On Tuesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann fretted about an Oval Office meeting of President Bush and several conservative talk radio hosts -- verbally tagged by Olbermann as "right-wing radio yackers" and labelled on-screen as the "Legion of Doom" -- as the Countdown host contended that Bush was devoting "90 minutes worth of your taxpayer dollars" to the meeting. And in an amusing faux pas, Olbermann's staff, for the second time in less than a year, accidentally displayed a photograph of former liberal Democratic Senator Max Cleland instead of conservative talk radio host Neal Boortz.
During the show's opening teaser, Olbermann proclaimed: "The born again and the born talkers: The President takes 90 minutes worth of your taxpayer dollars to entertain right-wing radio yackers in the Oval Office, and will set up a radio row for them on the White House grounds next week." (Transcript follows)
On Wednesday's Late Show with David Letterman, guest Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's The Daily Show mimicked President Bush's news conference performance, comparing his style of answering reporters' questions to "an eight-year-old when they didn't read the book." Imitating Bush, Stewart mocked Bush's answer about Dennis Hastert: "Speaker of the House, known him ten years, his father's a coach, he has an epidermis, covers his whole body, he's a mammal..." Stewart went on to joke that while people say "I think President Bush is stupid," that in reality Bush "talks like he's talking to someone who's stupid, which means -- we're stupid." Stewart also remarked that Bush's manner was "becoming particularly odder as it goes along."
On Friday's World News with Charles Gibson, ABC anchor Gibson ran a one-sided story on the lingering dangers to civilians of cluster bombs that were used by the Israeli military in Lebanon. The story, filed by correspondent Wilf Dinnick, promoted the complaints of a UN worker named Jihad Samhat without mentioning his history of vitriolic bias against Israel. As can be seen on his blog, Samhat has referred to the "Israeli terror machine" that is "sponsored by the West," accusing Israel of "barbaric aggression," the "murder of innocent civilians," and committing a "massacre" at Qana. Samhat's blog even charged that Israel "targeted and killed many innocent civilians in their attempt to escape," as if the Israeli military deliberately killed civilians. ABC did not inform viewers of Samhat's history of bias against Israel, instead bolstering him as a "former American soldier" who "works for the UN's Mine Action Center." (Transcripts follow)
Since last week, MSNBC's Countdown show has reached new levels in displaying personal insults as host Keith Olbermann, as well as regular guest Craig Crawford of Congressional Quarterly, have repeatedly made fat jokes about the subjects of their conversation. Both their targets were conservatives – Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes and Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert. While Ailes was at the receiving end several times last week, once directly called "fat ass" by Olbermann, on Monday's show guest Crawford took a cheap shot at Hastert's weight. While discussing the possibility that Republicans would "throw Hastert under the bus" by forcing him to resign over his handling of the Mark Foley sexual abuse scandal, Crawford quipped: "Well, if he fits, if the bus has a lot of clearance." (Transcripts follow)
During an interview aired Friday on CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, when asked by host Deutsch how he would go about fighting terrorism, CNN founder Ted Turner argued that "you don't win people over by bombing them, you win them over by being friends with them," and soon recommended giving Muslim extremists what they want as a solution to terrorism. Turner, who in 2002 claimed that Israelis were guilty of "terrorism" against the Palestinians, on Friday's show advocated "being more even-handed in our dealing with the Palestinians and the Israelis," negotiating peace in the Middle East "so we can stop at some point furnishing military aid to Israel," and "pulling our military forces out of the Middle East." Turner labelled these moves as "things that they've asked of us" and "things that the Muslim extremists and a lot of other Muslims, too, would like to see us do." (Transcript follows)
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MNBC's Keith Olbermann attacked Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes during his regular "Worst Person in the World" segment because Ailes criticized Bill Clinton's angry response to Fox News host Chris Wallace's question about why Clinton failed to capture Osama bin Laden. Olbermann, who just days ago conducted a sympathetic interview with Clinton, attacked the Fox News president for calling Clinton's reaction "an assault on all journalists" as the Countdown host referred to Ailes as "Ming the Merciless," the villainous character from the Flash Gordon series." Olbermann also personally insulted Ailes as "having achieved the perfectly circular shape" as the Countdown host awarded the night's top "Worst Person" dishonor to Ailes. (Transcript follows)
On Friday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann featured an interview with former President Clinton, during which he invited Clinton to attack President Bush, while not challenging the former President. Olbermann again brought up Bush's awkwardly worded statement that it was "unacceptable to think" that the actions of America are similar to those of terrorists, a statement which Olbermann had previously made the subject of two "Special Comment" anti-Bush attacks on his show. Clinton came to Olbermann's defense admitting "I'm more close to where you are," contending that "it's wrong for you to be portrayed as not patriotic." Olbermann also wondered if the "demonizing" of dissent was causing America to "get closer to what the terrorists want for us to change anyway." Olbermann ended on an anti-Fox News note attacking the network for trying to "reprehensively sandbag" Clinton in his interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace: "And our compliments to President Clinton for having today staved off a reprehensible sandbagging by Chris Wallace of what is jokingly referred to as Fox News." (Transcript follows)
In the latest of a series of "Special Comments" attacking members of the Bush administration, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used his Monday Countdown show to make an over-the-top demand for an apology from President Bush for his recent comments that it was "unacceptable to think" the actions of America could be compared to those of terrorists. As recounted by NewsBusters on Friday, Olbermann took an awkwardly worded, off-the-cuff remark by Bush at his Friday press conference, which was more likely intended to mean that it was "ridiculous to claim" a comparison between America and terrorists, and blew it out of proportion as if the comment were an attack on the right to think, and therefore a grave threat to democracy.
On Monday Olbermann chastized Bush for his "unrestrained fury" which the MSNBC host compared to that of a "thwarted three-year-old" who "demonizes dissent." Olbermann fretted about Bush taking America on a "fearful path," and worried about "what will next be done" with Bush's critics in the future. Harkening back to Senators Barry Goldwater and Hugh Scott meeting with former President Richard Nixon to convince him to resign, Olbermann suggested that Republicans similarly need to convince Bush to apologize. (Transcript follows)
Video clip of last two-thirds of Olbermann's eight-minute diatribe (4:45): Real (3 MB at 100 kbps) or Windows Media (3.6 MB at 81 kbps), plus MP3 audio (1.6 MB)
On Friday night's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann renewed his "Special Comment" attack on President Bush, replaying the original comments from Monday's show, and adding a condemnation of Bush for an awkwardly worded, off-the-cuff remark made by the President during Friday's news conference that it is "unacceptable to think" the actions of America can be compared to those of terrorists. Not catching on to the President's likely meaning that it is "ridiculous to claim" the actions of America are similar to those terrorists, Olbermann referred to a favorite topic of his, George Orwell's 1984, as he attacked Bush's "chilling" words. Olbermann: "'It's unacceptable to think.' Sounds like something straight out of George Orwell's 1984. Instead, it was something straight out of George Bush's mouth. ... And not only issuing those chilling words, 'It's unacceptable to think,' but doing so in answer to the call to conscience from his own former Secretary of State, Colin Powell." (Transcript follows)
Appearing with NBC's Matt Lauer on the Today show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann discussed his recent vitriolic attack on President Bush from the September 11 broadcast of his Countdown show, during which Olbermann had accused Bush of a "crime against" 9/11 victims for not accomplishing the construction of a memorial at Ground Zero, and had accused Bush of the "impeachable offense" of "lying by implication" regarding the Iraq War. While Olbermann's inflammatory comments were not quoted by Lauer or Olbermann, the MSNBC host rationalized his rant by comparing it to President Bush's speech to the nation "politicizing 9/11 in his own way." Olbermann: "I might add that I was on the air two minutes before the President was politicizing 9/11 in his own way. I don't see that there's much difference." Olbermann also contended that views similiar to his shared by a segment of the American population were "not being articulated in the mainstream media." Olbermann: "I thought that there was a part of the persona of the nation not really being articulated in the mainstream media." (Transcript follows)
Three days after delivering a "Special Comment" (which can be found with video here) on his Countdown show denouncing President Bush on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann announced that not only will he replay his "Comment" on tomorrow night's Countdown due to being "inundated with your comments and requests," but also announced that he will appear on tomorrow's Today show to "discuss the 'Comment' and other political matters." In Monday night's "Special Comment," Olbermann charged that the President had committed the "impeachable offense" of "lying by implication" to get America into a "fraudulent war" in Iraq, and called the President's "reprehensible inaction" in securing the construction of a memorial at Ground Zero a "crime against" 9/11 victims. It is also likely the MSNBC host will be promoting his recently released book, Worst Person in the World, which is based on a regular segment on Olbermann's show which sometimes features political targets and, according to an MRC study, has targeted conservatives for ridicule eight times as often as liberals. (Transcript follows)
At the very end of Monday's Countdown show, during his latest "Special Comment" (also posted on his Bloggermann Web site) attacking the Bush administration, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann unleashed one of his most vitriolic attacks on the President, accusing him of "lying by implication" to get America into a "fraudulent war" with "needless death" in Iraq, which Olbermann referred to as "an impeachable offense." Olbermann: "The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war on the false premise that it had something to do with 9/11 is lying by implication. The impolite phrase is 'impeachable offense.'" He also bizarrely seemed to blame President Bush for the delays in building a memorial at Ground Zero, as he branded Bush's "reprehensible inaction" as a "crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you [Bush] mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it." After accusing the President of "forgetting the lessons of 9/11," Olbermann obnoxiously concluded: "May this country forgive you." (Transcript follows)
Video of the last two-thirds of Olbermann's nearly nine-minute long rant (5:45): Real (4.4 MB at 100 kbps) or Windows Media (3.7 MB at 81 kbps), plus MP3 audio (2 MB)
Keith Olbermann's ongoing campaign against the Bush administration is now resonating so well with liberals, Democratic leaders in Washington are starting to quote the MSNBC host publicly. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was so impressed with Olbermann's August 30 attack on Donald Rumsfeld for a speech in which the Defense Secretary referred to the appeasement of Nazis before World War II, the Democratic leader read from Olbermann's comments while making a speech on the Senate floor. In turn, Olbermann was so proud of this recognition that he played a clip of Reid's speech during the "Top Three Sound Bites" segment on Wednesday's Countdown show. (Transcript follows)
On Tuesday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used his Countdown show to attack President Bush's speech in which the President had compared modern day terrorists to Nazis and talked about Osama bin Laden's stated plan to launch a "media campaign to create a wedge between the American people and their government." Reminiscent of his recent "Special Comment" attacking Donald Rumsfeld and comparing the activities of the Bush administration to those of fascists, Olbermann again used a "Special Comment" segment to attack Bush for "linking" al-Qaeda to the media, "that familiar bogeyman of the far right," and branded Bush's words as "un-American."
The Countdown host accused President Bush and Vice President Cheney of "often attacking freedom of speech, and freedom of dissent, and freedom of the press." Olbermann also bizarrely took exception with Bush comparing terrorists to Nazis, arguing that terrorists would be "emboldened" by the comparison. Olbermann concluded by his own historical comparison, asking Bush: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" an echo of remarks made by Joseph Welch made to 50s senator Joseph McCarthy. (Transcript follows)
On Friday night, MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Joe Scarborough featured opposite takes on a Friday Washington Posteditorial proclaiming that the recent revelation that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was the original leaker of Valerie Plame's identity discredits Joe Wilson's accusations about a White House conspiracy to punish him by ruining his wife's career. On his Countdown show, Olbermann slammed the Washington Post for its "startling conclusions" and attacked the logic of the Post's reasoning. On Scarborough Country, Scarborough hit the New York Times and other media, including "left-leaning TV hosts," for not following the Post's lead and correcting its "character assassination" of the Bush team. Scarborough also delved into the inaccuracy of some of Wilson's claims about his trip to Niger and whether it really contradicted Bush's State of the Union claims about Iraq's efforts to acquire uranium. And while Scarborough presented some balance on his show by allowing one of his two guests to defend Wilson (Rachel Sklar after Wilson critic Christopher Hitchens), Olbermann followed his normal routine of choosing guests who will bolster his anti-Bush views, this time in the form of Wilson/Plame attorney Melanie Sloan. (Transcripts follow)
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann continued his attacks on the Bush administration over its current series of speeches defending the Iraq War. Hosting interviews with three Bush critics from the left (Senator Barbara Boxer, the Mayor of Salt Lake City who led a protest against Bush's "lies" and John Dean, who labeled Donald Rumsfeld an "authoritarian"), the Countdown host provided a forum to attack the administration without any Bush supporters for balance. Olbermann also patted himself on the back for his Wednesday night diatribe against Rumsfeld (NewsBusters item with video) by citing the "thousands of [Countdown viewers] who responded so kindly," and continued his attacks as he claimed that the Defense Secretary, while employing "vicious" rhetoric and "embracing" the "methods" of "fascists" in his recent speech "against your right to dissent," claiming that Rumsfeld was "throwing dissent under the bus." The Countdown host also labeled some of Bush's logic in arguing Iraq's importance in the war on terrorism as "nonsense." Olbermann rounded up his big anti-conservative night by naming conservatives Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and Senator Conrad Burns as his three nominees for his regular "Worst Person in the World" segment. (Partial transcripts follow)
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann bolstered the ruling by Federal Judge Ann Diggs Taylor against the Bush administration's controversial NSA spying program that involves warrantless monitoring of international phone calls when one participant is a terrorist suspect. Referring to the ruling as a "judicial smackdown" and a "stunning ruling" against the program, Olbermann repeatedly referred to the NSA program as monitoring "our" phone calls or "our" emails. The MSNBC host further contended that since the program was revealed, "anybody who had actually read the Constitution" believed it would eventually be ruled as "patently illegal." Olbermann's guest discussing the topic was liberal law professor Jonathan Turley, who labeled Judge Taylor's ruling as a "very thoughtful opinion" and called efforts by conservatives to discredit her as a liberal Carter appointee as "distasteful." By contrast, CNN and FNC featured guests who questioned Judge Taylor's judicial wisdom. (Transcript follows)
On Thursday, all three network evening newscasts covered the ruling by a federal judge against the Bush administration's controversial NSA spying program that involves warrantless monitoring of international phone calls when one participant is a terrorist suspect. Stemming from a case filed by the ACLU and other plaintiffs, Judge Ann Diggs Taylor, a Carter appointee, found the program to be unconstitutional. Unlike CNN and FNC, which conveyed that the ruling would likely be overturned, none of the network evening newscasts mentioned the liberal credentials of Judge Taylor or the debate over judicial activism and legal weaknesses in the ruling, such as the issue of whether the plaintiffs had standing to file the lawsuit, since the plaintiffs themselves were not found to be the subjects of surveillance. (Transcripts follow)
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who never accuses Democrats of "playing politics" with Iraq and the war on terrorism, opting instead to join them in attacking President Bush, continued to slam Bush for "playing politics" with terrorism, which Olbermann labelled as "something that should matter to all of us." The Countdown host, who regularly signs off his show by recounting the number of American troops killed "since the declaration of 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq" to embarrass Bush, on Wednesday's show highlighted recent comments by former President Clinton accusing Bush of "playing politics" with the London plane bombing plot. Guest Dana Milbank of the Washington Post lamely joked that "it's a matter of time until the whole JonBenet lead turns into an al-Qaeda business." (Transcript follows)
On Wednesday's Countdown show, while reporting on a recent Zogby poll which found that more Americans can name two of Snow White's dwarves than can name two of America's Supreme Court justices, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann took the opportunity to joke that Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia are "Dopey and Grumpy." The Countdown host also took a shot at President Bush by bringing up Bush's failure to name world leaders in a pop quiz during an interview with Boston TV journalist Andy Hiller in November 1999, and suggested to comedian Mo Rocca that Bush's lack of knowledge is to blame for "current world affairs." Olbermann: "Can you think of any consequences at all that could have stemmed from that candidate's level of knowledge? Is that being reflected at all in the current world affairs?" (Transcript follows)
No matter which way the facts are pointing, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann can find a way to entertain an anti-Bush conspiracy theory on his Countdown show when the administration announces a terror alert.
Last week, when it appeared the British had decided when to arrest suspects planning to bomb airplanes, Olbermann pushed the theory that administration members used their foreknowledge to tailor attacks on anti-war Democrats to take political advantage of the impending arrests. But, in light of news that the administration, instead of waiting for the terrorists to board planes and make test runs, pressured the British to make the arrests a week earlier than the British had wanted to, Olbermann has started pushing the theory he probably wanted to push in the first place: that President Bush timed the arrests so he could use the news to discredit anti-war Democrats right after they denied renomination to pro-Iraq War Senator Joe Lieberman. (Transcript follows)
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann has a history of pushing conspiracy theories questioning whether the Bush administration has politically timed terror alerts or the release of terrorism-related stories for political advantage. Since the timeline of the current terror plot story was controlled by the British, one might expect Olbermann to take a break from his fascination with such ideas. But, true to form, the Countdown host still found a way to insert an anti-Bush conspiracy theory into the story, as he questioned whether some of the Bush administration's recent criticism of Democrats for ousting pro-Iraq War Senator Joe Lieberman had been timed to exploit the terror story that would soon break. (Transcript follows)
On the August 7 CBS Evening News, while filing a story about stem cell research on mice aimed at some day treating deafness in humans, correspondent Elizabeth Kaledin curiously implied that mouse embryos are not living, perhaps betraying a bias in how she views embryos in general. As she described research by Stanford University scientist Dr. Stefan Heller in which he injects stem cells into the ears of "mouse embryos," Kaledin informed viewers he plans to later try injecting stem cells into fully developed mice, which she referred to as "live mice," as if embryos were not technically alive. Kaledin: "He and his colleagues have figured out how to inject stem cells into the ears of mouse embryos and watch them grow. Their next step is to try it in live mice."
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann opened his August 7 Countdown show fretting about President Bush's unwillingness to delay his vacation, in contrast with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, during the current fighting in the Middle East, mocking Bush during the teaser by twice uttering the words: "He's on vacation." He even drew a negative parallel from history as he recounted that the Nazi invasion of Europe received a boost while infamous British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain vacationed, as the Countdown host then similarly uttered the words, "Chamberlain was on vacation," to link him to Bush. Olbermann, who has never compared the appeasement-minded Chamberlain to anti-war liberals, then further contrasted Bush with current Prime Minister Blair's decision to cancel his own vacation: "His close ally, Tony Blair, avoided the direct Chamberlain comparison and cancelled his own time off because of the events in the Middle East." Referring to Condoleezza Rice's handling of Middle East negotiations, Olbermann contended that she was "picking up the pieces of the President's foreign policy." (Transcript follows)
Appearing on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor Wednesday, former CBS News anchor Dan Rather conceded there's a "problem" with America's media in its treatment of Hezbollah and Israel with "moral equivalence," even including himself as part of the problem. As host Bill O'Reilly brought up the topic, stating his criticism that "Some networks give moral equivalency to Hezbollah in the reporting of this war," Rather voiced agreement and went on to acknowledge the media's reluctance to label Hezbollah as a "terrorist organization." Rather: "It's a problem that those of us in journalism have been reluctant to address -- I do not exclude myself from this criticism -- reluctant to address that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. It's committed to the destruction of Israel. It isn't committed to trying to just gain territory. It's committed to its destruction." (Transcript follows)
Appearing on Keith Olbermann's Countdown show on MSNBC, Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, who regularly appears on the show to poke fun at celebrities in the news, used actor/filmmaker Mel Gibson's recent anti-Semitic outburst as an opportunity to smear Gibson's general audience as also being racist. Responding to a question from Olbermann about whether Gibson's career would suffer, Musto labeled Gibson's audience, presumably referring to Passion of the Christ fans, as "deeply anti-Semitic," and as "deeply proud" of Gibson's expression of anti-Semitism. Musto: "He doesn't work with anybody else, and his audience is already deeply anti-Semitic, so they're deeply proud of him after this." (Transcript follows)
During an appearance on Friday's Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann acknowledged accusations of liberal bias, but denied they were true, preferring to describe himself politically as "correct" and "neutral," without a "rooting interest" in who wins elections. Ignoring criticism from the MRC that, among other instances of bias during the 1998 Monica Lewinsky scandal, he once compared former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr to Nazi war criminal Heinrich Himmler, Olbermann claimed that he was never accused of liberal bias while covering the scandal. Olbermann: "I've been accused of being a liberal, which is interesting because the last time I was on doing the news in the late 90s, I did 218 consecutive shows about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. And no one accused me of being a liberal then. It's very interesting the way you can be sort of pigeonholed. I like to think of myself politically as 'correct.'" (Transcript follows)
Defending his recent mockery of FNC's Bill O'Reilly that included a Nazi salute, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used his appearance on Tuesday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno to defend his actions, implying that he was inspired to do so at the suggestion of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams to "do something creative," and also by viciously smearing O'Reilly as a defender of Nazis: "On the air in the last year, Bill O'Reilly has defended the Nazis from World War II on three separate occasions. ... Yes, I wish I were making this up." An ironic statement coming from Olbermann, who last year scolded public figures who use Nazi references, saying, "There's no place for the reference in this culture," and that the analogies are "wrong, offensive and deeply hurtful." (Transcript follows)
Video clip #1 (1:00) NBC runs Countdown promo of Olbermann slamming Ann Coulter, then he quips about Al Gore: Real (1.6 MB) or Windows Media (1.9 MB), plus MP3 audio (280 KB)
Video clip #2 (1:52) Olbermann explains why he did a Nazi salute while holding up a Bill O'Reilly mask: Real (3.1 MB) or Windows Media (3.6 MB), plus MP3 audio (550 KB)
On Friday's World News, ABC's Charles Gibson highlighted a Lebanese blog poster who implied that most Israelis are not "reasonable" enough to care about the safety of innocent Lebanese civilians. Responding to an Israeli poster, also quoted by Gibson, who had expressed wishes that the Lebanese people be safe during the airstrikes, the unnamed Lebanese poster implied that most Israelis are unreasonable while complimenting the Israeli poster: "I can rest a little easier in this difficult time because I have found reasonable voices in Israel."
Gibson opened the segment declaring that although "the Israeli and Lebanese governments are not talking to one another," citizens on both sides were communicating through the Internet by posting on blogs. He first quoted an unnamed Israeli soldier: "I'm sending you my best wishes and hope that you and your family will be strong and be alright until this horrible situation will be over." (Transcript follows)
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann characterized President Bush's veto of a bill to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research as a "hard stance" and a "setback for stem cell research" as the President was "honking off" and "turning his back on" federal funding proponents "despite pleas from his own party." He also portrayed Bush's decision as "forget science, forget patients." Before the words "Appeasing the Base" were displayed on the monitor behind him, Olbermann employed a standard liberal attack accusing the "radical right" of inconsistency for being both anti-abortion and pro-death penalty, charging that "there are no straight lines in the radical right's attitude towards life." The Countdown host also sympathetically declared that Democrats were "confounded by" Bush's "scientific double speak," while he mocked Bush as "confounded by exactly which rights are endowed by the Creator in the Declaration of Independence." (Transcript follows)