Olbermann Skips Own Hypocrisy on The Reagans v 9/11 Movie, Castigates MRC's Bozell

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who in late 2003 devoted a fraction of the time to CBS's The Reagans movie as he has just this week to liberal complaints about ABC's The Path to 9/11 (he's led Countdown with it for two nights in a row), castigated MRC President Brent Bozell for supposed hypocrisy in criticizing The Reagans while not denouncing the new 9/11 movie. Naming Bozell his “Worst Person in the World” on Friday's show, Olbermann ridiculed him as “Bozo the Clown: Right-wing hysteric Brent Bozell weighing-in in his usual light-weight manner.” Olbermann quoted how on The Path to 9/11, Bozell wrote in his column that “as a docudrama, it has taken certain poetic license with history,” but on the Reagan movie Bozell said “there is no such thing as creative license to invent falsehoods about people. I don't care who you are, you don't have that right.” Olbermann snidely lectured: “Hey, Brent, when you look in the mirror, how many faces do you see? The rest of us count at least two. Brent Bozell, today's Worst Person in the World!”

Olbermann ignored how saying the movie takes “poetic license” is criticism and how on Wednesday's Scarborough Country, Bozell asserted: "I think that if you have a scene or two scenes or three scenes, important scenes, that do not have any bearing on reality and you can edit them, I think they should edit them.”

Video clip (45 seconds): Real 1.3 MB or Windows Media (1.6 MB), plus MP3 audio (275 KB)

Bozell's contention, I believe, is that the two movies are not equivalent since The Reagans, which aired on Showtime, was riddled throughout with misrepresentations and was set to air when Ronald Reagan, suffering from Alzheimer's, could not respond; while The Path to 9/11 is about 98 percent accurate with just a few scenes in question and Bill Clinton is fully capable of responding. Plus: the media are making sure everyone knows about Team Clinton's take on the ABC movie.

On Wednesday's Scarborough Country, Bozell also lamented: “I wish that this had stuck to being a documentary and not gone the way of docudramas, but it did. There will be some things that people on the Clinton side disagree with, as do the Bush people, as well. But I don't think, from what I saw, I didn't see any deliberate attempt to bash either the Clinton side or the Bush side. Look, both administrations do bear a degree of responsibility with all the warning signals that we had that were overlooked.”

Olbermann's September 8 Countdown item, which followed his runner-up to a man in Slovakia who, after an auto accident, police found “unconscious with head injuries, his pants off, and a pump on his penis,” which he called a “related topic” to Bozell:
“But the winner, in a related topic, Bozo the Clown: Right-wing hysteric Brent Bozell weighing-in in his usual light-weight manner on the controversy over The Path to 9/11 movie, he writes, quote: 'As a docudrama, it has taken certain poetic license with history.' Three years ago in the middle of the controversy over the CBS docudrama about Ronald Reagan, Mr. Bozell said quote: 'There is no such thing as creative license to invent falsehoods about people. I don't care who you are, you don't have that right.' Hey, Brent, when you look in the mirror, how many faces do you see? The rest of us count at least two. Brent Bozell, today's Worst Person in the World!”
Olbermann's contemporary quote of Bozell's came from Bozell's September 6 column. The paragraph in full:
“Serious scholars of current events, not to mention some of those named in the film, may take issue with parts of this presentation. The movie is based on the report of the 9/11 Commission, which itself is not infallible in its conclusions on what went wrong and what needs to fixed. Moreover, up front the moviemakers note it has composite characters and manipulates the time of events for a better movie experience. As a 'docudrama' it has taken certain poetic license with history.”
Bozell's 2003 quote came from a November 5, 2003 AP article by David Bauder.

I can't imagine Olbermann tracked down these two quotes himself, so I presume some left-wing blogger or Web site pointed out the supposed hypocrisy. Terry Krepel of ConWebWatch, who on Thursday posted this item, “Bozell's Double Standard,” on his ConWebBlog may have inspired Olbermann and his producers, but Krepel cited a different 2003 quote.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center