MSM Forgive-a-thon Continues: Olbermann Calls Biden Comments 'A Slip'

I'm feeling a lot of love out there. Directed by the MSM toward Joe Biden, that is, for having called Barack Obama the first "clean" and "articulate" black presidential candidate. Earlier this evening, as noted here, Chris Matthews, joined by MSMers Jay Carney and Anne Kornblut, cut Biden mucho slack.

The forgive-a-thon continued on Countdown. First, Keith Olbermann declared Biden's comments "a slip." Washington Poster Dana Milbank then got into the evening's understanding zeitgeist, assuring us that "nobody sees Joe Biden as a racist."

Olbermann spun a theory that "the conservative media establishment" including "bloggers" who are "doing a lot of Biden bashing today" are motivated not by outrage over Biden's comments but by "a desire to inflict damage on a Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."

View video here.

Milbank agreed: "That's exactly what it is. It's not inflicting damage on a Democratic presidential candidate. Nobody gives Joe Biden a chance of winning that nomination anyway. But he is the guy out there, front and center, and he has been having these hearings criticizing the president on Iraq, so he's potentially quite a fat target for that reason."

Please. How can Milbank possibly be so sure that Olbermann is "exactly" right? Has Dana interviewed a single member of that "conservative media establishment"? Speaking as one humble blogger, I can assure Keith and Dana that the notion of discrediting Biden as a Bush administration critic never crossed my mind. The thrust of my outrage is the hypocrisy of the MSM. What incites me is the MSM's willingness to so readily excuse Biden, whereas Olbermann and company would surely have had a field day excoriating the hapless Republican who made similar remarks.

And while I'm not calling Biden a racist, before totally letting him off the hook I'd be curious to know what he meant in calling Obama the first "clean" black presidential candidate.

UPDATE -- Kudos to ABC for its fair coverage of the flap on this evening's "World News". Charlie Gibson introduced the segment: "Delaware senator Joe Biden is the ninth Democrat to jump into the candidate pool. But tonight, he might be wishing for a do-over, after being accused of making a racially insensitive remark about a rival in his first day as an official candidate."

Senior national correspondent Jake Tapper took it from there, noting "Joe Biden hoped that launching his presidential campaign would bring headlines about his experience and gravitas. But he spent much of the day explaining comments he made to a news reporter about Senator Barack Obama, a rival for the nomination"

Tapper, focusing on what I consider the most controversial aspect of Biden's statement, said: "observers from both parties questioned what Biden meant, especially by the word 'clean.'"

Tapper then played a clip of Jesse Jackson saying Biden "should interpret what he meant by those loaded words," and even one of Rush Limbaugh observing "folks, this is the problem for the libs. Once they get off script, they expose their idiocy. They expose their prejudice."

Contact Mark at mark@gunhill.net

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.