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"COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN" (8:00 P.M.-9:00 P.M. ET)
Host: Keith Olbermann
Keith Olbermann launched into his carnival pitchman's spiel with unusual gusto, perhaps bouyed by the fact that Countdown was now flogging an old news story for the 3rd day. Rummy, of course, and again Olby lied about what Rumsfeld said:
In the wake of his speech against your right to dissent.
KO launched the show proper by saying that "Mister" Bush  was "expanding" on Rumsfeld's theme and promoting the troika of repetitive unanimity that were to be his "guests". He quoted from "Mister" Bush  and showed a few clips (carefully edited to remove as much audience reaction as possible). A reference to the Brian Williams interview with "Mister" Bush  was used to criticize the President for insisting that the Iraq war is in fact part of the war on terror. Olby noted that "Mister" Bush  did not use Rumsfeld's description of critics as "confused"--again Olbermann misrepresents what Rummy said, but on The Hour of Spin, that's hardly news.
What a great lead in for the first of KO's "top newsmakers": Barbara Boxer, who is about to introduce a non-binding resolution asking for Rummy to be shown the door. That makes it about as significant as a resolution establishing National Kumquat Week. The BB-gun said Rumsfeld "has just gone too far", then added "this is just too far". We kind of get the idea that it's too far. After all, the Secretary of Defense "attacked the American people". Olby wanted to know what's the impact of such a resolution, and BB rambled on about Iraq, UBL, and so forth. For his part, Keith, world renowned for his tough, non-nonsense interview style, honed in on the BB-gun with laser-like precision:
The administration also insisted again today that nothing in Mr Rumsfeld's speech Tuesday was about stifling dissent, not even the part about those who disagree with the administration being morally or intellectually confused. Do you buy that?
Then it was on to Bush's speech, and more relentless grilling:
There are several parts of that address that a Professor of logic might be able to drive a truck through.... Is that not just nonsense?
A challenging, thought-provoking question! Truly another Countdown Edward R Murrow Moment. For the record, the BB-gun's response was yes, it's total nonsense. Bush is trying to "scare the American people", and off she went into a string of talking points eerily reminiscent of ones spouted just 24 hours ago by Dr Dean. But the tough interrogation wasn't over yet. Edward R Olbermann had one more incisive, probing query:
Senator have you or your colleagues in the Senate or the Democratic Party, at any point, ever suggested not fighting terrorists in other parts of the world?
She rambled on so long that there wasn't even time for another of KO's sharply barbed inquiries, but she got "great thanks" anyhow, as did the "literally thousands" who responded to his Wednesday night diatribe. Then a teaser involving "Mister" Bush  to lead into commercial break #1 ("Countdown is brought to you by Dish Network").
The #4 story began with a bit of OlbyLogic: Utah is a red state, but the mayor of its largest city protested Bush's visit, so that raises questions about the President's "core support". Um, not if the mayor is a self-described Democrat, and the city actually voted for Kerry in 2004 (KO eventually admitted the latter, but not the former). Just by coincidence, Mayor Rocky brought up the Rumsfeld "confusion" meme, along with illegal war, immoral war, Bush is a liar, his "neocon advisors" too, and so forth. It was music to Olby's ears. Question: will Rocky get a "great thanks"? Ding! After all, he did thank Krazy Keith for his "great statement yesterday". We're going to need hip boots if this gets any deeper.
Time to update The List (partisan politicos and strategists interviewed on Countdown, identified by party):
After oddball, it was Rumsfeld Day 3, and "why this continues to resonate". Could that just possibly be because the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann has been flogging it day after day? Once again he played the same edited clip he used yesterday, slicing out the part where Rummy was referring to terror battlefronts everywhere except Iraq, to "prove", see, he was talking about Iraq. After another reference to "Mister" Bush , it was time for the third of KO's ideological triplets. Disbarred lawyer John Dean had the honor of the "Curly" slot, and Olby launched right in, referencing "semantical dilettantism". KO framed another incredibly probing question by noting that Rumsfeld was "seriously misjudging the playing field and overreaching":
Did he do that in this speech?
It will surprise no one that the ex-con thought it to be "textbook authoritarianism". Olby had him on the ropes now! Time for another killer inquiry:
Can there be, in your opinion, a bigger or broader danger to our democracy than when the very notion of debates, never mind the particulars of debate, becomes not just anathema to the leaders, but is no longer seen as a requirement for the very survival of the Democracy?
Dont' try to diagram that sentence. KO also wanted to know why Rumsfeld wants to "throw dissent under the bus". (Because on OlbyPlanet the rule is Democrats can criticize Republicans, but the reverse is fascism.) The felon chuckled and said, with a straight face, "good question". Good question?!? No wonder he was disbarred. Then more OlbyLogic on parade:
He had conflated the cold war with the fascists, with Mussolini, with, with, uh Hitler, uh, it, it really is, uh, uh, is there anything to be gained by exaggerating a threat like this, by, by, by putting it in terms of, of apocalypse?
After "great thanks" to the ex-con and a sentimental trip down memory lane (ballots in Ohio), came the most welcome commercial break in the history of television. The rest of The Hour of Spin sped by: storms, Kevin Federline, stolen paintings, Donald Trump, and the inimitable Michael Musto. The latter was so daring as to make a joke about men who like "younger women" right to Olbermann's face. In the Media Matters Minute, it was a trifecta: Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and Conrad Burns (R). This is the segment Keith Olbermann insists is "nonpartisan".
Krazy Keith's scheme to make ratings headway Wednesday night wasn't exactly a roaring success. Even with Mr Bill O'Reilly on vacation, KO found himself mired in fourth place in both total viewers and his beloved key demo. Today's blue blogapalooza will doubtless fare no better--after all, tonight the MisterMeter only went to "6".