"). Then a plug for the #3 story, where Olby said "neo-cons" want the US to join the war and attack Syria and Iran.
"The neo-cons back in business", headlined Olby, referring to "their failed policy". Whom does he cite as calling for the US to join in the war? James Woolsey--Bill Clinton's CIA Director! Um, Mr Olbermann, Woolsey is not a neo-con. He's not an anything con. He's a Democrat. Then he cites Secretary of State Rice, who never made any such proposal. Finally, he cites Bill Kristol, and knowing he has nothing to show he ever made any such proposal either, he runs a clip from Fox News Sunday where Kristol says Israel is in fact "fighting four of our five enemies", and then has Juan Williams replying to Kristol:
You just want war, war, war. And you want us in more war. You wanted us in Iraq, now you wanted us in Iran, now you want us to get into the Middle East...
Get this: KO uses a clip from someone who is characterizing what Kristol says--not Kristol's words, but the words of someone who disagrees with Kristol. The shabbiest of evidence, and the tawdriest kind of propaganda. Kristol has, in fact, stated that the US should stand behind Israel, but has never suggested that we should join in the war.
Oh, and Keith? Do you even know what a "neo-conservative" is? Not only is Woolsey (the only person who actually advocated what you were talking about) not a neo-con--neither is Bill Kristol. And neither is Condoleeza Rice. But hey, what do facts matter to the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann?
The evening's designated spinner, Larry Korb, was there to answer Keith's questions about "fulminating" by those dastardly neo-cons. Korb took shots at Cheney and the Iraq war ("false pretenses"). Then another Olby Leading Question. Citing Woolsey and Kristol, tossing in Gingrich for good measure, KO asked:
Are not these and other people who are involved in this point of view the same folks who told us that Iraq was going to be a cakewalk, and do they have remaining credibility?
Korb's shocking response: "No. They have no credibility." He went on to complain that Rice is delaying her trip over there and should try to get a cease-fire. Screw the hostages; let 'em rot. Korb knows better how to effect the return of Israeli hostages than Israel does. Not once but twice Korb was described by Olby as having been with "the Reagan administration". But for Carter James Woolsey was Undersecretary of the Navy, and we know he ran the CIA for B.J. Clinton. So why did KO twice mention Korb's Reagan connection, and ignore Woolsey's more substantial Democrat background?
The spin continued as Krazy Keith tried to make big news out of old news. He screeched about how this revelation was deliberately timed for today because there was a war on. Unfortunately, this "revelation" came from the Attorney General in previous scheduled testimony at a previously scheduled committee hearing. So how could this have been deliberately timed? Don't try to make sense out of it. It's OlbyLogic.
The revelation? Justice Department lawyers didn't get clearance to investigate the NSA surveillance program. Did we mention that it's old news? You'd think Olby would remember, because he made such a big deal about it two months ago:
the Bush Justice Department dropped the domestic spying investigation, because the investigators were denied security clearances.
Pete Williams was there to explain the story. The White House wouldn't give Office of Professional Responsibility the top-secret clearances needed to have access to the program. (Um, that's what top-secret is all about.) Of course, Olby is ready with another loaded question:
Do you think additional questions are going to be raised now about whether the President had authority to block that internal investigation by justice...?
That of course is a pure propaganda question. Does anyone in their right mind believe the President doesn't have "authority" over security clearances? Of course not.
With a #1 segment all about Oprah Winfrey, that leaves the Media Matters Minute. Tonight's victims included "the insane" Michael Savage (runner-up), and "worst person": "the Coultergeist". This is already so tired and lame, but apparently, after going over the 100 mark with Mr Bill, comedian Keith Olbermann has found a new bete noir.