Olbermann: If a Conservative Tried to Kill a Liberal the Right Would Blame the Victim

Keith Olbermann started his Special Comment Monday boasting that he was the only political commentator in America that has "expressed the slightest introspection, the slightest self-awareness, the slightest remorse, the slightest ownership of the existence" of violent rhetoric in the nation.

Roughly twelve minutes later, the "Countdown" host concluded his nonsensical blathering by stating, "In an actual open and shut slam dunk case in which a partisan of the Right attempted to kill one of the Left, the Right would blame the victim" (video follows with transcript and loads of commentary):

KEITH OLBERMANN: Finally tonight as promised a special comment on the nine days since Tucson. That awful night I said this: “We need to put the guns down. Just as importantly we need to put the gun metaphors away and permanently - left, right, middle, politicians, and citizens, sane and insane. This age in which this country would accept the quote ‘targeting' of political opponents and putting bull's eyes over their faces, and of the dangerous blurring between political rallies and gun shows ended.”

I cited seven examples of violent rhetoric from the Right, only one from the Left - my own, because the point of that comment and this one was not that the Right pulled the trigger in Tucson, but that we as citizens must stop the next Loughner, and the only way to potentially do this is to accept personal responsibility and to pledge, again as I said that night, that violence or the threat of violence have no place in our democracy, and I apologize for and repudiate any act or anything in my past that may have even inadvertently encouraged violence.

After quoting something former President Bill Clinton said Monday, Olbermann continued:

OLBERMANN: To date only one commentator or politician has expressed the slightest introspection, the slightest self-awareness, the slightest remorse, the slightest ownership of the existence of fantasy dream cloud of violent language by which we are now nearly blinded. “Our political discourse," John McCain wrote in an otherwise steaming serving of Washington Post op-ed partisan flab, “should be more civil than it currently is, and we all, myself included, bear some responsibility for it not being so.”

That's it. One individual, one assumed any personal responsibility for any of it besides me. John McCain. Not Palin, not Beck, not Limbaugh, not West, not Kanjorski, not Milloy, not O'Reilly, not Angle, not Jesse Kelly, not President Obama. It’s me and John McCain. I assume he's like me now, not sure whether to laugh, cry or be proud of that. So what did everybody else say? They said it was everybody else's fault and they often said it with more violence than before.

Notice first how Olbermann ridiculed everything else McCain wrote in that op-ed and then mocked possibly being like him.

Some civility, huh?

Then observe the conspicuous absence of any far-left media members in his list with the exception of Mike Milloy. No Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos. No MSNBCers such as Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, or Ed Schultz.

Such folks would be continually absent throughout his rant which next moved to listing conservative after conservative for their respective indiscretions in his view:

  • Jim Hoft, Conservative blogger, Gateway Pundit
  • Bob Durgin, Conservative radio host in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Rush Limbaugh
  • Glenn Beck
  • Rep. John Boehner (R-Oh.), Speaker of the House

Next up were conservative talk radio hosts Mark Levin and Michael Savage:

OLBERMANN: On Tuesday another radio announcer Mark Levin wrapped up the case for his audience. “We all know without question that the murderer in Tucson was mentally ill, a liberal pothead and all the rest of it. We know this for a fact.” On Tuesday after Mr. Levin and yet another radio announcer Michael Savage were decried for using violent rhetoric, Mr. Savage called this a quote “blood libel” and threatened to sue, seemingly as much for having been linked to Mr. Levin as for having been linked to violent rhetoric.

In every instance above, Olbermann mispronounced Levin's last name, placing the accent or emphasis on the first syllable rather than the second as Mark does. This leads one to believe that Olbermann likely has never heard Levin's program, and therefore got his information concerning what Mark said Tuesday from another source.

Regardless of his name being mispronounced, exactly what did Levin say Tuesday that was in any way inflammatory?

At this point, the consensus is that Loughner is certainly mental ill, a drug abuser, and seemingly left of center. As such, Levin's presence on this list was quite curious.

In reality, so was Savage's. Is there something wrong with threatening to sue someone? I'm sure the American Bar Association would beg to differ.

Odder still was that Olbermann chose to ignore the person Savage threatened with legal action.

As NewsBusters reported last Tuesday, MSNBC's Chris Matthews bashed Savage and Levin on "Hardball" saying, "Every time you listen to them are furious, furious at the left with anger that's just builds and builds in their voice and by the time they go to commercial, they're just in some rage, every night, with ugly talk."

I guess Olbermann didn't feel it was necessary to inform his audience who "decried" the conservative talkers for using violent rhetoric resulting in them threatening lawsuits.

Sadly, the list continued:

  • Rep. Alan West (R-Fl.)
  • Jim Hoft again
  • John Hawkins, Conservative blogger
  • Sarah Palin
  • Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.)
  • Jim Hoft again
  • Jim Hoft again
  • Bill Kelly, Washington Times columnist
  • Lanny Davis, former Clinton special counsel, Fox News contributor

Next came another odd pairing:

OLBERMANN: On Tuesday Tucson Tea Party co-founder Trent Humphries explained the Giffords shooting to the English newspaper the Guardian. “It's political gamesmanship. The real case is that she had no security whatsoever at this event.” James Eric Fuller, one of those wounded at this event, himself a traumatized Vietnam vet who had also incredibly witnessed Kent State, referred to the quote “Tea Party crime syndicate,” and said he believed that in the Giffords shooting it had claimed its quote “first target.” On Saturday in a decision smacking of the tawdriness of the Maury Povich Show, Mr. Fuller was seated in the first row of an NBC News, ABC News town hall in Tucson with Mr. Humphries of the Tea Party on the stage. When Humphries suggested talk of gun control be deferred until after all the victims were buried, Mr. Fuller stood up and started to shout at Humphries, “You’re dead.” Mr. Fuller was quite appropriately arrested and removed for psychological evaluation. He has today apologized, and Mr. Humphries has said he does not feel threatened necessarily and wants Fuller to get mental help.

This one was strange for a number of reasons. First, was it really so intemperate of Humphries, a fellow Tucsonan, to say that Giffords didn't have enough security with her on the day of the shootings? 

More importantly, Olbermann conveniently omitted that on Friday, shortly after Fuller, during an interview with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, talked about Giffords being the Right's "first target," the "Countdown" host tweeted the transcript of that radio appearance to his almost 200,000 followers saying, "I think he of all of us has the right to say this."

So on Friday Fuller had the right to blame conservatives for Giffords' shooting, but on Monday those words made Olbermann's wall of shame?

As I've said on many occasions, it takes a lot of rationalizations to be a liberal these days.

But Olbermann wasn't done naming names:

  • State Assemblyman Michael Carroll (R-N.J.)
  • Doug Giles of Townhall.com

Add it all up, and Olbermann cited 20 instances of what he viewed as actions not in accordance with his plea for civility, and only one was from what could be called a hard-core liberal. Lanny Davis ceased being a friend to the Left the moment he became a Fox News contributor.

Even more hypocritically, the liberal Olbermann rebuked Monday was someone he praised on Friday.

And, once again, not one far-left-leaning media member - especially MSNBC employees - was named. To cite such an individual, Olbermann's staff wouldn't have had to look very far, for likely right down the hall in another studio, Ed Schultz had just two hours earlier told his viewers that he has no intention of changing his hostile tone until the Republicans stop blocking policies he's for.

But that shouldn't surprise anyone, for as NewsBusters and other conservative outlets have been reporting the past nine days, this call for civility is nothing of the sort. It is instead another attempt to demonize and silence the Right, and Olbermann marvelously proved this point with his conclusion:

OLBERMANN: Nine days have passed and the willful blindness hasn't slowed down yet. Besides the total absence of even the glimmer of personal responsibility that Senator McCain and I have evinced, we learned from all this that the Right lives in a perpetual state of victimhood. We learned that the Right does not even recognize the irony of its claim of being unfairly blamed for the violence of others when it has spent the last several years doing exactly that to Muslims, particularly American Muslims. We also learned that the Right can simultaneously insist that no political party or inclination can be blamed for Tucson while it itself blames the Democratic Party and the left for Tucson. We learned that the Right does not understand that if you, if we foment a political environment in which politics are to be settled by violence, or the threat of violence, or in a rhetorical tide of violent imagery, it no longer matters what those politics specifically are or if the hearer even understands your politics or agrees with your politics, he may hear only the permission to be violent. And ultimately we learned, especially from Mrs. Palin’s foolishness, this template of what the Right would do in an actual open and shut slam dunk case in which a partisan of the Right attempted to kill one of the Left, the Right would blame the victim, blame him or her for not having brought enough security or for not having brought a gun.

In the end, it's quite possible that the worst instance of violent rhetoric on television or radio since the shootings nine days ago was this not so special comment by Olbermann, for one would think painting a picture of a conservative killing a liberal in a post-Tucson world should be strictly prohibited.

Quite obviously and hypocritically, the "Countdown" host views himself unbound by his call to "put the guns down" due to "violence or the threat of violence [having] no place in our democracy" and therefore should have made his own wall of shame if he was being in any way impartial.

But impartiality is not in Olbermann's DNA, for as is plainly seen this entire hostile comment was another in a long line of hostile comments by Olbermann exclusively designed to bash conservatives while pumping himself up as something more than this decade's version of a perilously liberal, vain, egotistical, far more dangerous Howard Beale.

That there are people who still don't get this is what's really disturbing.

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