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"COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN" (8:00 P.M.-9:00 P.M. ET)
Host: Keith Olbermann
That vaunted Olbermann News Judgment was back in evidence tonight, as early as the opening spiel. Olby ticked off the top stories: MidEast conflict (with the obligatory anti-American note: "have we been painted into a corner?"), Katie Couric's airplane adventure, Lindsay Lohan off sick from her new film, and Mel Gibson.
Olby characterized the Israeli position as "defiant", cited "anger" and "outrage" over casualties in Lebanon, then introduced taped reports (Martin Fletcher, Richard Engel). The Wolffe Man opined that because Israel has hit civilians, they have lost the "PR battle". KO was quick to cite Chuck Hagel, who is calling for a cease-fire, and Krazy wondered how "significant" it is that he broke with the President. Based on Hagel's track record, not very.
In the #4 segment, Olby raised the question of whether Israel "miscalculated" in responding to Hezbollah. A taped David Gregory report followed, and again Krazy Keith played the little game where he offered Gregory "great thanks", as if the videotape playback machine could actually hear him.
The infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann introduced "oddball" by complaining about some news executive. She had criticized Huntley and Brinkley, and Reverend Olby sermonized that her remarks were "unconscionable and unprofessional". Because it's wrong, just wrong, to criticize other broadcasters. We wonder, if making one negative statement is "unconscionable and unprofessional", what would attacking someone 102 times be?
Olbermann's nose-dive into celebrity journalism came quickly: the #3 story. First up, Mel Gibson, which KO introduced with the tacky tag-line: "the dashin' of the Christ". After a recycled NBC report, Tom O'Neil from InTouch magazine dished the dirt. Both KO and Tom declared that Gibson's career is over, with Herr Olbermann name-dropping a famous scandal of years past ("Is this almost Fatty Arbuckle levels?"). Of course, Mr Arbuckle's "scandal" regarded unsubstantiated rape charges that finally were dismissed by a jury in six minutes of deliberation, and Arbuckle did eventually return to films. So we're unclear exactly how that relates to Mr Gibson. Krazy offered the suggestion that if Gibson were to go on Bill O'Reilly's show to do a mea culpa, "at least Mel could claim he's drunk". And if you think Countdown is not going to keep flogging this story, tune in tomorrow for Mel Gibson Puppet Theater. No, we are not making this up. This must be how Dan Abrams plans to address the fact that MSNBC's viewers are nowhere near as smart or educated as Bill O'Reilly's.
#2: Flight delays (via another regurgitated NBC report), a lead-in to more celebrity news: Katie Couric on an airplane! Followed by Ben Affleck, Kid Rock, and Pamela Anderson. And the #1 story, the Great Lindsay Lohan Labor Dispute, covered by a recycled NBC report and, in person, the creepy Michael Musto. The latter announced that Mel Gibson's audience is "deeply anti-Semetic", and chatted about "peeing on a script" and "camel poop". Keep it up, Dan. Those educated viewers must be flocking to A-Mess-NBC.
Rick Santorum (R) was a runner-up "worst person"; no liberal or Democrat was included in this "nonpartisan" segment. The "winner" was a traveler who took Olby's luggage by mistake. Does this mean that some hapless passenger now has Keith's little black book? His email? His own personal copy of Mein Kampf? The mind boggles at the possibilities. But alas, that was not to be; Krazy Keith got his bag back within 40 minutes. That isn't much longer than the amount of time he spent kvetching about it on national (though little-seen, except by the uneducated) television.