Olbermann Slams AP Writer Who Didn't Like Obama's Speech

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann made his support for Barack Obama even clearer Thursday when moments after the junior senator from Illinois accepted his party's nomination as president, the "Countdown" host assailed an Associated Press writer for having the nerve to not be as enthralled with the Messiah's address as he was.

In Olbermann's crosshairs on this occasion was Charles Babington who penned an article that largely mirrored the opinions offered on Fox News by liberal contributors Juan Williams and Nina Easton: the speech was short on specifics.

This didn't sit well with Olbermann who said the following (video embedded right) :

Mr. Babington got the length of the speech wrong by at least 7 minutes. And this is analysis that will be printed in many, many newspapers, hundreds of them around the country. It is analysis that strikes me as having born no resemblance to the speech you and I just watch. None whatsoever. And for it to be distributed by the lone national news organization in terms of wire copy to newspapers around the country and websites is a remarkable failure of that news organization.

Charles Babington. Find. New. Work.

For those interested, here were some of the points Babington made which, frankly, I quite agree with:

But instead of dwelling on specifics, he laced the crowning speech of his long campaign with the type of rhetorical flourishes that Republicans mock and the attacks on John McCain that Democrats cheer. [...]

Obama's aides have long complained that he gets too little credit for including detailed proposals in his stump speeches, because listeners seem to remember only his stage presence and lofty rhetoric. Obama, who earlier had promised a "workmanlike" speech in Denver, seemed to acknowledge the problem, saying he would fill in the blanks.

Mostly, however, he touched on major issues quickly and lightly. It's an approach that may intrigue and satisfy millions of viewers just starting to tune in to the campaign seriously. The crowd at Invesco Field cheered deliriously, but Republicans almost surely will decry the lack of specifics.

For instance, Obama said it's time "to protect Social Security for future generations." But he didn't mention his main proposal, which is to add a new Social Security payroll tax to incomes above $250,000 a year.

He said he would "cut taxes for 95 percent of all working families," but did not say how.

He briefly mentioned abortion, gun rights, gay rights and other hot-button issues without delving into their sticky details.

Frankly, that's what I saw, as did NewsBusters readers in our online chat. In fact, the liberal friends of mine that were communicating with me during this speech via e-mail were also disappointed with Obama's lack of specificity last evening.

But, Olbermann loved it, and anybody that has the nerve to disagree with him will be lambasted. It must be marvelous to feel you have such great power when you work for the also-ran in the cable news industry.

*****Update: Editor & Publisher has already reported this episode calling it "an unusually heated attack on a veteran political reporter by a cable news host."

Furthermore, Johnny Dollar makes the case that Olbermann found out about this article from Daily Kos's Markos Moulitsas.

Update 08-29 | Matthew Sheffield.  Is it just me or does anyone else find it enormously ironic that Keith Olbermann, a sports anchor turned blow-dried anchorman is lecturing a veteran political reporter who is far more respected in the journalism business? That makes a whole lot of sense.

I'm sure Babington is fearing for his journalistic reputation now.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.