Keith Olbermann – Outta control

Picture courtesy of mediabistro.comIn his continuing successful efforts to pander to the Nutroots for ratings (something he hilariously denies doing), Keith Olbermann’s latest target is – like most of the people he picks on – an undeserving one, but the significance of his latest target is that she’s not a pundit, but a mainstream media reporter for Time magazine. Specifically, she’s Time’s National Political Correspondent and her name is Karen Tumulty. What was her sin? Criticizing Hillary Clinton’s lame attempt at pandering to the black vote during the Imus/Rutgers hysteria. Tumulty writes:

I had been trying to decide whether I should respond to all the comments regarding my post the other day about Hillary Clinton’s website and its appeal for support of the Rutgers women’s basketball team, which had stirred up some dust from the folks at Media Matters. I was leaning against engaging on this one, until a friend from graduate school sent me an e-mail last night alerting me to the fact that Keith Olbermann had declared me the “Worst Person in the World.”


Of course I know that “CONTRIBUTE” button is a permanent fixture on Clinton’s website. Every campaign (and, for that matter, every charitable organization) that maintains a website seems to have one. And that was sort of my point. More and more, we all go to campaign websites to get information about the candidates. But two of the reasons they maintain these websites are:

1. To bring in money.
2. To collect e-mail addresses, so that they can hound people for money.

I spend a lot of time on these websites, and have registered with most of them (the better to know what they are up to), so I get fundraising appeals on what seems to be an hourly basis. While I am certain that Hillary Clinton was genuinely outraged over what happened on Imus, the decision by her campaign operatives to post this online petition had some tangible benefits to her campaign as well. (The fact that the campaign sent out an e-mail alerting reporters and bloggers to this petition, so that they would talk about it and drive traffic to it, seems to confirm that.) Does that make her unprincipled? Of course not. It just shows that she and her team have a lot of experience at doing politics–and this is, after all, a political blog. Also, please note that as soon as her spokesman Phil Singer clarified that they were not collecting e-mail addresses from this petition, I also posted that. (However, the petition does have a place to click if you want to receive e-mail from the campaign. You know, just in case.)

For those of you who see some kind of massive bias on my part regarding Senator Clinton: I would suggest you read a few of the many stories I have written about her in the past in dead-tree TIME, including this cover last summer.

Sheesh. And if you read the post in question, you’ll see she did exactly as stated: she updated it with the info that came from the Hillary campaign. But to Keith Olbermann, Tumulty’s mere criticism of la Clinton’s taking advantage of the Rutgers/Imus dustup in order to raise campaign cash was enough to make Tumulty share the his “Worst Person of the World” award for that broadcast alongside “the pet food CEO who coincidentally dumped half his stock just before the big contamination news hit, and the “Geek Squad” guy who came to fix the computer and ended up filming in the shower.” This, in spite of the fact that she’s proven that she’ll take both sides to task with two other critical posts – on Republican campaigns, on the very same day she posted her comments about the Clinton campaign.

Tumulty’s Time colleague and fellow Swampland contributor Joe Klein defended her here, citing, “rampant righteousness, leading to some questionable decision-making” on the part of Olby.

I think someone more deserving of a “Worst Person in the World” distinction would be a vain, ratings hungry individual on one network who attacks a talk show host on a rival network for choosing not to address one way or the other invasive questions pertaining to his sexual orientation.

The attacker in this case? None other than Keith Olbermann himself (h/t Olbermann Watch):

By now we’re at the studio, in a makeup room, and Olbermann starts in on Anderson Cooper. The CNN anchor, Olbermann notes, recently told a Men’s Journal writer that he wouldn’t talk about his private life. “Don’t tell me you don’t want to talk about personal life when you wrote a book about your father’s death and your brother’s death” says Olbermann. “You can’t move this big mass of personal stuff out for public display, then people ask questions and you say, ‘Oh, no, I didn’t say there was going to be any questions.’ It’s the same thing as the Bush administration saying, ‘We’re going to war, but you really aren’t allowed to know why.’ ”

Strange, isn’t it? KO actually believes that Anderson Cooper’s refusal to reveal whether or not he’s gay is morally equivalent to the President supposedly not informing the American people as to why we were going to war with Iraq (the latter part, of course, is a complete lie on KO’s part, not that that should surprise anyone). Let’s see: an elected official is a public servant, whose responsibilities include being open with the American people about business being conducted in our name. On the other hand, Anderson Cooper is an evening TV news show anchor, and supposedly he has some sort of ‘responsibility’ to reveal his sexual orientation in order to satisfy perversely curious people like Keith Olbermann? I don’t think so. Because if that were the case, then K.O. would be ‘obligated’ to America to explain whether or not this woman’s allegations about his sexual prowess – or lack thereof(?) – had any merit. To my knowledge he hasn’t, which should be a relief to anyone who doesn’t give a flip about Keith Olbermann’s sexual encounters anymore than they do Anderson Cooper’s sexual orientation.

Olby’s even ticked off the Huffington Post with his bizarro obsession with Anderson Cooper’s sexual orientation, which may give him pause, considering how he’s beholden to the Nutroots for most of his ratings. Or maybe not. All he has to do is get back on track with devoting every single minute he has on air to slamming the Bush administration.


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