Olbermann Depicted Limbaugh as Gun Target, But Accuses Beck of Inciting Shootings

Keith Olbermann, whose Countdown show once depicted an image of Rush Limbaugh as a target of gunfire, on Tuesday accused FNC host Glenn Beck of inspiring the recent murder of three police officers in Pittsburgh by Richard Poplawski, and of "personally encouraging Americans to shoot other Americans." (Video of the June 27, 2006, Countdown show with Limbaugh as a target of gunfire can be found here.)

Blaming Beck for inciting fear of a gun ban, Olbermann linked the FNC host to the shooting in several plugs. In one example, he referred to Beck as "Harold Hill": "Harold Hill keeps telling the bumpkins that Obama is going to take their guns away. One of them shoots and kills three policemen because he`s convinced Obama is going to take his guns away. Harold Hill does not see the connection." After several plugs in which he suggested the gunman was reacting to Beck’s show, Olbermann pulled back only slightly from the accusation as he concluded his "Worst Person in the World" segment:

You, Glenn Beck, you personally are encouraging Americans to shoot other Americans. Maybe, especially if you're right about your religion, maybe not this psychotic in Pittsburgh. Maybe he is not your fault. I hope not. But what about the next one, Glenn? You want to cry about something on television. Cry about the next one. Beg him to ignore you. Beg the kids the next one orphans to forgive you.

Also during the show’s "Worst Person" segment, the MSNBC host slammed the NRA for recruiting at a Louisville gun shoot where some event participants were selling controversial anti-Obama T-shirts. Olbermann:

And this message to the NRA: If you do not want your organization to become synonymous with racism, treason, hatred, paranoia and political assassination fantasies, you'd better do something and fast. Oh, and murdering policemen. I forgot. If you don`t want your organization to become synonymous with murdering policemen-

Olbermann’s attack on Glenn and the NRA was based a quote from a friend of the Pittsburgh gunman, who related that Poplawski was afraid that President Obama would enact a gun ban, and the MSNBC host assumed the gunman’s actions were motivated by a fear of gun control, even though the police officers were called to the gunman’s home by his mother because she was involved in a domestic dispute with her son. Olbermann: "Richard Poplawski killed three Pittsburgh policemen on Saturday because he was afraid of, a friend said, quote, ‘the Obama gun ban that`s on the way,’ and he, quote, ‘didn`t like our rights being infringed upon.’"

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Tuesday, April 7, Countdown show on MSNBC:

KEITH OLBERMANN, IN OPENING TEASER: Worsts: After offering his viewers a place where you can go meet other people who think like you and think about values and principles, and want to do something to take your country back, and talking about the attack on gun owners and the Second Amendment in jeopardy, Harold Hill over here is shocked -- shocked that he would be linked to the man who killed three Pittsburgh policemen because he feared, quote, "the Obama gun ban that`s on the way."

...

OLBERMANN, DURING COMMERCIAL BREAK AT 8:15 P.M.: And in Worsts: Glenn Beck tells viewers to rise up, take the country back, and defend their guns against the ban that is all in his head. So a psychotic shoots three policemen because he fears a gun ban, and Beck sees no connection between these things.

...

OLBERMANN, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK AT 8:23 P.M.: So we`ve bailed out the auto industry and this is G.M.`s new product with which it will save itself and pay us back and we are screwed. Speaking of which, Harold Hill keeps telling the bumpkins that Obama is going to take their guns away. One of them shoots and kills three policemen because he`s convinced Obama is going to take his guns away. Harold Hill does not see the connection.

...

OLBERMANN, DURING COMMERCIAL BREAK AT 8:41 P.M.: First the "Worst": And he incites violence, then there is violence, then he does not see the possibility of any connection. We’ll venture inside the mind of Glenn Beck. Don’t wear your good shoes.

...

OLBERMANN, AT 8:45 P.M.: Runner up, the unidentified sellers of this "Hitler Gave Great Speeches, Too" T-shirt. They told the "Washington Independent" that they had sold out of three boxes of the shirt by 3:00 pm Saturday at the Nob Creek Machine Gun Shoot outside Louisville. The gun shoot, at which new members were being recruited by the National Rifle Association. And this message to the NRA: If you do not want your organization to become synonymous with racism, treason, hatred, paranoia and political assassination fantasies, you’d better do something and fast. Oh, and murdering policemen. I forgot. If you don`t want your organization to become synonymous with murdering policemen-

Bringing us to our winner, Harold Hill -- I`m sorry, Glenn Beck. Richard Poplawski killed three Pittsburgh policemen on Saturday because he was afraid of, a friend said, quote, "the Obama gun ban that`s on the way." And he, quote, "didn`t like our rights being infringed upon." When several Web sites correctly pointed out that this sounded awfully like one of Beck`s hysterical rantings or maybe his interview last month with the head of the NRA, Beck immediately went back to his normal speed – high, stupid, dudgeon.

"Blaming anyone except that nut job for what happened in Pittsburgh is crazy. Police officers over the weekend were killed by a crazy with a gun. And blaming anybody else besides him is like blaming the flight attendant after a terrorist takes down a plane. Giving passengers a nice little safety talk to prepare them doesn`t mean you’re responsible should a terrorist actually make that worst case scenario happen."

Ah, see, here’s where you go wrong. You’re not the flight attendant on the plane. Thanks for invoking that image again. You, Beck, are one of the cowards, safely on the ground, telling the nut job on the plane it’s time to, quote, rise up. You remember March 19, right? Actually, you probably don`t.

"The Second Amendment is under fire. We knew that they were going to try to bring the assault weapon ban back, but now they’re blaming it on Mexico. The 9/12 Project, which is kind of a grassroots thing where you can go meet other people who think like you and think about values and principles and want to do something to take your country back."

And then you proceeded to read a letter from a woman who said that since the election, she’d gone out and bought a handgun and joined the NRA. So when you talk about taking your country back, and then you read letters from people who are stockpiling guns, do you think these things are unconnected? That people even crazier than you, who you are encouraging to do something to take your country back, that they have bought these guns as paperweights? They’ve bought them to shoot other people with.

You, Glenn Beck, you personally are encouraging Americans to shoot other Americans. Maybe, especially if you’re right about your religion, maybe not this psychotic in Pittsburgh. Maybe he is not your fault. I hope not. But what about the next one, Glenn? You want to cry about something on television. Cry about the next one. Beg him to ignore you. Beg the kids the next one orphans to forgive you. Glenn Beck, today`s "Worst Person in the World."