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)
On Tuesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann implied that the Senate Judiciary Committee deliberately timed its hearing on the controversial NSA spying program to "bury" the story as the national media attention is focused on war in the Middle East. The Countdown host similarly remarked that it was the "perfect day" for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to reveal President Bush's role in blocking the Justice Department from reviewing the program. Referring to NBC's The West Wing, Olbermann ended up labeling the day "take out the trash day."
After referring to the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, Olbermann teased the segment at the beginning of the show: "A perfect day then to bury the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on warrant-free domestic spying by the Bush administration. A perfect day then for the Attorney General to reveal that the Justice Department was blocked from reviewing the legalities on the personal instructions of the President." (Transcript follows)
In March 2004, when the Bush campaign ran ads showing a brief image of a flag-draped body being removed from the World Trade Center wreckage, the media played up charges by Bush critics that the President was exploiting 9/11 for political purposes. When Republicans recently criticized Democrats for an ad that included images of flag-draped coffins of U.S. troops killed in Iraq, most of the media ignored the controversy, but not MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. The Countdown host instead weighed in taking the side of Democrats. Olbermann portrayed Republican criticism of the ad as "rock throwing" by those living in "glass houses" while putting no burden on Democrats to be consistent with their criticism of the Bush ad two years ago, as he relayed the Democratic argument justifying the ad: "Democrats say the Republicans erased the line years ago." (Transcript follows)
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann hosted former Nixon White House counsel and frequent Bush administration critic John Dean to talk about his latest book attacking conservatives, titled Conservatives Without Conscience, which the Countdown host labeled "an extraordinary document." Olbermann, who has a long history of bashing President Bush's tactics in the war on terrorism, provided Dean with a sympathetic, nonchallenging forum to argue that modern conservatives are moving the Republican party toward "authoritarianism" as Dean tagged some conservatives as having an "authoritarian personality," and labeled 23 percent of the population as "right-wing authoritarian followers" who are willing to "march over the cliff." Olbermann not only made his latest reference to George Orwell's 1984, but he also found relevance in bringing up Nazi Germany as he wondered if there had been similarity in the "psychological principles" in "Germany and Italy in the 30s," and, quoting a passage from Dean's book, brought up the possibility that conservatives might intentionally "provoke potential terrorists" in an effort to "maintain influence and control of the presidency."
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann set a new standard for spin that would even make the famous Black Knight character from Monty Python's Holy Grail blush. Reacting to the MRC's recently released study (see the latest Media Reality Check and NewsBusters posting) documenting Olbermann's overwhelming 8 to 1 bias toward attacking many conservatives but very few liberals during his show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, Olbermann ludicrously argued that the study actually proves the segment is "apolitical" since most of his targets are not political. Tagging the Media Research Center as a "rabid right-wing spin group," Olbermann proceeded to employ his own spin as he essentially mocked the study, and concluded: "I'd like to thank the MRC for confirming my point that the segment is apolitical." And to add even more shamelessness, Olbermann brazenly chose conservatives, including MRC President Brent Bozell, as all three of his "Worst Person" nominees later in the same show. (Transcript follows)
Rush Limbaugh the target of gunfire from gun enthusiasts? Evidently this is a thought MSNBC host Keith Olbermann finds entertaining, as evidenced by the opening teaser of his latest edition of Countdown. On Tuesday's show, when Olbermann got to a plug for a story about a gathering of gun enthusiasts in Oklahoma, and while showing clips of people firing at targets using automatic weapons, an image of Rush Limbaugh's face was briefly shown overlaying a clip of background explosions right after one of the participants shouted, "Rush! Big rush!" Olbermann then joked: "Huh? Oh, you mean a different 'big rush.'"
Earlier in the teaser, Olbermann, who has become a frequent Limbaugh critic and mocks him as "comedian Rush Limbaugh," previewed a story on the conservative host's recent brush with U.S. Customs over a supply of Viagra Limbaugh had in possession. Olbermann, imitating Limbaugh's voice: "With talent on loan from Pfizer." After playing a clip of Limbaugh laughing off the incident on his show, Olbermann asked: "Will he get the last laugh or was that premature jocularity?" (Transcript follows)
On MSNBC's Countdown show on Friday, substitute host Brian Unger featured a softball interview with Democratic Congressman John Murtha during which Unger queued up Murtha to attack the Bush administration's Iraq policy and Republican critics. The Countdown host bolstered Murtha's credibility by referring to his war record and labelling him a "traditional hawk" while he discredited White House advisor Karl Rove by negatively labelling him as a "partisan attacker trying to squash discussion about Iraq," and proclaimed "the Swift-Boating of the 2006 election has begun." Unger also saw no irony in fretting about "personal attacks" on Murtha even as Murtha referred to Rove "sitting on his fat backside in an air-conditioned office." (Transcript follows)
On MSNBC's Countdown show on Thursday, substitute host Brian Unger suggested President Bush views American troops as "expendable" as he picked up on an erroneous report by the Washington Post that the new Iraqi government would offer amnesty to insurgents who had killed American troops. Unger contended that the President is "apparently okay with that," and wondered if the White House risked being "perceived as believing that American lives in Iraq are expendable." By contrast, FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume corrected the Washington Post's inaccurate story, which was based on an interview with an outgoing Iraqi government official. And just days after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a high-level member of al-Qaeda's leadership, was killed in Iraq, Unger dismissed Iraq's relevance to the war on terrorism, calling it "a link that has been proven not to exist." (Transcript follows)
On Friday's Countdown show on MSNBC, substitute host Brian Unger lived up to Keith Olbermann's habitually liberal standards as he portrayed recent efforts by Senate Republicans to declare English America's official language and to ban gay marriage as a "hard turn to the right." He hearkened back to the "exclusionary rhetoric" of the 1992 Republican convention that spelled a "political disaster" for Republicans, and wondered if it could be "1992 all over again." Regarding the proposed gay marriage ban, Unger referred to it as part of the "far right's greatest hit list," and characterized the Senate Judiciary Committee vote for a constitutional amendment as "tossing social conservatives a straight-as-an-arrow bone."
In spite of a recent Zogby poll showing 84 percent of Americans, including 77 percent of Hispanics, support making English the nation's official language, Unger teased the show wondering if Republicans would "alienate the American middle": "Could these two right turns alienate the American middle? What playing to the Republican base could mean for the President and voters come midterm election." He introduced the show by recounting the 1992 Republican convention which renominated former President George H.W. Bush: "The 1992 Republican convention was widely regarded as a political disaster in which the party's social conservatives managed to alienate swing voters with their exclusionary rhetoric. A new cultural war was launched, and not coincidentally, it was the Democratic ticket that managed to win the '92 election. Our fifth story on the Countdown, could it be '92 all over again?" (Transcript follows)
On The Situation Room on Thursday, CNN's Jack Cafferty used his Cafferty Report segment to rant against a proposal by Republican Senators for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage as "shameless" and "an effort to appeal to right-wing nuts" in the Republican Party. He further accused Republicans of "groveling at the feet of the lunatic fringe," and sarcastically concluded, "That's leadership."
Cafferty began his segment by labeling it a "lesson in hypocrisy" as he went on to recount a private meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee that was held by Republican Chairman Arlen Specter, and Democratic Senator Russ Feingold's decision to storm out after an argument with Specter. Cafferty commented, "These guys are shameless," and then continued: "Senator Specter, in a real show of courage, says that he's, quote, 'totally opposed to the amendment,' but he voted for it anyway, saying it deserves a debate in the Senate." (Transcript follows)
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann cited a Chicago Tribune piece by George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley as he explored whether, as with the Sopranos, you have to "break the law" to "break into the inner circle" of President Bush. Focusing on Bush's nomination of General Michael Hayden to run the CIA, and citing Hayden's role in creating the controversial NSA spying program, Olbermann argued that Bush counts "willingness to thumb his nose at constitutional law" as resume enhancement. The Countdown host then brought aboard Turley to make an unchallenged case that the administration consists of a "rogues' gallery." (Transcript follows)
On Tuesday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann attacked the Bush administration over the leak of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent, implying that the President has "done more to help terrorists and rogue states than hurt them," as he linked Plame's work on WMD to the current standoff with Iran. But Olbermann had previously not expressed worries about threats to national security from other leakers, instead referring to them as "whistleblowers," including those who leaked the CIA's use of secret prisons in Europe, and the existence of the controversial NSA spying program.
Olbermann opened the Tuesday May 2 Countdown show: "The irony was already inescapable and infuriating. In the middle of a war that started over nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, the administration of President George W. Bush was willing to destroy the cover of a secret American agent on the trail of actual weapons of mass destruction in order to deflect criticism over how badly it had fouled up or puffed up its wobbly evidence about phony weapons of mass destruction." (Complete transcript follows)
On Tuesday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann raised the term "new McCarthyism," as he accused the Bush administration of engaging in a "witch hunt" against leakers "it does not find politically expedient." Olbermann referred to the "Red Scare witch hunt of the 1950s" during which Senator Joseph McCarthy went after communist sympathizers, as the Countdown host formed a pun on the famous Senator's name and the name of recently fired CIA analyst Mary McCarthy, whom on Friday he had sympathetically referred to as a "whistleblower," on grounds she leaked classified information about secret prisons in Europe being used in the War on Terrorism. Olbermann then brought aboard a former employee of Mary McCarthy, former CIA officer Larry Johnson, to defend Ms. McCarthy and attack the Bush administration. (Transcript follows)
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann plugged the Rolling Stone cover story by historian Sean Wilentz which argued that George W. Bush may be the worst President ever, citing the opinions of over 400 historians. As he introduced his interview with Wilentz, Olbermann sympathetically referred to the recently fired CIA employee who leaked classified information on the agency's use of secret prisons in Europe in the War on Terrorism, calling her a "whistleblower," and asked the question: "President Bush, whose administration is now firing, perhaps prosecuting whistleblowers, is he simply the worst?"
While introducing the segment, Olbermann listed several of Wilentz's attacks against Bush without challenging their validity, including accusations of "fabricated evidence" of WMD, a "retro fiscal policy" of "massive tax cuts" for the wealthy that "racked up monstrous deficits," and a criticism citing an unnamed Republican strategist who claimed that the Republican Party is "the first religious party in U.S. history." Olbermann, who perennially makes comparisons between George Orwell's novel 1984 and the Bush administration, managed to work in yet another reference to Orwell as he ended the interview mocking the administration's use of the term "pre-9/11 thinking," charging that Bush would accuse Wilentz and the other historians of being "guilty of pre-9/11 thinking, as George Orwell might have said." (Transcript follows)
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann highlighted a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll which shows President Bush's approval rating "plummeting even further" and, as the Countdown host observed, "for the first time in the Bush presidency," the President's approval rating among Republicans has fallen below 70 percent. This straight citing of Fox News contrasts with Olbermann's regular attacks on FNC with nearly every mention of the network on his show. As reported by NewsBusters, Olbermann had just one day earlier mocked the journalistic integrity of FNC's Tony Snow and the network's overall truthfulness after word that Snow was being considered to replace White House spokesman Scott McClellan.
On his Countdown show Tuesday, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann hyped an article posted on the Vanity Fair Web site, by Washington Post and Time magazine veteran Carl Bernstein, which called for congressional hearings into, as described by Olbermann, "the entirety of the Bush administration." Olbermann referred to the crusading journalist of Watergate fame as an "eminent voice" calling for Congress to find out if the Bush White House is "worse than Watergate." He then brought aboard Bernstein for what the Countdown host touted as an "exclusive interview," to discuss the article, during which Bernstein referred to the "distressing, terrible situation" of having a Bush administration that "has not been very truthful" when it comes to "almost everything important that we have been told by this President." Bernstein also described the controversial NSA surveillance program as a "totally illegal...usurpation of power...under the guise of national security," equating it to the illegal wiretapping by the Nixon administration. Bernstein recalled how "there was an article of impeachment against Nixon for wiretapping." (Transcript follows)
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann led with the current controversy about President Bush and other administration officials claiming they had found biological weapons labs in Iraq even after a report had concluded that this was not the case. In contrast to FNC's Carl Cameron, who pointed out that Bush was just repeating what he had just read from a Defense Intelligence Agency report which had concluded, mistakenly it later turned out, they were bioweapons labs (see this earlier NewsBusters posting), Olbermann accused the President of knowing "they weren't mobile labs from the very start." Olbermann also compared Bush to the "Emperor with no clothes" and brought aboard near-regular guest and former Nixon White House counsel John Dean to discuss similarities between Bush's "abuse of power" and Watergate, asking, "Do you feel like you're living 1970 to 1973 all over again?" and later wondering if the administration had "cut the necessity for any truth out of the equation of government." (Transcript follows)
On his Countdown show Thursday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann devoted part of his "Worst Person in the World" segment to attacking former First Lady Barbara Bush over a donation she made to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, a donation she required be used to buy education software for Houston schools from her son Neil's software company. Olbermann snapped that if you "make the charity give the donation to your son, it's not a damned donation anymore!" However, the Countdown host neglected to mention that the Bush family had also given other donations without any requirement as to how the money should be spent.
During his regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, Olbermann normally chooses three nominees to be awarded the dishonor of that name. His three nominees are labeled as "Worse," "Worser," and "Worst." Citing the Houston Chronicle as a source, Olbermann tagged Barbara Bush with the label of "Worst" because of the earmarked donation that would require the buying of software from her son's company. However, the Countdown host failed to mention that the Houston Chroniclearticle also relayed, citing former President Bush's chief-of-staff Jean Becker, that the Bush family had given additional donations to the Katrina fund without any requirement as to how they should be spent: "Becker said she wasn't at liberty to divulge how much money the Bush family gave to the hurricane funds, but said the ‘rest of their donation was not earmarked for anything.'" (Transcript from Olbermann's show follows.)
On his Monday March 20 Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann disputed President Bush's recent contention that he had never claimed "that there was a direct connection between September the 11th and Saddam Hussein" by citing one awkward quote from the President, which stood in contrast to other public statements that more clearly communicated the point about the 9/11 attacks being a lesson that inspired a confrontation of Iraq, rather than Iraq actually being involved in the attacks. Olbermann rhetorically posed the question: "Who does the President think he's 'f'-ing kidding?" On the Tuesday March 21 show, Olbermann added that "any six-year-old would have recognized that his administration had deliberately left exactly that impression." Guest Craig Crawford labeled Bush's recent comments as "presidential prevarication" and compared it to Bill Clinton saying, "Depends on what the definition of 'is' is." Notably, as recounted by CyberAlert, the Countdown host once before used selectively edited statements by Dick Cheney to make it appear the Vice President had claimed a connection between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks, while omitting more of Cheney's words which clarified his meaning. (Transcripts follow.)
On Thursday night's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann characterized the logic of the White House's newly released National Security Strategy as insane by comparing its architects to individuals who fail the sanity test: "Does the individual continue to take action A and continue to get result B, while insisting that next time he will get result Z?" Referring to the Bush administration as "the forces that got us into Iraq," Olbermann declared that they are "still expecting to get result Z." After reading from the strategy, the Countdown host snidely quipped, "Actually finding WMD, result Z, is apparently beside the point."
Olbermann, who routinely signs off his Countdown show on an anti-war note by recounting the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq "since the declaration of mission accomplished," teased Thursday's show by summarizing the Bush policy of preemptive war as: "We can start it in order to keep somebody else from starting it." While showing footage of the aftermath of a bombing in Iraq, he sarcastically added, "Well, after all, it has worked so well in Iraq." Notably, while Olbermann later interviewed Time magazine's Michael Duffy, someone thought it was a good idea to display the words "The Empire Strikes Back" at the bottom of the screen, presumably referring to America's airstrikes in Iraq, during their discussion. (Transcript follows.)
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann highlighted recent comments by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, delivered during a speech at Georgetown University, seemingly directed at such conservatives as Tom DeLay and President Bush for some of their criticisms of the judiciary, criticisms which O'Connor argued put America's government at risk of heading toward dictatorship. Olbermann, who has several times compared the state of post-9/11 civil liberties in America to George Orwell's novel 1984, began his show seeming to trumpet the boost in credibility afforded to this comparison when a Supreme Court justice raises similar concerns: "It's one thing for us to throw around references to what seemed to be details from George Orwell's novel 1984 springing to life, thanks to post-9/11 thinking. It's quite another when the same kind of comments come from a just-retired justice of the U.S. Supreme Court..." Olbermann also compared actions by Republicans to those in communist countries that had "allowed dictatorships to flourish." Guest Mike Allen of Time magazine later gushed with hope that Olbermann's attention to the matter would inspire greater coverage of O'Connor's comments and "launch a thousand op-eds." (Complete transcript follows.)
For the second consecutive night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, citing recently released videotape of Bush administration officials meeting before Hurricane Katrina struck, questioned the honesty of Bush's September statement that nobody "anticipated the breach of the levees," claiming that the possibility of a "breach" had been talked about during the videotaped meeting. But also on this second night, the Countdown host ran a story filed by NBC's Lisa Myers in which she torpedoed Olbermann's claim, citing meteorologist Max Mayfield's recollection that "nobody talked about the possibility of levee breach or failure until after it happened." Olbermann, evidently not noticing this, continued as if her report had supported his attack on Bush rather than disproved it. Guest Dana Milbank of the Washington Post even followed up by directly referring to Myers' report as evidence of Bush's "credibility" being undermined, even though Myers clearly argued in her piece that Bush's version of the story was supported by her investigation. Milbank: "It undermines the President's credibility, and now people are getting at this question of his honesty and his secrecy." (Complete transcripts follow)
On his February 22 Scarborough Country, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough gave time to conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham to relay her experiences talking to American troops and doing her show in Iraq, and what she saw that contrasts with the predominantly negative view of the Iraq War as reported by the mainstream media. Scarborough found that her words confirmed the sentiments of e-mails he has received from U.S. troops in Iraq that "there is a huge disconnect from what Americans are hearing in the media and what they're seeing on the ground over there," which is "misleading the American people on how things are really going in Iraq."
Ingraham began by passing on the "great respect and admiration between American military trainers and their Iraqi counterparts," and the "important cooperation between average Iraqis, who are giving more tips to American and Iraqi forces than ever before."
After President Bush delivered his speech on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in April 2003 welcoming U.S. troops home from Iraq and declaring an end to major combat operations, the media for some time sought to embarrass Bush each time American soldiers were killed by recounting how many U.S. troops had died since that speech, and by referring to the "Mission Accomplished" sign displayed at the time. On Monday February 6, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used his Countdown show to resurrect references to that speech with a new addition to his regular signoff, which he has repeated each day during the past week, in the form of recounting the number of days it has been "since the declaration of 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq."
Olbermann, who has long used his Countdown show to criticize President Bush regarding the Iraq War, has typically ended each night's show with words similar to, "That's Countdown for tonight. Keep your knees loose. Good night and good luck," before balling up a piece of paper and tossing it toward the camera. On the February 6 show, Olbermann first inserted words into his signoff tallying the number of days since the display of the "Mission Accomplished" sign. After the final segment on Monday, the Countdown host ended his show: "That is Countdown for this, the 1,012th day since the declaration of 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck." Olbermann repeated this recounting each night of the week. (Transcripts follow)
For two consecutive nights, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann has ignored the recent report from AP detailing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's dealings with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But on Friday, the MSNBC host devoted a segment on his Countdown show to discussing an email written by Abramoff that disputes President Bush's claim that he does not know Abramoff.
Olbermann compared Bush's memory to the excellent memory of Richard Nixon, recounting the story of Nixon's 1959 meeting with the Chicago White Sox in which the then-Vice President knew all of their names. After reading an email Abramoff wrote to Kim Eisler of Washingtonian magazine in which Abramoff claimed Bush "has one of the best memories of any politician I have ever met," Olbermann brought aboard correspondent David Shuster to discuss whether Bush has been honest in his denial of knowing Abramoff.
On Saturday's NBC Nightly News, anchor John Seigenthaler retracted and apologized for a story, which ran on December 17, 2005, accusing former President Richard Nixon of ordering his aides to target journalist Jack Anderson for murder. On the Saturday February 4 show, Seigenthaler declared: "While there were reports that Nixon aides discussed a plan to kill Anderson, there is no evidence to suggest President Nixon authorized a plan or was even aware of one. We apologize for the error."
The original story from the December 17 NBC Nightly News, filed by Seigenthaler, was inspired by the death of investigative journalist Jack Anderson, a frequent Nixon administration critic. At one point, Seigenthaler ran a clip of George Washington University Professor Mark Feldstein saying that, according to some of the Nixon tapes, Nixon was "personally obsessed" with Anderson and repeatedly told his aides to "go after him." (Complete transcripts follow.)