I’d like to post in response to a comment on Johnny’s “Mission Accomplished!” piece, where it was pointed out that Bill O’Reilly claimed that we never invaded Iraq, despite multiple instances of both President Bush and O’Reilly himself stating very clearly that we did.
“Agreed [Bill O’Reilly and Paul Wolfowitz are “Totally Full Of Shit”], but so is Olbermann, and you won’t see him crucified here.”
At this, I gasped. Well not really- that’d be totally gay- but I mean, I definitely don’t want people thinking that we’d ever turn a blind eye to someone being completely full of shit just because we agree with what they say most of the time.
So I immediately did two things. First, I welcomed soundman07 (and anyone out there) to supply us with any evidence of anyone being full of shit so we could give them a fair and equal crucifixion. Then, I started doing some research. Because I didn’t want to wait for someone else to do my detective work for me (in the spirit of true journalism), I set out to find examples of Olbermann lying.
I found a little bit right away.
In 2006, he painted an over-simplified and somewhat colored (even kinda sorta untrue) picture of the Bush administration’s lack of action on a daily briefing about Osama Bin Laden’s nefarious intentions before 9/11. And he didn’t jump to the point that the Clinton administration didn’t do anything when they were similarly alerted. Now, that’s not entirely true either- it wasn’t ignored by the Clinton administration nor the Bush administration- but it’s something that foes of Olbermann have pointed out as a clear example of bias.
Not exactly a clear cut case. And it’s far from current.
Then there was this time where Olbermann got caught “lying” when he said noone called him a liberal (god forbid) when he did 218 consecutive shows about the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The truth is that his network did 218 shows about Lewinsky, and while Olbermann was involved in most of them, he did in fact, take some days off. Yes, he said to Craig Ferguson “I did 218 consecutive shows” which is technically untrue. But still, nothing worth crucifying him over; the point he was trying to make was still a completely valid one. He did an assload of shows talking shit about Bill & Monica, so it’s not very fair to say he’s only attacking conservatives.
Also, that was 2 years ago.
Then I discovered Olbermann Watch– a site dedicated to calling bullshit on Keith Olbermann. Wow, finally, the treasure trove I was looking for. I’m not being a smarmy sarcastic tree-hugger here, I really was on a serious hunt for bullshit. That’s what I do.
So I started crawling the site for clear-cut examples of Keith Olbermann lying. I’m assuming the burden of proof and I’ll give Olbermann Watch the benefit of the doubt- I’ll consider all of their allegations valid unless I can prove otherwise. Here goes:
#1) Olbermann claimed that Pastor Hagee is Mccain’s “spiritual advisor,” and Olbermann is implicating the media as the bad guys in Obama’s situation over Pastor Wright.
The first part is, in fact, not true. One might call it a lie. The second part… is kinda vague. Olbermann Watch seems to be speculating on Olbermann’s intentions, and who really knows.
#2) Olbermann claims that Bush “never met with Cindy Sheehan,” yet they met in 2004.
I hunted down the full transcript of the show in question, which Olbermann Watch did not provide. What Olbermann actually said was that “Gold Star mothers like Cindy Sheehan and others for whom where (ph) had met only tragedy and waste, having been denied any chance of making their request [to stop the war] of this president.”
The truth is, there was “minimal coverage” of a meeting between Bush and Sheehan. So she did have a chance of making such a request. It’s not clear whether or not Olbermann knew that truth, and was thusly lying, or if he just didn’t know the little-known facts. But Olbermann Watch is basically right on this one.
#3) On the same show, Olbermann called Brit Hume a “McCain supporter” (alleged lie) and also “doctored” up a quote by Hume regarding something McCain said, to better suit Olbermann’s own “propaganda.” Here’s the quote, with the parts Olbermann ommitted in italics: “I think it’s probably just a blip, but it was a bigger blip than he wanted or needed at the time. I think the overall impression of the trip was this is a man welcomed by, knowledgeable of and comfortable with foreign leaders across a big part of the globe. But the mistake, nonetheless, raises questions not about his knowledgability- we all kinda believe he has that- the question, perhaps, about his age, which is an issue. You know, the feeling was not that he’s a dope, didn’t know his way around, that he might have had a senior moment there, and that’s unfortunate for him.” Olbermann then jumped on the thought of a wartime President having a “senior moment.”
Umm.. No, I think Olbermann got it straight. Hume said McCain had a “senior moment.” That was the gist, any way you slice it.
So is Brit Hume a McCain supporter? Well, probably. Of course he’d never go on record with it, but I’m pretty sure he is. At the end of the day, since noone knows for sure, I’m not sure if it’s a lie so much as a presumption. But that’s just my own personal judgment.
Then I got to a post about the March 19th show. Olbermann Watch triumphantly claimed that Olbermann was “caught in so many lies tonight that it might well be a new Guiness World Record!” By this point, I had gone through so many posts trying my damnedest to find some smoking gun type shit, I decided that this would have to be it for today. If the “#1 Keith Olbermann blog in the world” claimed that this was the gold standard of Keith Olbermann bullshit to study, it would surely determine once and for all if Olbermann was indeed full of shit or not. So here goes:
#4) Clinton is pushing for a re-vote in Michigan, even though the issue is “moot”, and she’s blaming Obama. Olbermann claims that it’s “not in Obama’s power” to determine because the state Senate won’t consider it. This is a lie because Obama needs to give his OK- which he hasn’t done.
I thought we had him here. But actually, it isn’t really Obama holding things up. The responsibility is in the hands of The Michigan Senate, where “top Democrats indicated it lacked the two-thirds supermajority necessary to pass the bill.” Obama clearly voiced his resignations to details in the legislation in question, but with him completely out of the picture, the Senate would still not have this majority. Olbermann’s off the hook and so is Obama.
#5) Olbermann makes the false claim that Sean Hannity called Barack Obama an anti-semite.
Well, he totally did. Not a lie. And Olbermann actually didn’t say that Hannity flat-out called him an anti-semite. He kept the context of the original quote, even while totally trashing the guy.
#6) Olbermann claimed that Fox didn’t cover Iraq today (March 19th).
Here’s the quote, from the transcript, which Olbermann Watch once again failed to provide: “…Fox News coverage of the war, fifth anniversary or otherwise, equally minimal, largely tangential. A lengthy segment today with the banner, ‘Obama Slams Iraq War in Major Speech.’ Better to angle each story along the lines of the war’s critics than the war’s catastrophes.
Yet even with Fox Noise, the shame seems to lie somewhere under the surface. Once President Bush’s speech this morning was over, it was pretty much ignored.
Fox did have time to squeeze in Senator McCain’s visit with Israeli leaders, as well as dozens of other stories having nothing to do with Iraq, all par for the course.”
So… Olbermann actually clearly acknowledged that Fox covered the Iraq war. All he said was that it was kinda light, and that they covered a lot of stuff that wasn’t related at all. Totally not a lie.
#7) Olbermann claimed that Bill O’Reilly featured a “culture quiz” segment tonight (March 19th).
There are no serious implications to this lie, it’s just something Keith Olbermann said which was not true. He didn’t fabricate an imaginary segment to smear Bill O’Reilly or anything. But anyway, who gives a shit? Besides Olbermann Watch I mean. By the time I got to this one (the fourth of a total of a “world record” setting four), it was obvious to me that while Keith Olbermann is definitely biased, he is not nearly as full of shit as Bill O’Reilly. He doesn’t double check every single fact- that’s asking a hell of a lot of a guy who talks so much- but he gets most of them right.
He’ll talk loud and say some outrageous things, which do pull in the ratings. And at the end of the day, like O’Reilly, he is a television personality and not a journalist. But if he’s a liar, his most dedicated enemies aren’t looking hard enough.
And either way, we’ve got bigger fish to fry.