Thursday, April 29, 2010

Keith Olbermann and Gutter Journalism

-cross posted from my blog on

Long before anyone even knew who Sarah Palin was, Keith Olbermann was feeding the fire breathing liberal dragon with a voracious appetite for red meat even if that red meat was artificially colored. My first "experience" with Keith Olbermann was a day about three years ago when, after being hounded by a friend to watch shows that present positions that oppose mine, I decided that it would be intellectually honest to take his advice. I caught the end of Hardball before settling in just as Countdown began. The next day, I told my friend that I did what he asked me and I will never do it again.

I didn't mean I would close my mind and just watch Fox News all the time. What I meant was I had learned that understanding the opposition meant looking for opinions justified with logic; and MSNBC was totally the wrong place to go for that. I soon became familiar with Salon and Camille Paglia. I also became a member of the Huffington Post shortly after the 2008 election so that I could be fair and balanced. I found that there are actually intellectually honest liberals out there; but they are far and few between. I admire intellectually honest liberals because, while they have so little facts to work with, they can still argue their points effectively without the need to make stuff up or turn it into a personal attack.

Now I really don't want to get into what happens in the mind of Keith Olbermann while he is in his bathtub. But I will tell you a thought that passed through my head this morning while I was in the shower was a very scary one. Remind me to call my friend and chastise him for letting this demon get into my head. The thought is this: Keith Olbermann wants conservatives like George W. Bush and Sarah Palin to go to jail.

I can't speak for Keith Olbermann. I can only judge him by his words and actions. My better angels tell me that he's just doing schtick to keep the liberals fired up. Behind those clenched teeth and frothing mouth there is a soul that God still loves and that if he saw Sarah Palin laying on the sidewalk in blood that he would walk over and help her. But there is another side of me that I can't dismiss. What if behind those glasses and underneath that well tailored suit there is a soul that Satan has captured? What if the reason why Sarah Palin was laying on the sidewalk in blood was because Keith Olbermann just ran her over with her car?

It all goes back to the first show I watched. "You, Mr. Bush, are a war criminal," Olbermann angrily snarled into the camera. "You, Mr. Bush, should be in jail." Oh my, I thought. This guy is deranged. He wants to put the President of the United States in jail for defending our country?

B.P. (before Palin), George W. Bush was Olbermann's punch doll. He would devise rhetorical ways to twist facts and tap into left wing sources to manufacture "evidence" in such a way that if you weren't totally paying attention you'd think that Bush and Cheney personally went down to Guantanamo Bay and waterboarded every prisoner themselves. Has Keith Olbermann ever directed that kind of vitriol and hatred toward those who knocked down our buildings on September 11th? I haven't seen it. I am open to be corrected if I am wrong.

I'd be curious to see how many times he said Osama bin Laden should go to jail or be bought to justice compared to how many times he said Bush should.

When Sarah Palin hit the scene, Keith Olbermann proved moreso than ever that he was going to become the head of the "destroy Sarah Palin" snake. He quickly befriended the Alaska bloggers and got two of them to appear as guests on his and Rachel Maddow's show. Then a couple of days ago, he used as a source for commentary which led me to that dreadful thought this morning: Keith Olbermann would love it if Sarah Palin went to jail.

Palingates and Olbermann are claiming that Sarah Palin "possibly" perjured herself because she supposedly "denied specifically diverting gubernatorial issues" to the the Yahoo email account that was hacked by David Kernell. While there are varying and disagreeing accounts of her testimony in the media, there is no actual transcript of how the question was exactly worded and how the question was exactly answered. If there is one out there, it doesn't show up in a Google search and no one in the mainstream media has actually provided the direct text.

This post is strictly addressing the journalistic integrity and motives behind why this issue even came up on Olbermann's show. Rather than quote pro-Palin sites or attempt to debunk the perjury claim here, let's be fair and cite a Palingate/Olbermann friendly site, Politicsususa, that assumes an unsubstantiated assertion that the unseen transcript would show that Palin is a liar but not guilty of perjury.

However, the Washington Post’s David Weigel hasn’t seen the transcript, but it looked like she did not perjure herself. The emails that Olbermann discussed were off limits for her testimony.
I'll leave the rest of the debunking of this to the journalistic experts. What this clearly proves is that Olbermann, Palingates and those in the mainstream media who are reporting on this testimony without seeing the transcript are clearly derelict in their duties as journalists and analysts.

A suggestion to the professionals from an amateur: zip it until you have all the facts straight first. It's this shooting from the hip mentality that is the reason why the smear campaign against Sarah Palin isn't working. People are getting immune to stories about "icebergs," federal indictments, divorces, maternity and now perjury charges that never materialize. Add 26 dismissed ethics complaints to this and even if I disagreed with Palin politcally, the most you'd be able to get out of me at this point would be a long drawn out yawn.

As horrible as it may be in today's America where "journalists" like Joe Klein are calling Palin seditious and Keith Olbermann is lobbing journalistic molotov coctail after molotov cocktail at her, nothing is more horrible than gutter journalism that guides people to the notion that fellow Americans are committing criminal acts when it is based on the motives of journalists who dislike their politics.

Imagine if Sean Hannity used a birther website to justify an argument that Barack Obama should go to jail for illegally obtaining the Presidency of the United States.

The fact that Keith Olbermann actually cites Palingates as a worthy source demonstrates how far he is willing to reach for any straw that keeps the liberal strategy of using the politics of personal destruction moving while trying to defeat someone who cannot be defeated in the arena in of ideas.

Based on Olbermann's logic, clearly Bill Clinton should have went to jail for perjury in the Paula Jones case. The only way to not intellectually honestly apply this logic would be to use liberal hypocrisy instead.

For Olbermann, the crafting of words is more important than the facts. The manufacturing of outrage is more important than the truth.
This is a free country. People like Joe Klein and Keith Olbermann are free to believe whatever they want. I don't ask them to agree with me. I don't ask them to agree with Sarah Palin. But inferring fellow citizens may be guilty of jailable offenses like sedition and perjury without due process or actually reading the transcript is beyond just crossing the line. It's media malpractice of the worst kind. This kind of journalism should carry the same stigma as plagiarism. And for that, Mr. Olbermann, you are the worst journalist in the world.

Related story: Embarrassment! Olbermann 'Report' Lifted from Conspiracy Site Falls Apart on Air!

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