There Goes The Gravitas: Olbermann Aims Childish 'Fat' Jibes at Ailes

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that a TV host whose idea of a show-closer is tossing wadded-up balls of paper at the camera would indulge in middle-school-worthy taunts about someone's weight. And yet . . . I actually was surprised when on tonight's show, Keith Olbermann unleashed a string of jibes aimed at Roger Ailes' physique. So surprised that when Olbermann first began his barrage, with a comment about Ailes doing something "between pies," I truly wondered whether I had misheard him or perhaps misunderstood his intent. Fat jokes? Could my fellow Cornellian really be stooping that low?

He could. Olbermann's mean-spirited motive soon became manifest. Displaying what was presumably the least flattering photo of the Fox chief he could find [shown here], Olbermann followed that comment with this string of insults:

  • "Ailes is back with another memorable quote. Don't get your hands too close to his mouth, by the way."
  • Speaking of the free publicity that Ailes has said the Clinton-Chris Wallace dust-up generated for Fox News, Olbermann inveighed "donate the [money] to charity, fat-ass."
  • Olbermann then said he was calling in MSNBC analyst Craig Crawford to "flesh out the Ailes story," and Crawford immediately got into the night's nasty spirit by observing "we've got a lot of flesh to work with."
  • "Ailes looks a little like [the notably un-slim] Rod Steiger playing Napoleon."
  • "I'm sure that Mr. Ailes wishes that personally he could stop broadening out."

Olbermann professes to idolize Edward R. Murrow, and indeed closes each night's show with a reprise of Murrow's "good night and good luck." Hard to imagine Murrow, that epitome of dignified TV journalism, being other than appalled by his acolyte's puerile and demeaning tactics.

Thanks to AllahPundit at Hot Air, video is available here.

UPDATE 09-30: MRC VP Brent Baker informs us that Friday marked the third consecutive night of anti-Ailes insults from Olbermann. In the course of Wednesday and Thursday's shows, Olbermann:

  • Referred to Ailes as "Ming the Merciless," the villainous character from the Flash Gordon series." Olbermann also personally insulted Ailes as "having achieved the perfectly circular shape" as the Countdown host awarded the night's top "Worst Person" dishonor to Ailes.
  • Mocked “the circular gentleman” for telling the FNC staff on the tenth anniversary of the network that in the future they need “to focus more on taking audience away from broadcast networks, not the other cable news networks.”
  • “Not so fast, Sydney Greenstreet,” Olbermann fired back, in an apparent insulting reference to the rotund and bald actor who passed away in 1954.

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Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.