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    November 30, 2006


    Host: Keith Olberman


    • BUSH AND MALIKI: Chris Cillizza, Washington Post
    • RIGHT-WING HATE MACHINE: Joe Trippi, Democrat political strategist

    Tonight was a night for fear and scare tactics. Only it was Krazy Keith's turn to play the fear card, and wallow in his own self-indulgent scare tactics. The snake-oil salesman of cable news barked the headlines in his best carnival pitchman style: "Mister" Bush & Maliki, the "right-wing goes ape" over Danny DeVito, the "fascism" of News Gingrich [plug 1 for the latest Speshul Komment], Russian spy radiation poisoning, and Shamu.


    Kicking off The Hour of Spin proper from LA, the infamous, deplorable Keith Olberman wove a tale about the leaked Maliki memo. "Entire passages of that document" sound like criticism of "Mister" Bush, declaimed Edward R Olberman. Krazy Keith intro'd Cillizza by talking about the delay in the Bush/Maliki meeting as "symbolism". ("Metaphor" had the night off.) KO was irritated that "Mister" Bush was "waving off" ideas leaked by the Baker Commission, but Cillizza said "pragmatism" will ultimately take over. He also eagerly adopted KO's notion about the Maliki memo really describing Bush, and ergo got great thanksed.

    A recycled NBC report on the Baker Commission led "Fat Ass" Olberman to great thanks the unspooling tape, plus teases for another O'Reilly attack, the "right-wing attack machine", and the S.K.. The deranged one returned to go after "right-wing commentators" who were "grasping at straws". Attack #135 was on Bill O'Reilly for daring to criticize Danny DeVito. As an impartial analyst for all this right-wing eeevil, Mr Merkle brought in a political strategist. And, by golly, what a surprise, it just turned out to be a Democrat political strategist. What a coincidence (see: The List)!

    It wasn't enough for Olby to attack Mr Bill, he also went after those who made criticisms of Nancy Pelosi (with defenses lifted almost verbatim from ThinkProgress, sans acknowledgement), Barack Obama, and others. Joe Trippi was happy to join in the nonpartisan analysis of the pathetic, contemptible, and always eeevil right-wingers, who will "pay the price". No surprise that he was great thanksed.

    After another Pulitzer-nominated dose of oddball (which incorporated O'Reilly attack #136) and more plugs for the S.K., came the Russian poisoning cases. The story was relegated to more rerun video from NBC, and followed by more teases for the S.K. Next: more regurgitated reporting from the network mothership (the eeevil right-wing terrorist whale, Shamu), an alligator who was inspired to attack a naked man by the hate speech of Ann Coulter, The Wiggles, Anna Nicole Smith's uterus, a plug for (what else?) the Speshul Comment.

    In the Media Matters Minute, Monkeyman went after all those who dared disagree with Bob Wright, the plastics tycoon, about the Iraq civil war. Rodger Hedgecock (conservative), O'Reilly (Fox, and attack #137--three in one show, an Hour of Spin record!), and "bozo" Brent Bozell (conservative). This last was especially brainless, criticizing the BB-gun for saying generals in the field don't agree with the "civil war" term by quoting some who have said Iraq could be headed to a civil war. Hey Dopeyman, that's exactly Bozell's point. Heading for something is not the same thing as being there. Olby may be headed toward certifiable lunacy; that doesn't mean he's already safely ensconced in Bellevue.


    Finally, held for the last possible Nielsen minute, the Speshul Komment [see APPENDIX below]. It had everything--carefully scripted dramatic head bobs, bouncing eyebrows, stentorian tones, and a fistful of supercilious arrogance. Everything except the usual target. No, Rev Olberman didn't go after "Mister" Bush this time. You'll recall how he recently said that with the Dems in power, he might go after them? Silly rabbit. That just doesn't happen on OlbyPlanet. Instead, he turned his wrath on Newt Gingrich, a man who holds no office and weilds no power. A man whom the coward won't even talk to first-hand, preferring instead to smear from afar. Keith "Man on Fan" Olberman painted a paranoid picture of incipient fascism and totalitarianism, Olby's very own playing of the fear card, based on a few words of someone he's too cowardly to face. He had the nerve to pontificate:

    I will awaken every day of my life thankful that you are entitled to tell me about it.

    You ain't kidding nobody, Monkeyman. The last thing in the world you would ever want is to have Mr Gingrich sitting across from you on the Countdown set. You might actually learn something about what he is proposing, and possibly, maybe, even understand it better. But that will never happen, will it, Mister Olbermann, Sir?!?


    Silent Schnauzers: The Pope in Turkey? Not news. The Secretary of State in the Middle East? Not news. Consumer spending up? Not news. The discredited sports guy has pounded everyone from Michelle Malkin to an ex-girlfriend who dumped him for words that "encourage" or "inspire" violence. It should surprise no one that he has been completely silent about James Webb talking about punching George Bush in the face. It's one thing to give tons of free publicity to the agenda of Congressional Democrats, but it's quite another to tell when the Dems reject one of the key 9/11 commission proposals that they claimed they would implement. Nothing from Herr Olberman about the American Taliban guilty plea. You'll recall he made a big story of "flying while Muslim", but continues to spike the new information that continues to emerge. And still KO refuses to tell his viewers how Jack Abramoff has pointed the finger of corruption at none other than Sen Harry Reid.


    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olberman's name plunged to #511 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" has risen to #13. At Barnes & Noble the OlbyTome languishes at #1,647, while O'Reilly's book is back up to #17. And nine weeks since it hit the stores, Mr Bill's literary triumph is still #3 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. The Tuesday night ratings were a humiliating embarrassment for Citizen Keith. According to Mr Nielsen, KO circled the drain in a miserable fifth place. Krazy Keith lost to The Factor, Paula Zahn, Nancy Grace, and even a rerun of Deal or No Deal, both in total viewers and in the critical, beloved, all-important, coveted "key demo". Tonight's MisterMeter reading: 5 [ELEVATED]

    APPENDIX: The Speshul Komment

    Here, as promised, a special comment about free speech, failed speakers and the delusion of grandeur.

    "This is a serious long-term war," the man at the podium cried, "and it will inevitably lead us to want to know what is said in every suspect place in the country."

    Some in the audience must have thought they were hearing an arsonist give the keynote address at a convention of firefighters.

    This was the annual Loeb First Amendment Dinner in Manchester, N.H. -- a public cherishing of freedom of speech -- in the state with the two-fisted motto "Live Free Or Die."

    And the arsonist at the microphone, the former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, was insisting that we must attach an "on-off button" to free speech.

    He offered the time-tested excuse trotted out by our demagogues since even before the Republic was founded: widespread death, of Americans, in America, possibly at the hands of Americans.

    But updated, now, to include terrorists using the Internet for recruitment. End result -- "losing a city."

    The colonial English defended their repression with words like these.

    And so did the slave states.

    And so did the policemen who shot strikers.

    And so did Lindbergh's America First crowd.

    And so did those who interned Japanese-Americans.

    And so did those behind the Red Scare.

    And so did Nixon's plumbers.

    The genuine proportion of the threat is always irrelevant.

    The fear the threat is exploited to create becomes the only reality.

    "We will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find," Mr. Gingrich continued about terrorists, formerly communists, formerly hippies, formerly Fifth Columnists, formerly anarchists, formerly Redcoats, "to break up their capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech."

    Mr. Gingrich, the British "broke up our capacity to use free speech" in the 1770s.

    The pro-slavery leaders "broke up our capacity to use free speech" in the 1850s.

    The FBI and CIA "broke up our capacity to use free speech" in the 1960s.

    It is in those groups where you would have found your kindred spirits, Mr. Gingrich.

    Those who had no faith in freedom, no faith in this country, and, ultimately, no faith even in the strength of their own ideas, to stand up on their own legs without having the playing field tilted entirely to their benefit.

    "It will lead us to learn," Gingrich continued, "how to close down every Web site that is dangerous, and it will lead us to a very severe approach to people who advocate the killing of Americans and advocate the use of nuclear and biological weapons."

    That we have always had "a very severe approach" to these people is insufficient for Mr. Gingrich's ends.

    He wants to somehow ban the idea.

    Even though everyone who has ever protested a movie or a piece of music or a book has learned the same lesson:

    Try to suppress it, and you only validate it.

    Make it illegal, and you make it the subject of curiosity.

    Say it cannot be said, and it will instead be screamed.

    And on top of the thundering danger in his eagerness to sell out freedom of speech, there is a sadder sound, still -- the tinny crash of a garbage can lid on a sidewalk.

    Whatever dreams of Internet censorship float like a miasma in Mr. Gingrich's personal swamp, whatever hopes he has of an Iron Firewall, the simple fact is, technically they won't work.

    As of tomorrow they will have been defeated by a free computer download.

    Mere hours after Gingrich's speech in New Hampshire, the University of Toronto announced it had come up with a program called Psiphon to liberate those in countries in which the Internet is regulated.

    Places like China and Iran, where political ideas are so barren, and political leaders so desperate that they put up computer firewalls to keep thought and freedom out.

    The Psiphon device is a relay of sorts that can surreptitiously link a computer user in an imprisoned country to another in a free one.

    The Chinese think the wall works, yet the ideas -- good ideas, bad ideas, indifferent ideas -- pass through anyway.

    The same way the Soviet bloc was defeated by the images of Western material bounty.

    If your hopes of thought control can be defeated, Mr. Gingrich, merely by one computer whiz staying up an extra half hour and devising a new "firewall hop," what is all this apocalyptic hyperbole for?

    [insert dramatic look downward to nonexistent notes here]

    "I further think," you said in Manchester, "we should propose a Geneva convention for fighting terrorism, which makes very clear that those who would fight outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction, and those who would target civilians are in fact subject to a totally different set of rules, that allow us to protect civilization by defeating barbarism..."

    Well, Mr. Gingrich, what is more "massively destructive" than trying to get us to give you our freedom?

    And what is someone seeking to hamstring the First Amendment doing, if not "fighting outside the rules of law"?

    And what is the suppression of knowledge and freedom, if not "barbarism"?

    The explanation, of course, is in one last quote from Mr. Gingrich from New Hampshire and another from last week.

    "I want to suggest to you," he said about these Internet restrictions, "that we right now should be impaneling people to look seriously at a level of supervision that we would never dream of if it weren't for the scale of the threat."

    And who should those "impaneled" people be?

    Funny I should ask, isn't it, Mr. Gingrich?

    [insert dramatic look downward to nonexistent notes here]

    "I am not 'running' for president," you told a reporter from Fortune Magazine. "I am seeking to create a movement to win the future by offering a series of solutions so compelling that if the American people say I have to be president, it will happen."

    Newt Gingrich sees in terrorism, not something to be exterminated, but something to be exploited.

    It's his golden opportunity, isn't it?

    "Rallying a nation," you might say, "to hysteria, to sweep us up into the White House with powers that will make martial law seem like anarchy."

    That's from the original version of the movie "The Manchurian Candidate" -- the chilling words of Angela Lansbury's character, as she first promises to sell her country to the Chinese and Russians, then reveals she'll double-cross them and keep all the power herself, waving the flag every time she subjugates another freedom.

    [look up from nonexistent notes here]

    Within the frame of our experience as a free and freely argumentative people, it is almost impossible to conceive that there are those among us who might approach the kind of animal wildness of fiction like that -- those who would willingly transform our beloved country into something false and terrible.

    Who among us can look to our own histories, or those of our ancestors who struggled to get here, or who struggled to get freedom after they were forced here, and not tear up when we read Frederick Douglass's words from a century and a half ago?: "Freedom must take the day."

    And who among us can look to our collective history and not see its turning points -- like the Civil War, like Watergate, like the Revolution itself -- in which the right idea defeated the wrong idea on the battlefield that is the marketplace of ideas?

    But apparently there are some of us who cannot see that the only future for America is one that cherishes the freedoms won in the past, one in which we vanquish bad ideas with better ones, and in which we fight for liberty by having more liberty, not less.

    "I am seeking to create a movement to win the future by offering a series of solutions so compelling that if the American people say I have to be president, it will happen."

    What a dark place your world must be, Mr. Gingrich, where the way to save America is to destroy America.

    I will awaken every day of my life thankful I am not with you in that dark place.

    And I will awaken every day of my life thankful that you are entitled to tell me about it.

    And that you are entitled to show me what an evil idea it represents and what a cynical mind.

    And that you are entitled to do all that, thanks to the very freedoms you seek to suffocate.

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (181) | | View blog reactions
    November 29, 2006


    Guest Host: Alison Stewart


    • PRES. BUSH AND SENATOR-ELECT JIM WEBB (D-VA.): Craig Crawford, Congressional Quarterly columnist and MSNBC political analyst; David Shuster, MSNBC correspondent


    "No Olbermann For You"

    What with all the fake PR hubbub,
    Why would Olby deliver this snub?
    After Tuesday's disgrace,
    A shameful fifth place,
    He would rather hide out in the tub.

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (41) | | View blog reactions
    My Latest Op-Ed for Doctors wanted us to abort our son

    My latest Op-Ed is up on The Examiner web site. It's a personal story of my being confronted with the abortion issue in a very direct way.

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (22) | | View blog reactions
    November 28, 2006


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • GINGRICH AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Jonathan Turley, Jonathan Alter
    • BIDEN'S PLAN: E.J. Dionne
    • THE BUSH TWINS: Mo Rocca

    Bellowing the opening spiel, Krazy Keith touched on all the key points: Newt and "free speech", "civil war", the Biden plan, the male "pill", and the Bush twins. The spin definitely starts here.


    Olbermoronn kicked things off with Newt's comments about free speech and what KO called the terror "bogeyman" (apparently, there is no real terror, it's all fictitious). Somehow Monkeymann managed to get his "habeas corpus" lie into the mix before starting another episode of everyone's favorite sitcom, Olby and the Perfessor. Ironically, Mr Merkle introduced his sidekick by referencing "scare tactics"--ironic, because that's exactly what Turley immediately adopted. This could really happen. People are Pavlovian. Gingrich wants "absolute power". KO said something about getting the full text of the speech, which raises the question: why didn't he just ask Newt to come on and explain himself? Horrors! We can't have that on OlbyPlanet. Instead, Citizen Keith suggested websites will be closed down willy-nilly, and The Perfessor was happy to amplify the paranoia. Scare tactics indeed.

    After The Perfessor was great thanksed, lefty Alter joined the party. Many of Gingrich's ideas are "dopey and dangerous". This shows how bad the "climate of fear" is. The "danger" is that if there is another terror attack, people like Gingrich and Rudy Guiliani will "get a big boost". How did Rudy get in there? Now Rudy is dangerous? Why not just go and knife him in the hamstrings? Anyhow, Fat Ass Olbermann invoked his favorite felon, John Dean, talked of "shredding" the constitution, raised scare tactics again, and they yammered a bit about the recent poll on "warmth" of potential future Presidential candidates. According to impartial Alter, Rudy, who finished first, is not well liked, even though he was #1 in the poll. That kind of thinking is pure gold on Countdown, and Alter was, to be sure, great thansked.

    #4 brought us the brilliant, imaginative Keith Olbermann yet again invoking the "classic definition of insanity" (for, what, the 89th time?). He naturally applied it to "Mister" Bush for comments on Al Qaeda in Iraq, and ran a clip of Nancy Pelosi citing the 9/11 commission as evidence that Al Qaeda has nothing to do with the violence in Iraq.

    Stop the tivo! When did the 9/11 commission meet and decide that the current problems in Iraq had no relation to Al Qaeda? Um, they didn't. The 9/11 commission dealt with Iraq before the liberation. It has made no statement whatsoever that Al Qaeda is not currently fomenting violence there, contrary to Stretch Pelosi's preposterous claim. Now if "Mister" Bush had made such a lame-brained comment, it would be the object of daily ridicule on The Hour of Spin. But Keith Olbermann protects his party leaders, and the incoherence of Pelosi's peculiar statement was completely ignored by Monkeymann. Instead he went to a taped report from the network mothership, and, true to form, when it was over he great thanksed the playback machine.

    Another fascinating, Emmy-worthy installment of oddball found Krazy Keith reporting on Christmas lights at the house of one Robert Cox (no, not the Robert Cox). Then it was on to The Biden Plan for Iraq, the familiar divided-in-three proposal. E.J. Dionne gave "perspective". Yawn. KO went on to introduce a taped report on an anti-fertility pill for males. Keith "Man on Fan" Olbermann didn't do the story himself; his pharmacological interests are precisely opposite. Next: O.J. Simpson and the Big News that Barbara Walters had a chance at the interview but turned it down (something that Walters herself revealed over a week ago on The Factor). Then the Bush twins compared to Paris Hilton & Britney Spears. The twins were smeared with several reports, each of which has been denied by the parties involved (a hotel and the American Embassy), but unconfirmed rumors are coin of the realm on The Hour of Spin. The inimitable Mo Rocca gave his usual performance, which is to say it was about 1/5 as funny as a Michael Richards stand-up.

    In the Media Matters Minute, Cal Thomas finally got a nomination for the distinguished journalism award he gave to Krazy Keith. Aw, they spelled Olby's name wrong. Poor baby. The Christian Coalition got a nod too, but O'Reilly was the "worst person" (all slots filled once again). His crime was reporting a statement, confirmed, by Crate & Barrell about their employees not saying "Merry Christmas". KO lifted from ThinkProgress (without attribution) a later, backpedalling followup from the C&B spokesman--as if Mr Bill was supposed to have known about the second statement before it was even made! Such is the desperation to feed the greatest Olbsession of them all.


    Dogs that did not bark: Edward R Olbermann has studiously avoided reporting on Nancy Pelosi's move to keep the impeached Alcee Hastings from becoming Intelligence Committee Chairman--but he's been ducking that controversy all along, for obvious reasons. Herr Olbermann was happy to trumpet the cause of Imams removed from a plane for "flying while Muslim", but has neatly sidestepped reporting any of the new information that has emerged in that case. And still KO refuses to tell his viewers how Jack Abramoff has pointed the finger of corruption at none other than Sen Harry Reid.


    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name is #398 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" has risen to #16. At Barnes & Noble the OlbyTome languishes at #1,705, while O'Reilly's book is #19. And nine weeks since it hit the stores, Mr Bill's literary triumph is still #3 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. With no ratings available for Monday night, we will, as usual, make them up, and declare that KO was in his customary third place position, both in total viewers and in the critical, beloved, all-important, coveted "key demo". Tonight's MisterMeter reading: 3 [GUARDED]

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (77) | | View blog reactions
    November 27, 2006


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • CIVIL WAR IN IRAQ: Dana Milbank, Washington Post national political reporter and MSNBC political analyst; Col. Jack Jacobs, U.S. Army (ret.) and MSNBC military analyst
    • WHITE HOUSE DISAGREES WITH NBC NEWS CALLING IRAQ A CIVIL WAR: Craig Crawford, Congressional Quarterly columnist and MSNBC political analyst
    • PRES. BUSH'S LEGACY: Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post editor

    The infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann returned from his long weekend in fine fettle, bellowing the opening spiel in his best carnival pitchman's voice: NBC says it's "civil war", Jack Jacobs analyzes NBC calling it "civil war", Craig Crawford predicts the impact of NBC calling it "civil war", Dana Milbank talks about the impact on "Mister" Bush of NBC calling it a "civil war", yada yada yada. Is there a theme emerging here?


    The big "news" of the day was A-Mess-NBC's self-created news: Iraq will now be called a "civil war" (even though the combatants are small groups of the population, and their leaders are still working together in the central government). Given the hype from A-Mess-NBC all day long about this media-devised "news", we were left wondering why there wasn't a similar fuss when they decided that the Senator from Virginia would be called George "Macaca" Allen during their election-night coverage. But we digress.

    Edward R Olbermann modestly characterized A-Mess-NBC's stunt as a "Walter Cronkite moment" before bringing in Crawford (aka Olbermann's Brain). What an impact!, chortled Brain. At Olby's urging, he predicted retaliation against A-Mess-NBC by the administration, as they both plugged Brain's poorly-selling book. After a 1984 reference, Herr Olbermann described anyone who didn't adopt A-Mess-NBC's terminology as "shills for the government", CC came up with a startlingly original insight ("The White House is in denial"), and was consequently great thanksed.

    Col Jacobs stuck with the company line, and opined that Al Maliki should have gone after Al-Sadr. He said several hundred thousand additional troops would be required to get things under control. KO tried to make a VietNam analogy (to fit with the "Walter Cronkite" parallel), but the Colonel wasn't buying it. Even so, he was great thanksed.

    Stretching out the self-congratulatory navel-gazing for yet another segment, Olby's #4 story was about: the "new" terminology! The hook this time was the "effect" on the Iraq Study Group. For this, we got that great foreign policy expert, Dana Milbank, sans splashy sportswear. Monkeymann talked about symbolism, how the phrase "civil war" will "echo", and whether the term will now "spread" across all the media. Right. Journalists worldwide take their cues from Michael Musto's sidekick.

    After another sparkling, evanescent edition of oddball, Fat Ass Olbermann turned his sights on "Mister" Bush's Presidential Library. How dare he raise money to "spin" his legacy? The second of two "My Pet Goat" references preceded talk about a "so-called think tank" and "mega-donations". For a balanced perspective: Arianna Huffington. Using her best Count Dracula accent, she cackled about "whitewashing" and a "fund-raising feast". For his part, Krazy Keith, that great protector of freedom, suggested a federal law against private individuals spending too much (i.e. more than Herr Olbermann wants) on a library. Zsa Zsa brought up trading pardons for money, but Monkeymann didn't want to go there and changed the subject.

    The #2 story was the "hail of police gunfire" in the NYC groom shooting case (via recycled NBC video). Then celebrity cops, Jack Osborne, Latoya Jackson, Erik Estrada, Borat, Pamela Anderson, Kid Rock, Britney Spears, Kevin Federline. #1: The Michael Richards fuss. In the Media Matters Minute, KO found a way to go after Mr Bill once again. If we were counting, this would be attack #133. But we're not counting.


    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name has declined to #476 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" stands at #19. At Barnes & Noble the OlbyTome circles the drain at #1,780, while O'Reilly's book it up to #17. And nine weeks since it hit the stores, Mr Bill's literary triumph is still #3 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. On Wednesday night Herr Olbermann was back in third place, both in total viewers and in the critical, beloved, all-important, coveted "key demo". Tonight's MisterMeter reading: 5 [ELEVATED]

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (177) | | View blog reactions
    MSM KO Bandwagon #241: LA Times Goes for the Gold

    Matea Gold of the Los Angeles Times hits all the usual MSM high notes in singing the praises of Keith Olbermann in her profile in today's paper - his paltry ratings are part of an "upswing" at MSNBC, his inane "special comments" are "blistering critiques, etc. The highlight of course is that Gold quotes me to Keith and gets a reply:

    Robert Cox, who runs Olbermann Watch, a critical blog that monitors the cable news host's comments, said that Olbermann employs some of the same tactics that he decries.

    "I think at the end of the day he has, by and large, become that which he has criticized - a demagogue like Bill O'Reilly," said Cox, a management consultant in New Rochelle, N.Y.

    Olbermann rejects the comparison.

    "I'm not trying to whip up a political frenzy," he said. "If I was out there every night beating people over the head with this, I would become a Rush Limbaugh. That's not my goal. I don'st make the facts up to fit the political viewpoint that happens to parallel what it is I'm trying to express."

    Howard Mortman and Tim Graham have some thoughts on the piece but suffice to say it is chock full of Olbypocrisy.

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (23) | | View blog reactions
    November 25, 2006
    Olbermann Wins Another Journalism Award

    The tributes to Keith Olbermann just keep coming. Now, along with the two Murrows, he has another distinguished journalism award he can display by his bathtub.

    There were four awards granted by the News Watch panel. In this QuickTime video you will see glimpses of the other three, along with the full-length tribute accorded to Edward R Olbermann for his unique journalistic achievements:

    Remember Keith, think of it this way: "At least they spelled my name right." Oh, wait...never mind.

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (76) | | View blog reactions
    November 22, 2006


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • GROWING PRESSURE TO FIX IRAQ: Richard Wolffe, Newsweek chief White House correspondent and MSNBC political analyst; Lawrence O'Donnell, Huffington Post contributor and political analyst

    The opening spiel: Keith bellowed about secret Iraq negotiations by "Mister" Bush, Rangel and the draft, OJ, Kramer, and bonus oddball. Bad news from Iraq was the lead, with Olby getting his item about "secret" negotiations from an unconfirmed story on a blue blog. This is the state of journalism at NBC News.


    The Wolffe Man said the President wants to show independence, but Olby wanted to know about the "secret" negotiations "reported" by a blogger. Will they pass muster with the "neocons"? Wolffie said they've been going on for some time, and Iraq will always be "President Bush's war". At least he didn't say "Mister" Bush's war. Dopeymann tried to paint Bush's overseas trips as some sort of strategy to keep his domestic profile low, but the Wolffe Man told him, don't be stoopid, these trips are planned months if not years in advance. Well, maybe not in those exact words.

    Then it was time for Lawrence ("Liar! Creepy Liar!") O'Donnell, misleadingly introduced as a "political analyst", when he is actually a Democrat political strategist (and The List has been updated accordingly). Crazy Larry said Rangel's draft proposal should be "taken seriously", easy to claim when you don't bother telling people how virutally no one (including the new Speaker) supports it. The deranged one spewed blue blog talking points about "combat cowards", which is the newly-minted version of the old "chickenhawk" argument--a finer piece of demented demagoguery you will never find. And if something is demagogic, you know it will appeal to Monkeymann. He gushed that there were many questions to be asked, but he wouldn't, because:

    ...I think it would be impolite and disrespectful to the great point that you just made to ask them here.

    Ewwwwww. KO's tongue bath of Crazy Larry surely had Dana Milbank seething with jealousy. It was that repellent. (We won't even contemplate what Musto was thinking.)

    #4: the US government "spying" on peaceful citizens. It was a recycled story from the network mothership, predicated on the shocking news that the government has a database, and it puts names in them. No! And what's more, they put things in this database like public information about public events. Horrors! This of course isn't "spying" at all. Anyone has the right to keep a record of public information. And, Herr Olbermann notwithstanding, that includes people who work for the government.

    Then we got oddball, plus an entire segment on OJ Simpson (with Harvey Levin). Then an entire segment on Michael Richards, where "Fat Ass" Olbermann could be seen backpedaling from his Tuesday night rehab attempts. Yesterday, Olby praised Richards for making an apology so "quickly"; but tonight, KO pointedly said the apology only came after the video was made public. Uh oh, Michael is obviously not going to be on Olby's Festivus Card list.

    Then Britney Spears, a repeatedly-bobbled bit on David Blaine, and a fistful of oddball. In the Media Matters Minute, even Keith "Man on Fan" Olbermann couldn't find a way to pin something on O'Reilly--he's out of the country! So he settled for the next best thing, "ridiculous radio yakker Melanie Morgan". Her crime was saying that there is a "bulls-eye" on Nancy Pelosi, which Rev Olbermann took as an opportunity to sermonize about how the eeevil right-wingers will interpret that as open season to actually shoot her. Oh, wait. We know your question before you ask it. You wonder how the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann can say all this with a straight face, when on Countdown he himself presented a visual "joke" that made Rush Limbaugh the target of gunfire. There is no answer other than: it's hypocrisy; it's puerile; it's OlbyLogic.


    Muted mongrels: Nothing from Krazy Keith about the assassination in Lebanon. Another thing you won't hear from KO: oil now under $60 a barrel. Herr Olbermann has yet to report that his much-hyped "war crimes" charges against Rummy are "unlikely to proceed". The arrest of 39 Talibans was dutifully ignored. And still KO refuses to tell his viewers how Jack Abramoff has pointed the finger of corruption at none other than Harry "The Body" Reid.


    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name sits at #360 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" stands #12. At Barnes & Noble the OlbyTome circles the drain at #2,061, while O'Reilly's book is #34. And Mr Bill's literary triumph sits in the #3 slot on the New York Times Best Sellers list. The Tuesday night ratings are not available, so we'll make them up. Our best scientific estimate is that Olby came in third place, both in total viewers and in the critical, beloved, all-important, coveted "key demo". Tonight's MisterMeter reading: 2 [LOW]

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (224) | | View blog reactions
    Happy Thanksgiving

    As we take a time out from the culture wars I'd like to wish all our loyal Olbermann Watch readers a happy thanksgiving and best wishes for the coming holidays. I'd like to ask you all to say a special prayer for our troops and Notre Dame which plays Southern Cal on Saturday night. Go Irish!

    Next week I will be heading down to DC for meetings and to participate in a conference for the First Amendment Center. I should be back next Thursday. Be well.

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (20) | | View blog reactions
    November 21, 2006


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • NO PLAN FOR IRAQ: Gen. Barry McCaffrey, U.S. Army (ret.) and MSNBC military analyst; Craig Crawford, Congressional Quarterly columnist and MSNBC analyst
    • MICHAEL RICHARDS' ANGRY APOLOGY: Harry Shearer, actor, comedian, and Huffington Post contributor
    • BRITNEY SEX TAPE REVENGE?: Harvey Levin, managing editor of

    Krazy Keith thundered his way through the opening spiel: chaos in Iraq, the administration's "sleepwalk", Kramer, Robert Altman, OJ, and Britney Spears. It's a powerpacked Hour of Spin for sure, dude!


    Let a Democrat issue a press release and--presto!--you have a headline on Countdown. Barbara Bouncer goes after "Mister" Bush, and Olby rewards her with extensive on-screen quotes and top-of-the-hour status. This morning, during the President's motorcade, several motorcycles crashed on slick pavement. Edward R Olbermann decided this was--all together now--A Metaphor ("car wreck")! What's an Hour of Spin without a metaphor?

    MSNBC's in-house expert McCaffrey said the training of Iraqis has been "under-resourced", with a lack of "political will" on the part of the Iraqi security forces. He said all three of the JCS options are nonsensical, while Olby opined that the whole thing is "extraordinary" and "unbelievable". But you want unbelievable? Here it comes, with Craig Crawford, aka Olbermann's Brain. KO said the President's plan is all "symbolism and photo-ops", and Brain chortled that Bush put the country in a straight-jacked and is himself trapped. Olby cited a "drumbeat of pressure", again noting Richard McCain's call for more troops--something McCain has been advocating for literally three years! Yet Olbermoronn thinks it's something new. Brain snickered about Congress asserting itself, and a good time was had by all.

    After great thanksing the chuckler, Herr Olbermann introduced a recycled report on the Muslim clerics who were removed from a plane. Another brilliantly incisive installment of oddball preceded an in-depth, detailed analysis on: unemployment rates? The economy? The "so-called" war on terror? Wrong! The intensive focus was on Michael Richards, and just how Monkeymann was going to spin his racist outbursts. Sure enough, KO immediately started the rehab, gushing about how "quickly" Richards did his mea culpa. Funny thing, Olbermann didn't point out how the Seinfeld Season 7 DVD set was due to hit the stores the very next morning. Maybe that had something to do with how quickly Richards moved. Ya think?

    Cue lefty "humorist" Shearer, as Olbermoronn came up with Excuse #1: Richards was not a stand-up comic, so:

    Did you assume looking at that that he didn't know where the boundaries were?

    Keith's theory: Richards was flashing back to the days of Don Rickles! Man, we couldn't make this stuff up. Olby Excuse #2: When you get heckled, you panic. Conspicuously absent from the discussion was the mantra we heard during the Mel Gibson controversy: those words came from his mind, he must really believe that if he says it, it's the end of his career he should just go away, etc. Hmm. Why did Gibson and Richards get such disparate treatments? We report, you decide.

    The #2 story began with an attack on Rupert Murdoch, with KO gleefully relaying a "joke" about assassinating Murdoch. Well, at least he didn't talk about knifing him in the hamstrings. Referring to the OJ cancellations, Olby incisively observed:

    Now anybody who thinks that little sleight-of-hand, through, would credit Murdoch is another story.

    Huh? We tried every punctuation mark known to Funk and Wagnalls, but no combination of any of them could make that sentence coherent. Then it was on to a lengthy clip from Denise Brown about a monetary offer from Fox, Britney Spears, Madonna, Paris Hilton. #1: Robert Altman memorial (rerun video from NBC). In the Media Matters Minute, it was another attack on O'Reilly--you know, that Olbsession Krazy Keith claimed he was going to back off from. His crime was stating that the OJ project was cancelled because of outrage by the people, and that he was a messenger of that outrage. Pretty damning stuff, no? But when you're a virtual stalker, you'll take whatever you can get to feed the Olbsession.


    Muted mongrels: It seems almost incredible, but it's true: Countdown completely ignored the assassination in Lebanon. Olby's ideological tilt also affects obituaries. That's why he made a big deal about lefty Altman tonight. Needless to say, Countdown didn't note the deaths of Bo Schembechler, or Nobel prize winner Milton Friedman. Herr Olbermann has yet to report that his much-hyped "war crimes" charges against Rummy are "unlikely to proceed". The arrest of 39 Talibans was dutifully ignored. And still KO refuses to tell his viewers how Jack Abramoff has pointed the finger of corruption at none other than Harry "The Body" Reid.


    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name, despite all the Monday Speshul Komment hype, slipped further to #567 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" went up to #12. At Barnes & Noble the OlbyTome circles the drain at #2,004, while O'Reilly's book is #23. And Mr Bill's literary triumph sits in the #3 slot on the New York Times Best Sellers list. The monday night Nielsens reveal that Herr Olbermann, while he narrowly squeaked out a second place finish over Paula Z, still lost overwhelmingly to The Ingraham Factor, both in total viewers and in the critical, beloved, all-important, coveted "key demo". Tonight's MisterMeter reading: 5 [ELEVATED]

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (110) | | View blog reactions
    November 20, 2006


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • IS PRES. BUSH BECOMING MORE ISOLATED?: Dana Milbank, Washington Post and MSNBC analyst; PJ Crowley former Pentagon spokesman and Center for American Progress senior fellow
    • 2008 POSITIONING: Jonathan Alter, Newsweek
    • TOMKAT: Michael Musto, Village Voice

    The opening spiel began in grand fashion, with Keith bellowing about the President's overseas trip, the "right wing noise machine", a plug for tonight's Speshul Komment [1], Kramer, and Cruise News!


    The metaphor-happy Keith Olbermann claimed to find one when "the wheels came off Air Force One". (Actually, they didn't. It was just a tire, and it didn't come off.) Thousands of protesters greeted "Mister" Bush; Olby didn't mention the death threats. Milbank, absent arresting apparel, pontificated about "neocons", Henry Kissinger, and Iraq options.

    P.J. Crowley was next in the seat of honor; as always, he was not identified as a long-time Clintonoid. The violence in Iraq "is just starting", we don't have "any good military options", and even the military is "looking for a way out". He was great thanksed.

    After a plug for his S.K. [2] and a plug for his S.K. [3], Krazy Keith went after Sen Richard McCain for "moving to the far right" on abortion, troops in Iraq, etc. Lefty Alter was a natural fit for this segment, making fun of McCain's "straight talk" reputation. Alter's take: the GOP rank-and-file are conservatives, but will McCain be seen as sincere? Herr Olbermann went into high-horse mode, complaining about Sen Kerry with Chris Wallace: every question except one was about a "three week old botched joke". How much time did "Fat Ass" Olbermann spend on a months-old "macaca" joke by George Allen? How many times did he reference "George Macaca Allen"? Oh, that's OK. More Olbermann hypocrisy.

    Another S.K. tease [4] preceded oddball, then a plug for the S.K. [5]. The S.K. itself appeared in the #3 slot [see APPENDIX below]. It had everything one has come to expect from a KO SK: a historical analogy of dubious relevance, "Mister" Bush references off the chart, empty pompous snottiness, a fistful of arrogant insinSirs thrown in for effect, and of course, the carefully timed turn to Camera 3. On the originality of thought meter, this one didn't even create a ripple. Time to scour the blue blogs for some new writers.

    The #2 story: OJ extravaganza cancelled, Michael Richards' bizarre racist outburst (will this get the major play Olbermoronn gave to the Mel Gibson story?), Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Clay Aiken, and The Laughing Stagehand. #1: Cruise News! with the creepy Michael Musto, who made a crack about a "two-ton drag queen" but changed it in midstream to "two-ton dragon monster".

    In the Media Matters Minute, the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann proved how totally unoriginal and unsurprising he is. As we posted at 7:00 pm tonight:

    We have reason to believe tonight's "worst person" segment will have something to do with iPods.

    Predicting Monkeymann is about as difficult as forecasting the reaction of Pavlov's dogs in a bell-testing factory. Sure enough, the segment began with KO attacking Bill O'Reilly for dissing iPods on his radio show, while offering listeners to his show the ability to download podcasts. This is classic Keith, because 1. he picked it up verbatim from a blue blog (ThinkProgress) without acknowledging his source, and because B. it makes no sense. Apparently Olbermoronn is not much more internet-savvy than Larry King, since podcasts don't require iPods. You can subscribe to them, download them, and listen to them without ever buying any portable mp3 player, let alone an iPod. Dopey Mr Merkle strikes out again.


    Dogs that did not bark: Keith must consider it insignificant, since he has still ignored the death of economist Milton Friedman. Herr Olbermann was happy to trumpet a Time magazine report of "war crimes charges" to be filed against Donald Rumsfeld. Now Time is reporting the whole thing is "unlikely to proceed", but Edward R Olbermann has yet to report this update. And still KO refuses to tell his viewers how Jack Abramoff has pointed the finger of corruption at none other than Harry "The Body" Reid.


    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name slipped to #498 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" is #18. At Barnes & Noble the OlbyTome has sunk #1,959, while O'Reilly's book stands #19. And Mr Bill's literary triumph sits in the #3 slot on the New York Times Best Sellers list. The numbers on Friday night found Olby in the unaccustomed position of second place, both in total viewers and in the critical, beloved, all-important, coveted "key demo". Tonight's MisterMeter reading set a new record: 15 [DANGER!!!]

    APPENDIX Keith's Speshul Komment:

    It is a shame and it is embarrassing to us all when President Bush travels 8,000 miles only to wind up avoiding reality again.

    And it is pathetic to listen to a man talk unrealistically about Vietnam, who permitted the "Swift-Boating" of not one but two American heroes of that war, in consecutive presidential campaigns.

    But most importantly -- important beyond measure -- his avoidance of reality is going to wind up killing more Americans.

    And that is indefensible and fatal.

    Asked if there were lessons about Iraq to be found in our experience in Vietnam, Mr. Bush said that there were, and he immediately proved he had no clue what they were.

    "One lesson is," he said, "that we tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take a while."

    "We'll succeed," the president concluded, "unless we quit."

    If that's the lesson about Iraq that Mr. Bush sees in Vietnam, then he needs a tutor.

    Or we need somebody else making the decisions about Iraq.

    Mr. Bush, there are a dozen central, essential lessons to be derived from our nightmare in Vietnam, but "we'll succeed unless we quit," is not one of them.

    The primary one -- which should be as obvious to you as the latest opinion poll showing that only 31 percent of this country agrees with your tragic Iraq policy -- is that if you try to pursue a war for which the nation has lost its stomach, you and it are finished. Ask Lyndon Johnson.

    The second most important lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: If you don't have a stable local government to work with, you can keep sending in Americans until hell freezes over and it will not matter. Ask Vietnamese Presidents Diem or Thieu.

    The third vital lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: Don't pretend it's something it's not. For decades we were warned that if we didn't stop "communist aggression" in Vietnam, communist agitators would infiltrate and devour the small nations of the world, and make their insidious way, stealthily, to our doorstep.

    The war machine of 1968 had this "domino theory."

    Your war machine of 2006 has this nonsense about Iraq as "the central front in the war on terror."

    The fourth pivotal lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: If the same idiots who told Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon to stay there for the sake of "peace With honor" are now telling you to stay in Iraq, they're probably just as wrong now, as they were then ... Dr. Kissinger.

    And the fifth crucial lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush -- which somebody should've told you about long before you plunged this country into Iraq -- is that if you lie your country into a war, your war, your presidency will be consigned to the scrap heap of history.

    Consider your fellow Texan, sir.

    After Kennedy's assassination, Lyndon Johnson held the country together after a national tragedy, not unlike you did. He had lofty goals and tried to reshape society for the better. And he is remembered for Vietnam, and for the lies he and his government told to get us there and keep us there, and for the Americans who needlessly died there.

    As you will be remembered for Iraq, and for the lies you and your government told to get us there and keep us there, and for the Americans who have needlessly died there and who will needlessly die there tomorrow.

    [camera turn here]

    This president has his fictitious Iraqi WMD, and his lies -- disguised as subtle hints -- linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11, and his reason-of-the-week for keeping us there when all the evidence for at least three years has told us we need to get as many of our kids out as quickly as possible.

    That president had his fictitious attacks on Navy ships in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, and the next thing any of us knew, the Senate had voted 88-2 to approve the blank check with which Lyndon Johnson paid for our trip into hell.

    And yet President Bush just saw the grim reminders of that trip into hell: the 58,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese killed; the 10,000 civilians who've been blown up by landmines since we pulled out; the genocide in the neighboring country of Cambodia, which we triggered.

    Yet these parallels -- and these lessons -- eluded President Bush entirely.

    And, in particular, the one over-arching lesson about Iraq that should've been written everywhere he looked in Vietnam went unseen.

    [camera turn here]

    "We'll succeed unless we quit"?

    Mr. Bush, we did quit in Vietnam!

    A decade later than we should have, 58,000 dead later than we should have, but we finally came to our senses.

    The stable, burgeoning, vivid country you just saw there, is there because we finally had the good sense to declare victory and get out!

    The domino theory was nonsense, sir.

    Our departure from Vietnam emboldened no one.

    Communism did not spread like a contagion around the world.

    And most importantly -- as President Reagan's assistant secretary of state, Lawrence Korb, said on this newscast Friday -- we were only in a position to win the Cold War because we quit in Vietnam.

    We went home. And instead it was the Russians who learned nothing from Vietnam, and who repeated every one of our mistakes when they went into Afghanistan. And alienated their own people, and killed their own children, and bankrupted their own economy and allowed us to win the Cold War.

    We awakened so late, but we did awaken.

    Finally, in Vietnam, we learned the lesson. We stopped endlessly squandering lives and treasure and the focus of a nation on an impossible and irrelevant dream, but you are still doing exactly that, tonight, in Iraq.

    And these lessons from Vietnam, Mr. Bush, these priceless, transparent lessons, writ large as if across the very sky, are still a mystery to you.

    "We'll succeed unless we quit."

    No, sir.

    We will succeed against terrorism, for our country's needs, toward binding up the nation's wounds when you quit, quit the monumental lie that is our presence in Iraq.

    And in the interim, Mr. Bush, an American kid will be killed there, probably tonight or tomorrow.

    And here, sir, endeth the lesson.

    We will continue with the OJ Simpson story and Michael Richards' apology after this.

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (206) | | View blog reactions
    Take the Olby Challenge!

    Nothing escapes the lightning-quick mind of Keith Olbermann. He has powers of sagacity and discernment far beyond those of mortal men. And we have the proof.

    Consider this QuickTime video a challenge. Match your reasoning and perception against the super-brain of Keith Olbermann. Can you detect what was obvious to Olbermann's brilliant mind? When you hear the truth cogently and convincingly laid out by The Great Man himself, you will realize all over again why he is a giant among broadcasters...

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (16) | | View blog reactions
    November 18, 2006
    Judges Rule in OlbyWatch Debate: We Have a Winner!

    Recently, Doug Krile and OlbyWatch Editor Robert Cox debated the burning question Does Olbermann blurring the line between news, comedy and commentary undermine the NBC News Brand?. After a spirited debate going four rounds, we then convened an expert panel of judges to critique the debate and declare a winner:

    Eric Deggans, St. Petersburg Times, The Feed

    Dr. Victoria Zdrok, Penthouse,,

    Aaron Barnhart, Kansas City Star, TV Barn

    Steve Spruiell. NRO's Media Blog

    Now the results are in.

    The envelope please...


    Eric Deggans

    Deggans is the television critic at the St. Petersburg Times where he writes a daily column on the TV page. His stories appear frequently in the Floridian and entertainment sections. He blogs at The Feed, a blog on TV, media and modern life. Deggans has served as music, media and TV critic at various times over 10 years. He also writes for the Huffington Post and Newsmax.

    "I don't think either side won, to be honest. First, let's note that, even though Countdown's ratings are rising. Olbermann's audience is infinitesimal compared to the network's ratings. Frankly, Olbermann will not affect NBC's news brand because not enough people see what he's doing, especially compared to the audience watching other NBC News products such as Dateline, the Today show and Nightly News.

    Secondly, I'm not sure I see what the big deal is here. Everybody from Lou Dobbs to Brit Hume to Chris Matthews has walked a fine line between commentator and news anchor. Fox has pioneered the blurring of lines between commentary and news reporting and Dobbs and Matthews will be front and center for their channels' coverage of the midterm elections.

    Is Olbermann sounding lefty these days? Sure, he is. Do viewers make much of a distinction between him, Chris Matthews, Tucker Carlson and Joe Scarborough? No, they don't. And in that list I just wrote, you'll find two conservative commentators.

    If real news breaks during Tucker's show or Scarborough's show, you better believe they'll wind up reading it off the teleprompter like any other anchor. And NBC News has already featured Carlson, Matthews and Scarborough delivering political analysis on the Today show right alongside Washington bureau chief Tim Russert, further blurring the lines between commentary and news reporting.

    Hate to be the Debbie Downer here dudes, but the cable news audience has already decided it doesn't care about this kind of role blending -- and if they don't care, cable news executives don't care either. And expecting a guy like Olbermann to stop his shtick when it is sparking ratings is like expecting somebody to stuff toothpaste back in the tube: an impossibility.

    Lastly, I can't believe I've been included with such a cool group of judges. I'm sure they'll have much more compelling thoughts about this whole argument."


    Dr. Victoria Zdrok

    Dr. Zdrok is an editor at Penthouse where she writes two columns - "Vices and Vanities" and "Ask Dr.Z". Zdrok, a lawyer and pyschologist, is a leading "sexpert", dating coach and relationship advisor. She can be heard every Wednesday night on "Sex Connection" on Howard Stern's Howard 101 channel on Sirius satellite radio. She maintains a sex advice site at and a glamour site at Zdrok holds the distinction of being the first Playboy Playmate from the Soviet Union (Miss October 1994) and was the 2004 Penthouse Pet of the Year.

    "Why should Fox News have the only "fair and balanced" newscasts on TV? Every well-read person to the left of Dick Cheney's speechwriter knows that Fox spits out neocon propaganda in the guise of "news;" but the average viewer doesn't have the time or the inclination to figure this out. Worn out by work, screaming kids and a nagging spouse, the average viewer tunes into the news mainly for a little entertainment and some quick headlines; and, in that environment, any strongly stated opinion sounds like the True Gospel. For this reason, the liberal majority in this country needs a comparable voice, and Olbermann fills that bill. He's the only newscaster in this country who could face down Ann Coulter in a mano-a-mano of cliched insults; and so the media desparately needs him! The news networks can't be "fair" or "distinguished" when they are dealing with a pack of lying hyenas armed with a bushel of Rovian sound bites. Olbermann's biting satire and "tell it like it is" opinions on the issues of the day are the only fingers in the dike which are today holding back the deluge of Right Wing hypocritical hyperbole. For that reason, he's a credit to the NBC News brand.

    All that said, I find that Robert Cox wins the debate on style and technique. He's wrong on the issue, but he defends his losing position with more eloquence and seemingly studied argument. Unfortunately, too many liberals these days engage in Cox's style of gentlemanly debate and argue for "balance" in their news, while their Right Wing opponents win all the propaganda wars. We all should remember that the Declaration of Independence was not based on "fact" ("All men are created equal" means slavery is OK? A tax on tea to pay for the French and Indian War was a serious imposition on Colonial liberty?). But as a piece of propaganda, the Declaration was one of the greatest manifestos in human history! If our Founding Fathers could write their "news" in the form of such propaganda, so should we who seek to uphold their values."


    Aaron Barnhart

    Barnhart is the television critic at the Kansas City Star where his stories appear frequently on the cover of the Star's FYI and A&E sections and page one. He blogs at TV Barn. You can hear Barnhart on the radio Mondays at 4:15 PM CT with Paul Harris on KMOX-AM (now streaming live at Harris Online), monthly with Walt Bodine, on KCUR-FM and Mondays at 11 AM ET with Chip Franklin on WBAL-AM in Baltimore.

    "Doug Krile never engaged the debate. He didn't even get interested in the debate until Round Four, when he finally started to put some gusto into his arguments. Which were, mostly, that the ends (ratings) justify the means (KO's peculiar brand of journalism) and that TV news-talk is showbiz, so "lighten up, people." This, as Bob Cox noted again and again, is a pitiful justification for KO and "Countdown." As I argued in a recent Sunday piece the very fact that KO is succeeding in making inroads, at least at MSNBC, where he is now their top-rated personality, means that he could have quite far-reaching effects across the organization. This is not Geraldo redux, for those who remember his run of glory at NBC News in the late 1990s. Olbermann is anchoring the closest thing to a nightly newscast of record that MSNBC has, he is espousing what we can safely assume are points of view very popular among his peers, and for those two reasons alone no one should take his growing influence at NBC lightly.

    Cox also gets credit for bringing up KO's failure to attribute many of his sources, though the habit goes beyond left-wing blogs to include several of my colleagues in the MSM, at least one of whom has told me s/he will never write about KO again because "Countdown" lifted a clever piece s/he wrote, sans attribution, and turned it into a clever segment on the show.

    That said ... there are good arguments to be made against Cox, whose energy was wasted in this debate trying to rouse Krile from his slumber. First of all, his ratings analysis is weak, in part because he tries to argue KO's insignificance with it, a fact that is immediately run over by the sheer volume of complaint on this blog. You can't go on and on and on every single day about how KO is ruining MSNBC/NBC/journalism and at the same time insist that his ratings suck and it's the MSM's fault we're all talking about him. Well, you could argue both points at the same time, but everyone this side of Mark Koldys will assume you're at least half full of shit.

    It's not just the October ratings - third quarter 2006 Nielsens show that KO is the number one news personality at MSNBC. Is this in part because HUT levels (households using TV) are higher at 8 than at 7, when Hardball is on, and many more people are available to watch Keith than were available to Chris? Undoubtedly...but Chris didn't want to be in Bill O'Reilly's rear-view, either, so KO took the thankless time slot and reaped the reward. David Letterman's people, who have plenty of experience spinning Nielsens and wouldn't be bamboozled by an NBC ratings memo, recently booked KO on the show, a few days before O'Reilly appeared with Dave. Clearly they think he's a hot commodity. Yes, Dave loves sports and sportscasters, and a lot of the booking of guests these days is about keeping the host engaged, but still, if KO was a ratings loser, no way he gets on CBS.

    But to the larger point. You could argue that by reviving the bracketed commentary segment in a newscast, and giving it teeth (and not the false teeth you see on the "freeSpeech" segment of the CBS Evening Snooze), KO has made journalism matter again by tying facts to ideas. Every story counts on the "Countdown," because instead of exhausting his precious airtime giving you all sides and then more or less saying, "Stay tuned," KO's attitude is: You know what? We're smart people around here. We're soaking in this stuff all day. You viewers are pretty smart, too. You've got access to a lot of news media. What say you we give you the facts, then tell you what they really mean, and dispense with all this on-the-one-hand nonsense, and you check out some sources and don't be too surprised if you find out, hey, we were RIGHT.

    That, in a nutshell, seems to be the KO approach. Temperamentally, he's really not that far from David Brinkley, now is he? Brinkley was a first-class elitist snob, and did a poor job disguising that fact on air. And yet, millions watched. And journalism did not die a horrible death after falling in the shower. And by the way, Paul Harvey's being on ABC News Radio all these years has not been terrible for ABC News Radio, either (what's terrible is that Entercom radio recently decided they just can't find any room for Paul Harvey on any of the EIGHT radio frequencies they own in Kansas City, and so in this top 30 Heartland market you can only listen to him on the Internet ... but I digress).

    Those are arguments that should've been made, but weren't. Had they been made, the keeper of OlbermannWatch might have been forced to dig deeper and offer more than his usual points about how KO is ruining NBC News. As it is, Bob Cox did make strong if superficial arguments, which lacking serious challenge carried the debate."


    Steve Spruiell

    Spruiell is a media reporter for National Review and runs NRO's Media Blog. Spruiell has a Journalism degree and a a Masters in Public Affairs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas. Spruiell holds the distinction of being both criticized by liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America and being award a bronze medal by Keith Olbermann as the the Worst Person in the World.

    "Doug staked too much of his argument on the hypothetical that, if the Democrats were in power, Olbermann would be just as tough on them as he is on Republicans. First, Olbermann's an ideological leftist; to the extent that he's hard on Dems, it's for not being tougher on Republicans or more committed to leftist policy goals. Second, we already know how Olbermann treats Dems when they're in power -- in 1998 he resigned rather than continue to cover Bill Clinton's impeachment for MSNBC. I think that to a certain extent, Doug has a point that news shows are going to have to mix more opinion and light fare in with their serious reports if they want to continue to get ratings -- mostly because by the time the evening news comes on, we've already read the day's news online. But there's a difference between hosting an opinionated, whimiscal news broadcast and believing yourself to be the second coming of Edward R. Murrow when you're really just a filthy, loathsome propagandist with an hour of cable news time to burn. Decision: Robert Cox."

    John Amato

    I am sorry to report that Amato backed out of his committment to serve as a judge not "at the last minute" but "after the last minute". Amato waited more than a week - until after I had published the list of debate judges on OlbyWatch - to inform me that he was no longer willing to particpate. I am not terribly happy about this as it will cause some (i.e., OlbyLoons) to question whether he had agreed to participate in the first place. For those doubters, you can email me and I will forward you a copy of my emails and IMs with John so you can judge for yourself.

    Reader Survey

    We also asked you, our readers, to vote as well. We asked "Does Olbermann blurring the line between news, comedy and commentary undermine the NBC News Brand?"

    A. Yes, Cox won the debate 75%
    B. No, Krile won the debate 19%
    C. Not sure 5%



    Extreme Mortman: Cox Wins A K.O. Over K.O.
    Instapundit: A victory for Robert Cox.
    National Review Media Blog: Olbermann's Latest Smear, Plus I Judge a Debate

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (76) | | View blog reactions
    November 17, 2006


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • PRES. BUSH AND THE LESSON HE LEARNED FROM VIETNAM: Jim Warren, Chicago Tribune managing editor
    • UCLA TASERING: Amanda Covarrubias, Los Angeles Times reporter
    • TOMKAT WEDDING EVE: Paul F. Tompkins, comedian

    The spin started in the opening spiel, with Olby making fun of the President in VietNam, introducing far-left Larry Korb as a former Reagan official, blather about "resuscitating" habeas corpus with everyone's favorite felon, the UCLA taser incident, and Cruise News!.


    It's the end of the week, and by now everyone is sick and tired of hypocrisy, lies, and OlbySpin. So as a service to Olbermann Watch readers, we'll break from our usual format and bring you a Cliff Notes version of Countdown, freeze-dried and concentrated into the key bullet points of the night.

    • Krazy Keith says "Mister" Bush doesn't give the war serious thought.
    • KO says Bush doesn't have any credibility on Iraq.
    • Herr Olbermann's "top lessons" of VietNam (based on lies, importance exaggerated, destined to leave President on the "scrap heap of history") all apply to Iraq.
    • Korb agrees with every last Olbermann "lesson".
    • If you agree with every Olby statement, you have just delivered a "succinct and excellent history" of VietNam.
    • "Mister" Bush has reached the apex, or nadir, of his disconnect with the American people.
    • Monkeymann believes everything Bush said about VietNam was "based on a faulty premise".
    • If you say "more than 50 million" people liberated, and the actual count is 57 million, that's jaw-dropping "hyperbole" on OlbyPlanet.
    • If you lie enough about "restoring" habeas corpus rights to detained combatants, maybe you can convince Michael Lee Braun.
    • John Dean is still a disbarred lawyer, but even he knows the law does not affect the habeas corpus rights of citizens.
    • "Fat Ass" Olbermann salivates over the prospect of Congressional investigations and hearings.
    • Talking to a reporter about a criminal case might give both sides of the story, so instead bring on the accused's mouthpiece.
    • NewsCorp, like Matt Drudge, is "infamous".
    • It's still possible to fill all three specified slots in the Media Matters Minute: O'Reilly (Fox employee), Laura Ingraham (conservative), James Imhofe (Republican).
    • Nothing gets Keith "Man on Fan" Olbermann as excited as Cruise News!

    And there was one Olby News Alert:

    • A new Speshul Komment on "Mister" Bush in VietNam is coming on Monday!


    Silent schnauzers: For the fourth day in a row it was another record high for the stock market today, with oil prices falling again to their lowest point of the year. But good economic news isn't news on OlbyPlanet. Neither, apparently, is the death of the man who has been heralded as the greatest economist of our time. Herr Olbermann was happy to herald a Time magazine report of "war crimes charges" to be filed against Donald Rumsfeld. Now Time is reporting the whole thing is "unlikely to proceed", but Edward R Olbermann has yet to report this update. And still KO refuses to tell his viewers how Jack Abramoff has pointed the finger of corruption at none other than Harry "The Body" Reid.


    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name slipped to #469 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" is #13. At Barnes & Noble the OlbyTome is tanking at #1,025, while O'Reilly's book has risen to #18. And Mr Bill's literary triumph sits in the #3 slot on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Wednesday night's spinorama wasn't that well received by sophisticated cable news viewers. Thursday night's Hour of Spin improved on the disastrous fourth place finish of Wednesday night, with what math types would call a for statistical dead heat for a distant second place, both in total viewers and in the critical, beloved, all-important, coveted "key demo". Tonight's MisterMeter reading: 6 [ELEVATED]

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (153) | | View blog reactions
    Who Forced Olby to Apologize?

    Inside Cable News reports that Keith Olbermann on his Thursday radio show took a few shots at O'Reilly. Somebody didn't like it, and after a commercial break, a chastened KO came back and--gasp!--apologized. We have the audio.


    Before the apology incident, Krazy Keith also took shots at Mr Bill for not speaking out enough against the OJ Simpson interview, saying O'Reilly should call for a boycott and tell people not to watch it. Um, what does he think O'Reilly has been saying for the past two nights?

    Now before we give you the audio, here's a little background. From Keith Olbermann on Nov 15 2006, discussing the arrest of the man alleged to have sent out white powder letters. Keith found a way to blame it on Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingraham:

    Malkin did the King Henry thing about Thomas Becket, "who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?" I never told anybody to do anything. And then this is the problem, right? You can come out, you can directly encourage people to act violently. Ann Coulter has done that. Or you can do it in this sort of thinly disguised way, the way Malkin has....

    So what did our hero say about Bill O'Reilly? He said he would knife him in the hamstrings. "Who will rid me of this meddlesome O'Reilly?" Here for your listening pleasure is an mp3 of an exchange that shows the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann at his most clueless, and his most hypocritical. It begins with the OJ Simpson matter; half way through (about four minutes in) comes the knifing statement and subsequent apology:

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (100) | | View blog reactions
    November 16, 2006


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • DEMOCRAT INFIGHTING: David Shuster, MSNBC correspondent; Dana Milbank, Washington Post national political reporter
    • THE GREAT AMERICAN SMOKEOUT: Mike Taibbi, NBC News correspondent

    What excitement! It must have been the thrill of having Dana Milbank back for a second day in a row that inspired Krazy Keith to boom out the opening spiel in such embarrassingly hyperbolic fashion. Hoyer vs Murtha, Iraq plans, fascist police at UCLA taser a student of "Middle Eastern descent" (the only reason this story made the spiel), cancer screening, and--best of all--Cruise News! But Olby began The Hour of Spin with, naturally, spin.


    It started with Bad Analogy Theater: why is it that the Trent Lott/Lamar Alexander contest wasn't framed by the media as infighting, like the Hoyer/Murtha contest was? Well, Einstein, it might be because Ms Pelosi went and put herself out on a limb, endorsing one candidate over another, and the two rivals were shooting at each other--publicly. Of course, what may have gotten Murtha defeated were the specifics of the ethics concerns ("alleged", according to Monkeymann), and since Olby refuses to report those specifics, he can pretend like the race was no different from Lott/Alexander. OlbySpin at its most elegant.


    But The Great and Powerful Olb wasn't finished. He went on to claim that Pelosi as the "first woman speaker" is something that has been "largely lost" in the media coverage. Say what?!? The air really is thin up there on OlbyPlanet. He called in Slippery Shuster to back up his propaganda, and he obliged, noting that any damage from the contest is "not permanent at all". That Shuster, he's a true Nostradamus. And naturally Krazy Keith, who might as well be on Murtha's payroll, cooked up an angle for his loss:

    It coult be argued that, as defense appropriations subcommittee chairman, he'll actually have, have more influence about what happens next in Iraq than he would have been [sic] as, uh, majority leader.

    Murtha's a dope, according to KO. He went and ran for a position with less power than what he had. He was trying to demote himself! It will surprise no one that Slippery's rejoinder to this laughable construction was: yeah. Krazy Keith went on to provide another bit of spin that you won't find echoed in any reportage on the planet, except maybe that taken from the DNC talking points: Nancy Pelosi emerged with "the best of all possible worlds". Man, you just can't make this stuff up.

    Shuster was great thanksed, and then Herr Olbermann turned to James Carville's call for Howard Dean to step down. Oh no, we can't have that! Dean has been great thanksed on Countdown! Quick, find a Dean apologist. It wasn't hard. Arianna Huffington would appear on infomercials with Billy Mays if he asked her. He didn't, and she had to settle for the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann. In her best Zsa Zsa accent, Huff threw Carville under the bus: he's "lost touch", he "hasn't said anything interesting about Iraq" for years, and (at KO's urging) she added that there's some positioning going on with Carville's remarks. And then, just to make it personal, Zsa Zsa went after Mrs Carville (Mary Matalin). Wasn't it Harold Ford who kept insisting: don't attack my family? Oh wait, that doesn't apply when it's Dems on the attack. Then Citizen Keith again raised his Bad Analogy (see above) since he had someone ready to jump on any drivel he spewed. Zsa Zsa complained that nobody pounded Trent Lott for his "racist remarks" of years ago. Hey, didn't you hear? That was just a "botched joke".

    All this and we're not even at the first commercial break yet! Finally it came, with Olby saying Bush is sending more of our "boys and girls" to Iraq. "Fat Ass" Olbermann found more "metaphors", quoting the far-left (without identifying it as such) Guardian about Bush being "in denial". And there he was again: Dana Milbank, without weird wardrobe. They talked about the troops proposal, and it fell on Milbank, who despite everything has a few reporter's bones in him, to throw a little water on the verity of the Guardian story. KO found a way to invoke Rule #1, saying all this could "really benefit the Democrats". Krazy Keith must be reading this site, because he went to great trouble never to use the phrase "Mister" Bush. Haha, another victory for Olbermann Watch!

    After another fine, fine edition of oddball, we got Olby's report on the UCLA tasering incident, immediately suspect because, while there are two versions of what happened, Mr Fairness gave the version told by the student as fact, not the one told by the police. Then, rather than talking with a reporter from the LA Times, whose account of this is considerably more balanced, KO went with Sara Talor from the student newspaper. Gee, who do ya think she's gonna side with?

    #2: Dancing with the Stars and Cruise News! And another attack on Bill O'Reilly, which Mr Humility used to promote GQ naming him as something or other in their latest issue. And another of those special ratings reports that you can only find on OlbyPlanet, where KO claimed to have beat O'Reilly in some key demo for all of 15 minutes. Somehow he neglected to mention that Bill had over 2,000,000 viewers, compared to Countdown's 578,000. #1: The Great American Smoke-Out. In the Media Matters Minute, Rich Lowry (conservative) and some guy from the Dept of Agriculture (R) were singled out for attack.


    Quiescent canines: Just a few days ago, Herr Olbermann was trumpeting a report from Time Magazine: "charges" of "war crimes" to be filed against Donald Rumsfeld. It was Big News, highlighted in the opening spiel. Now Time is reporting the whole thing is "unlikely to proceed". Do you think Olbermoronn reported that tonight? Hah! KO was happy to imply Rumsfeld was a war criminal, and he's not about to let any silly journalistic ethics about follow-ups or corrections spoil the effect. Again the stock market hit a new, historic high, and consumer prices continued to plunge, with the prospect of $2 per gallon gas by the end of the year. Ho hum, not news at all on The Hour of Spin. Monkeymann is still covering for his party leaders, refusing to report on Rep Murtha's ethical troubles as highlighted by C.R.E.W. and the National Legal and Policy Center. That's also why KO has yet to tell his viewers how Jack Abramoff has pointed the finger of corruption at none other than Harry "The Body" Reid.

    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name slipped to #321 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" is #13. At Barnes & Noble the OlbyTome plummeted to #756, while O'Reilly's book proudly stands at #26. And Mr Bill's literary triumph sits in the #3 slot on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Wednesday night's spinorama wasn't that well received by sophisticated cable news viewers. Keith just barely managed a fourth place finish, even losing to a rerun of Deal or No Deal, though he did eke out third place in his critical, beloved, all-important, coveted "key demo".

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (81) | | View blog reactions
    November 15, 2006


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • IRAQ POLITICS: Dana Milbank, Washington Post national political reporter
    • KARL ROVE & PRES. BUSH: James Moore, author of "Bush's Brain"
    • HOW O.J. WOULD HAVE COMMITTED THE MURDERS: Harvey Levin, managing editor of

    Olby bellowed the opening spiel: stay the course, Bush's brain, the Fox News "smoking gun", OJ Simpson, and Michael Jackson. First on the agenda was Gen Abizaid's testimony before Congress, with the clips focusing less on the General than the questioners who disagreed with him. No surprise there.


    Up came Dana Milbank, absent absurd accouterment. KO suggested the administration is going to "invent" reasons to stay in Iraq, and cited criticisms by Sen Richard McCain as some sort of post-election "new-found freedom" to question the policy. Huh? How dumb is Olbermoronn anyhow? As even Milbank knew, McCain has been calling for more troops for years. Then it was on to whether Bush personally authorized CIA secret prisons and the inevitable great thanks.

    Next Olby wanted to know why "Mister" Bush is keeping Rove on, citing an Insight magazine report. As is the case every time Keith has cited Insight, it was something negative about the administration (Bush is "afraid" that Rove will write a book!). The Bush's Brain guy was called in: Monkeymann said Bush favors "politics over patriotism", while Moore opined that Rove is "vengeful", a "nerd" who "lived vicariously" through W. Citizen Keith brought up Abramoff, suggesting that Rove might need a pardon, and Moore was quick to speculate that it's likely that Rove's actions have been either unethical or illegal. (Abramoff note: check out the muted mongrels below.)

    #4: Murtha vs Hoyer. Doing his best to protect his hero, Krazy Keith briefly mentioned that Hoyer supporters believe Murtha hands out taxpayer money to interest groups. But that was all. (See muted mongrels for all the stuff he didn't report.) It was quickly on to Trent Lott, whose political resurrection was chronicled in a recycled NBC report.

    Then Keith "Man on Fan" Olbermann had the gall to cite a leaked Fox News memo as evidence of obvious "bias": it told staff to be on the watch for celebrations from insurgents regarding the Dem Congressional win. Like, there weren't radicals who praised the results? Like, there weren't celebrations? Like, it's "bias" to report news that get spiked on The Hour of Spin? Follow: the insurgents want the US to withdraw troops. The Dems want the US to withdraw troops. Ergo: insurgents might just be happy if Dems win.

    Olby's guest, Robert Greenwald (whose greatest artistic triumph was Xanadu), was a laughable expert, given that his "documentary" about Fox was a tissue of falsehoods and distortions. Mr Xanadu sputtered about obscenity, actors, puppets, and how Olbermann never slants the news. (No, we're not making this up!) KO threw more gas on the fire, saying the memo could have come right from the White House talking points. Plus Mr Xanadu made the preposterous claim that nobody on Fox had ever questioned "stay the course" (a farcical statement that in and of itself utterly shatters his credibility).

    The great irony of all this is that the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann is citing someone else's private memo. This is the same Keith Olbermann who blew a stack when some of his emails with tv producer Tom Sileo were published on this site. Olbermann threatened copyright infringement, persuaded TVNewser to remove a link to the emails, and even tried to bully Sileo's employer. His standards for privacy seem to have "evolved" since that time.

    #2: Michael Jackson (recycled video), Britney Spears, Naomi Campbell. #1: O.J. Simpson. In the Media Matters Minute, the "worst person" was Glenn Beck, the "divisive fear-mongerer".


    Muted mongrels: Yet again, the stock market hits a new, historic high, but positive economic news contradicts OlbySpin, so it doesn't get reported. While he rails about an imaginatary "death" of habeas corpus in the US, Monkeymann has for weeks refused to cover human rights abuses in North Korea, as reported by Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. Still covering for his party leaders Krazy Keith continues to spike the opposition to Rep Murtha by ethics watchdogs like C.R.E.W. and the National Legal and Policy Center. On OlbyPlanet, only Republican lawmakers are unethical. KO devoted dozens of segments to chewing over the Jack Abramoff scandal, even to ridiculing his religious practices. He brought up Abramoff again tonight, to speculate without evidence on how he might incriminate Karl Rove. But what happens when Abramoff points the finger at the most powerful Democrat in the Senate? In other words, real news, and not Olby's wish-fulfillment speculation? That's right, it's just another dog that does not bark. And "Fat Ass" Olbermann has the nerve to accuse Fox of bias?!?


    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name fell to #293 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" rose to #11. At Barnes & Noble the OlbyTome is #540, while O'Reilly's book moved up to #22. And Mr Bill's literary triumph sits in the #3 slot on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Tuesday night's Nielsens found the discredited sports guy sinking back into third place in Keith's critical, beloved, all-important, coveted "key demo". Tonight's MisterMeter reading: 3 [GUARDED]

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (187) | | View blog reactions
    KO Idol Now Anchoring Al Jazeera

    Howard Mortman emailed with a post I thought was a joke until I clicked the link and found it was true. The Washington Story Howard linked is about how Dave Marash is now the news anchor for "AJE" the English-speaking version of al-Jazeera.

    What's not to love about this story?

    You have Marash, an American Jew, serving as front man for the most virulently anti-Semitic, anti-American propaganda organization in the world.

    You have the liberal Marash taking money from Qatar's emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who is funding the new network with over a billion dollars in Middle East oil money.

    The cast of characters involved is even better...

    - Marash was a reporter for ABC News "Nightline" and as a sometime substitute host for Ted Koppel

    - Marash's wife, Amy, who previously worked at MSNBC, is an AJE producer

    - Riz Kahn, formerly of CNN and the BBC, will host a Larry King-style talk show

    - Will Stebbins, former foreign correspondent for Associated Press Television News, heads up the AJE Washington bureau

    Anyone suprrised that Al Jazeera's English speaking channel is being staffed with refugees from ABC News, CNN, MSNBC and the AP?

    The WaPo reports that "the network has been unable to persuade a single U.S. or Canadian cable or satellite TV system to carry it". Boo-friggin-hoo.

    Riz Kahn is quoted explaining this away by claiming the "principal U.S. objection to al-Jazeera is that it has been too frank in its reporting on American military power".

    Perhaps. Or maybe it has something to do with al Jazeera being the primary outlet for al Qaeda, showing video of dead U.S. troops, whipping up anti-U.S. sentiment in the Middle East and among Mulsims around the world. It might even have something to do with the fact that Al-Jazeera journalist Tayseer Allouni was arrested and, last year, convicted in Spain of collaborating with al-Qaeda. Or that al-Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Hajj was arrested by U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2001 and has been held at Guantanamo Bay for being a terrorist. Nah. It must be that "truth to power" thing.

    The icing on the cake of this gem of a story is when we learn, towards the end, that among Marash's biggest fans is our own Keith Olbermann.

    "Marash also has inspired a second generation of broadcasters. MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann said the newsman was "a revelation" to him when he was growing up in the early 1970s and Marash was doing sports in New York.

    "Then they had him co-anchor the news in a completely deconstructed environment, inside the actual newsroom, in shirtsleeves, his lit cigar in the ashtray next to him," Olbermann says by e-mail. "And yet it was still credible and professional. [It] helped show me you didn't have to be a mannequin to do the news.""

    Sounds like Keith may have a new home waiting for him when his pink slip arrives.

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (37) | | View blog reactions
    Open Letter to Olbermann: We Will Not Be Intimidated

    Dear Keith,

    Those of us who watch you regularly were hardly surprised when you leapt at the opportunity last night to once again feature Keith Olbermann as the story this week when the fake anthrax mailer from California was arrested over the weekend. From your making charitable donations on-air, to you "feud" with Bill O'Reilly, to your Nazi Salute stunt at the TCA last summer and resulting condemnation from the Anti-Defamation League, you plainly revel in this decidedly unMurrow-like trait of being the news rather than reporting it.

    While we are generally amused by your megalomania, you have lurched into dangerous territory in your attempt to link Castagana to "right-wing blogs" thus tarring all bloggers that do not agree with your world view as advocating, condoning or turning a blind-eye to terroristic "pranks" like those alleged of Castagana.

    There is no small irony in watching you, someone who has been making a name for himself with"special comments" decrying broad brush condemnations of liberals coming from right, now demagoging the sick actions of a warped individual in order to cast aspersions on bloggers who have a right-of-center political view.

    Let me be clear, Olbermann Watch has condemned the acts now attributed to Castagana from the start and, if guilty, we have absolutely no sympathy for him - lock him up and throw away the key for all we care. What he did was not humorous, not a prank but a terrorist act. I hope we can at least agree that if we are serious about the dangers of living in a post-9/11 world then we ought to deal harshly with anyone who would seek to exploit our legitimate fears with actions like those alleged of this ass.

    That said, it is pathetic to see how you and your pals on the left are now mimicking Castagana in your own attempt to suppress the speech of your political opponents.

    The blue blogs have attempted to paint their counterparts on the right with the same type of broad brush used by Bill Clinton to blame Rush Limbaugh for the Oklahoma City bombing. The HuffPo is pointing the finger at Bill O'Reilly. Most are blaming Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and Laura Ingraham because they were lauded in a pseudonymous profile (above) of Castagana under the name "Marc Costanzo".

    And, of course, they have you leading the charge in an effort to tie Castagana to right-wing blogs.

    We take issue with that here at Olbermann Watch for a fairly obvious reason. Castagana sent one of his letters to you. You have repeatedly sought to connect Castagana to your critics on right-wing blogs. We are your most high-profile critics in the blogosphere.

    Does it seem much of a stretch of conclude that you are attempting to suppress you own legitimate critics like those on this site based on the deranged actions of one man who professes to "worship" Michelle Malkin?

    How different is this from "blaming" Jodi Foster for John Hinckley's attempt to assassinate Ronald Reagan? After all, didn't Foster agree to play "Iris" in the film Taxi Driver, a film which depicted a disturbed man's plot to assassinate a presidential candidate in order to impress Iris (Foster)? Didn't she benefit from this role as her career was transformed from being a "kid star" to "serious, Academy Award winning actress"? Wasn't Hinckley taking on the Travis Bickel (Robert DeNiro) role in trying to impress Foster by shooting Reagan?

    Gabriel Range wrote, directed and produced the film "Death of a President". Will he be held responsible for an assassination attempt on George W. Bush? David Berkowitz claims he was order to kill by his neighbors Labrador Retriever. Does that mean that we ought to blame pets for the "Son of Sam" murders?

    You have been highly critical of Rush Limabugh and President Bush. About the same time Castagana was sending his letter to you, Michael Lee Braun sent a fake anthrax letter to conservative talk show host Tom Sullivan, a regular guest host on the Rush Limbaugh show. Braun was arrested by the same Joint Terrorism Task Force who caught Castagana and has now been indicted for making threats against President Bush and mailing letters containing an unknown, white powder. By the logic which you now use to accuse Malkin and other right-wing bloggers, aren't you directly responsible for Braun's actions?

    Beyond the many flaws in your OlbyLogic, there are a few other problems with your accusations:

    First, Castagana was not a blogger.

    Second, of the three women listed in the "Marc Costanzo" profile on FreeRepublic, only one of them, Michelle Malkin, is a blogger. As you know full well, Ann Coulter is an author and television personality. Laura Ingraham is an author and radio show host. I am sure you know that because although Malkin and Ingraham were mentioned in the same sentence you focused your attacks on Malkin and gave Laura, your ex-girlfriend, a pass. All of which suggests that one way Malkin can avoid incurring your wrath in the future is by jumping in the sack with you.

    Third, the one site that has been mentioned,, is not a blog. It is an internet forum. The two are very different, primarily because there is no author or editor of a forum. There is a site administrator who may enforce certain policies but does not actually produce the content for the site (a blog like this one which has both blog posts and an open comment section is a hybrid).

    There are serious issues involved here. It is sad to see you attempt to exploit them to silence legitimate criticism and suppress free speech. This operators of this site, for one, will not be intimidated.

    We're sorry some nut job sent you a threatening letter but that has nothing to do with us and we fully intend to keep on documenting your fact-challenged reporting and hypocritical claims of being non-partisan as you shill for the far-left wing of the Democratic party.


    Robert Cox

    The Filipina Firecracker is not going to be intimidated either. Michelle Malkin is returning Keith's "fire" on Happily, Michelle linked to this piece (and our ESPN clip providing yet another instance of classic Olbypocrisy). She picked up on both our Jodie Foster meme and the Michael Lee Braun case.

    Thanks for the link Michelle!

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (129) | | View blog reactions
    November 14, 2006


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • U.S. POLITICAL CONUNDRUM IN IRAQ: Howard Fineman, Newsweek senior Washington correspondent and MSNBC political analyst; A.B. Stoddard, The Hill
    • THE RACE FOR 2008: Jonathan Alter, Newsweek senior editor
    • TOMKAT WEDDING COUNTDOWN: Michael Musto, Village Voice

    The spiel: Iraq study group, Hoyer vs Murtha, Clinton vs Giuliani, fake anthrax mailings and their connection to "far right wing blogs", Bill O'Reilly, and Cruise News! The Hour of Spin proper began with chaos in Iraq, which is--guess what?--a metaphor! For political chaos in the US. The ever-malleable Howard Fineman was first to occupy the Seat of Honor.


    Howie said Dems are not going to rush anything regarding Iraq because "it's George Bush's war". The continued violence connects to Iran, and the world will go "hat in hand" to them for help. KO suggested the Iraq government and/or police force may be "totally corrupt"; Fineman opined that we are not likely to abandon the Iraq government. He was great thanksed.

    Then Herr Olbermann swerved to the leadership battle in the House: Murtha vs Hoyer. After we excoriated the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann for refusing to report on the dubious ethics of Rep Murtha, Olbermann Watch enjoyed a small victory tonight as Krazy Keith actually made a passing reference to the controversy. Of course, he didn't detail any of the specifics, preferring instead to read a lengthy, vague, self-serving statement from Murtha. Stoddard, who discussed the charges at length earlier on A-Mess-NBC, didn't get the chance to do so with Keith. KO controls the questioning on The Hour of Spin, and he made sure she didn't go there. She instead talked about how "conservative" Murtha is on some issues. Monkeymann wanted to know if the warm reception given to Sen Joe Lieberthal was some sort of Democrat "appeasement", but Stoddard said it was the smart thing to do. She was thanksed.

    #4: Clinton, Giuliani, and the 2008 race. The segment focused heavily on Hillary, and lefty Alter was happy to play along. It was a thrilling specularama, with Alter noting that independents "flock" to the Hillary Clinton banner, and elevating Obama to a "serious threat". Giuliani may be "formidable", McCain may look "old". In this segment, Citizen Keith repeatedly referred to "Senator" Clinton, but oddly never once used the phrase "Mrs" Clinton. Alter was many thanksed.

    After "oddball", it was time for "Fat Ass" Olbermann to focus on "right-wing hate": the "rhetoric" that "inspired" fake anthrax attacks. Turns out it was all the fault of those eeevil "right-wing" blogs and, indirectly, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and Laura Ingraham--because he praised them in some posted comments. Cook was asked to detail the "link" to the "right-wing blogs", and cited Free Republic (which is not even a blog) as his case in point. Cook said he praised these people in his profile there, even while admitting that there is no proof it really was the fake anthrax guy's profile, only "circumstantial" evidence. He then tossed in this stinkbomb:

    I don't think we can always hold there people responsible for the actions of the least hinged of their followers, but I think it is clear that, that he was an acolyte of, of, of, of the Coulters and the Malkins, and I think that they clearly enjoy having acolytes...they certainly exhort their followers to let themselves be known.

    KO was quick to claim he was not an acolyte, he was "emulating" Malkin, who published addresses "and other personal information" of antiwar protesters on her blog. Of course, Krazy Keith doesn't tell anyone that the "personal information" she published came right off the protesters' website, and could be found elsewhere on the internet as well. Does this sound familiar? Yes, it's the same slander he used against Bill O'Reilly for publishing a "private email adress" of a newspaper guy--an address that could be found right on the newspaper's website! "Man on Fan" Olbermann never lets the truth get in the way of a good smear. Cook chimed in about Michelle being "truculent", "thuggish", and "intimidating"; Coulter is "ludicrous" and "outrageous" and a "professional agitator". Cook suggested that maybe Ann really doesn't intend to incite violence, but Olby was having none of it:

    Yeah, until, until it, you know, bursts into gunfire.

    #2: Teacher/student sex (recycled NBC report), Madonna, Brangelina. #1: Cruise News! with the creepy Michael Musto. With jokes about Helen Keller and chastity belts, a good time was had by all--except the hapless viewers. In the Media Matters Minute, Michael Savage got a nod.


    Muted mongrels: Another historic high for the stock market, but a booming economy doesn't fit OlbySpin, so it doesn't get reported. To cover for his buddies in Tehran, Citizen Keith also spiked the fact that the IAEA found plutonium and enriched uranium where there shouldn't have been any. Krazy Keith, so sensitive to GOP "scandals", has refused to report on the objections to Rep Murtha raised by C.R.E.W., a group that KO himself had on Countdown when they were criticizing Republicans. On OlbyPlanet, their objections to Dems just aren't news. As we predicted, Herr Olbermann gave us an entire segment on "right-wing hate" based on his fake anthrax letter, but the spinmeister never dealt with similar letters sent to a conservative talk station and to a right-wing talk show host--or the blue blogs whose "rhetoric" may have "inspired" the threats. Sometimes Monkeymann just makes all this too easy.

    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name is #213 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" rose to #16. At Barnes & Noble the OlbyTome sunk to #3,244, while O'Reilly's book moved up to #27. And Mr Bill's literary triumph sits in the #3 slot on the New York Times Best Sellers list. After his disastrous showing on Friday night, anything would have been an improvement, so Monday night, traditionally Countdown's most-watched day, found Krazy Keith in second place, both in total viewers, and in his critical, beloved, all-important, coveted "key demo". Even so, the eeevil Mr Bill had 1,689,000 more viewers than the discredited sports guy--that's more than three times the viewership that suffered through The Hour of Spin.

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (100) | | View blog reactions
    November 13, 2006


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • POLITICS - IRAQ TAKES CENTER STAGE: Richard Wolffe, Newsweek chief White House correspondent and MSNBC political analyst; Gen. Barry McCaffrey, U.S. Army (ret.) and NBC analyst

    The opening spiel found Olbermann barking about the Iraq Study Group, hawks and doves, Hoyer vs Murtha, the white powder case, the MLK memorial, and Britney. First on the docket was the Iraq: the Baker Commission, phased withdrawal, benchmarks (with the obligatory clip of David Gregory hectoring Tony Snow), and the McCain plan (more, not fewer, troops). This was when the Wolffe Man showed up.


    Rule 1 is always on the table, and Olbermann played that card, asking Wolffie:

    Did this just get more complicated for the White House today?

    Of course it did. The Wolffe Man said Democrats are "empowered", and Republicans are trying to "put distance" between themselves and the President. KO portrayed Tony Blair's statement as the British "breaking away from the Bush policy", and Wolffie gave a nebbishy, mushy, all over the map answer. He was great thanksed, and McCaffrey was brought in. Once again, Edward R Olbermann was at the top of his game:

    I want to start with the, where where we ended, with Richard McCain calling for more troops.

    O.K. The General said Richard's plan is not feasible, then Olby asked about the "political" solution (phased withdrawal), wondering if it could:

    ...also serve in this case as a military solution for Iraq?

    McCaffrey referenced beltway politics, and said he would prefer to see this sort of stuff being done in private, but the Dems will push it publicly, and Baker's boys will provide additional justifications. He also called for "direct engagement" with Iran and its neighbors, because "we can't win it on the ground".

    #4: Politics 2006 and 2008. Rerun video from NBC on the new Congress. #3: "Mister" Bush and his "hubris", the set-up for a frame that Bush 41 is behind some of 43's changes (like Gates replacing Rumsfeld--despite the fact that 41 was neither consulted nor informed of this move). Olby brought up the Baker Commission again, noting that its makeup had "Bush 43's virtual fingerprints" all over it. Um, we think he meant to say "Bush 41's virtual fingerprints". Time for Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News, who said that 41's guys are "much more pragmatic" and that's why the policy is certain to change. And Alan Simpson is there as the "eyes and ears" of Dick Cheney.

    #2: The MLK groundbreaking (more recycled reportage from the network mothership), Borat, and the feds who arrested the purported fake purported anthrax mailer. The New York Post was attacked again for reporting the news (hey, it's not like they published top-secret classified government programs or something harmless like that!). KO made sure to mention that the guy was targeting liberals (but see dogs not barking below). The #1 story was Federline/Brittney, with Keith "Man on Fan" Olbermann warning viewers: don't have sex on videotape. Have it in private, in a hotel room, with cheap wine and a disposable tie. And then make sure you tell your victim never to call you again.


    In the "worst person" segment, "Fat Ass" Olbermann began by doing a loud, manic pitch for the book that bears his name, practically begging people to get his amazon rankings up. Then his runners-up ("worser") were a pair of officers at a Lenawee County Jail. First he pronounced it as Len-a-WEE. Then he "corrected" himself, and said, "I'm sorry, Len-AH-wee County Jail". (Actually, it's Len-a-WAY. Har.)


    Dogs that did not bark: Nancy Pelosi's endorsement of John Murtha did not find Krazy Keith railing about a "culture of corruption". This despite the fact that supporting an unindicted co-conspirator as leader has triggered outrage from ethics activists. A high-level Al-Qaeda leader is captured in Afghanistan, and, true to form, KO spiked the story. And Herr Olbermann was eager to report on the "right-winger" who was arrested for sending fake anthrax letters, but it's more than mere happenstance that Olby never reported on similar letters sent to a conservative talk station and to a right-wing talk show host. We can't have that on OlbyPlanet.


    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name surged to #475 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" is #17. At Barnes & Noble the OlbyTome sunk to #3,076, while O'Reilly's book stands at #30. And Mr Bill's literary triumph sits in the #3 slot on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Friday's ratings must have come as a disappointment to The Future of Television News. Olby again lost audience from Hardball, and despite competing not against his nemesis but against The Kasich Factor, KO was back down to fourth place, both in total viewers, and in his critical, beloved, all-important, coveted "key demo". Tonight's MisterMeter reading: 2 [LOW]

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (153) | | View blog reactions
    MSM KO Bandwagon #244:

    If Keith Olbermann can channel Edward R. Murrow then maybe CW Nevious is channeling W.C. Field. How else to explain his side-splitting "critique" of KO in the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Among my faves...

    "Conservatives may hate his attacks, but no one doubts that he comes across as one of the smarter guys in the room."

    "Keith Olbermann may become a model for the newscast of the future.''

    "the 67 percent jump in viewership for Olbermann's show"

    "The day the Rumsfeld piece aired, pre-orders for Olbermann's new book, "The Worst Person in the World,'' placed it 19,000th on's best-seller list, according to, a media news Web site. After the commentary aired, the book moved to 19th."

    "What's next? Expect to see Olbermann in even more mainstream settings"

    and, for the grand finale from Keith himself...

    "I'm giving the Democrats six months,'" he says. "And then they may be in for some 'Special Comments' of their own.'"

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (21) | | View blog reactions
    Arrest in KO Terror Attack

    The FBI caught the guy they believe sent Keith Olbermann an envelope containing an unknown white powder. Chad Conrad Castagana of Woodland Hills, California was arrested for conveying false information and sending threats by U.S. mail. after FBI agents saw him dropping envelopes in a mailbox near his home. In addition to KO, the FBI claims that others receiving letters from Castagana include Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Jon Stewart, and David Letterman.

    Castagana appears to have been an active commenter on the web with an interest in science fiction and technology. His comments and letters to the editor appear telling:

    In 2002, Chad Castagana wrote a letter to to complain about what he characterized as an attempt by science fiction writers and filmmakers to advance a liberal, politically-correct agenda, adding:

    Let us create a future of infinite possibilities devoid of the agenda of the social engineers who work their corruption on us through the one-way world of television (kind of how the liberal-left have always worked).

    Castagana also appears to have had issues with what he perceived as an attempt to re-write Soviet history by leftist filmmakers. He wrote of the Harrison Ford film K-19: The Widowmaker:

    you get the impression of this film and others in recent yrs (sic) that Hollywood is trying to rehabilitate the image of the Soviet Union - an empire that was trying to destroy us at the time of this film story's events I mean , why make it at all ?

    Chad Castagana commented on former Florida senate candidate Katherine Harris in a blog post on "Expose the Left", a site run by former "Political Teen" Ian Schwartz who now blogs for Michelle Malkin at

    Congresswoman Katherine Harris is a remarkable lady ! She has perservered a lot to advance the Conservative Cause . We Red-Bloooded Americans are obligated to support her, siritualy (sic), not just politically !

    Chad Castagana weighed in on the Chandra Levy case at the Modesto Bee web site:

    This young woman (Levy) would have made a great contribution to our country

    Ironically, he had this to say just four months ago about a teacher in Tennessee who violated parole by sending nude photos and video of herself over the internet to a 13 year old boy who she had previously been convicted of having had sex:

    Pamela Rogers shoild (sic) get some prison time (she is in jail now) for violating her parole. The issue here is trust, she cannot be trusted to keep away from this teenage boy. Beyond that, she is a nitwit ! She displays an almost juvenile mentality when getting caught; first smugness, then when she realizes she is going to due some hard time, she cries like a little kid that's about to get spanked ! She can get, and should receive psychiatric treatment in prison.

    NOTE TO KO: you can use this last one on the show tonight. Your welcome :-)

    NOTE TO OLBYLOONS: Before you go hog wild here let me point out that last month another California man, Michael Lee Braun, was indicted for making threats against President Bush and mailing letters containing an unknown, white powder to a Tom Sullivan, a conservative talk radio show host from Sacramento who occasionally fills in for Rush Limbaugh. It is Sullivan's brokerage firm that Limbaugh describes as the official auditor of his claim to be "documented to be almost always right [some percentage] of the time". There is a big difference between OlbyLoons and Clear-Thinkers and dangerous crackpots like these two. Let's all confine ourselves to debate and rhetoric.

    UPDATE: Wonkette and Radar have more.

    UPDATE: Raw Story and Liberal Talk Radio are reporting that Chad Castagana was a regular commenter on, using the psuedonym ""Marc Costanzo".

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (74) | | View blog reactions
    November 12, 2006
    An Olbermann Watch Tribute

    With the spirit of bipartisanship flowering in our nation's capital, we at Olbermann Watch decided it was time to extend our own olive branch to the Edward R Murrow of our time. For that reason, we put together this brief video in tribute to The Future of Television News:

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (410) | | View blog reactions
    November 11, 2006
    OlbyLoons Launch DOS Attack Against OlbyWatch

    For the past 36 hours we have been experiencing a Denial of Service (DoS) Attack on Olbermann Watch. This was not a technical problem but a malicious effort to make the Olbermann Watch site unavailable to readers/commenters. For obvious reasons we are not going to disclose the nature of attack, what was done to remedy the situation or how we are following up. It is possible that there will be additional attacks so don't be surprised if we experience similar problems in the future.

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (55) | | View blog reactions


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • MORE BIPARTISANSHIP - WILL IT LAST?: Richard Wolffe, Newsweek chief White House correspondent and MSNBC political analyst; Arianna Huffington, editor
    • THE UNRAVELING OF THE GOP: Jonathan Alter, Newsweek senior editor

    The Spiel kicked off with Olby bellowing about Republicans "furious" re the Rummy timing, a lawsuit in Germany featuring the "scapegoated commander" of Abu Ghee-rhaib, Ken Mehlman (with the sly graphic "Mehlman Out"), why isn't Karl Rove out, the political honeymoon, and a plug for Arianna Huffington who will respond to right-wing spin on the election. What right-wing spin is that? It certainly isn't any heard on Countdown, which hasn't had interviewed anyone on the election results who is substantially to the right of Fidel Castro.


    First on the agenda of spin, bipartisanship. Olby showed a clip of a White House meeting and man, did he have trouble trying not to say "Mister" Bush:

    President--eh--Present--President Bush offering praise...

    After clips from the meeting, The Wolffe Man appeared to talk about what KO called "the show for the cameras". He was skeptical. Olby bragged about how he exchanged emails with disbarred lawyer and convicted felon John Dean. Then he complained that Gates resigned from the Iraq commission so he won't be at the next meeting. Well, that's what usually happens when you resign. Monkeymann also mentioned John McCain--KO showed amazing restraint, not calling him a liar this time. Wolfie's responses to all this were predictable, cliched, and thoroughly unprofound. So he got great thanksed.

    Then it was time to set the spin a'churnin hard to the left. Arianna, that great political thinker, was next in the Seat of Honor. Herr Olbermann asked tough questions, like citing Republicans who said many of the electoral winners were centrist, then firing off this devasatating query:

    You have argued that is complete nonsense. Can you explain why?

    Using her best imitation of Zsa Zsa Gabor, Huff declared the election was all about Iraq. She prattled on about her "hero", John Murtha, and endorsed the unindicted co-conspirator for majority leader. She went on to blame Ned Lamont for losing to Joe Lieberthal--Ned wasn't far left enough. Talk about spin! More great thanks.

    #4: What next for Iraq ("quagmire") and Rummy ("war crimes trial"). A mention was made of the tape from Al-Qaeda, but "Fat Ass" Olbermann left something out (see our nonbarking dogs below). Rerun video from NBC covered the Iraq Study Group, and then KO was back to promoting the "war crimes trial" over Abu Ghee-Raib.

    After another stunning "oddball" (the tape is already on its way to the Emmy committee), it was Republicans "at each other's throats". Krazy Keith said "Fox News" was claiming that "conservatives actually won" on Tuesday. Huh? His proof was a screen-grab (lifted from the blue blog at Think Progress) that showed a promo for an upcoming segment; it read: "Conservative USA?". Note the question mark, and ask yourself how teasing a discussion that asks a question equals "Fox News" stating "conservatives actually won". The answer is obvious: it doesn't. Just another Olbermann lie. (Monkeymann didn't even use a question mark when he bannered a woman as a "slut".) Lefty Alter loves to speak in Olbylogic, so the two of them batted the same ball back and forth, and a good time was had by all.

    #2: A YouTube video of an arrest leads to an investigation of police brutality, plus Borat, Denise Richards, and--ta-da!--Fox News. Yes, KO, with a straight face, bragged about ratings, conveniently summing up several days, leaving out election night, but including his one big night on Wednesday, to make sure that MSNBC's numbers were properly inflated for the gullible. He also picked out one of two hours where Fox lost to CNN in the coveted key demo, without ever mentioning that Fox was way on top of both CNN and A-Mess-NBC for the rest of the day. Neither did he point out he was using the non-standard L+S numbers that overstate A-Mess-NBC's audience. #1: Comedy clips, introduced with shots at liar Bush and liar Limbaugh.

    In the Media Matters Minute, the discredited sports guy attacked Fox again: NewsCorp sent out invitations to a holiday party. Because that conflicts with Bill O'Reilly who prefers Christmas parties. And apparently, on OlbyPlanet, commentators are not permitted to disagree with the policies of their network bosses. He probably thinks that because he works at A-Mess-NBC.


    Quiescent canines: The infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann is all about GOP "scare tactics" and the "race card". How odd that he has kept from his audience the controversial ad run in Fulton County Georgia, that states Republican rule would be worse than the dogs and firehoses of the Bull Connor era. Not even a "worst person" nomination? Olby, your slant is showing. You also know how totally disinterested Herr Olbermann is in the terror war, except to ridicule and minimize it. Perhaps that is why he chose not to report on the news from MI5 of five major terror plots foiled just since July 2005. Not to mention the 30 ongoing investigations involving over 1,600 people. Which is exactly the approach Olby took: not to mention it. Even though it was one of the top stories virtually everywhere else. And since Olbermoronn slammed "Mister" Bush and any number of eeevil white crypto-fascist neocon pigs for daring even to imply that terrorists just might prefer a Democrat victory in the recent elections, it will surprise no one that he once again censored the news to fit his spin. His "reporting" on the terror tape from Al-Qaeda in Iraq conveniently omitted how the terrorists praised American voters for electing Democrats. Olbermann slant the news? Who'da thunk it?


    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name declined to #970 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" rose to #10. At Barnes & Noble the OlbyTome sunk to #2,916, while O'Reilly's book stands at #27. And Mr Bill's literary triumph sits in the #3 slot on the New York Times Best Sellers list. As predicted here yesterday, The Hour of Spin's viewership numbers declined significantly on Thursday. While they managed a second place finish, they did so with a much smaller audience than the day before, both in total viewers and in Olby's critical, beloved, all-important, coveted "key demo". Tonight's MisterMeter reading: 3 [GUARDED]

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (74) | | View blog reactions
    November 9, 2006


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • POST-ELECTION POLITICS: Dana Milbank, Washington Post
    • THE CHENEY QUESTION: Tom DeFrank, NY Daily News

    The opening spiel took a predictable shot at Bush, then on to "restoring" habeas corpus, a possible rift between Cheney and "Mister" Bush, Ed Bradley, and Borat. Olby summed up today's political developments by characterizing the President's outreach:

    Mister Bush does whatever he wants, for as long as he can get away with it.


    After clips from "Mister" Bush, Ms Pelosi, and George Allen, Monkeymann welcomed Dana Milbank, sans showy suits. KO described Bush as trying to "ram through" proposals in the lame duck Congress, and Dana played along, saying it's not "bipartisan", it's "bipolar". Citizen Keith, ever mindful of Rule 1, suggested that Bush just threw himself "back into the briar patch" because he wants to resubmit Bolton to the Senate. Milbank says it was "symbolic" to throw something "the necons' way". Krazy Keith kept insisting that this was a bad move on "Mister" Bush's part (Rule 1 again), and Dana knew just what to say.

    Then it was time for everyone's favorite sitcom, Olby and the Perfessor. Just as he did yesterday, the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann lobbied for the repeal of the Military Commissions Act. Perfessor Turley was rapturous over the new Democrat majority, and praised divided government. (So that means he will support a GOP President in two years?) Then Krazy Keith came up with a classic bit of analysis that, even for him, ventured way, way out; this bit of partisanship went to 11:

    Is there a damper effect just by the presence of Democrats in control of Congress, I mean, did somebody's odds of winding up, uh, unjustly, if there is a justly I don't know, but unjustly in Gitmo, uh just drop precipitously...?

    Yes. If Democrats run Congress, judges immediately become smarter, juries are infallible, and even the coffee at Starbuck's tastes better. Can anyone take such drivel seriously? Apparently, yes. The Perfessor bought into it, and sung the praises of the new Democrat committee heads, while repeating another Olby talking point: signing statements. Claimed the Perfessor: he's going to "have to cut that stuff out". Really? How is it that B.J. Clinton didn't have to cut that stuff out when he had a Republican Congress?

    The Perfessor went on to discuss all of Bush's "crimes", so he was naturally great thanksed, with KO adding gratuitously that he's "breathing easier tonight". Oh, please. Then it was on to the Rummy resignation, spun by Krazy Keith as symbolic of a rift with Cheney. Olby asked:

    What does this mean for Dick Cheney and the neocons; did Mister Bush just give them the bum's rush?

    Ah, those neocons. We're waiting for Herr Olbermann to slip and call them monkeys. Or maybe it won't be a slip. Anyhow, DeFrank didn't see it so much as a "bum's rush", but Olbermoronn wasn't to be denied, ranting about Bush lying, the neocons again, and isn't there really, honest now, tell the truth, a push to get rid of Cheney? DeFrank said nope, he doubts anyone is telling the President anything like that: "That's a non-starter". Sensing an opening for a cheap shot, KO said:

    Just came to mind because it was, I think it was Spiro Agnew's birthday was Monday, that's why that popped into my head.

    Oops. DeFrank didn't care for that, and shot back that Dick Cheney has never been accused of taking bribes, telling Krazy Keith that he can't equate Cheney with Agnew. Instead of launching into a Speshul Komment because someone dared to tell him "he can't equate" something, a flustered Olbermann stammered a quick excuse: Oh no, no sir, just a joke, heh heh, just a botched joke, heh heh.

    KO introduced oddball by bragging about his Wednesday night ratings, without mentioning how badly he got creamed by his competitors. Excellent, excellent. Since he thinks ratings are important, we will continue to summarize them as his numbers skid on their inevitable post-election decline. The #3 segment was a victory lap for the editor of the Gannett military publications, who had called for Rumsfeld's removal. The pretext was to discuss the new Secretary of State, along with Olby again putting forward his notion that Cheney has been "lame ducked". It's telling that the discredited sports guy did not call on Thomas Ricks for this bit of analysis, but we know why that is.

    #2: A remembrance of the late Ed Bradley, relegated to a rerun of an NBC report. We didn't even get the obligatory Keith inserting himself into the story personal reminiscence. Then Britney Spears, Kevin Federline, Daniel Baldwin, and Cruise News! #1: Borat. In the Media Matters Minute, attacks were made on Rush Limbaugh (conservative) and--surprise!--Bill O'Reilly (Fox, both slots dutifully filled). The latter's crime was something Mr Bill said about Iraq that was in no way unreasonable, but Krazy Keith's olbsession is so deep-rooted that he just doesn't care any more. Just do the segment, get it over, and be home in time for his babysitting duties.


    Muted mongrels: Another day, another report free of any komplaints or konspiracies about voting machines, vote fraud, disenfranchisement, and all the other talking points Olbermoronn wore to death after the 2000 and 2004 elections. He has not reported on the election-day tricks in New Jersey, where Kean get-out-the-vote centers were found chained and padlocked by persons unknown. Isn't that vote suppression? Not on OlbyPlanet. There are also new developments in the ongoing investigation into what appears to be documented fraud in the 2006 election. Another story Edward R Olbermann has studiously ignored, because the perpetrators are not eeevil right-wing Republican crypto-fascist neocon swine.


    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name is #913 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" is at #14. At Barnes & Noble the OlbyTome declined to #2,871, and O'Reilly's book stands at #24. And Mr Bill's literary triumph sits in the #3 slot on the New York Times Best Sellers list. The day after a national election is always a big ratings night, and since a rising tide lifts all boats, Countdown benefitted. The Hour of Spin hit the million viewer mark, but as might be expected, everyone else had big numbers too, so it was another third place finish for poor Olby, both in total viewers, and in his critical, beloved, all-important, coveted "key demo". Tonight's MisterMeter reading: 14 [DANGER!!]

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (122) | | View blog reactions
    November 8, 2006


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • DEMOCRATS TAKE CONTROL: Howard Fineman, Newsweek senior Washington correspondent and MSNBC political analyst
    • WHAT CAN WE EXPECT THE DEMOCRATS TO DO NEXT?: E.J. Dionne, Washington Post columnist
    • BRITNEY FILES FOR DIVORCE: Michael Musto, Village Voice

    The opening spiel featured Mister Rumsfeld and "Mister" Bush, Karl Rove, and Britney Spears. Olby suggested "Mister" Bush only accepted Rumsfeld's resignation because of the election results, and ran a clip from Rummy's short statement. The President was "grim-faced" at his presser; KO showed a clip where he was smiling. Stats were given on the makeup of the new Congress.


    Mike Allen of Time was dragged in, and Olbermoronn, invoking Rule 1, advanced the notion that the timing of the Rummy announcement hurt Republicans in the election. Any good Countdown guest would hasten to agree, and Allen did not disappoint. He added that the President was "trying to be strong", and "there's a conflagration coming". Krazy Keith again tried to sell the idea that Cheney was also in danger of being escorted out, but Allen didn't bite. Nonetheless, he was great thanksed.

    #4: Another clip from the Bush presser was shown here. The clips in the previous segment identified the reporters asking the questions with on-screen graphics. In the clip shown here, a reporter asked Bush about his statement of last week (Democrats' approach to Iraq means that terrorists will win). For this one clip, the reporter was not identified. Why would that be? Think it over and we'll come back to it.

    Krazy Keith also cited Rush Limbaugh, claiming he admitted "lying to his faithful listeners". He did not, of course, but Monkeymann never lets truth-telling cramp his style. Followed by another exciting montage of "stay the course". More clips from
    "Mister" Bush's presser closed out the segment.

    In the #3 slot...oh wait, we have a matter dangling here. Why did Olbermann refuse to identify that particular reporter asking that particular question? Figure it out yet? It's not really hard, if you know the discredited sports guy like we do.

    After another sterling, Pulitzer-worthy segment of "oddball", Herr Olbermann had "breaking news": the AP awarded the Virginia race to Webb. Hell, Olbermann Watch did that 18 hours ago. Then it was on to Nancy Pelosi's plan: minimum wage, 9/11 recommendations, college tuition deductions, and ethics reform. Does the latter include permitting William Jefferson (D), the most corrupt man in Congress, to take his place in the House? Somehow, KO never got around to raising that question. Neither did E.J. Dionne, who talked about people from 41's administration coming into 43's. But Krazy Keith still has blue bloggers to truckle to, so he asked Dionne:

    Do the Democrats ignore at their peril the wing of their party that donated and campaigned on the promise of intensive oversight, of hearings, subpoenas, at least some oversight idea?

    Oooh. Is our hero a little concerned that Ms Pelosi hasn't been sufficiently partisan for his taste? Has that first vote he admits to having cast, after years of refusing to do so because he is "nonpartisan", suddenly gone to his head? He went on to hope that the Dems would "dismantle" the Military Commissions Act. It's like, now that Keith has done his best to get them in power, the Dems are somehow obligated to address each and every one of his Speshul Komments", in order, until every last one of his demands is met. Welcome to Megalomania Theater.

    Have you guessed why Keith didn't identify that reporter? This is your last chance. KO broke in again to declare that now NBC has awarded Virginia to Webb. He claimed that "officially" gives the Senate to the Democrats. It's part of a little-known codicil in the law: when Keith Olbermann reports that a state has been awarded to somebody, that makes it "official". The real election officials don't even have to bother with those pesky legalities, like finishing the count. Megalomania may have been an understatement. The brilliant wordsmith also made reference to "that margin between he [sic] and Webb". Yuck.

    The #2 story: a highlight reel from the election-night coverage, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood. #1: Britney and Kevin Federline, with the creepy Michael Musto. In the Media Matters Minute, Olby dispensed his usual treatment for ex-girlfriends (the number of which we cannot even comprehend) by attacking Laura Ingraham (conservative) for a joke she made about jamming phone lines. Rupert Murdoch, described as a "crypt-keeper" (Olbersaurus candidate) got the "worst person" award for defending the Iraq war, thus neatly filling both the conservative and Fox News slots.

    And that reporter who asked "Mister" Bush an uncomfortable question about his pre-election statements? The one Olby conspiciously avoiding identifying? It was Bret Baier of Fox News. Like we said, that wasn't that hard to figure out for anyone who knows the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann.


    Dogs that did not bark: Now that the Democrats won an election, all of sudden there was not one word about eeevil voting machines. Vote suppression? Voter fraud? Never came up. And of course nothing on the ongoing investigation into the left-leaning ACORN, even though federal indictments have been handed down. We've figured out how to solve all the problems with voting machines, fraud, and trickery. Just let the Dems win. All those problems instantly vanish! Eager to dismiss all terrorists threats as minimal, Edward R Olbermann ignored new calls for attacks on US targets. Sorry, make that "purported" calls for "purported" attacks on "purported" US "purported" targets.


    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name fell even further to #1,154 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" is at #12. At Barnes & Noble the OlbyTome sunk to #2,868, and O'Reilly's best-seller stands at #23. The Chrissy and Olby Show got a nice election-night rating for A-Mess-NBC, but it was, of course, far behind both CNN and Fox. It's an immutable law of physics: no program hosted by "Fat Ass" Olbermann will ever finish ahead of its competition on Fox. [Insert maniacally evil laugh here] Tonight's MisterMeter reading: 9 [SEVERE]

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (97) | | View blog reactions
    OlbyWatch Survey: How did KO do as Election Night co-host?

    How did KO do as Election Night co-host?

    A. Great, our Edward R. Murrow
    B. OK, no harm, no foul
    C. Terrible, a fish out of water
    D. No idea, did not watch MSNBC

    Previous Question: Who should anchor MSNBC's election coverage?

    The correct answer is Just Matthews.

    905 answers have been submitted.

    A. Matthews and Olbermann 36% (327 votes)
    B. Just Matthews 21% (191 votes)
    C. Just Olbermann 23% (213 votes)
    D. None of the Above 19% (174 votes)

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (138) | | View blog reactions
    November 7, 2006
    Election Night 2006 - OPEN THREAD

    Open thread for election night. As the returns come in, waste our valuable bandwidth with your observations, excuses, and I-told-you-sos.


    First exit poll results show surges inconsistent with recently published surveys. Corruption rates as a key issue. Late deciders breaking 60-40 Democrat.


    House: Dems take control

    Senate: Dems +5:

    • Casey (D) def Santorum (R)
    • Brown (D) def Dewine (R)
    • Whitehouse (D) def Chafee (R)
    • Webb (D) def Allen (R)
    • McCaskill (D) def Talent (R)

    Key Races:

    • Menendez (D) def Kean (R)
    • Lieberman (I) def Lamont (D)
    • Cardin (D) def Steele (R)
    • Corker (R) def Ford (D)

    FLASH: Washington Post withdraws its projection of Cardin victory; Michael Barone sees no reason for them to do so.


    Streaming Audio/Video:


    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (310) | | View blog reactions
    Election Day 2006 - OPEN THREAD

    Predictions? Who got Predictions?

    OlbyWatch Election Predictions (we will close this when the polls begin to close)...

    For all you regulars commenters, let's have some fun today. Copy/Paste this list into a comment box and fill out your predictions. I did my best to pick a bunch of races I thought folks would be talking about. If I missed your favorite race then let me apologize in advance.

    For scoring purposes we will do it like golf where the lower your score the better. You get +1 for every point you are off in the house/sentate "pickup" question. And +1 for every race/ballot initiative you get wrong. Lowest score wins. Anonymous comments will not be counted so please identify yourself. The winner gets their choice of an evening chatting with Mark Foley on AOL Instant Messaging or an all-expenses paid trip to see John Kerry do stand up at the Improv in L.A.

    1. Who will pick up seats (GOP or DEM) and how many?


    2. Close Senate Races (R v. D):

    Arizona (Kyl v. Pedersen):
    Maryland (Steele v. Cardin):
    Missouri (Talent v. McCaskill):
    Montana (Burns v. Tester):
    New Jersey (Kean v. Menendez):
    Rhode Island (Chaffee v. Whitehouse):
    Tennessee (Corker v. Ford):
    Virginia (Allen v. Webb):

    3. Other Races of Interest

    New York 26 (Reynolds v. Davis):

    Florida (Foley/Negron v. Mahoney)

    Texas 22 (Delay/Sekula-Gibbs v. Lampson):

    Conneticut 4 (Shays v. Farrell):

    Florida Governor's Race (Crist v. Davis):

    California Goveror's Race (Arnold v. Angelides):

    Ballot Initiatives

    Stem Cell Research (YES/NO)


    Repeal of "no-exceptions" Abortion Ban (YES/NO)

    South Dakota:

    Eminent Domain Restrictions/Bans (YES/NO)

    New Hampshire:
    North Dakota:
    South Carolina:

    Ban on same-sex marriage (YES/NO)

    South Carolina:
    South Dakota:

    Minimum wage increase (YES/NO)


    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (132) | | View blog reactions
    November 6, 2006


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • COUNTDOWN TO THE ELECTIONS: Craig Crawford, Congressional Quarterly columnist and MSNBC political analyst
    • LATEST G.O.P. DIRTY TRICKS: Jonathan Alter, Newsweek senior editor and MSNBC political analyst

    The last Hour of Spin before The Big Day. Olbermann bellowed his way through the opening spiel: Iraq, Bush, Neocons, "military newspapers", voting machines, and--wouldn't you know it--a last-minute Speshul Komment. We wondered last week if he could squeeze another one of these in before the election. What do you know? Krazy Keith never disappoints.


    Just as Matt Drudge predicted, Olbermoronn made repeated references to the "timing" of the Saddam verdict. The Neocons are "condemning" the White House over Iraq. Ken Adelman and Richard Perle were cited based on a release from Vanity Fair, but not any of the criticisms of how their words were represented.. Poll numbers were cited: McCaskill/Talent tied, Cardin up 3, Menendez up 7, Casey up 13, Brown up 6, Webb up by 1, Burns/Tester tied, Corker up 12--with Olby noting here, uniquely, that "other polls" are closer.

    Who better to put all this in perspective than the chortling pundit himself, Craig Crawford, aka Olbermann's Brain. First topic: the neocons and the "military papers", and Olby wanted to know if that won't impel voters to desert the GOP. Even Brain didn't expect much of an impact. Again Olbermann questioned the "timing" of the Saddam verdict (Drudge really has his number), and invoked Rule #1: it's bad for Republicans because it puts Iraq "on the map". Then KO assessed Senator Dole on Meet the Press:

    It seemed to be outside the realms of rationality.

    Olby ought to know; he lives in those precincts. And Mr Speaking Truth to Power revealed just how much scrutiny he believes Democrat candidates should be held to:

    Especially the party not in power being asked to produce its plan to solve a situation it did not get into.

    Hilarious. Only Republicans deserve to have their words scrutinized. Because Democrats had no role in going to Iraq. Like Kerry didn't vote to get into the situation? Hillary didn't? Carl Levin didn't? The air is thin up there on OlbyPlanet.

    Some talk about the close races and Brain was great thanksed and sent on his way. Another Speshul Komment plug (we're tired of counting them--just figure he will tease it at least a half dozen times). In the #4 segment, Olby attacked Rick Santorum for saying that while Democrats may have the polls, he has workers at the polls. "Worthy of Josef Stalin", intoned Herr Olbermann. No, we don't get the connection either, but you must not try to make sense out of it. It's OlbyLogic. Then a "new trick" the eeevil Republicans are using: robo-phone calls. KO claims they are eeevil because they mention the name of the Democrat opponent and people who hang up early will never realize they were being "badgered" by the GOP, not the Dems. There's a stretch that the India Rubber Man couldn't top, but it parrots the Democrat talking points, so it's news on Countdown.

    Cue leftist Jonathan Alter, who seemed to swallow Krazy Keith's notion that robophoning violates do not call laws. Of course, neither cited any law that they claim was actually broken. (Actually, most all such laws specifically exempt charitable solicitations and political activity.) Alter moralized that "you can go to jail for this", and "Fat Ass" Olbermann brought up various voter problems, citing, of all sources, "Project Vote", a far-left outfit run by a guy from ACORN (see dogs not barking, below).

    Alter got great thanksed and oddball was played, where Monkeymann had the affrontery to pick on poor Jane Skinner of all people. He has not shame! And then the #3 slot, at which point we flash back to our pre-show post:

    Why doesn't Citizen Keith just abandon all caution and, say, bring Howard Dean in to do a free five-minute commercial for the Dems? Nothing would surprise us.

    Sure enough, Howard Dean got five minutes of free publicity to promote the vote Democrat agenda. Naturally Keith didn't even bother with what real journalists would say, something along the line of "We asked the RNC Chairman to appear and he declined". Because he didn't, and would never, invite the RNC chairman. And saying he did would use up his nightly allotment of Olbermann lies, and he still has a Speshul Komment to deliver.

    Edward R Olbermann's tough, probing questions to Dr Dean:

    • Republican voting fraud...robocalls, and voter suppression...
    • Are you worried about these reports of voter suppression?
    • What are your insider expectations on Monday night?
    • Are the elections truly referenda on Iraq and the Bush presidency?
    • What did you see that they did not?

    Dean spewed his talking points without one even mildly challenging question. No critical follow-ups. Pure softball. The only thing missing was Olbermann handing Dr Demento a check on live television. Rerun video from NBC played up the Ted Haggart story again, with KO proclaiming that people who are "holier than thou" turn out to be "holier than nobody". Gotta love those generalizations. Then Neil Patrick Harris and Borat.

    In the Media Matters Minute, Bill O'Reilly was cited for reporting inside information about an investigation into an abortion mill doctor. In teasing this, KO claimed that O'Reilly's reporting was possibly "illegal". It's another Olbermann lie. If printing the Pentagon Papers, classified information, and top-secret government programs is not a crime--as Monkeymann's own expert, The Perfessor, has said repeatedly--where did Olby get the idea that Mr Bill reporting something could possibly be illegal? He made it up! So much for the discredited sports guy's view of freedom of the press.

    Finally, saved for the last possible Nielsen minute, we got Olby Speshul Komment [see APPENDIX]. It was a last-minute production (bumping Mo Rocca--the first time we've ever missed him!), but this GOTV screed for the Democrats had all the requisite elements: the repeated, arrogant "sirs", and even the obligatory Turn to Camera 3, just as his writers scripted it. Read it, digest it, and puke.


    Dogs that did not bark: Keith keeps talking up election trickery but has yet to say one word about the ongoing investigation into the left-leaning ACORN, even though federal indictments have been handed down. To protect the Democrats chances to take over the Senate, Edward R Olbermann, who siezes on every GOP misstep, has refused to report on Ben Cardin's (D) bizarre claim that the Patriot Act predated his 20 years in Congress. And Olbermoronn still has avoided any mention of Harold Ford's (D) religion-bating, asserting that Democrats love the Lord, but Republicans don't.


    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name fell drastically to #660 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" rose to #11. At Barnes & Noble the OlbyTome continues its downward spiral at #2,775, and O'Reilly's best-seller stands at #18. Friday's Countdown found Krazy Keith in his customary third place slot, both among all viewers and in Keith's coveted, all-important, critical, beloved "key" demo. Tonight's MisterMeter reading: 3 [GUARDED]

    APPENDIX: Keith's Speshul Komment:

    Olbermann: Where are the checks, balances?

    Bush has been 'making it up' for too long, and the people have let him

    We are, as every generation, inseparable from our own time.

    Thus is our perspective, inevitably that of the explorer looking into the wrong end of the telescope.

    But even accounting for our myopia, it's hard to imagine there have been many elections more important than this one, certainly not in non-presidential years.

    And so we look at the verdict in the trial of Saddam Hussein yesterday, and, with the very phrase "October, or November, Surprise" now a part of our vernacular, and the chest-thumping coming from so many of the Republican campaigners today, each of us must wonder about the convenience of the timing of his conviction and sentencing.

    But let us give history and coincidence the benefit of the doubt--let's say it's just "happened" that way--and for a moment not look into the wrong end of the telescope.

    Let's perceive instead the bigger picture:

    Saddam Hussein, found guilty in an Iraqi court.

    Who can argue against that?

    He is officially, what the world always knew he was: a war criminal.

    Mr. Bush, was this imprimatur, worth the cost of 2,832 American lives, and thousands more American lives yet to be lost?

    Is the conviction of Saddam Hussein the reason you went to war in Iraq?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq because of the weapons of mass destruction that did not exist?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq because of the connection between Iraq and al-Qaida that did not exist?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq to break the bonds of tyranny there, while installing the mechanisms of tyranny here?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq because you felt the need to wreak vengeance against somebody, anybody?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq to contain a rogue state which, months earlier, your own administration had declared had been fully contained by sanctions?

    Or did you go to war in Iraq to keep gas prices down?

    How startling it was, sir, to hear you introduce oil to your stump speeches over the weekend.

    Not four years removed from the most dismissive, the most condescending, the most ridiculing denials of the very hint at, as Mr. Rumsfeld put it, this "nonsense."

    There you were, campaigning in Colorado, in Nebraska, in Florida, in Kansas -- suddenly turning this 'unpatriotic idea' into a platform plank.

    "You can imagine a world in which these extremists and radicals got control of energy resources," you told us. "And then you can imagine them saying, 'We're going to pull a bunch of oil off the market to run your price of oil up unless you do the following.'"

    Having frightened us, having bullied us, having lied to us, having ignored and rewritten the Constitution under our noses, having stayed the course, having denied you've stayed the course, having belittled us about "timelines" but instead extolled "benchmarks," you've now resorted, sir, to this?

    We must stay in Iraq to save the $2 gallon of gas?

    Mr. President, there is no other conclusion we can draw as we go to the polls tomorrow.

    Sir, you have been making this up as you went along.

    This country was founded to prevent anybody from making it up as they went along.

    Those vaunted Founding Fathers of ours have been so quoted up, that they appear as marble statues: like the chiseled guards of China, or the faces on Mount Rushmore. But in fact they were practical people and the thing they obviously feared most was a government of men and not laws.

    They provided the checks and balances for a reason.

    No one man could run the government the way he saw fit -- unless he, at the least, took into consideration what those he governed saw.

    A House of Representatives would be the people's eyes.

    A Senate would be the corrective force on that House.

    An executive would do the work, and hold the Constitution to his chest like his child.

    A Supreme Court would oversee it all.

    Checks and balances.

    Where did that go, Mr. Bush?

    And what price did we pay because we have let it go?

    Saddam Hussein will get out of Iraq the same way 2,832 Americans have and thousands more.

    He'll get out faster than we will.

    And if nothing changes tomorrow, you, sir, will be out of the White House long before the rest of us can say we are out of Iraq.

    And whose fault is this?

    Not truly yours. You took advantage of those of us who were afraid, and those of us who believed unity and nation took precedence over all else.

    But we let you take that advantage.

    And so we let you go to war in Iraq to oust Saddam or find non-existant weapons or avenge 9/11 or fight terrorists who only got there after we did or as cover to change the fabric of our Constitution or for lower prices at The Texaco or…?

    There are still a few hours left before the polls open, sir. There are many rationalizations still untried.

    And whatever your motives of the moment, we the people have, in true good faith and with the genuine patriotism of self-sacrifice (of which you have shown you know nothing), we have let you go on making it up as you went along.

    Unchecked and unbalanced.


    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (164) | | View blog reactions
    Drudge on Olbermann - Part Deux

    Matt Drudge had a few works about the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann on his Sunday night radio show. We have a brief mp3 clip for your listening pleasure.

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (29) | | View blog reactions
    November 5, 2006
    Olbermann "Special Comments" Book in the works

    The OlbyLoons danced around the virtual bonfire over at the Fire Dog Lake Book Salon this evening. Reporting for duty were Jane Hamsher, Joe Wilson, Mike Stark, Colorado Boob, and the Great OlbyLoon himself, Keith Olbermann. I'm happy to report that Olbermann Watch got a couple of (disparaging) mentions. Reading the entire comment thread is good for a lot of laughs but if you are time-crunched, let me give you the highlights here:

    - Keith is in discussions for a "Special Comments" book

    - Keith said no longer wishes to appear on Network News since "I 'found' my voice"

    - Apparently KO's little Clinton interview payola apparently paid off since he disclosed that he was given "free" tickets to Bill Clinton's Rolling Stones concert. Just to review, Keith interviews Clinton, not only a former President but the husband of a sitting U.S. Senator, hands him a good-sized check, then accepts "free" tickets to a rock concert. Remember that the next time KO rants about the Abramoff scandal where many of the "crimes" are remarkably similiar to KO's goody-grab.

    - In a farewell tidbit he took the air out of Jeff Cohen's recent claims stating flatly that "[Phil] Donahue was not cancelled because he was anti-war".

    - Olby said liberals should cut Norah O'Donnell slack be she shares his disdain for Bill O'Reilly; he says she proposed an anti-Bill O'Reilly segment to Keith when he first returned to MSNBC.

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (48) | | View blog reactions
    Open Thread - Saddam Sentenced to Death

    Shhhh. Don't tell the mainstream media (and certainly don't tell Keith). What with the stock market at an all-time high, oil prices dropping and gasoline prices way down, with our economy at near full-employment, taxes low and government receipts up those pesky facts just keeping ruining the Lib-Dem-MSM narrative.

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (80) | | View blog reactions
    November 4, 2006
    An OlbyWatch Debate: Does Olbermann blurring the line between news, comedy and commentary undermine the NBC News Brand?

    The debate between Robert Cox and Doug Krile began by asking whether Keith Olbermann's blurring of the lines between news, comedy and commentary undermine the NBC News Brand or not? The debate is now over and we move to judging stage where our expert panel will critique the debate and choose a winner. The votes will be tallied and announced before Monday night's broadcast of Countdown. And don't forget to case YOUR vote in the survey at the end of the debate (below)

    Olbermann Watch Debate - Panel of Judges

    Eric Deggans

    Deggans is the television critic at the St. Petersburg Times where he writes a daily column on the TV page. His stories appear frequently in the Floridian and entertainment sections. He blogs at The Feed, a blog on TV, media and modern life. Deggans has served as music, media and TV critic at various times over 10 years. He also writes for the Huffington Post and Newsmax.

    John Amato

    Amato is the creator and editor of the Crooks & Liars blog where he pioneered video blogging. C&L is one of the hottest blogs on the internet and consistently ranks among the top ten blogs in the world. C&L has been featured in the NY Times, Forbes, USA Today, Washington Post and the Huffington Post. You can catch Amato on CNN's E-lection Nite Blog Party this coming Tuesday. When he is not blogging, Amato is playing his sax and flute. He has played with or recorded for The Goo Goo Dolls, Ringo Starr, Duran Duran, The Knack, Eddie Money and many others.

    Dr. Victoria Zdrok

    Dr. Zdrok is an editor at Penthouse magazine where she writes two columns - "Vices and Vanities" and "Ask Dr.Z". Zdrok, a lawyer and pyschologist, is a leading "sexpert", dating coach and relationship advisor. She can be heard every Wednesday night on "Sex Connection" on Howard Stern's Howard 101 channel on Sirius satellite radio. She maintains a sex advice site at and a glamour site at Zdrok holds the distinction of being the first Playboy Playmate from the Soviet Union (Miss October 1994) and was the 2004 Penthouse Pet of the Year.

    Aaron Barnhart

    Barnhart is the television critic at the Kansas City Star where his stories appear frequently on the cover of the Star's FYI and A&E sections and page one. He blogs at TV Barn. You can hear Barnhart on the radio Mondays at 4:15 PM CT with Paul Harris on KMOX-AM (now streaming live at Harris Online), monthly with Walt Bodine, on KCUR-FM and Mondays at 11 AM ET with Chip Franklin on WBAL-AM in Baltimore.

    Steve Spruiell

    Spruiell is a media reporter for National Review and runs NRO's Media Blog. Spruiell has a Journalism degree and a a Masters in Public Affairs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas. Spruiell holds the distinction of being both criticized by liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America and being award a bronze medal by Keith Olbermann as the the Worst Person in the World.


    Olbermann Watch Debate Paricipants

    Doug Krile

    Krile is Corporate Director of News and Public Relations for Equity Broadcasting, based in Little Rock, AR. He blogs at "On Topic" with Doug Krile and writes frequently about Keith Olbermann and Countdown. Doug has 30 years of experience in broadcast news, both on camera and in news management.

    Robert Cox

    Cox is the Editor of Olbermann Watch who occassionaly does some serious work in the area of citizen media/journalism ethics. He also runs a legal defense program for bloggers and is widely quoted in the media.. He does not have decades of experience in broadcasting but does have the good fortune of always being right about everything which helps in debates like these.




    DOUG KRILE: Countdown is unique in the manner in which it mixes serious news, commentary and light news features in one hour. It's obviously designed and produced to take advantage of Olbermann's personality, delivery and style. That's why, when he's not there, other anchors struggle to keep up with the format. I'm frequently impressed by Countdown's ability to devote extended periods of time to major issues that deserve debate and discussion. True, that discussion slants decidedly in a liberal direction; but, viewers know that. They watch either because they love it OR because they hate it.

    The recent addition of Keith's "Special Comments" was a great touch. Viewers are smart enough to know when he jumps from reportage to commentary. In the "old days", we [in the news business] wrote editorials that were presented well outside the news timeslots, fearing viewers would confuse them with "news". I would suggest that Countdown's positioning of the "Special Comments" is an attempt to confirm that the viewers are, indeed, smarter than that.

    ROBERT COX: While Keith may allocate some time to debate and discuss important issues, the "debates" are a tad one sided since they are moderated by a liberal host (Keith) and the guests who appear on Countdown are not booked to provide counterpoint. But let's set that aside for now.

    As for the liberal tilt of the show, how about a little "truth in advertising". Keith goes out of his way to claim that he is non-partisan, that he does not have an ideological agenda - that he doesn't even vote because he feels journalists should be as dispassionate about politics as possible. If you and I can agree that Keith is a liberal who hosts a show where the "discussion slants decidedly in a liberal direction" then aren't we also agreeing that when Keith makes these preposterous claims about his "objectivity" that he is stretching the truth a bit?

    That said, I agree with you that "Countdown is unique in the manner in which it mixes serious news, commentary and light news features in one hour". I would go further and say that the extension of the show online has been a brilliant marketing strategy. Promoting the show via Keith's own blog (at least when he was active), airing and crediting information from top blue blogs, pushing video out on YouTube and "Crooks and Liars", and providing special "heads up" notices to top left-wing bloggers have been very effective. And while I appreciate the idea that the audience is smart enough to tell the difference between a news report and a special comment without the words "special comment" flashing on the screen, the way MSNBC has constructed Countdown raises some serious issues of ethics and integrity for NBC News. I'd like to talk more about that and skip the "liberal media" angle.

    Countdown does not air on the Comedy Channel. Keith carries the title of "news anchor", Countdown is still listed as "news programming" and MSNBC is part of NBC News. Countdown is attempting to be the "real news" version of "fake news". And it goes beyond that at MSNBC, to Joe Scarborough becoming a news version of Pat O'Brien on The Insider. Imus just being Imus, mixing foul-mouthed, politically incorrect characters, newsmaker interviews and "stand up" reports from NBC News reporters.

    Isn't their the risk that the cumulative effect of the pushing of the envelope by Olbermann and his pals has a desultory effect on the NBC News "brand". If they are willing to allow MSNBC to become a snarky, tongue-in-check, imitation of a traditional news outlet doesn't that suggest to viewers that NBC News cannot be trusted to provide a straight-up, sober account of REAL news. Why should I trust Brian Williams when his fellow news anchor at NBC Universal is donning raincoats to do bad "Howard Beale" impersonations and hosting something called "puppet theater". Why should I trust Andrea Mitchell when she follows a racist, homophobic character, "Omar Minaya" on Imus as she did today? If they are not going to draw a bright line between "the news" and "the circus" why should they be surprised if viewers dismiss NBC News journalists as clowns.




    DOUG KRILE: First, allow me to address a couple of issues raised in the comments. One commenter questioned whether my opinions reflect those of journalists and media management types. Answer: Heavens no! There are no "smokey, back-room meetings" where the media gets together to plan the approach to the news. Let me give you a bit of insight into my personal politics and my personal approach to my online opinions. I've voted for Republicans. I've voted for Democrats. I've never voted a straight party ticket. I'm an "equal opportunity" blogger. If the Democrats regain control of the House (or the Senate), but fail to live up to their promises, I'll be all over them just as ardently. Want a little "industry" prediction? Olbermann will do the same. If he didn't, the program would lose it's punch. This is not a Liberal vs. Conservative issue. At least it shouldn't be - it's Right vs. Wrong.

    Another comment questioned whether I did a "cut and paste". I did use part of my first post here on my own blog, to generate interest there in what's going on here. Guilty, as charged. Another is a former student of my wife. I hope you paid attention and learned well. However, my beliefs have no influence over hers. As I'm sure you'll remember, she isn't easily pushed around!

    Now, to Robert's comments.

    Let me agree with one of your points, Robert. It does bother me that MSNBC lists Countdown as "News". You are correct that Fox lists most of it's programs as "Newsmagazine" or "Talk". I wish MSNBC would do the same. Obviously, Countdown does not picture itself as a "newscast of record" to report all of the day's major events. The opening that asks "Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow" makes it obvious that they're going after "hot topic" stories, the ones that generate discussion. And opinion.

    As for Keith's objectivity, I'll refer you back to my comment in the opening paragraph today - I'm betting Keith goes after the Democrats, if they get control of the House, but fail to clean things up. If he does NOT do that, I'll be surprised and will willingly swallow these words. I can assure that will be MY approach!

    Does Countdown dilute NBC's stature? Nope. And, obviously, NBC doesn't think so, given the plans to move MSNBC to 30 Rock and do MORE cross-over usage of reporters and other talent. If nothing else, the NBC reporters who appear on Countdown lend some legitimacy to the coverage.

    Let me close with something from longtime Washington Post reporter, Walter Pincus. He spoke in Little Rock this past week. From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette story: In contrast to the partisan press of the past, he said, most journalists neither desire nor believe that they can help shape government themselves...On Monday, Pincus' concern was not so much about the sourcing of stories as much as reporters' tendency not to deeply analyze what their sources do and say. Instead, he said they simply print all sides of debate, without ever conveying whether one side has more merit than another. Much of what gets printed or aired today, Pincus described as "public relations." He also noted that "Fox News gains viewers over a presumably neutral CNN partly because people want opinions."

    ROBERT COX: Save your money. I am not going to debate a hypothetical but suffice to say there is no reason to believe that Keith will EVER go after Democrats the way he goes after Republicans - and plenty of reason to believe the opposite. He has cast his lot with the far-left. That is now his sole remaining redoubt of viewer trust. If he turns on the Democrats, WHO would watch his show? Moderates? Conservatives? I don't think so. As for Walter Pincus's view of the world, I can only laugh when I hear these MSM'ers complaining about how journalists are just stenographers for those in power. Funny how we never heard this when Clinton was in power.

    NBC News has always been my favorite news outlet. I grew up watching Jane Pauley and Tom Brokaw and John Chancellor and have always had my TV tuned to NBC when there is a big story breaking. That is why I find Olbermann's degradation of a formerly proud news tradition so disturbing. Keith's anti-news schtick only has resonance in that he is mocking that very tradition. Keith is trading off of something he had no part in creating, the good name of NBC News, debasing it for a few cheap "laughs". The "inside joke" of Countdown, what gives the show its' "edge", is Keith's contempt for serious news reporting. So, his mockery comes not at the expense of his audience or the subject of his reports but people like Huntley and Brinkley, Chancellor, Brokaw and the serious journalists who still work at NBC news today. Ironically, Keith pretends to pay homage to that tradition in the opening credits and his theme song and then spends an hour each night ridiculing that tradition.

    Some day (hopefully soon) Keith will no longer be associated with NBC News. And some day NBC may want the credibility of their news division back. But by then, I fear, it will be too late. And it is a shame that after so many people worked so hard for more than fifty years to build the credibility and gravitas of NBC News, we are now watching people like Jeff Zucker and Dan Abrams and Keith Olbermann squander that tradition.

    You say that NBC's plans to move MSNBC to 30 Rock indicates that NBC is not worried that MSNBC dilutes their news brand? That's one interpretation. Another is that that they are cutting their losses with MSNBC while cutting its knees out from under it. This move would not be necessary at all if MSNBC was thriving. One can only wonder what you will say if/when Keith and Chris Matthews are shuffled off to CNBC as has been long-rumored.




    DOUG KRILE: I'll stand by my original bet. I believe there are MANY people who don't align strongly with either the Democratic or Republican parties, but simply demand accountability of whichever party is in office.

    I, too, have always turned first to NBC for news. Tom Brokaw hails from my home state and I've appreciated his on-air demeanor and his "believability". I disagree strongly that Keith is debasing NBC news for a "few cheap laughs." If that were the case, wouldn't management have pulled the plug long ago, as they did with Donahue? Obviously, they see merit in what Keith does and see potential for it to grow. True, he doesn't pull the numbers that O'Reilly gets. But he does sometimes come in ahead of CNN in the 25-54 demographic. When the bosses see even flashes of success like that, they tend to stick with a product.

    Now, let's talk about the move to 30 Rock. The television industry is in a bit of turmoil right now. What NBC is doing is not unlike the centralized production of newscasts that several major station owners are doing. It's not ideal. But the options are worse - the loss of entire voices in some markets. NBC took a look at how they often had three reporters from three organizations lined up to interview the same person and asked "Why?" Why not have one person do the interview for all NBC news entities. Honestly, I've never understood why NBC tried to keep NBC, CNBC and MSNBC so "apart" from each other. Marketed correctly, each can continue with its own personality. Successfully, I believe.

    Finally, let me propose a scenario that will have some readers reaching for my figurative throat. NBC has made it very clear that they're moving expensive programming to the 9-11 (eastern) time slot, leaving "reality" and other comparatively-inexpensive programming for the 8-9 slot. There's long been talk of an hour-long early-evening network newscast. What would happen if NBC decided to give Countdown a double-run on both MSNBC and NBC? You couldn't get much more cost-effective than that. Many of you probably don't know that NBC has already offered Hardball with Chris Matthews to the full NBC network on election night. Just think about it.

    ROBERT COX: I am not even going to comment on the absurd notion that Countdown would be broadcast on NBC five nights a week during prime time other than to say that you obviously enjoyed yourself during sixties. The one consistent rumor I have heard with regard to Countdown is that NBC may move Keith to CNBC so he can be part of a lineup with Chris Matthews and Howie Mandell. How does that fit with your fantasy scenario?

    Before responding further, I want to address a few of the comments (yes, Doug and I are reading them but for purposes of this debate are not posting comments ourselves).

    "Anon 10/20 1:46 PM" makes a good point about Countdown's liberal slant manifest itself both in "omission" and "commission" which is why we at OlbyWatch regularly mention the "dogs not barking" (see, Doyle, Arthur Conan).

    Gary Krasner makes a number of excellent points - Keith is "serious/angry/elitist" and "a sometimes grim, sometimes angry, often sanctimoneous politically partisan commentator", He is right that Olbypologist trot out his supposed irreverence as an all-purpose defense of Keith's fact-challenged "journalism". Gary is right that it's not just that Keith is liberal but that he offers as "facts in evidence" things that are in dispute and does not allow anyone on his show who might place those "facts" in a different light or offer a contrary conclusion which makes his show an "electronic pep rally".

    I heartily agree that "cable news shows... all stink as a source of in depth information." The simple fact is that you can get more news skimming the headlines on Google News for two minutes than you can watching ANY television newscast.

    More to the point of this debate, Gary writes "Keith gets multiple billing as journalist, anchor and commentator" and that "news organization can lose credibility when it allows those lines to blur".

    Meanwhile, as James struggles to sort out what it means to be a journalist - to be a check on the executive branch, to serve the people, to unearth corruption, to save the world or whatever - he might want to note that we are talking about Keith Olbermann and Countdown here. This is a show that spent many weeks airing every unsubstantiated cuckoo "black box" theory about the 2004 election it could find, that has a habit of airing dire predictions about Republicans that never quite seem to pan out, that sees corruption only on the right, that has, to the best of my knowledge, never aired a single report that portrayed President Bush in anything other than the most negative possible light, and that routinely pilfers material from left-wing blogs (often without attribution). And while James fumbles around for a definition of what he does for a living, maybe he can address a simple question raised by another commenter - what happened to the notion of journalists REPORTING - telling the reader, listener or viewer WHAT HAPPENED!

    All of which brings us to Lynne who asks why the far right is "threatened" by "programming coming from the left"? You don't have to "far right" to be "threatned" by people like Olbermann hiding behind the supposedly objective journalism of NBC News to advance a personal political agenda. If Keith wants to trot out his Edward R. Murrow Award and claim himself to be a "journalist" or "news anchor" then do that and report the news. But if he is going to wrap himself in a "cloak of integrity" while advancing his own political agenda he OUGHT TO BE shown up for the partisan poltical hack that he has become. I think what most folks on the right believe is not that Keith is an outlier in this regard but the opposite - that the rest of the MSM crowd is just as liberal as Keith just not as willing as Keith to wear their sleeves.

    Back to Doug's reply.

    Clearly Doug, you are "projecting" when you say that "MANY people" demand accountability of whichever party is in office. Whether this is true or not of you or others there is no evidence of this with regards to Keith Olbermann. While the GOP may be in power, it does not mean that there are no Democrats in office or who have "accountability" issues, right? In its three plus years on the air, Countdown has habitually ignored or tamped down coverage of "accountability" stories involving Democrats (Harry Reid, William Jefferson, Sandy Berger, James McGreevey, John Murtha, James Traficant, Alan Hevesi, etc.). At the same time, Countdown runs to report on any angle of any story that might in some way cast a negative light on Republicans (Plamegate, Abramoff, David Kuo, Foley, etc.). There is just no comparison.

    I am glad we agree that the "bosses at NBC" will stick with Keith so long as he shows "flashes" of ratings success (where "success" is conveniently defined as occasionally blipping up from third or fourth place to second in a small subsegment of the cable news viewing audience despite coming in last in total viewers in every quarterly "book" since the show went on the air). You have just proved my point. Knuckle-heads like Zucker and Abrams are not interested in journalistic integrity, the tradition of excellence at NBC or protecting the "NBC News" brand. They care about one thing - ratings - and are willing to sacrifice everything, including the integrity of the news division at NBC, to increase them. Ironically, they now find themselves with neither integrity nor ratings at both MSNBC and NBC.

    And now that I think about it, Zucker's colossal failure at NBC, which has seen the Peacock drop from 1st to 4th on his watch, might explain why Zucker imagines Keith a "success" for coming in 3rd! One man's floor is another man's ceiling!

    Your commenting pal "James", likewise links ratings and journalistic integrity by noting that "NBC Nightly News and Today are the two most watched news programs in their timeslots" which, in his mind, somehow PROVES that "NBC's news credibility is well in tact". What he fails to note is that while NBC Nightly News is the top rated evening news broadcast, its ratings are a fraction of what they were twenty years ago.

    Is it possible that the corporate decision back then to evaluate broadcast news divisions in entertainment terms (i.e. ratings) has something to do with that?

    Keith loves to put on a raincoat and play "Howard Beale" but the "hero" of Paddy Chayefsky's "Network" is not Beale but traditional newsman "Max Schumacher" (William Holden). And as I am sure you will recall, Schumacher is revolted by the idea that network executives, under the urging of the entertainment division, are going to keep Beale on their air despite the fact that he is quite obviously insane. Yet, Schumacher is ultimately seduced by the entertainment division, literally AND figuratively. When he finally comes to his senses, he realizes that his "great winter romance" with "Diana Christensen" (Faye Dunaway), the head of the entertainment division, is nothing but a soulless, one-sided relationship with a narcissist. He leaves Diane. But it is too late. He can't go back. He is alone, his best friend murdered, his wife and children alienated, his personal integrity in tatters and his career in journalism over.

    There is a lesson in there somewhere.




    DOUG KRILE: Oh, there's just so much to talk about. First, with regards to network news ratings - NBC Nightly news IS number one and, yes, ABC is nipping at its heels. Your point that its ratings are a fraction of what they once were is not a reflection of the product. It's because cable fragments the available audience much more than when all we had were three broadcast networks. You'll see the same in prime time entertainment programming. There are only so many sets of eyeball to be spread over all the channels. I don't believe there was ever a conscious decision made to evaluate news the same as entertainment (using ratings). When the ratings services appeared on the scene, THEY made the decision to analyze ALL programming, not just entertainment. There are stations that try to sell advertising without "buying" the ratings reports, but it makes a very tough task for sales people. Without the ratings, you're trying to twist arms to buy spots just because you're a "good guy" or because "you KNOW people watch us".

    Next, with regard to a possible move to CNBC - I could care less. Sorry, but I don't think it make one bit of difference which cable channel Countdown and/or Hardball are on. Not one bit. However, I don't think that will happen. Variety is reporting that NBC is already remodeling two floors at 30 Rock to accommodate a 24 hour news desk, Countdown and Hardball. Imus in the Morning will move its studio to CNBC's facility in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Speaking of which, let's talk ratings for a moment.

    Imus has been beating CNN’s "American Morning" quite consistently lately. What does that indicate? He's doing more political interviews? Perhaps. Because he's on MSNBC? I doubt that. A viewer revolt against what they consider to be a somewhat boring news product on CNN? That's a distinct possibility. Still, a win is a win.

    Now, we'll move on to Olbermann and the rest of the MSNBC gang. Even I am surprised by the strong performance in October. If the link makes it, read the numbers. If the link disappears, the short story is that Olbermann is up 61% over last October in the 25-54 demo and up 67% in total viewers. O'Reilly is down 9% and 22%, respectively. Hardball and Scarborough are also up, while their Fox News counterparts are down.

    How about "losing credibility" when the lines between journalist, anchor and commentary blur? Did you see Fox News this past weekend? When the supposedly studious "journalists" dressed up in their Halloween costumes? Now, talk to me about credibility.

    Yes, some lines are blurred. Others are crossed. I'm not particularly thrilled with the current state of broadcast journalism. I'm a "channel-changer". I watch a little bit of everything, stopping on what catches my attention. In many ways, I'm probably not much different from your normal viewer. If I find something I like, I'll return and watch again. Such was the case with Countdown. Will I argue that Keith is the epitome of a television "news anchor"? Nope. Do I like every vocal or physical technique he uses to embellish a story? Nope. Do I love everything Brian Williams does? Charlie Gibson? Katie Couric? In my many years in front of the camera, I grew to realize that some people would love something I did, while others would hate it. Do you know what one of the biggest debates in my entire career was about? Whether I should wear glasses or contact lenses. Yup. A news director told me to get rid of the glasses and it became a huge "letters to the editor" issue in the newspaper and with calls to the station. Did they care that their world was changing? Apparently not. By the way, I ended up wearing the glasses, again. Whatever works, works. That's why Olbermann was cranking out another "Special Comment" Wednesday night. And, why he will continue to do so. At least until the viewers no longer respond. Final note - lighten up, people! This ain't brain surgery! Every network tries to find a niche. Fox did it. MSNBC is trying to do the same for folks of another political persuasion. That's all there is to it. No grand conspiracy. No attempt to overtake the world. It's simply television.

    ROBERT COX: When I asked whether is it "possible that the corporate decision back then to evaluate broadcast news divisions in entertainment terms (i.e. ratings) has something to do with that?" you trotted out the same tired "cable/fragmentation" excuse used by those same news organizations, and their apologists in the MSM. While I recognize that "cable/fragementation" is part of the explanation it is clearly not the only cause. By that argument, shows like CSI, American Idol and Survivor could not pull the kind of share numbers they get - let along major events like the Super Bowl.

    That you continue to attempt to link "integrity" to "ratings" only serves to highlight the cost of NBC News tying itself to Keith Olbermann where - that MSNBC now has neither integrity OR ratings.

    Regardless, you have drifted far afield from the issue we set out to debate. This issue is not Keith's ratings or those of NBC Nightly News or the Today Show or Imus. It is not about whether Countdown originates in New Jersey or New York or whether it is carried on MSNBC, CNBC or, in your more delusional state, NBC. You have defended KO's blurring of the lines when he "mixes serious news, commentary and light news features" on the grounds that viewers are smart enough to "get it". Fine. I don't have a problem with satire, irony or mockery (I do, after all, run Olbermann Watch). What I do have a problem with is the way in which Keith Olbermann does all this while sharing the same title as Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw, John Chancellor, David Brinkley, et al. This is not to mention the fact that Keith makes obviously false statements, gobbled up by a receptive batch of TV critics, to the effect that he is a non-partisan, disinterested observer in political outcomes when the exact opposite is the case.

    When you add this to what Olbermann Watch documents on a daily basis - the "factual misstatements", the misrepresentations, the obfuscations, and the glaring omissions - you are left with a highly compromised news division which has, as its cable news front man, a partisan political hack posing as a journalist.




    DOUG KRILE: First of all, Robert, thanks for the opportunity to discuss and debate these issues. I do apologize for dragging things a bit off the original topic. It's difficult to not weigh in on some of the comments from your readers.

    One thought on the "audience fragmentation" issue. You are correct that shows like the Super Bowl and CSI draw big numbers. The Super Bowl is one-of-a-kind. CSI (I'm sure) draws a significantly smaller percentage of the total audience than CBS prime time shows drew 30 years ago. Before cable. And before "fragmentation."

    Integrity and ratings? Obviously, NBC has no concerns that using their "stars" on Countdown will diminish their integrity, nor that of NBC. If they did, Tom Brokaw would not be used on Countdown.

    Let me, once again, address your main issue of Keith combining serious news, light news and commentary. I'll refer you back to his opening line each night - "Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?" He's going for the "water cooler" stories, be they serious, light or commentary. Countdown is not a "newscast of record" any more than Bill O'Reilly's program is. Personally, I'd prefer he not dabble in the entertainment stuff. But, obviously, it has an audience.

    Robert, I've read through many of the Olbermann analysis pieces that you and Johnny Dollar have written. You both, obviously, feel deeply about your animosity toward Keith. There are aspects of his presentation that bother me, too. I simply see more valid information during that hour, than you do. Also, please note that the MSNBC website refers to Keith as the "Host" of Countdown, not the "anchorman" of Countdown. I agree with you that MSNBC should refer to it as "news magazine" or "news/talk" - as does Fox.

    Finally, allow me to note the 25-54 ratings just released for Tuesday night, October 31. O'Reilly is #1 with 486,000 viewers. Olbermann was a solid #2 with 343,000 viewers. Zahn was a distant #3 with 209,000. Grace finished 4th with 183,000 viewers. Countdown is doing something that's working to attract viewers; viewers who enjoy the controversy and the attitude. Dan Rather was quoted today as saying "Increasingly, anything that's controversial is deemed bad for business" at the news networks. That's why he went to HDNet. I'm thinking maybe MSNBC has decided it's worth it to be seen in a "different" light from the other cable channels.

    Perhaps we can rejoin this discussion a year down the road and see how it ultimately plays out.

    Thanks again.

    ROBERT COX: Thank you for engaging in this thoughtful and vital debate in a calm, even tone - a tone so often lacking from Olbermann fans. Your analysis and insight only goes to prove that it is possible to be a Keith Olbermann fan without being an OlbyLoon. Unfortunately, that still does not make your analysis any more sound.

    Let me dismiss one point right off the top. I have never argued that Countdown pretends to be a “newscast of record�? or used the word "anchorman" with regard to Keith. What I have said is that NBC Universal lists Countdown as a news broadcast and that Keith's title is "news anchor". I am not sure why you are backtracking on this because you previously admitted that you were uncomfortable with this as well and now say that "MSNBC should refer to it as 'news magazine' or 'news/talk'". Regardless, if you will take the trouble of visiting NBCU's "Media Village" press relations site where KO is routinely referred to as "news anchor" in official NBCU press releases. Likewise, he has been described as such by NBCU executives in the press.

    Also, I don't harbor any "animosity" towards Keith. He has his good points and he has done some smart things both with his show and in promoting his show. I just think it is sad the way he has debased himself - and NBC News - in a desperate bid to get viewers.

    More to the point of this debate, your continued reliance on ratings data to make the case that Olbermann's antics do not reflect negatively on the integrity of NBC News as a trusted source of information only bolsters my case - you have no case so you are left to contend that because Keith has more viewers than he had last year or that he has more viewers than some other left-wing cable news outlet in a very narrow slice of the total cable news audience that this somehow translates into "quality" or "integrity". It does not.

    That NBCU executives are willing to do anything to save their jobs in a desperate attempt to boost ratings across their declining television empire does not speak to whether Countdown is an overt attempt to mislead viewers by presenting a hyper-partisan, fact-challenged, political hack as a journalist doing a news program.

    As you put such stock in the ratings, let's try a reality check, shall we? You note that KO had 343,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo on Tuesday, October 31st and this made him second in "the demo". That sounds impressive until you look at the total cable news audience that night. According to your source, TVNewser, there 4.1 mm people watching cable news at 8 PM ET on that night. Keith's "demo" audience represented a measly 8.4% of that audience.

    Not so impressive.

    As this is the sole remaining leg on which you seek to make your case - that we should judge Keith's "journalistic integrity" by his meaningless "gains" in a tiny fraction of the total viewing audience - I'd say this debate is drawing to close just in time (for you). I rest my case.




    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (167) | | View blog reactions
    MSM KO Bandwagon #231, #232, #233: "Demo" Tripleheader

    As noted in the recent OlbyWatch Debate Series, KO's "demo" audience represents a whopping EIGHT PERCENT of the total cable news audience in the 8 PM ET time slot.

    Given the staggering importance of such a "large" audience, you can understand why KO's modest growth in this "key demo" continues to be "news". Here are a few recent examples from the always obliging, far-left members of the TV Critics Association:

    Broadcasting & Cable:

    MSNBC stalwarts Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann have continued to see ratings grow in primetime especially Olbermann, who still trails his Fox nemesis, Bill O'Reilly, but consistently beats CNN's Paula Zahn in the key 25-54 news demo. (emphasis added)

    Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

    Olbermann keeps his soapbox because, on a smaller scale than O'Reilly, he's successful. He's boosted MSNBC's audience in the key 25-to-54 demographic ahead of CNN in the 7 p.m. hour, according to October numbers from Nielsen Media Research. (emphasis added)

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Things are looking up at MSNBC...Leading the charge was "Countdown With Keith Olbermann," which jumped 67% in viewership and 61% in the adults 25-54 demographic compared with October 2005. (emphasis added)

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (24) | | View blog reactions
    November 3, 2006


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • NUCLEAR SECRETS REVEALED: Joseph Cirincione, Center for American Progress and weapons expert; Richard Wolffe, Newsweek senior White House correspondent and MSNBC analyst
    • MORE VOTING PROBLEMS: David Shuster, MSNBC correspondent

    A fascinating document has found its way into our hands. The NSA domestic spying program scooped up an email. Naturally, it was immediately forwarded to Karl Rove, who personally reviews all such intercepts. Rove immediately arranged a conference call with Halliburton, Rupert Murdoch, and Lloyd Grove. It was decided that the email would be passed on to Fox News, and since they secretly fund this site, they forwarded it to us here at Olbermann Watch. Its content is self-explanatory.


    Subject: Apology

    Mister Ricks:

    With Mister Bush low in the polls, your Bush-bashing book is what made you a regular on Countdown. But your "performance" on Thursday night was unconscionable. The ground rules were clear: I pose the questions and you support what I say. What part of that didn't you understand? But instead, you used the opportunity to deviate from our agreement. You made your bones with the far right with your cheap-shot sandbagging of the foremost journalist on American television.

    It can't be that you aren't familiar with our policies on Countdown. Tonight's show was example of how it's supposed to go. I blamed the Republicans for posting atomic bomb secrets on the internet. And you'll notice Cirincione didn't mess up the interview with any talk of how this showed Saddam had high-level atomic knowhow and could have built a bomb had he not been stopped. Cirincione followed the ground rules and spun everything my way.

    Richard Wolffe didn't double-cross me either. I said this flap would hurt Republicans, and he agreed. He followed the ground rules.

    I had David Shuster on again. He's been wrong more often than that evil O'Reilly, but he's loyal. I had unsourced breaking news: on Monday the military papers will be calling for Rumsfeld to go. Shuster immediately came up with a way it could hurt the George Allen campaign. I didn't even have to prompt him. He gets it.

    I used Esther Kaplan tonight--she writes for The Nation. Did you notice how she maneuvered the Haggard story into a tract on how the Christian right is commandeering the policies of the White House? That's pure gold. She followed the ground rules.

    But you used an unfair, ambush answer to sandbag me. Me, a journalist who has received a fake anthrax letter. Of course, Mister Ricks, you did not instruct your people to mail the letter. No, you did not.

    And of course you did not roll over for the Bush crime administration either. No, you did not.

    And it wasn't you who attempted to embarrass the winner of two Edward R Murrow awards on live television.

    This is the state of journalism as you have redefined it, Mister Ricks. You are nothing more than the front man in a collective lie to break sticks over the heads of true Americans: the Democrats.

    A brief reminder, Mister Ricks. You are not the Washington Post. You are merely a writer whose legacy will have been a willingness to cover-up for the far right fascists. You were too stupid to realize that Boehner was insulting the troops.

    You must apologize to the troops, because you threw them under the bus.

    You must apologize for contradicting my statements.

    But you won't apologize. Not to the troops. And not to me.

    Is there no line you will not cross Mister Ricks, sir?

    Republicans are evil, sir.

    If they say something it is wrong, sir.

    And you must apologize, sir.

    Keith Olbermann

    P.S. Would you be willing to sign my guest book?


    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name inched up to #364 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" is #13. At Barnes & Noble the OlbyTome is mired at #2,694, and O'Reilly's best-seller stands at #17. Thursday's Countdown sunk like a stone, coming in last place--fifth out of five--both among all viewers and in Keith's coveted, all-important, critical, beloved "key" demo. Apparently the latest Speshul Komment left a bad taste in viewers' mouths. But then they all do.

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (163) | | View blog reactions
    MRC's Brent Bozell labels KO Rant "Hate Speech"

    Calling Keith Olbermann a "brown-shirted left-winger [who] spews hate from an NBC-owned podium", Brent Bozell, President of conservative media watchdog Media Research Center, condemned the liberal media's hypocrisy in remaining silent in the face of Olbermann's "radically extreme and hateful" Special Comment on Wednesday in which Olbermann claimed President Bush was responsible for inspiring "domestic terrorism" against critics of his administration.

    h/t Pat Campbell

    All of which earned Bozell a bronze from KO.

    Readers can comment here.

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (0) | | View blog reactions
    Christopher Hitchens Leaves Matthews Floundering on MSNBC

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (11) | | View blog reactions
    OlbySpin Stops Here - The Video!

    On Thursday night's Hour of Spin, Keith Olbermann lifted a Democrat talking point straight off the blue blogs. To blunt the impact of John Kerry's embarrassing comments, Olby resorted to the tu quoque fallacy to point the finger at a Republican. The fun began when Keith tried out his talking points on his expert guest, the frequently invited Thomas Ricks.

    Here is a QuickTime video of the exchange. Note how KO sets it up: John Boehner, who made a statement about generals in Iraq, is said by Keith to be "insulting US troops". Boehner is "throwing the troops under the bus". Even though Olbermann did not quote Democrats, Ricks immediately spots Keith's words as Democrat talking points and flatly contradicts Citizen Keith. KO foolishly tries again, and for a second time Ricks definitively stops the spin. (Minutes later Krazy Keith would suggest again that Boehner insulted "the generals and the troops", something that Ricks specifically said Boehner did not do.)

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (20) | | View blog reactions
    November 2, 2006
    OlbyLoons Hate Mail

    Tom Bevans of the Real Clear Politics blog at is surprised that after noting Olbermann's Arrogance that he would be deluged with OlbyLoon email.

    At least Ryan Latimer knows he is going to get hate mail for writing:

    Keith Olbermann will always be looked at as a tag-along, a distance runner-up at best in the war of news media pundits. Olbermann, in essence, just couldn't take one show to lay off Bush and concentrate on the issue at hand, how Kerry made a degrading comment and how it may or may not affect the mid-term elections. It also helps not that Olbermann, employed in an industry where you are required to be impartial or at the least attempt impartialness, can't control himself.

    Elsewhere, CG wonders why the MSM ignores the Glenn Beck ratings rocket while slobbering all over KO.

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (0) | | View blog reactions


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • SEC. RUMSFELD AND V.P. CHENEY STILL IN WHITE HOUSE UNTIL JANUARY: Thomas Ricks, Washington Post military reporter and author of "Fiasco"; Craig Crawford, Congressional Quarterly and MSNBC political analyst
    • VOTING MACHINE PROBLEMS: Edward Felton, Princeton University professor of computer science
    • POLITICIANS ARE NOT ACTORS: Jeffrey Ross, comedian

    Tonight's Countdown was the usual overbearing dose of propaganda, but there was one great moment when Keith was stunned, and The Spin Stopped Here. The opening spiel signalled Big News: Cheney is going to complete his term, and that's bad for Republicans. Those untrustworthy voting machines. More remains at Grund Zero, and an old video of Mark Foley. As the Hour of Spin proper kicked off, a weird, frightening orange and green visage with stripes appeared on the screen.


    Oh, that's Krazy Keith in the Worst Color Scheme in the World. He was all worked up over the fact that Rumsfeld and Cheney are not going to be fired. Because President's routinely kick out their Veeps, at least on OlbyPlanet. KO adopted one of the day's most preposterous DNC talking points: John Boehner, by saying that the Generals in Iraq run the war working the President and Rummy, in fact "insulted" the troops. Right, and Kerry didn't. Poll numbers from a suspicious New York Times survey were cited before Ricks made yet another appearance in the Countdown Seat of Honor.

    Then we got one of the great moments that make OlbermannWatching worthwhile. Monkeymann tried out his "insulting the troops" line on Ricks, and not only did Ricks swat it away, he exposed it as the DNC talking point that it is:

    I think the Democrats could take a page from the Republicans' book here. The Generals are part of the problem in Iraq.... It's one thing to criticize generals, it's another thing to criticize troops. And I think if the Democrats realize there's a difference between the troops and the generals, they'll be better off.

    Biff! Pow! Krazy Keith was reeling, but he regained his balance and took another swing:

    Do you think that in, in, contained in Congressman Boehner's remarks about, uh, uh, the responsibility there, uh, is, is a genuine insult to the generals, not to the troops?

    Yes, KO stammered through that exactly as transcribed above. And then Ricks delivered another smashing blow:

    Well, he said "the generals". Yeah. I think all too often the generals themselves have blamed the troops for mistakes that actually were made much higher up.... So I think it's probably a good thing that people are talking about the mistakes generals have made.

    Thwack! Thud! Ricks exposes OlbySpin as a talking point of the Democrats, then shoots it down--all but calling it another Olbermann lie--and then says the eevil Republican was right, and Keith was wrong. Best. Countdown. Guest. Ever.

    After this knock-out punch, Slappy Olbermann was sent to his corner, water splashed on his head, and revived long enough to try to get Ricks to agree that replacing Rummy would make a substantive difference. Oops, Ricks didn't buy that either.

    Still punch-drunk, KO great thanksed Ricks and moved on to the New York Times poll and "Mister" Bush's job performance rating. Oh joy, it's down to 34%. But what is Keith not telling us this time? How about an even more recent poll that puts that number at 42%? Naturally, Olby didn't report that at all. Funny how the polls with low ratings get highlighted, and the ones with higher numbers get spiked. Well, it is The Hour of Spin.

    In talking to Crawford (aka Olbermann's Brain), Krazy Keith immediately invoked Rule #1 (whatever happens, it's bad for "Mister" Bush) to suggest that not firing Rumsfeld and Cheney was either a "serious gaffe" or a "serious risk":

    Should the Democrats not be jumping all over this, if not in fact dancing in the streets tonight?

    Brain immediately chortled "yeah", KO cited Tom Kean in New Jersey (the only Republican candidate invited onto the Hour of Spin during this election cycle, because he wants Rumsfeld out), and Brain snickered that Republicans will be "running for the hills", referencing "flying monkeys". Then, after we knocked Keith for refusing to report on the investigation into leaking classified data, he brought it up tonight, demonstrating once again the power and influence of Olbermann Watch. He asked a typical leading question: isn't this more blame the media? Brain gave a typical, and wholly expected, sniggering reply: "I think so". KO hit a few more talking points. He even tried again to claim John Boehner "got away" with insulting generals or "generals and troops" (huh?) while Kerry didn't, and Brain obsequiously blamed it all on "taking clips out of context". Ricks left five minutes earlier, so Olby jumps on the chance to exploit the short attention span of his credulous loons. Just in case the hour wasn't partisan enough, Crawford chortled a final shot: Democrats "don't go for the throat" like Republicans do. Seriously.

    Another quick shot at "Mister" Bush (complete with the obligatory insincere "sir"), and the #4 story was about Iraq and campaign ads. The ads shown were, naturally, anti-Bush and/or anti-Rumsfeld. Surprise. Then another Emmy-worthy chapter of "oddball", and a tease for upcoming Cruise News!

    In the #3 slot, the eeevil Diebold machines: they are a mess, they make mistakes, and the mistakes cited all seem to favor Republicans. Felton was there to flack for his famous demonstration, but neither he nor Citizen Keith mentioned that the demonstration in question involved old software, not what is currently used. Krazy Keith hit all the blue blog beefs: Ohio, Ken Blackwell, Diebold, yada yada yada. KO also ran an unsubstantiated charge against a pastor, made by a male prostitute who claims to have "evidence" that has not been made public. No evidence? No proof? Mere formalities when Keith "Man on Fan" Olbermann goes into character assassination mode.

    #2: More remains at ground zero identified, remains that today would be sitting under tons of concrete if Olbermann had his way (recycled NBC video report). Then: Mel Gibson, Courtney Love, and Cruise News! #1: An old Mark Foley film resurrected. A great opportunity to run for free more political ads: the good ones (all for Democrats) and a bad one (for a Republican). Ross didn't provide many yuks, but anyone who takes up time that could have included Michael Musto must be an improvement.

    In the Media Matters Minute, we had high hopes that "Fat Ass" Olbermann would go after National Review again, since Mr Spruiell delivered another devastating smackdown to the discredited sports guy. Alas, it was not to be. Instead, Monkeymann went after his usual favorites: Brent Bozell (conservative), and Tom DeLay (R), for asserting that waterboarding doesn't qualify as torture. Olby snidely wondered if that means it's OK if the enemy waterboards our people. Well, as Einstein said, everything is relative. Waterboarding? Beheading? Waterboarding? Beheading? Tough choice.


    Taciturn tail-waggers: We know that Olby hates our military and considers them stupid. So we wonder why he's made no mention of Seymour Hersh's controversial claim that US troops are the most "murderous" in American history. Iran test fires a missile that can reach Israel. But Herr Olbermann was unconcerned. For all the talk about election fraud, Krazy Keith has yet to say one word about the ongoing investigation into the left-leaning ACORN, even though federal indictments have just been handed down. Democrat fraud doesn't interest Keith, unless perhaps he can find some way to encourage it. And Olbermoronn still has avoided any mention of Harold Ford's (D) outlandish claim that Democrats love the Lord, but Republicans don't.


    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name got some Speshul Komment rebound, leaping from yesterday's #440 in sales at amazon all the way up to #415, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" is #12. It didn't help at Barnes & Noble, where the OlbyTome sunk to #2,858, and O'Reilly's best-seller surged to #13. Despite all that Speshul Komment hype, Wednesday night's Hour of Spin had fewer viewers than Tuesday's. It managed a second place finish among all age groups, though The O'Reilly factor had three times as many viewers. And Countdown fell to third (losing to a rerun of "Deal or No Deal") in Keith's coveted, all-important, critical, beloved "key" demo. Tonight's MisterMeter reading: 7 [HIGH]

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (141) | | View blog reactions
    OlbyWatch Survey: Who should anchor MSNBC's election coverage?

    Question: Who should anchor MSNBC's election coverage?

    A. Matthews and Olbermann
    B. Just Matthews
    C. Just Olbermann
    D. None of the Above

    Previous Question: What does "NBCU 2.0" mean for Keith?

    [NBC Universal's 24-hour cable news channel, MSNBC, will move its operations to the company's production facilities at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, and Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey]

    The correct answer is "B. Countdown to cancellation"

    Summary: 934 answers have been submitted.

    A. Great news 3% (32 votes)
    B. Countdown to cancellation 35% (328 votes)
    C. New "anchor desk"? a phone booth 4% (40 votes)
    D. No impact 57% (534 votes)

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (14) | | View blog reactions

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (63) | | View blog reactions
    November 1, 2006


    Host: Keith Olbermann


    • SEN. KERRY (D-MASS.) FIRESTORM: Howard Fineman, Newsweek senior Washington correspondent and MSNBC political analyst
    • 6 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY: David Shuster, MSNBC correspondent
    • GEORGE ALLEN INCIDENT: Mike Stark, liberal blogger

    Herr Olbermann boomed his way through the opening spiel: Kerry's personal (on a web page) apology, why "Mister" Bush "should apologize to the troops", a plug for tonight's Speshul Komment [1], and Ann Coulter under investigation. The apology was the top story, with Olby predictably framing the whole war of words as a "deliberate misinterpretation" of a joke, and plugging his Speshul Komment [2]. KO played a clip of Kerry being self-serving with Don Imus (no, not the part when Imus tells him to just "stop"--you know Keith better than that!).

    Olby showed a chart about growing sectarian violence in Iraq, without noting that it was a snapshot of the situation at the height of Ramadan fighting, and that since then the violence has been decreased and a current chart would look very different. Fineman, Pundit for All Occasions, made predictions about Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity milking the Kerry kerfuffle. He said "it's clear" Kerry was trying to joke, and the White House took the ball and ran with it. Then Howie went off the reservation a bit, blaming Kerry's handling of the situation for extending its news cycle viability. Olbermoronn brought up Rumsfeld and Cheney being kept for the rest of the term, and (Rule #1) asked if it was bad for Republicans and good for Democrats. Fineman delivered: "I think it is". Naturally, he got great thansked.


    After a plug for the Speshul Komment [3], the #4 story was politics. Cue the multiple-discredited David Shuster. Republicans lose 17-25 in the House. Virginia finds Webb "slightly ahead of George Allen according to the latest polls". Karl Rove is certain to be indicted. Wait a second. Back up there. Webb is ahead in the latest polls? How can this be, when a survey released just today shows George Allen up by three points? Slippery Shuster delivers again. Since his "report" included at least one identifiable nugget of genuine misinformation, he naturally got great thanksed by The Great and Powerful Olb.

    After oddball, Olby teased his Speshul Komment [4] then came to the #3 story of the day: "roughed up". All Mike Stark wanted to do is "ask his senator a question": "did you spit on your first wife?" (Clearly one of the burning issues of the day.) Olbermoronn never addressed any issues of trespass, instead characterizing the altercation as "manhandling" and possibly "outright assault". Stark himself took the seat of honor for a probing, incisive interview.

    Stop the tivo! "Fat Ass" Olbermann is on his high horse about a heckler being roughed up? He's so outraged that he devotes an entire segment to the incident, even bringing on the Kossack "victim" for a supine, fawning interview? He must really object to this sort of tactic. Well, that depends. Recall his friend Al Franken, at a Howard Dean event? Stuart Smalley took it on himself to grab a heckler, slam him to the ground, and have him ejected. Tim Russert was there and watched with admiration. How did Monkeymann cover this fracas? Did he interview the protestor? Did he rail about "manhandling" and "outright assault"? Um, not exactly. Truth be told, Edward R Olbermann never reported that "manhandling" and "outright assault" at all.

    But we digress. KO speculated about how thick the glass was and was it "possible" he could have gone through it? (Note to Olby: anything is possible.) The obligatory Bill O'Reilly references were included, several blue blogs were dutifully plugged, Herr Olbermann read passages from a book by Allen's estranged sister, and--needless to say--no one from the Allen campaign was permitted to appear. Gee, if only Stark had been a victim of Al Franken. This interview would never have run at all!

    Another plug for the SK [5], there was some rerun video from the network mothership, followed by "Coultergeist" and her voting residence, Madonna, and a plug for the SK [6] about "the President's latest lie". In the "worst person" segment, Republicans and Diebold got named, along with free advertising for HBO's documentary with Bev Harris. Yes, the same Bev Harris that Olbermann once ridiculed, but now devotes precious airtime to plugging. Monkeymann knows where his blue blog bread is buttered.


    And finally, held for the last possible Nielsen minute, the latest Speshul Komment [see APPENDIX below]. Complete with head moves, stentorian tones, one "sir" after another--and the obligatory turns to Camera 3 at the precisely scripted moments. Most bizarre moment: Rev Olbermann attempted to blame Republicans for the anthrax attacks by claiming they were aimed at "critics of your administration". Um, like the Murdoch-owned New York Post?!? Update: Oh, wait. He's not talking about the real anthrax attacks. He's only worked up about the fake one that he got. It matters not to him that within days of his fake anthrax letter, another one was received at a California radio station. KO never talks about that. Why? Because it's a conservative talk station. They are not "critics of the administration". So there goes another Krazy Keith Konspiracy shot all to hell.

    Olby bent over backwards to concoct the most benign possible interpretation for the words of John Kerry. This is a deference and a benefit of the doubt he has never extended to Ann Coulter. Or John Gibson. Or Trent Lott? Or Rush Limbaugh. Or Bill O'Reilly. Or "Mister" Bush. The root of Keith's Speshul Komment is encapsulated here:

    Mr. Bush and his minions responded, by appearing to be too stupid to realize that they had been called stupid. They demanded Kerry apologize to the troops in Iraq.

    Stupid. It's "stupid" to be critical of what Kerry said. It's "stupid" to take what Kerry said as referring to the troops. It's "stupid" to ask him to apologize. So who, exactly, is the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann calling "stupid"? This is just a partial list:

    • The Reuters News Agency is stupid (reported Kerry "saying college students could 'get stuck in Iraq' if they do not study hard.")
    • The Pasadena Star-News is stupid (as above).
    • Harold Ford (D) is stupid ("he needs to apologize")
    • Hillary Clinton (D) is stupid ("inappropriate")
    • John Murtha (D) is stupid (Kerry "needs to explain")
    • Claire McCaskill (D) is stupid ("a dumb thing to say and he should apologize")
    • Jon Tester (D) is stupid ("just plain stupid; he owes our troops and their families and apology")
    • Bruce Braley (D) is stupid (cancelled a Kerry appearance over "inappropriate" comments)
    • Mary Landrieu (D) is stupid ("careless, callous, and hurtful")
    • General Wesley Clark (D) is stupid ("a bad comment")
    • The American Legion is stupid ("false and outrageous...he should apologize")
    • The AmVets are stupid ("ridiculous and appalling...apologize immediately")
    • Paul Reickhoff, executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, an honored Countdown guest just two days ago, now suddenly is stupid ("Kerry should issue an immediate apology for his misguided and inappropriate remarks")

    Keith Olbermann would have you believe all of these people are minions of "Mister" Bush. All of them are stupid, but Edward R Olbermann has a monopoly on the truth. Even after a decidedly bipartisan outcry erupted over Kerry's statements, Olbermoronn bent over backwards to whitewash them. Even after Kerry himself issued an apology, KO ridiculed the very notion that anyone should request one. You want "stupid"? That's stupid.


    Quiescent canines: The Pentagon is opening an investigation into leaks of classified information that could even lead to criminal charges, but KO didn't bother to report on it. Likewise, he's reluctant to relay any negative news about his hero Hugo Chavez, so he spiked the news that Venezuela is now out of the race for a seat on the UN Security Council. So quickly did Olby lose interest in the California wild fires that he hasn't even done the minimal follow-up regarding the arrest made yesterday. Oops, no time for that. And the discredited sports guy still has avoided any mention of Harold Ford's (D) outlandish claim that Democrats love the Lord, but Republicans don't. But the biggest dog that didn't bark is a photograph, a photograph that fearless, ace journalist Keith Olbermann didn't dare show:


    Those "stupid" US troops. Why does Keith Olbermann hate them?


    Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name sunk even further to #440 in sales at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" is #11. At Barnes & Noble, the OlbyTome circles the drain at #2,405, while O'Reilly's best-seller stands at #22. Meltdown had a good night on Tuesday, making it into second place, even though The Factor more than doubled Olby's audience. Tonight's MisterMeter reading: 10 [SEVERE]

    APPENDIX: Keith's Speshul Komment:

    On the 22nd of May, 1856, as the deteriorating American political system veered toward the edge of the cliff, U.S. Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina shuffled into the Senate of this nation, his leg stiff from an old dueling injury, supported by a cane. And he looked for the familiar figure of the prominent senator from Massachusetts, Charles Sumner.

    Brooks found Sumner at his desk, mailing out copies of a speech he had delivered three days earlier -- a speech against slavery.

    The congressman matter-of-factly raised his walking stick in midair and smashed its metal point across the senator's head.

    Congressman Brooks hit his victim repeatedly. Sen. Sumner somehow got to his feet and tried to flee. Brooks chased him and delivered untold blows to Sumner's head. Even though Sumner lay unconscious and bleeding on the Senate floor, Brooks finally stopped beating him only because his cane finally broke.

    Others will cite John Brown's attack on the arsenal at Harper's Ferry as the exact point after which the Civil War became inevitable.

    In point of fact, it might have been the moment, not when Brooks broke his cane over the prostrate body of Sen. Sumner -- but when voters in Brooks' district started sending him new canes.

    Tonight, we almost wonder to whom President Bush will send the next new cane.

    There is tonight no political division in this country that he and his party will not exploit, nor have not exploited; no anxiety that he and his party will not inflame.

    There is no line this president has not crossed -- nor will not cross -- to keep one political party in power.

    He has spread any and every fear among us in a desperate effort to avoid that which he most fears -- some check, some balance against what has become not an imperial, but a unilateral presidency.

    And now it is evident that it no longer matters to him whether that effort to avoid the judgment of the people is subtle and nuanced or laughably transparent.

    Sen. John Kerry called him out Monday.

    He did it two years too late.

    He had been too cordial -- just as Vice President Gore had been too cordial in 2000, just as millions of us have been too cordial ever since.

    Sen. Kerry, as you well know, spoke at a college in Southern California. With bitter humor he told the students that he had been in Texas the day before, that President Bush used to live in that state, but that now he lives in the state of denial.

    He said the trip had reminded him about the value of education -- that "if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you can get stuck in Iraq."

    The senator, in essence, called Mr. Bush stupid.

    The context was unmistakable: Texas; the state of denial; stuck in Iraq. No interpretation required.

    And Mr. Bush and his minions responded by appearing to be too stupid to realize that they had been called stupid.

    They demanded Kerry apologize to the troops in Iraq.

    And so he now has.

    That phrase -- "appearing to be too stupid" -- is used deliberately, Mr. Bush.

    Because there are only three possibilities here.

    One, sir, is that you are far more stupid than the worst of your critics have suggested; that you could not follow the construction of a simple sentence; that you could not recognize your own life story when it was deftly summarized; that you could not perceive it was the sad ledger of your presidency that was being recounted.

    This, of course, compliments you, Mr. Bush, because even those who do not "make the most of it," who do not "study hard," who do not "do their homework," and who do not "make an effort to be smart" might still just be stupid, but honest.

    No, the first option, sir, is, at best, improbable. You are not honest.

    The second option is that you and those who work for you deliberately twisted what Sen. Kerry said to fit your political template; that you decided to take advantage of it, to once again pretend that the attacks, solely about your own incompetence, were in fact attacks on the troops or even on the nation itself.

    The third possibility is, obviously, the nightmare scenario: that the first two options are in some way conflated.

    That it is both politically convenient for you and personally satisfying to you, to confuse yourself with the country for which, sir, you work.

    A brief reminder, Mr. Bush: You are not the United States of America.

    You are merely a politician whose entire legacy will have been a willingness to make anything political; to have, in this case, refused to acknowledge that the insult wasn't about the troops, and that the insult was not even truly about you either, that the insult, in fact, is you.

    So now John Kerry has apologized to the troops; apologized for the Republicans' deliberate distortions.

    Thus, the president will now begin the apologies he owes our troops, right?

    This president must apologize to the troops for having suggested, six weeks ago, that the chaos in Iraq, the death and the carnage, the slaughtered Iraqi civilians and the dead American service personnel, will, to history, "look like just a comma."

    This president must apologize to the troops because the intelligence he claims led us into Iraq proved to be undeniably and irredeemably wrong.

    This president must apologize to the troops for having laughed about the failure of that intelligence at a banquet while our troops were in harm's way.

    This president must apologize to the troops because the streets of Iraq were not strewn with flowers and its residents did not greet them as liberators.

    This president must apologize to the troops because his administration ran out of "plan" after barely two months.

    This president must apologize to the troops for getting 2,815 of them killed.

    This president must apologize to the troops for getting this country into a war without a clue.

    And Mr. Bush owes us an apology for this destructive and omnivorous presidency.

    We will not receive them, of course.

    This president never apologizes.

    Not to the troops.

    Not to the people.

    Nor will those henchmen who have echoed him.

    In calling him a "stuffed suit," Sen. Kerry was wrong about the press secretary.

    Mr. Snow's words and conduct, falsely earnest and earnestly false, suggest he is not "stuffed," he is inflated.

    And in leaving him out of the equation, Sen. Kerry gave an unwarranted pass to his old friend Sen. John McCain, who should be ashamed of himself tonight.

    He rolled over and pretended Kerry had said what he obviously had not.

    Only, the symbolic stick he broke over Kerry's head came in a context even more disturbing.

    Mr. McCain demanded the apology while electioneering for a Republican congressional candidate in Illinois.

    He was speaking of how often he had been to Walter Reed Hospital to see the wounded Iraq veterans, of how "many of them have lost limbs."

    He said all this while demanding that the voters of Illinois reject a candidate who is not only a wounded Iraq veteran, but who lost two limbs there, Tammy Duckworth.

    Support some of the wounded veterans. But bad-mouth the Democratic one.

    And exploit all the veterans and all the still-serving personnel in a cheap and tawdry political trick to try to bury the truth: that John Kerry said the president had been stupid.

    And to continue this slander as late as this morning -- as biased or gullible or lazy newscasters nodded in sleep-walking assent.

    Sen. McCain became a front man in a collective lie to break sticks over the heads of Democrats -- one of them his friend, another his fellow veteran, legless, for whom he should weep and applaud or at minimum about whom he should stay quiet.

    That was beneath the senator from Arizona.

    And it was all because of an imaginary insult to the troops that his party cynically manufactured out of a desperation and a futility as deep as that of Congressman Brooks, when he went hunting for Sen. Sumner.

    This is our beloved country now as you have redefined it, Mr. Bush.

    Get a tortured Vietnam veteran to attack a decorated Vietnam veteran in defense of military personnel whom that decorated veteran did not insult.

    Or, get your henchmen to take advantage of the evil lingering dregs of the fear of miscegenation in Tennessee, in your party's advertisements against Harold Ford.

    Or, get the satellites who orbit around you, like Rush Limbaugh, to exploit the illness -- and the bipartisanship -- of Michael J. Fox. Yes, get someone to make fun of the cripple.

    Oh, and sir, don't forget to drag your own wife into it.

    "It's always easy," she said of Mr. Fox's commercials -- and she used this phrase twice -- "to manipulate people's feelings."

    Where on earth might the first lady have gotten that idea, Mr. President?

    From your endless manipulation of people's feelings about terrorism?

    "However they put it," you said Monday of the Democrats, on the subject of Iraq, "their approach comes down to this: The terrorists win, and America loses."

    No manipulation of feelings there.

    No manipulation of the charlatans of your administration into the only truth-tellers.

    No shocked outrage at the Kerry insult that wasn't; no subtle smile as the first lady silently sticks the knife in Michael J. Fox's back; no attempt on the campaign trail to bury the reality that you have already assured that the terrorists are winning.

    Winning in Iraq, sir.

    Winning in America, sir.

    There we have chaos -- joint U.S.-Iraqi checkpoints at Sadr City, the base of the radical Shiite militias, and the Americans have been ordered out by the prime minister of Iraq … and our secretary of defense doesn't even know about it!

    And here we have deliberate, systematic, institutionalized lying and smearing and terrorizing -- a code of deceit that somehow permits a president to say, "If you listen carefully for a Democrat plan for success, they don't have one."

    Permits him to say this while his plan in Iraq has amounted to a twisted version of the advice once offered to Lyndon Johnson about his Iraq, called Vietnam.

    Instead of "declare victory and get out" we now have "declare victory and stay indefinitely."

    And also here -- we have institutionalized the terrorizing of the opposition.

    True domestic terror:

    Critics of your administration in the media receive letters filled with fake anthrax.

    Braying newspapers applaud or laugh or reveal details the FBI wished kept quiet, and thus impede or ruin the investigation.

    A series of reactionary columnists encourages treason charges against a newspaper that published "national security information" that was openly available on the Internet.

    One radio critic receives a letter threatening the revelation of as much personal information about her as can be obtained and expressing the hope that someone will then shoot her with an AK-47 machine gun.

    And finally, a critic of an incumbent Republican senator, a critic armed with nothing but words, is attacked by the senator's supporters and thrown to the floor in full view of television cameras as if someone really did want to re-enact the intent -- and the rage -- of the day Preston Brooks found Sen. Charles Sumner.

    Of course, Mr. President, you did none of these things.

    You instructed no one to mail the fake anthrax, nor undermine the FBI's case, nor call for the execution of the editors of the New York Times, nor threaten to assassinate Stephanie Miller, nor beat up a man yelling at Sen. George Allen, nor have the first lady knife Michael J. Fox, nor tell John McCain to lie about John Kerry.

    No, you did not.

    And the genius of the thing is the same as in King Henry's rhetorical question about Archbishop Thomas Becket: "Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?"

    All you have to do, sir, is hand out enough new canes.

    Posted by johnny dollar | Permalink | Comments (303) | | View blog reactions
    Remember "Mike from Orlando"? He's baaack too.

    OlbyWatch readers will be sure and remember Mike Stark of "callingallwingnuts" who organized OlbyLoons to call into Bill O'Reilly's radio show in an effort to get Olbermann's name on The Radio Factor prompting O'Reilly to say "if you're listening, Mike, we have your phone number, and we're going to turn it over to Fox security, and you'll be getting a little visit."

    Olbermann then booked "Mike from Orlando" who told lurid tales of receiving a voice mail from Fox Security.

    And now, just like his idol Keith Olbermann, Mike Stark has now made a splash in the Virginia Senate race after doing his best Michael Moore impersonation:

    A heckler who confronted Sen. George Allen at a campaign appearance Tuesday was put in a chokehold and slammed to the floor by three of the Republican's supporters in an incident captured on video. Mike Stark, a liberal blogger and first-year University of Virginia law student, approached Allen at an event in Charlottesville, loudly asking, "Why did you spit at your first wife, George?" according to witnesses.

    Video here.

    Stark joins Bev Harris among OlbyPals making news today.

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (49) | | View blog reactions
    Remember Bev Harris? She's baaaack!

    Just how far out on the fringe do you need to be to be publicly disowned by... Keith Olbermann... Democratic

    Apparently not far enough for HBO which is dedicating the week before the election to Harris and her discredited "Black Box" conspiracy theories. And not far enough for MSNBC which today booked Harris to discuss electronic voting with Norah O'Donnell as she promotes her upcoming HBO Documentary Hacking Democracy:

    In 2002, Seattle grandmother and writer Bev Harris asked officials in her county why they had acquired electronic touch screen systems for their elections. Unsatisfied with their explanation, she set out to learn about electronic voting machines on her own.

    Got that? She's just a humble little "Seattle grandmother". Of course, long time OlbermannWatch readers will recall that it was Harris who led the vote fraud conspiracy ring championed by Keith Olbermann in the wake of John Kerry's loss in the 2004 Presidential Election - the far-left wacko who quickly wore out her welcome with her vitriolic, over the top rants and embarrassing stunts and was eventually shunned by the OlbyLoons, DUmmies and BlackBoxers.

    Here are a few Bev Harris highlights from 2004... disowns Bev Harris

    Reminder - We are NOT affiliated with Bev Harris

    Democratic Underground disowns Bev Harris

    Ms. Harris threatened us [Democratic Underground] with a libel lawsuit, claiming that we could be held responsible for comments made by other message board members who doubted the credibility of her project. She never followed through on this threat and we never heard from her lawyers.

    ...leading to a "civil war" in the DU forums.

    Keith Olbermann publicly disavowed Bev Harris on Bloggerman after weeks of negotating to air video Harris claiming to show original voting tapes discarded in the trash in Florida by the Palm Beach County elections office which never materialized. Keith wrote:

    I have heretofore been convinced that she had credentials sufficient to make an interview segment with her both useful and reasonable...My ample gut has lately sent me a different message, and her showdown with Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Theresa LePore on Monday seemed to buttress my instinct. She burst into LePore's retirement ceremony, her cameraman rolling tape as she did so, and she raced to the podium to announce to the shocked room full of supervisors that she was "serving" LePore with papers as part of her lawsuits over what she claims are LePore's evasions in providing records of the 2004 vote.

    In what now seems a prescient statement, Olbermann adds:

    What Ms. Harris has left herself open to is a charge that as much as any interest she has in the justifiable public concern over our most precious right - the right to a reliable, honest election - she may also have an interest in making her own documentary, on her own schedule, for her own purposes (emphasis added).

    What Ms. Harris has also left herself - and by extension anybody who is advocating investigation, or merely covering the story - open to, is the charge of grandstanding, of tin-foil hatting, of being somebody who bursts in to a room and screams at public officials, videotape running all the time, artificially creating news.

    Bev Harris was involved with both Votergate and Hacking Democracy. If someone wants to do a comparison, I'd be interested to know if there are any further connections between the two "documentaries" other than Bev Harris participating in both, her efforts on behalf of Votergate and now doing TV appearances to promote the HBO production. Are both using footage of Bev Harris stunts? Staffing? Financing?

    Olbermann's backpedaling on Bev Harris (he had originally booked her to appear on November 8th, 2004, in the first few days after the election) was similiar to backpedaling from David Allen of Plan Nine Publishing who also runs Allen was Bev Harris's publisher., rub by Allen, originally claimed that there was NO connection between and Bev Harris (Allen was the connection) but as you can see the still contained a web page with a hyerlink to a "Bev Harris" section of the site (since removed).

    Bev Harris responded to Olbermann by publishing threats, accusations and demands on her web site, changed her mind and took them down, put up a new version and then took that down.

    All of this prompted Olbermann to go public again:

    [Today, Bev Harris] was so belligerent, threatening, and demanding, that we have chosen to withdraw our invitation to her to appear, or to have videotape of her efforts played, on Countdown. Threats against myself or my staff will not be tolerated.

    OlbermannWatch obtained copies of an email exchange purported to be with Olbermann where he goes into greater details as to Bev Harris' behavior.

    It was about this time that Bev Harris began to claim that George Bush was reading her book prompting disbelief even among the BlackBoxers.

    It was at this point, about a month after the 2004 election, that Olbermann acknowledged just how far off the deep end he had gone in chasing the blackbox crowd:

    we remain the only mainstream news organization to continue to cover this vital people...are running professional risks I can't begin to describe

    Things finally hit rock bottom when Bev Harris finally made her first appearance on an NBC channel - CNBC. Given her total lack of credibility, even on the fringes of the far left, you will not be surprised who invited her to appear on air [hint: think "scream"]

    As you consider this, you might also ask why Bev Harris is out promoting a "documentary" for HBO when she has repeatedly denied being involved in making any films. Her role promoting the film is inexplicable given that she is an interview subject in the film Unless, of course, Olbermann was right all along and that has been orchestrating the production of a propaganda film since 2004.

    Dare I say it? Looks like Keith Olbermann was RIGHT for once!

    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (8) | | View blog reactions