Olbermann Implies Senate Scheduling Spying Hearing to Be 'Buried' by Mideast Coverage

On Tuesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann implied that the Senate Judiciary Committee deliberately timed its hearing on the controversial NSA spying program to "bury" the story as the national media attention is focused on war in the Middle East. The Countdown host similarly remarked that it was the "perfect day" for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to reveal President Bush's role in blocking the Justice Department from reviewing the program. Referring to NBC's The West Wing, Olbermann ended up labeling the day "take out the trash day."

After referring to the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, Olbermann teased the segment at the beginning of the show: "A perfect day then to bury the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on warrant-free domestic spying by the Bush administration. A perfect day then for the Attorney General to reveal that the Justice Department was blocked from reviewing the legalities on the personal instructions of the President." (Transcript follows)

Referring to President Josiah Bartlet from NBC's The West Wing, Olbermann reviewed the show's coining of the term "take out the trash day," the practice of releasing information damaging to the administration on Friday to minimize press coverage. Olbermann declared that "'take out the trash day' could also be a Tuesday." Olbermann: "Our number two story in the Countdown, 'take out the trash' day could also be a Tuesday if much of the news-consuming public is monitoring a war far from the halls of the Capitol, where a Senate Committee just happened to hear that the reason there was no Justice Department review of the warrantless NSA domestic spy program is that the President ordered that there not be one."

Below is a transcript of relevant portions from Tuesday's Countdown show:

Keith Olbermann, in opening teaser: "A perfect day then to bury the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on warrant-free domestic spying by the Bush administration. A perfect day then for the Attorney General to reveal that the Justice Department was blocked from reviewing the legalities on the personal instructions of the President."

Olbermann, introducing the segment: "It will perhaps be the enduring contribution to American political speak by the creators of the just concluded NBC series The West Wing: 'Take out the trash' day. In the fictional Bartlett White House, the day, usually a late Friday afternoon when bad or damaging news is released by the press office to be lost amid the traditional diffusion of a weekend. Our number two story in the Countdown, 'take out the trash' day could also be a Tuesday if much of the news-consuming public is monitoring a war far from the halls of the Capitol, where a Senate Committee just happened to hear that the reason there was no Justice Department review of the warrantless NSA domestic spy program is that the President ordered that there not be one. Our Justice correspondent Pete Williams has been good enough to stay late with us tonight. Good evening, Pete."

UPDATE 23:58 by Matthew Sheffield. You may not be aware of this but MSNBC (in cooperation with lefty journalists, bloggers and activist groups) is desperately trying to prop up Olbermann to become the centerpiece of its TV lineup.

Problem is, though, Olby's haughty, unfunny, and biased news program can't manage to keep apolitical viewers. Our good friends over at Olbermann Watch have a post up showing just how little the campaign has helped.

UPDATE 7/19 1:40 by Matthew Sheffield. Commenter John in CA notes the Senate hearings were skedded for this time by at least June 30th. Good to see MSNBC is saving money on Olby's program by not hiring fact-checkers.