Olbermann Hits Bozell as 'Worst' for Suspecting Hillary in Filegate

MSNBC "Countdown" host and Media Matters marionette Keith Olbermann handed MRC founder Brent Bozell his whimsical Worst Person in the World honors on Wednesday night for having the bad manners to assert on FNC’s "Hannity & Colmes" that Hillary Clinton was at the center of the FBI files scandal. Using the same argument and same verbiage as Media Matters – without mentioning them by name or suggesting he is an anchor-droid programmed nightly by David Brock – he cited the Clinton-camp argument that if Hillary was not indicted by those hated special prosecutors, therefore it’s preposterous she was in any way involved:

Our winner: Brent Bozell, Media Research Council, goes on the Hannity and Colmes fiction hour, again, to announce about Senator Clinton, quote: "Now we know and we know -- we knew that she was in the middle of things, we knew that she was behind the whole FBI-gate." Yeah, in 2000, the last Whitewater independent counsel, Robert Ray, wrapped up six years of investigations and announced that, quote: "No senior White House official or First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton engaged in criminal conduct to obtain through fraudulent means derogatory information about former White House staff. No senior White House official or Mrs. Clinton was involved in requesting FBI background reports for improper partisan advantage." Independent counsel Robert W. Ray was a Republican and Brent Bozell is a guy who makes stuff up. Brent Bozell, today's Worst Person in the World!

Should one think that perhaps Olbermann is not a serious anchorman when he refers to Bozell as head of the Media Research "Council," know that Keith seems to always make that factual error when bashing Brent. (I’m sensing the vibe, "I’m not making a stupid mistake, I’m brilliantly telegraphing that I think your group’s a right-wing joke.")

It would seem like a good argument for the lefties to cite an independent counsel document to absolve Hillary of any involvement in the FBI files scandal, even if it’s odd considering that Hillary always vehemently opposed the idea, and regularly trained her corps of attack dogs on independent counsels as a shamelessly partisan cog of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. Clearly, Robert Ray’s (and Kenneth Starr’s) office investigated the FBI files matter and brought no criminal charges. But as usual, the Clintons always suggest that if they’re not indicted, then they have "done nothing wrong." They would say that even if they were indicted.

But when special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald declined to indict Karl Rove in the Valerie Plame matter, Media Matters certainly didn’t find that Rove was then free of suspicion. Instead, they demanded the removal of his security clearance. Would Olbermann suggest that since Fitzgerald didn't indict Rove, his script writers at Media Matters were "making stuff up" about Rove's role in Plamegate?

I’d say Ray’s text dismissing culpability in the FBI files matter seems to go beyond the legal questions to suggesting that there was somehow no scandal or wrongdoing anywhere in the chain of acquisition and archiving of Republican FBI files by the Clinton team. But then consider that this same Robert Ray also concluded that Hillary Clinton provided "factually false" testimony in the Travel Office case – even though he declined to prosecute it as "beyond a reasonable doubt." (Media Matters knows that, but never considers the immense political pressure brought by the Clintons and their allies to get Ray to wrap it up, up, up in 2000 and go home.)

If Clintonistas think that Rove shouldn’t have a security clearance for their feeling that he violated Plame’s privacy and CIA employment, then why would it seem odd for Hillary’s opponents to suggest that her suspected role in violating the privacy of Republican White House employees, or her providing "factually false" answers to a grand jury, suggest she shouldn’t be president?

Finally, consider that when Team Clinton says there's no "evidence" of a Clinton scandal, the destruction or disappearance of evidence will always by suspected by conserrvatives. As a little demonstration of how the network news wasn't interested in pursuing the Filegate case back in 1996, consider this old MRC report:

On September 25, 1996, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) revealed a six-month gap in the log which listed who at the White House was accessing FBI background files on Republican White House employees. The Washington Times bannered the news across page one the next day. On October 4, Sen. Hatch released the deposition of White House aide Mari Anderson before the Judiciary Committee. Anderson verified that pages of the log used to record the taking of FBI files were missing. Anderson also asserted, contradicting White House aide Craig Livingstone's assurances, that Livingstone knew the Clinton White House was procuring the FBI files of Republicans. Even The Washington Post put this story on its front page the next day.

Network coverage? One brief on "Good Morning America" (and we found two briefs on CNN).

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