Olbermann Apologizes to Huff-Po About Hillary Needing a Beating

You can tell the Democratic campaign is getting combative when The Huffington Post is forcing Keith Olbermann to apologize. Rachel Sklar of the Huffington media site Eat the Press took exception to Olbermann on Wednesday night suggesting to Newsweek’s Howard Fineman that the Democrats need someone to force Hillary Clinton to quit, "Somebody who can take her into a room and only he comes out." Sklar added an update, that an MSNBC spokesperson sent over a brief apology from Olbermann: "It is a metaphor. I apologize: the generic ‘he’ gender could imply something untoward. It should've been ‘only the other comes out - from a political point of view.’ You could've called for reaction first if your main motive had merely been criticism." As if Olbermann always calls Republicans for reaction first before he spews. The notable thing about this exchange is how fiery the Newsweek reporter is about getting Hillary to quit as soon as possible, that Hillary is being childish and she needs adult supervision, since this fight is going on way too long and is doing too much damage to the dear Democrats:

FINEMAN: What this is going to require, at some point, Chuck’s excellent numbers aside, are some adults somewhere in the Democratic party to step in and stop this thing, like a referee in a fight that could go on for thirty rounds. That’s what’s going on. Those are the super, super, super delegates who are going to have to decide this."OLBERMANN: Right. The one who, somebody who can take her into a room and only he comes out. FINEMAN: Yes. Yes, exactly.

Sklar protested:

What does that mean? Really, it can only mean one thing: Beating the crap out of Hillary Clinton, to the point where she is physically incapable of of getting up and walking out. At minimum. We know this. We know this because we have all seen movies where people are invited into private places to have "discussions" and the unruly party is, um, dealt with accordingly. It's an unmistakably violent image. Do I really think Olbermann thinks Hillary Clinton should really be violently beaten to the point of physical incapacitation, or worse? No, though some have taken that statement to its logical conclusion. But it is an unmistakably violent image — and that point seems to be undisputed by those who have written about it so far (Google "Olbermann" and "take her into a room" and you'll see results like "Keith Olbermann Advocates Violence Against Hillary" "Olbermann: Misogyny 101" "Calls To End Race Turn Violent" "Olbermann: How To Snuff Out Hillary Clinton").

Feminist complaints are only underlined with all the violent metaphors with talk of bloody retribution that came right before this exchange. Olbermann began the segment by reading the New York Times editorial attacking Hillary for a mean and vacuous campaign, and Fineman added: "If you think you’ve seen mean and vacuous so far, you ain’t seen nothing yet." To which Olbermann replied: "But if she doesn’t deliver in the way she thinks she can on May 6, are we now talking about retribution, or the threat of retribution to get her out of the race? Are we now, is it as bloody back as it has been emanating from her campaign? This is where Fineman grew testy: "Oh, I know there’s talk of retribution. There’s been talk of retribution for weeks. But that’s only beginning behind the scenes. And that’s what ‘Democratic leaders,’ if that isn’t a complete oxymoron, is all about, that’s what they’re worried about." Fineman’s "adults" comment directly followed, and the two of them continued to fuss at each other about how Obama was much more electable, and that Hillary threatened Obama’s image as a uniquely calm, uniting campaigner.Olbermann’s beat-Hillary-to-a-bloody-pulp talk doesn’t match very well with his protests that Rush Limbaugh’s discussion of Chicago-style rioting at the Democratic convention in Denver might make him "actually be morally or legally responsible for incitement to riot." It’s a little harder to ride the high horse about violence in metaphors.Reading between the metaphorical lines can be taken too far. Someone could protest to Sklar that her website's name suggests that press be subject to cannibalism.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis