Since April 8 of this year, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann has called former Governor Sarah Palin an "idiot" 22 times on his Countdown show, usually by uttering the words, "That woman is an idiot." But in August 2004, the MSNBC host claimed to be too "naive and old-fashioned" to call a woman an "idiot," as he attacked conservative commentator Michelle Malkin for misquoting him as having called her an "idiot," when, in reality, he had charged that she had "made a fool out of herself" instead. In fact, Olbermann contended that if he had in reality called Malkin an "idiot," it would have been grounds for him to apologize:
We at Countdown were preparing an apology for my choice of language last night after the writer Michelle Malkin went on Rush Limbaugh's radio entertainment program and wrote in her Web blog that I had called her a, quote, "idiot." It was Ms. Malkin, who on Hardball last night, raised the accusation that John Kerry's Vietnam wounds may have been self-inflicted. It's naive and old-fashioned, but I feel you should reserve those terms like "idiot" exclusively for men. Political differences, fault or innocence are all secondary. There are codes. There's also a problem. I never called her an idiot.
But since April, the words, "That woman is an idiot," referring to Palin, have become a near regular part of the show, as the Countdown host has called the former governor an "idiot" during 20 episodes of his show between April 8 and July 8, including once when he used the label three times in one show as he also called her "idiot woman" and "that idiot."