Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Keith Olbermann Rocks O'Reilly, Gibson

It can be frustrating for us to watch the likes of Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson polluting the minds of intellectually-helpless Fox News viewers and doing it with what often appears to be total impunity.

Tell a lie? Smear someone with no foundation in fact? It's all standard fare on the GOP's own cable news network.

That is why I love Keith Olbermann, of MSNBC's Countdown so damn much. He not only takes them on with stunning regularity, but he often does it in such a take-no-prisoners way that I don't know whether to laugh or weep with joy.

Last night was one of the best examples I've seen. Apparently, O'Reilly and Gibson have taken exception to Olbermann so frequently skewering them on his Worst Person in the World segment. O'Reilly recently called Olbermann a "notorious smear merchant" on his show and made fun of Countdown for not having the sheer ratings numbers of The O'Reilly Factor.

"We never claimed O'Reilly's program doesn't draw vastly more viewers than does this one," said Olbermann last night. "To borrow a phrase, 'Hey, 800 billion flies can't be wrong.'"

But he said much more than that – and, of course, our friends at Crook and Liars have the entire seven-minute video clip.

"It is curious isn't it that he brands me a 'smear merchant' and yet instead of trying to refute just one of the hateful things we've quoted him as saying or doing he turns to the ratings?" asks Olbermann. "That's probably because the only thing we've smeared O'Reilly with have been his own quotes. To borrow another phrase, when you're as guilty as he is, change the subject!"

Olbermann then turns the guns on John Gibson, who has been the primary person at Fox pumping up the fake "war on Christmas" controversy.

Comparing him to O'Reilly – who he calls "one of those blissful idiots who can rationalize anything" – Olbermann says that Gibson is trying to destroy himself and, compares him again to O'Reilly saying "even he [O'Reilly] is not so functionally stupid as to deny saying things that are preserved on tape, which is what Mr. Gibson is doing."

Flashing back to a segment in which he said of Gibson "... he is one of those people who think that all religions but his are mistaken. You know, the way a lot of these religious nutbag terrorists think," Olbermann goes on to cite transcripts and play audio of Gibson saying exactly the things he claims Olbermann made up -- including this gem of compassionate conservatism:
"If somebody is going to have to answer for following the wrong religion , they're not going to have to answer to me. We know who they're going to have to answer to. And that's fine. Let 'em. But in the meantime, as long as they're civil and behave, we tolerate the presence of other religions around us without causing trouble."
Says Olbermann: "It's the same kind of misunderstanding and perversion of religion to which we react in horror when we see it in terrorists who have twisted religions for their own purposes. It might as well have been commentators on some all-access, al Qaeda show on Al Jazeera talking about infidels."

Olbermann then issues the coup de grace by saying that, because of saying these things and then lying about them on the public airwaves, Gibson should remove himself from television entirely.

"The audio clip is the definitive answer and I would hope John would now have the self-respect to acknowledge what he said and to leave the airwaves for good. Because between the remark and the denial he has, sadly, forfeited his right to stay here."

This is too good to miss. Catch it here at Crooks and Liars.