Olbermann proposed to Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank: “Does this not smack of desperation on the part of the White House, to let something like that leak out right now?" Olbermann had gone too far even for Milbank, who came to Drudge's defense: "I, first of all, am never going to call Matt Drudge deplorable. Every time he links to one of my stories, I get an extra 50,000 hits." On Green, Milbank indicted his colleagues as he called for condemnation of the ABCer: “We have to say it is unacceptable for a journalist to be doing this, in part because, look, you and I and other journalists go out all the time and say things critical of Bush, but this fellow, I don't know him, is obviously very personally invested.”
Video excerpt (1:38): Real (2.8 MB) or Windows Media (3.2 MB). Plus MP3 audio (575 KB).
The DrudgeReport on Thursday afternoon posted the text of a Thursday, September 30, 2004 e-mail via a Blackberry (with the time of 19:13) from John Green, Executive Producer of the Saturday and Sunday editions of Good Morning America, to a recipient whose name was blacked out:
"Are you watching this? Bush makes me sick. If he uses the 'mixed messages' line one more time, I'm going to puke."
September 30 was the night of the first Bush-Kerry debate, Tim Graham pointed out in this NewsBusters posting which quotes Bush's repeated use of the phrase that so annoyed Green.Earlier NewsBusters item on Drudge's scoop.
Keith Olbermann: "The war against the media, it's not something from our imagination, and it certainly got a little personal today. There was an e-mail that a producer at ABC News had written in the fall of 2004 during the presidential campaign that was leaked to the infamous, deplorable Matt Drudge. The e-mail read, as a posting today: 'Are you watching this? Bush makes be sick. If he uses the “mixed messages" line one more time, I'm going to puke.' I'm not even going to put the 'if that came from the White House somehow' thing in there because the timing's too good. When you consider that the President won that election and the e-mail was not even about Iraq, does this not smack of desperation on the part of the White House, to let something like that leak out right now?"
Dana Milbank: "Well, I, first of all, am never going to call Matt Drudge deplorable. Every time he links to one of my stories, I get an extra 50,000 hits, they tell me, so-"
Olbermann: "Good. Good for you."
Milbank: "-so let's establish that."
Olbermann: "I said it, not you."
Milbank: "You're toast, Keith."
Olbermann: "I'll go to the Matt Drudge Ombudsman."
Milbank: "But, look, whatever the reason for it, I don't think we should say, this is unacceptable, we have to say it is unacceptable for a journalist to be doing this, in part because, look, you and I and other journalists go out all the time and say things critical of Bush, but this fellow, I don't know him, is obviously very personally invested into this to think of puking. Now, the line about the mixed messages, I remember it from the campaign. Bush was essentially suggesting that Kerry was aiding and abetting the terrorists, but, so why didn't he suggest people investigate the truth of that line as opposed to getting his digestive juices all agitated about it?"
“The comic relief of the day, Vice President Cheney's standard road trip tour rider, what his, the hotels that he stays at gets from his office, has been obtained by our friends at TheSmokingGun.com, and the advance staff saying that his hotel suite must, let me just give you a brief sampling, have all lights turned on, which either indicates that big oil would be proud or the Vice President doesn't like the dark, four cans of Diet Caffeine Free Sprite in the room, and, of course, all televisions tuned to Fox News. Well, of course they'd all be tuned to Fox News because he has to make sure they're saying what he told them to say. I know this is entertaining, we just made fun of it here, but it's been running all day on this network, all day on CNN, as if it were, I don't know, videotape of the Harry Whittington hunting incident. This is not like he's asking for 1,000 brown M&M's, right? I mean, it's almost as unfair as Drudge posting a two-year-old ABC e-mail, isn't it?"