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As revealed by Olbermannwatch, a Playboy editor decided that in the face of an avalanche of negative reaction to their interview with Keith Olbermann, he would seek a pro-Olbermann letter in support of Olby from none other than an unabashed and biased Olbermann fan. Said Olbyloon could not resist the temptation of bragging about this breach of journalistic ethics (they even let her use a fake name). A flood of websites TVNewser, MediaBistroFishbowl NYC, Inside Cable News, Gawker, Jossip, Huffington Post, Newsbusters, and finally, the NY Daily News (Page Six). picked up on the story-they too were shocked that a major magazine would attempt to prop up the decidely unpopular opinionator who disguses himself as a journalist and his biased tv program as a "news show". Well, both the Playboy Editor and the Olbyloon have responded. And my what a tangled web they weave.
The New York Post reported this morning, following a bunch of hysterical blog postings, that I asked the editor of a Keith Olbermann fan site to respond with a letter to our Interview with the man that appeared in the October issue. Well, faithful Playboy reader, it's true! I invited Becky Last-Name-Not-Public-Knowledge over at BloggingOlbermann.com to read the Interview (she may have already done so) and write a letter if she felt so inspired.
"So inspired?" Yeah, sure. Like you didn't think if you made a request she wouldn't do it to promote the notion that people actually liked the interview with her beloved Olbermann? And what choice did you have but to admit it? Becky had already spilled on you!
Two quick points: (1) I didn't tell her to make her letter "gushing."
No, he didn't want a "gushing" letter-it's why he chose a fan to write it!
In fact, she wrote a smart response and we were glad to have it.
Glad to have it? Hell son, you soliticed for it--I guess you were glad to have it because you desperately needed and wanted someone to write a pro-Olbermann letter for you!
I try to include a variety of views in the letters pages because I know from experience that people who agree with something are less likely to write, and this is born out by the fact we have since gotten letters from K.O. lovers who can't believe all the K.O. haters who wrote.
So why not just wait and run those letters in NEXT month's Playboy? Why take the unusual step of soliciting the owner of a fan blog to write that support letter?
Anyone who actually reads Playboy, rather than just posting snide comments about it (that "for the articles" joke is so clever! More, please), can't be too surprised. We have invited experts who might not otherwise see the magazine to comment, in whatever way they see fit, in our letters pages since the 1960s. It makes for a more spirited debate.
So tell us, do you often allow them to remain anonymous while doing so? And "experts"? Is that how we classify girly fans now? And someone identifying himself as a past guest on Olbermann's show and a journalist himself and regular Playboy reader, did find it all a bit unusual and had this to say about the little charade:
Even though I enjoyed the Olbermann interview, and in fact have been a guest on his MSNBC show, as a journalist I'm troubled by the solicitation of a letter in order to "balance out" the response on the "Dear Playboy" page to a certain section or article. I'm not naive to the fact that this isn't the first time Playboy editors have done this, or that Playboy is far from the only publication to do it. But is it the job of the editor to make sure that there's balance on the letters page if the balance isn't naturally there, without asking to chime in, no matter how expert they are? I'm not sure about that.
But super-Olbyloon fan "Becky" just can't seem to shut-up. She just has to post this interesting bit of info related to the whole Playboy scam. Even she admits she found the entire episode somewhat suspect!
After I got over the initial shock of, "who, me?" when the request came, I did think it was a bit odd. I don't know diddly about how these things work though.
Really now? But yet you seemed so familiar with these kind of matters and that using a pen name wasn't in the least unusual! So which is it? Ignorant or savvy? Or just willing to break rules when they apply to Olbermann?
There were two conditions that would have given me pause: if I had been requested to not mention the circumstances of my involvement or if writing under a pseudonym was a problem. Since Mr. Rowe had no qualms about my disclosing anything save for his email address, I didn't think about my concerns again. After all, I wasn't dealing with the National Enquirer here.
Oh well, just so long as they met your PERSONAL standards, I guess it's okay then. But now that we know that Playboy does allow pseudonyms in their letters to the editor I guess the National Enquirer is looking a little better these days.
I realize that it sounds like a conspiracy theory for me to think that this was some wingnut sending tips. But I have been on this block too long with my ear too close to the ground to be able to think otherwise.
Ahhh--another fine example of Olbyloon paranoia, up close and personal. They have yet to uncover any site that openly solicited for negative letters to the Olbermann Playboy interview but yet they remain convinced it happened, despite the utter lack of evidence that it did!
When I say that this blog is obscure, I mean that if you Google "olbermann" it doesn't come up until somewhere around page 12. And while traffic here is good enough for it to be a "mid-level" blog by Technorati's standards, that doesn't mean much more than I've got people besides my friends and family reading it.
Yes "Becky" about that-how is it that Playboy found YOUR obscure little website? After all, some of your competitors have placed Google ads to have THEIR sites come up before yours. Why was YOURS chosen? Might it have been at the suggestion of say. .. one Keith Olbermann or someone on the Countdown staff? In fact looking at some of the other Olbyloon sites, they seem a bit miffed that no one asked them to do the same for him.
The idea that this was some sort of round robin, each outlet cribbing it from the next, is fine. Except pro blogs will always cite where it came from, like NY Magazine and Conde Nast Traveller did today in citing Page Six. By and large those cites weren't in place, making me reasonably sure that this wasn't a game of Follow the Leader. (I won't go into how this morning's spate of nasty taunts full of the usual code words has corresponded to a larger than usual influx of site referrals from webmail.)
We have no idea on earth what this woman is talking about here. The links we saw clearly lead to her website or cited another when talking about this incident. (But thanks for pointing out two links we'd missed earlier). Yet "Becky" still insists it was part of some vast, right-wing conspiracy. And "code words"? Gee what would those be exactly-those websites quoting exactly what she admitted to doing?
I never wanted ERT to be big and if I did, infamy is certainly not the path I would have chosen to achieve that.
Relax honey, your web stats prove that your blog is indeed only seen by a select few fans. It seems your site has more "editors" than actual readers. And infamy? No dear, that's saved for the likes of your beloved Keith Olbermann who sincerely seems to believe that Fox News is worse than the terrorists who crashed into the WTC on 9/11.
Yes, I have found the entire situation to be hella amusing. It's also been exhausting, as I am quite uncomfortable with attention. If I hadn't kept a sense of humor about it all I would have ended up hiding under my blankets. I'm sorry you see it as basking, I'm just trying to make the best of being thrust into a very strange situation.
Yes, it's all very strange indeed. And you poor, shy, retiring thing. Posting on the Playboy blog must have been such a difficult thing for you to do seeing how you just hate drawing attention to yourself. And I know it must have been so terribly difficult for you to make the decision to link to all of those gossip sites on your blog who carried the story because as we know, you're not in this for any kind of attention. Why it must have been just hell for you to use the opportunity to welcome your influx of new visitors and then encourage them to stay-what with it being your desire to keep your blog small and unoticed and everything.
Oh-and one more bit of Olbyloon BS to expose while I'm at it today: This letter from "Houstonian" who is also a regular at Democratic Underground appeared at Becky-Using-A-Fake-Name's website:
KO's supporters (and editors of this blog) would never attempt to look up a person's e-mail address, check out the commentator's background, attack that person or that person's family, just because they have a different viewpoint about Keith Olbermann. That's what makes the Playboy incident necessary.
KO's supporters would NEVER look up a person's email address, check out their background, attack that person or their family? Hmm. Tell that to the Blogger at Tom Paine who wrote a piece on Olbermann's overt sexist remarks. Not only did the DUmmies track down the woman's email, they also found her personal blog and began an organized campaign to send her nasty emails! Truth is just so. . . inconvienient sometimes isn't it?