Keith Olbermann's Fox News/Twitter Conspiracy Theory Proved Wrong?

On last Friday's "Countdown With Keith Olbermann," the liberal host of the self-titled show complained about a fake Twitter page and told his listeners that "I'm not on Twitter." He also hinted that this faux social networking account may have been some sort of Fox News plot. However, Media Bistro is reporting that the Twitter page Olbermann may have been referring to was run by MSNBC and had been for "several months." (In fact, there was a second Twitter site operated by the cable network.) On the March 20 show, Olbermann explained that he didn't use the website and mentioned the junk e-mail he received about the page.

He then elaborated on a possible dark conspiracy: "The subject line [of the e-mail] read 'Dan Cooper Media, local Tweet request.' And the e-mail began, 'Hi, Dan Cooper Media.' Who is Dan Cooper and why would he be getting spam e-mail about my fake Twitter account?" Olbermann proceeded to reveal the diabolical connection: "He [Dan Cooper] is one of the five architects of Fox News." Media Bistro discussed how, in actuality, MSNBC ran the Twitter page:

It turns out the account Olbermann may have been referring to @KeithOlbermann, which currently has 12,099 followers was set up by someone who was friendly enough to later give that account to MSNBC, which has had it for several months. But Olbermann wasn't made aware of that not-so-minor detail, insiders tell us.

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But that's not all. It turns out Olbermann is on Twitter through an account called @countdownmsnbc. The profile is a combined feed of MSNBC show clips, and Olbermann's blog entries and is operated by Countdown staffers, but not Olbermann.

A transcript of the "Worst Person" segment from March 20, which aired at 8:50pm, follows:

KEITH OLBERMANN: But our winner is Twitter. I told you this was trouble. I find out today that I have 13,900 some odd followers on Twitter. I'm not on Twitter. I tried to sign up for it last summer and then abandoned the project. I found this out when I got a piece of junk e-mail today, at my address, from some outfit trying to barnacle on to the Twitter process. But, though it was my address, it had somebody else's name on it, possibly whoever was perpetuating the fraud. The subject line read "Dan Cooper Media, local Tweet request." And the e-mail began, "Hi, Dan Cooper Media." Who is Dan Cooper and why would he be getting spam e-mail about my fake Twitter account? He is one of the five architects of Fox News. Despite all this, Twitter will not suspend the phony account in my name. So, just remember, whoever you think you are following on Twitter, might be them and it might not. Twitter, tonight's worst persons in the world.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org