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NBC Denies Liberal Bias As It Elevates Olbermann to Nighty News --2/16/2007


1. NBC Denies Liberal Bias As It Elevates Olbermann to Nightly News
NBC News on Thursday announced that the network has extended its contract with Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC's Countdown, for four years. As part of the deal with the vitriolic journalist who, the AP's David Bauder reported, "has become a liberal hero" and who "has seen his ratings increase since launching a series of anti-President Bush commentaries late last summer," he will be elevated to the broadcast network which will air two Countdown specials a year and he will contribute "occasional essays" on NBC Nightly News. In announcing the deal on his program, Olbermann said the frequency of the "essays" will be "periodic" and during an afternoon interview on MSNBC he suggested he'd do about a dozen a year. Reciting a February 15 conference call held by NBC News President Steve Capus to make the announcement, Bauder relayed how "the news chief also said he saw no problem giving a more prominent role on NBC News to someone with clearly stated political opinions." Capus asserted: "I think the viewers are sophisticated enough to welcome all viewpoints." But only one kind of viewpoint, that of the far-left, conservative-hating Olbermann is getting two hours in NBC prime time and monthly commentaries on the NBC Nightly News.

2. Olbermann's Record of Hateful Diatribes Against Conservatives
From calling President Bush a "compulsive liar" who has committed "impeachable" offenses and forgotten "the lessons of 9/11" so "may this country forgive you," to denouncing Donald Rumsfeld as a "quack" pushing "fascism," to bringing up the possibility that conservatives might intentionally "provoke potential terrorists" in an effort to "maintain influence and control of the presidency," to accusing Rush Limbaugh of "following the logic and ethics of Osama bin Laden," to sliming Fox's Chris Wallace as "a monkey posing as a newscaster," Keith Olbermann has used his MSNBC Countdown show over the past year to launch vitriolic personal attacks on those with whom he disagrees. He even once tagged the Media Research Center as a "rabid right-wing spin group" which has been "inventing liberal bias since 1987." Back in 1998, he asserted that "the person Ken Starr has reminded me of facially all this time was Heinrich Himmler" and asked if Starr's pursuit of Bill Clinton prompts "some sort of comparison to a persecutor as opposed to a prosecutor for Mr. Starr?" Below are highlights of some of Olbermann's more obnoxious left-wing comments, with links to full transcripts and videos.

3. Olbermann Assumes NBC's Bill Moyers Chair In Liberal Outrage
Keith Olbermann's arrival as the lone commentator at NBC Nightly News is the first overt commentator NBC's hired since PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers in 1995. A quick Nexis search shows Olbermann has been very rarely on NBC News airwaves. He actually anchored NBC Nightly News as a weekend substitute on April 12, 1998 (Easter Sunday, see accompanying screen shot which will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert) and May 9, 1998. In the commentary and prime-time special clauses of Olbermann's new deal, there are obvious parallels with Moyers. They are two fiercely left-wing commentators who oddly deny a liberal bias when asked by the press. In February 1995 promotional spots NBC promised: "Bold, clear, balanced and fair. Now NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw has a new dimension -- Bill Moyers." Moyers began his new duties on February 14, 1995, and NBC had no plans to provide a conservative counter-weight.

4. New NBC Political Director Toiled for Harkin, But 'Fan' of MRC
The new Political Director for NBC News once toiled for liberal Democrat Tom Harkin's 1992 presidential campaign, but is also a "fan" of the MRC who maintains his politics are now "as neutral as it comes." Mark Finkelstein, a regular contributor to the MRC's NewsBusters blog, was intrigued by this sentence in NBC's press release announcing the hiring of Chuck Todd, now Editor-in-Chief of Hotline: "Before coming to the world of political reporting and analysis, Todd earned practical political experience on initiative campaigns in Florida and various national campaigns based in Washington, D.C." So Finkelstein contacted Todd and learned "that in 1991 he had worked on the presidential campaign of Tom Harkin, the liberal Democratic Senator from Iowa." Todd added, however: "I am a fan of the Media Research Center and of Mr. Bozell and am aware of your mission."


NBC Denies Liberal Bias As It Elevates
Olbermann to Nightly News

NBC News on Thursday announced that the network has extended its contract with Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC's Countdown, for four years. As part of the deal with the vitriolic journalist who, the AP's David Bauder reported, "has become a liberal hero" and who "has seen his ratings increase since launching a series of anti-President Bush commentaries late last summer," he will be elevated to the broadcast network which will air two Countdown specials a year and he will contribute "occasional essays" on NBC Nightly News. In announcing the deal on his program, Olbermann said the frequency of the "essays" will be "periodic" and during an afternoon interview on MSNBC he suggested he'd do about a dozen a year.

Reciting a February 15 conference call held by NBC News President Steve Capus to make the announcement, Bauder relayed how "the news chief also said he saw no problem giving a more prominent role on NBC News to someone with clearly stated political opinions." Capus asserted: "I think the viewers are sophisticated enough to welcome all viewpoints." But only one kind of viewpoint, that of the far-left, conservative-hating Olbermann is getting two hours in NBC prime time and monthly commentaries on the NBC Nightly News.

As for the popularity of Olbermann's liberal rantings, Bauder recited how though "Olbermann's viewership in January was up 85 percent over January 2006, according to Nielsen Media Research," he's "still in O'Reilly's shadow: the Fox show has averaged 2.4 million viewers so far this year while Olbermann, in the same time slot, has averaged 672,000."

For Bauder's February 15 AP dispatch: news.yahoo.com

In the original MSNBC.com posting about the contract extension, Capus rejected Bill O'Reilly's claim that NBC News is a liberal network, calling that "really kind of sad and pathetic." As Stephen Spruiell of National Review Online's "Media Blog" observed: "Uh, Steve, you just made the most vitriolic left-wing ranter on television a featured player on your flagship news broadcast. That does very little to disconfirm O'Reilly's 'sad and pathetic' criticism."

Spruiell's item: media.nationalreview.com

The MSNBC.com posting, now updated with the "sad and pathetic" line removed: www.msnbc.msn.com

See item #2 below for a rundown of Olbermann's liberal crusading and conservative-bashing over the last few months.

Olbermann's Record of Hateful Diatribes
Against Conservatives

From calling President Bush a "compulsive liar" who has committed "impeachable" offenses and forgotten "the lessons of 9/11" so "may this country forgive you," to denouncing Donald Rumsfeld as a "quack" pushing "fascism," to bringing up the possibility that conservatives might intentionally "provoke potential terrorists" in an effort to "maintain influence and control of the presidency," to accusing Rush Limbaugh of "following the logic and ethics of Osama bin Laden," to sliming Fox's Chris Wallace as "a monkey posing as a newscaster," Keith Olbermann has used his MSNBC Countdown show over the past year to launch vitriolic personal attacks on those with whom he disagrees. He even once tagged the Media Research Center as a "rabid right-wing spin group" which has been "inventing liberal bias since 1987."

Back in 1998, he asserted that "the person Ken Starr has reminded me of facially all this time was Heinrich Himmler" and asked if Starr's pursuit of Bill Clinton prompts "some sort of comparison to a persecutor as opposed to a prosecutor for Mr. Starr?"

Below are highlights of some of Olbermann's more obnoxious left-wing comments, with links to full transcripts and videos:

# June 27, 2006 Media Reality Check by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "The 'Worst' of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann; 3rd Place Cable Host Uses 'Worst in the World!' Segment to Savage Conservatives & His Competitors." The study found:

The segment is a strong measure of the MSNBC host's overwhelming bias against conservatives as the segment has served as a launchpad for attacks against conservative figures and positions at a dramatically greater rate than against the left. By a staggeringly lopsided 8 to 1 margin, Olbermann has targeted conservatives, sometimes with substantial venom, while hitting a comparatively minuscule number of liberals.

Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" segment normally features three nominees, although sometimes fewer, for the title of the same name, with the third place award labeled "Worse," second place labeled "Worser," and the first place award labeled "Worst." His targets have ranged from dumb criminals to politicians and public figures, many of whom have simply made controversial statements upsetting to Olbermann. MRC analysts examined every "Worst Person" segment, beginning with the first installment on June 30, 2005, and ending with June 23, 2006. The total number of nominees counted during the period was 592. Of these, 197, or about one-third, were politically salient figures. Out of these 197 nominees, there were 174, or 88 percent, that featured an attack on a conservative target or ideas, compared with 23 nominees, or 12 percent, that featured an attack on liberal targets or ideas.

For the full report, and link to a list of Olbermann's targets: www.mrc.org


# January 17 CyberAlert: Olbermann Blasts '24' as Pro-Bush 'Fearmongering,' 'Brainwashing'

The night after the four-hour, two-night season premiere of Fox's 24 ended with a "suitcase nuke" being set off by Middle Eastern terrorists in a Southern California warehouse, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann saw a nefarious plot to aid President Bush: "Is 24 just entertainment or is it propaganda designed to keep people thinking about domestic terrorism to keep us scared?" He demanded Tuesday night: "Gripping drama or thinly veiled propaganda?" Olbermann recounted how 24 "featured a mall attack, a would-be suicide bomber on a subway, and a successful suicide bombing on a passenger bus. Not in places where these things have already happened, but in a country called the United States of America. In case you missed the point, the show finished up with a nuclear weapon detonating in a major American city, literally conjuring up the administration's imagery for the war in Iraq, the good old mushroom cloud." Olbermann soon proposed that "if the irrational right can claim that the news is fixed to try to alter people's minds or that networks should be boycotted for nudity or for immorality," then "shouldn't those same groups be saying 24 should be taken off of TV because it's naked brainwashing?"

For more: www.mrc.org


# January 3 CyberAlert: Olbermann: Bush Extending 'Senseless' War to Aid 'War Profiteers'

On Tuesday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" attack on President Bush to accuse the President of extending the "senseless, endless" war in Iraq as part of an ulterior motive to transfer money to "war profiteers" because "you can't sell [the Army] any more [Humvees] until the first thousand have been destroyed." Olbermann: "The service men and women are ancillary to the equation. This is about the planned


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obsolescence of ordnance, isn't it, Mr. Bush? And the building of detention centers? And the design of a $125 million courtroom complex at Gitmo, complete with restaurants. At least the war profiteers have made their money, sir." After proclaiming that "this country has already lost in Iraq" because of its "crushing impact on our safety here," which has "fomented new terrorism," "stoked paranoia," and "pitted Americans one against another," Olbermann accused Bush of first sending troops to Iraq for the President's "lie," and now for his "ego."

For more, including a video clip: www.mrc.org


# December 11 CyberAlert: Olbermann: 'Authoritarian' 'Criminal' Bush 'Worst Ever' President

On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann again discussed whether President Bush is the "worst ever" President, inspired by comments from Republican Senator Gordon Smith that leaving American troops in Iraq could be "criminal." Coining the phrase "Mr. Smith goes to his conscience," Olbermann introduced an interview with Newsweek's Richard Wolffe comparing Smith's comments to the "watershed" moment when Republican Senators Hugh Scott and Barry Goldwater convinced President Nixon to resign. After bringing aboard former Nixon counsel John Dean, Olbermann referred to their past discussion of the Bush White House being a "textbook case of authoritarianism" and wondered if President Bush might soon be "declared once and for all" the worst President ever: "If in face of the overwhelming evidence that the plan in Iraq is not working, the public disapproval at this extraordinary high, if even now President Bush is not willing to change course on a real basis and Mr. Rumsfeld's not expressing any remorse, might that be the deciding historical factor in declaring once and for all this President the worst one ever?"

For more: www.mrc.org


# December 1 CyberAlert: Olbermann Hits Gingrich's 'Fascist' 'Assault' on First Amendment

On Thursday's Countdown, two days after comparing Newt Gingrich's ideas on free speech and anti-terrorism measures to Naziism, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann aimed his latest "Special Comment" rant at the former House Speaker over a speech he gave at the Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment award dinner, during which Gingrich had talked about restricting some free speech rights for those who incite terrorism. Olbermann used a number of charged words and phrases in hitting Gingrich, including "fascism," "barbarism" and "delusions of grandeur." He also referred to Gingrich as a "dangerous creature" and compared Gingrich to an "arsonist giving the keynote address at a convention of firefighters." Accusing Gingrich of "exploiting" terrorism to pursue the presidency, the Countdown host quoted a line from The Manchurian Candidate referring to Angela Lansbury's character who planned to seize power while "waving the flag every time she subjugates another freedom." Olbermann concluded by proclaiming that he is "thankful" not to be with Gingrich in "that dark place" where "the way to save America is to destroy America."

For more: www.mrc.org


# November 21 CyberAlert: Olbermann: Bush's 'Avoidance of Reality' Will Kill More Americans

On Monday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" segment to attack President Bush's recent contention, in response to a question about what lessons could be learned from the Vietnam War that "the task in Iraq is going to take a while" and that "we'll succeed unless we quit." The Countdown host started off by charging that President Bush, "who permitted the 'Swift-Boating' of not one but two


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American heroes of that war," exhibits an "avoidance of reality" that "is going to wind up killing more Americans." He also dismissed the Cold War-era domino theory, as well as Bush's linkage of Iraq to the war on terrorism, as "nonsense," and claimed that Vietnam is now prosperous because America pulled out: "The war machine of 1968 had this 'domino theory.' Your war machine of 2006 has this nonsense about Iraq as 'the central front in the war on terror.'" Olbermann further contended that one lesson Bush should have learned from Vietnam is that "if you lie us into a war, your war and your presidency will be consigned to the scrap heap of history."

For more, including video: www.mrc.org


# November 7 CyberAlert: Olbermann's Anti-Bush Rant: 'Unchecked and Unbalanced' So 'Vote'

Contending that "it's hard to imagine there have been many elections more important than this one, certainly not in non-presidential years," MSNBC's Keith Olbermann ended his election-eve Countdown show with another anti-Bush diatribe in which he urged viewers to vote against the administration -- though this was his shortest, at just under five minutes. Olbermann saw suspicious timing in the death penalty assessed Sunday on Saddam Hussein:


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"Each of us must wonder about the convenience of the timing of his conviction and sentencing." Mocking Bush's assertion that if radicals takeover in the Middle East the price of gas will soar, Olbermann asked Bush whether he went "to war in Iraq to break the bonds of tyranny there, while installing the mechanisms of tyranny here?" He complained: "Having frightened us, having bullied us, having lied to us, having ignored and rewritten the Constitution under our noses..." Olbermann fretted: "Saddam Hussein will get out of Iraq the same way 2,832 Americans have and maybe thousands more. He'll get out faster than we will." He concluded to exhorting his viewers to return "checks and balances" to the political system, slamming the Bush administration: "Unchecked and unbalanced. Vote."

For more, including video: www.mrc.org


# November 2 CyberAlert: Olbermann Links Bush to Caning of Sumner & to Domestic Terrorism

On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" not only to demand that President Bush apologize to American troops over the Iraq War, but he also blamed Bush for inspiring acts of "domestic terrorism" against critics, a la King Henry and Archbishop Thomas Becket, and bizarrely chose to inject racism by making a comparison between Bush supporters attacking the President's opponents and the the 1856


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caning of anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner by pro-slavery Congressman Preston Brooks, at one point even mentioning charges of racist "fear of miscegenation" in the current Tennessee Senate race. As Olbermann concluded his rant, he addressed Bush: "You instructed no one to mail the fake Anthrax [received by Olbermann], nor undermine the FBI's case, nor call for the execution of the editors of the New York Times, nor threaten to assassinate Stephanie Miller, nor beat up a man yelling at Senator George Allen, nor have the First Lady knife Michael J. Fox, nor tell John McCain to lie about John Kerry. No, you did not, sir. And the genius of the thing is the same as in King Henry's rhetorical question about Archbishop Thomas Becket: 'Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?' All you have to do, sir, is hand out enough new canes."

For more, including video: www.mrc.org


# October 24 CyberAlert: Olbermann Unglued: GOP the 'Leading Terrorist Group' in America

On Monday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann delivered his latest anti-Bush, anti-GOP "Special Comment," this time accusing President Bush and Republicans of committing the "dictionary definition" of terrorism in trying to scare Americans into voting for them, even contending that "the leading terrorist group in this country right now is the Republican Party." Olbermann laid blame for the delayed discovery of the remains of 9/11 victims at the feet of


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President Bush and Republicans: "And yet you can actually claim that you and you alone can protect us from terrorism? You can't even recover our dead from the battlefield, the battlefield in an American city, when we've given you five years and unlimited funds to do so!"

For more, including video: www.mrc.org


# October 19 CyberAlert: Olbermann Suggests 'Lying' Bush as Much a 'Threat' as Terrorists

On Wednesday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann delivered the latest in a recent series of "Special Comment" attacks on President Bush, inspired by the recently passed Military Commissions Act, as he suggested Bush was as big a "threat" to America as the "terrorists." The Countdown host not only referred to the government "becoming just a little bit like the terrorists," but he also labeled some of Bush's "invocations" as "terroristic" and


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compared the wish of a 9/11 planner to end America to what President Bush himself "has wrought." Olbermann: "One of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks, you told us yesterday, said he hoped the attacks would be the beginning of the end of America. That terrorist, sir, could only hope. Not his actions nor the actions of a ceaseless line of terrorists, real or imagined, could measure up to what you have wrought...These things you have done, Mr. Bush, they would constitute the beginning of the end of America." Olbermann also charged that Bush has "imposed subjugation and called it freedom," accused Bush several times of telling "lies," and proclaimed, addressing Bush, that "the threat this generation of Americans needed to take seriously was you."

For more, including video: www.mrc.org


# October 6 CyberAlert: Olbermann: Bush a 'Compulsive Liar' Who Is Helping al-Qaeda

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann delivered another of his "Special Comment" rants on Thursday night -- this one his longest yet, clocking in at just over 11 minutes. Olbermann began the diatribe, which concluded the October 5 Countdown, by saying his topic was "lying," specifically how President Bush is making false claims about Democrats. Olbermann asserted: "A President who comes across as a compulsive liar is nothing less than terrifying." He alleged that Bush "has savaged the very


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freedoms he claims to be protecting from attack" through his "terrifying attempt to hamstring the fundament of our freedom -- the Constitution -- a triumph for al Qaeda, for which the terrorists could not hope to achieve with a hundred 9/11's." He accused Bush: "You want to preserve one political party's power. And obviously you will sell this country out, to do it. These are lies about the Democrats, piled atop lies about Iraq, piled atop lies about your preparations for al Qaeda." Olbermann also denounced Vice President Cheney for how he "lives on, in defiance, and spreads -- around him and before him -- darkness, like some contagion of fear." Sounds more like Olbermann.

For more, including video: www.mrc.org


# September 26 CyberAlert: Olbermann Demeans Chris Wallace as 'Monkey Posing as a Newscaster,' Bush Not 'True American'

Keith Olbermann ended Monday's Countdown with his latest "Special Comment" rant, complete with video from a man on a rack in the movie 1984 as Olbermann described President's Bush's supposedly awful deeds. In praising how, in his interview aired on Fox News Sunday, "Bill Clinton did what almost none of us have done in five years. He has spoken the truth about 9/11, and the current presidential administration," Olbermann portrayed


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Chris Wallace, who conducted the interview, as an agent of the White House and delivered the lowest of insults, calling Wallace "a monkey posing as a newscaster." On Bush, Olbermann accused him of "cowardice" and argued: "Mr. Bush has now moved, unmistakably and without conscience or shame, towards re-writing history, and attempting to make the responsibility, entirely Mr. Clinton's. Of course he is not honest enough to do that directly. As with all the other nefariousness and slime of this, our worst presidency since James Buchanan, he is having it done for him, by proxy. Thus, the sandbag effort by Fox News Friday afternoon." Olbermann concluded his 10-minute plus diatribe: "Mr. Bush: Are yours the actions of a true American?"

For more, including video: www.mrc.org


# September 19 CyberAlert: Olbermann: Bush Like Angry 3-Year-Old and Should Apologize

In the latest of a series of "Special Comments" attacking members of the Bush administration, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used his Monday Countdown show to make an over-the-top demand for an apology from President Bush for his recent comments that it was "unacceptable to think" the actions of America could be compared to those of terrorists. Olbermann took an awkwardly worded, off-the-cuff remark by Bush at his Friday press


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conference, which was more likely intended to mean that it was "ridiculous to claim" a comparison between America and terrorists. Olbermann chastised Bush for his "unrestrained fury" which the MSNBC host compared to that of a "thwarted three-year-old" who "demonizes dissent." Olbermann fretted about Bush taking America on a "fearful path," and worried about "what will next be done" with Bush's critics in the future. Harkening back to Senators Barry Goldwater and Hugh Scott meeting with former President Richard Nixon to convince him to resign, Olbermann suggested that Republicans similarly need to convince Bush to apologize.

For more, including video: www.mrc.org


# September 18 CyberAlert: Olbermann Blasts 'Orwellian' Bush for 'Telling Us What to Think'

On Friday night's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann renewed his "Special Comment" attack on President Bush, replaying the original comments from Monday's show, and adding a condemnation of Bush for an awkwardly worded, off-the-cuff remark made by the President during Friday's news conference that it is "unacceptable to think" the actions of America can be compared to those of terrorists. Not catching on to the President's likely meaning that it is "ridiculous to claim" the actions of America are similar to those terrorists, Olbermann referred to a favorite topic of his, George Orwell's 1984, as he attacked Bush's "chilling" words. Olbermann: "'It's unacceptable to think.' Sounds like something straight out of George Orwell's 1984. Instead, it was something straight out of George Bush's mouth.... And not only issuing those chilling words, 'It's unacceptable to think,' but doing so in answer to the call to conscience from his own former Secretary of State, Colin Powell."

For more: www.mrc.org


# September 12 CyberAlert: Olbermann: Bush's 'Impeachable Lies...Crime Against' 9/11 Victims

At the very end of Monday's Countdown show, during his latest "Special Comment" attacking the Bush administration, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann unleashed one of his most vitriolic attacks on the President, accusing him of "lying by implication" to get America into a "fraudulent war" with "needless death" in Iraq, which Olbermann referred to as "an impeachable offense." Olbermann: "The polite phrase for how so many of us


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were duped into supporting a war on the false premise that it had something to do with 9/11 is lying by implication. The impolite phrase is 'impeachable offense.'" He also bizarrely seemed to blame President Bush for the delays in building a memorial at Ground Zero, as he branded Bush's "reprehensible inaction" as a "crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you [Bush] mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it." After accusing the President of "forgetting the lessons of 9/11," Olbermann obnoxiously concluded: "May this country forgive you."

For more, including video: www.mrc.org


# September 6 CyberAlert: Olbermann to 'Un-American Bush': 'Have You No Sense of Decency?'

On Tuesday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used his Countdown show to attack President Bush's speech in which Bush compared modern day terrorists to Nazis and talked about Osama bin Laden's stated plan to launch a "media campaign to create a wedge between the American people and their government." Reminiscent of his recent "Special Comment" attacking Donald Rumsfeld and comparing the activities of the Bush administration to those of


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fascists, Olbermann again used a "Special Comment" segment to attack Bush for "linking" al-Qaeda to the media, "that familiar bogeyman of the far right," and branded Bush's words as "un-American." Olbermann concluded by his own historical comparison, asking Bush: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" an echo of remarks made by Joseph Welch to 1950s Senator Joseph McCarthy.

For more, including video: www.mrc.org


# August 31 CyberAlert: Olbermann Blasts Rumsfeld as a 'Quack' Pushing 'Fascism'

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Wednesday night used his Countdown show to deliver a vitriolic personal attack on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, "a reality check of Donald Rumsfeld's incendiary speech, a special comment on his attack on your right to disagree." Olbermann concluded his program with a six-minute diatribe against Rumsfeld: "The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either


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a prophet, or a quack. Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet." Olbermann equated the Bush administration with "the English government of Neville Chamberlain" which "knew that its staunchest critics needed to be marginalized and isolated." The MSNBC star charged, "The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought." The U.S., Olbermann asserted before concluding with Edward R. Murrow's "we must not confuse dissent with disloyalty," now "faces a new type of fascism."

For more, including video: www.mrc.org


# August 2 CyberAlert: Olbermann: Limbaugh 'Worst' for 'Following Ethics' of bin Laden

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Tuesday night targeted "comedian" Rush Limbaugh as his "Worst Person in the World" for "suggesting that civilian deaths in Lebanon are necessary to stop terror." Employing a mockingly braggadocios voice to try to impersonate Limbaugh, Olbermann read a sentence from Limbaugh and then asserted that Limbaugh had echoed "something another commentator said nine years ago," namely Osama bin


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Laden. Olbermann read the bin Laden quote, without any mocking impersonation, and then concluded the August 1 Countdown segment: "Rush Limbaugh, following the logic and ethics of Osama bin Laden, today's Worst Person in the World!"

For more, including video: www.mrc.org


# July 26 CyberAlert: With Leno, Olbermann Defends Applying Nazi Salute to O'Reilly

Defending his recent mockery of FNC's Bill O'Reilly that included a Nazi salute, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used his appearance on Tuesday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno to defend his actions, implying that he was inspired to do so at the suggestion of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams to "do something creative." The segment with Olbermann began just after NBC ran a promo for Olbermann's Countdown show which featured a clip of Olbermann attacking


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Ann Coulter: "Honestly, if you were Ann Coulter's attorney at a sanity hearing, where could you possibly start?" After taking his seat next Leno, the MSNBC host started off by voicing support for Al Gore's beliefs about global warming as he sarcastically commented on the current heat wave: "Now we know Al Gore was a liar about global warming. He said ten years. We had about ten minutes." Olbermann also expounded on stem cells and Iraq.

For more, including video: www.mrc.org


# July 11 CyberAlert: Olbermann Plugs Dean's Attack on 'Authoritarian' Conservatives

On Monday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann hosted former Nixon White House counsel and frequent Bush administration critic John Dean to promote his latest book attacking conservatives, titled Conservatives Without Conscience, which the Countdown host labeled "an extraordinary document." Olbermann, who has a long history of bashing President Bush's tactics in the war on terrorism, provided Dean with a sympathetic, non-challenging forum to argue that modern conservatives are moving the Republican party toward "authoritarianism" as Dean tagged some conservatives, specifically George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, as having an "authoritarian personality," and labeled 23 percent of the population as "right-wing authoritarian followers" who are willing to "march over the cliff." Olbermann not only made his latest reference to George Orwell's 1984, but he also found relevance in bringing up Nazi Germany as he wondered if there had been similarity in the "psychological principles" in "Germany and Italy in the 30s," and, quoting a passage from Dean's book, brought up the possibility that conservatives might intentionally "provoke potential terrorists" in an effort to "maintain influence and control of the presidency."

For more: www.mrc.org

For video, check the MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 2006: The Nineteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting. This Olbermann quotes won the "Damn Those Conservatives Award." Go to: www.mrc.org


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# June 29 CyberAlert: Olbermann Lashes Out at MRC: 'Inventing Liberal Bias Since 1987'

On Wednesday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann set a new standard for spin that would even make the famous Black Knight character from Monty Python's Holy Grail blush. Reacting to the MRC's recently released study documenting Olbermann's overwhelming 8 to 1 bias toward attacking many conservatives but very few liberals during his show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, Olbermann tagged the Media Research Center as a "rabid right-wing spin


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group," as he mocked the study and concluded that since most of his targets were not political, "I'd like to thank the MRC for confirming my point that the segment is apolitical." Olbermann's slam came in his regular "Top Three Newsmakers" segment, during which the screen displayed an image of the MRC's logo with the words "Media Research Center: Inventing Liberal Bias Since 1987" on screen. Minutes later, Olbermann brazenly chose conservatives, including MRC President Brent Bozell, as all three of his "Worst Person" nominees.

For more, including video: www.mrc.org


# June 28 CyberAlert: Rush Limbaugh a Target for Gunfire on Olbermann's Countdown

Rush Limbaugh the target of gunfire from gun enthusiasts? Evidently this is a thought MSNBC host Keith Olbermann finds entertaining, as evidenced by the opening teaser of his latest edition of Countdown. On Tuesday's show, when Olbermann got to a plug for a story about a gathering of gun enthusiasts in Oklahoma, and while showing clips of people firing at targets using automatic weapons, an image of Rush Limbaugh's face was briefly shown overlaying a clip


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More See & Hear the Bias

of background explosions right after one of the participants shouted, "Rush! Big rush!" Olbermann then joked: "Huh? Oh, you mean a different 'big rush.'"

For more, including video: www.mrc.org


# July 31 CyberAlert: Olbermann Denies Liberal Bias, Insists in Politics He's 'Neutral'

During an appearance on Friday's Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann acknowledged accusations of liberal bias, but denied they were true, preferring to describe himself politically as "correct" and "neutral," without a "rooting interest" in who wins elections. Ignoring criticism from the MRC that, among other instances of bias during the 1998 Monica Lewinsky scandal, he once compared former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr to Nazi war


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More See & Hear the Bias

criminal Heinrich Himmler, Olbermann claimed that he was never accused of liberal bias while covering the scandal. Olbermann: "I've been accused of being a liberal, which is interesting because the last time I was on doing the news in the late 90s, I did 218 consecutive shows about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. And no one accused me of being a liberal then. It's very interesting the way you can be sort of pigeonholed. I like to think of myself politically as 'correct.'"

For more: www.mrc.org


# Regarding Olbermann's denial that he was ever accused of "being a liberal" during the 1998 Monica Lewinsky scandal, while he was hosting MSNBC's Big Show, the MRC at that time documented several instances of hostility to Kenneth Starr, impeachment, Newt Gingrich and Republicans in general. On August 18, 1998, in the aftermath of President Clinton's speech admitting to his affair with Lewinsky, Olbermann thought it insightful to remark that Starr reminded him facially of Heinrich Himmler, and suggested some might compare Starr to a "persecutor opposed to a prosecutor."

Olbermann, from August 18, 1998: "Can Ken Starr ignore the apparent breadth of the sympathetic response to the President's speech? Facially, it finally dawned on me that the person Ken Starr has reminded me of facially all this time was Heinrich Himmler, including the glasses. If he now pursues the President of the United States, who, however flawed his apology was, came out and invoked God, family, his


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daughter, a political conspiracy and everything but the kitchen sink, would not there be some sort of comparison to a persecutor as opposed to a prosecutor for Mr. Starr?"

For video, as produced for the MRC's first DisHonors Awards in 1999, go to: www.mediaresearch.org

On November 12, 1998, after House Republicans forced Newt Gingrich out of the speakership, Olbermann was reminded of Stalin's takeover of Russia as Leon Trotsky was deposed: "It was on this date in 1927 that Joseph Stalin completed his consolidation of the leadership in Russia by engineering the expulsion from the Communist Party of Leon Trotsky. Darn. With Newt, the Republicans missed that anniversary by just six days."

Olbermann Assumes NBC's Bill Moyers Chair
In Liberal Outrage

Keith Olbermann's arrival as the lone commentator at NBC Nightly News is the first overt commentator NBC's hired since PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers in 1995. A quick Nexis search shows Olbermann has been very rarely on NBC News airwaves. He actually anchored NBC Nightly News as a weekend substitute on April 12, 1998 (Easter Sunday, see accompanying screen shot which will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert) and May 9, 1998. In recent years, he's surfaced a few times on the Today show. He was interviewed to plug his "Worst Person In the World" book last September 15. He reported on major-league shortstop Alex Rodriguez on February 16, 2004, and co-hosted the Saturday edition of Today with Campbell Brown on August 23, 2003.

In the commentary and prime-time special clauses of Olbermann's new deal, there are obvious parallels with Moyers. They are two fiercely left-wing commentators who oddly deny a liberal bias when asked by the press. In February 1995 promotional spots NBC promised: "Bold, clear, balanced and fair. Now NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw has a new dimension -- Bill Moyers." Moyers began his new duties on February 14, 1995, and NBC had no plans to provide a conservative counter-weight. See: www.mrc.org

[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Thursday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Just like the odd denials of Steve Capus that it's "really sad and pathetic" to think Olbermann tilts NBC further to the left (see 1 above), in February of 1995, we reported in MediaWatch that the New York Times relayed February 1 that NBC News President Andy Lack dismissed questions about Moyers' liberal bias at PBS, insisting "that perception is inside the beltway, and perhaps inside about ten blocks of New York and ten blocks of L.A. I don't think the American people give a whit about it." The same day the Baltimore Sun quoted Moyers: "I'm not in politics. I have no agenda. I'm not pushing a platform. I have no ideology." Really? In a 1989 Esquire profile Moyers tagged Newt Gingrich as "Joe McCarthy with a southern accent." See: www.mrc.org

Here's an example of his Nightly News commentary, from March 7, 1995: "Gingrich uses words as if they were napalm bombs....He sent conservative candidates a long list of words to smear their opponents -- words like 'sick,' 'pathetic,' 'traitors,' 'corrupt,' 'anti-family,' 'disgrace.' With talk radio quoting it all back to us, our political landscape is a toxic dump."

Moyers only lasted a few months, leaving his evening-news spot due to heart trouble. A year later, on April 12, 1996, Moyers hosted a Dateline NBC special blaming conservatives for the Oklahoma City bombing -- which might offer an inkling of the kind of prime-time Olbermann specials we might see:

As Welch listened to G. Gordon Liddy on his car radio, Moyers charged: "The airwaves are still saturated with militant rhetoric. Day and night you can hear a stream of rage and insult directed with unremitting hostility at government and others. It rubs like salt in deep wounds and some of the families are trying to counter it."

Then, as viewers saw several victims being interviewed by KTOK's Carole Arnold, Moyers explained: "Emerging from their private grief, they appeal for an end of hateful talk and political invective. Their experience is their message. What a society sows, it reaps....This local station has given the families a forum, but it also carries several hours of talk every day that they find inflammatory." The station does not carry Liddy, so the broadside against "hate" and "inflammatory" talk goes undefined. Welch proceded to tell Arnold: "Of course I think the media need to be involved a little bit in a little bit of control of the hate radio going on. I'm very disturbed about that. I mean where's the responsibility?"

...Moyers concluded the hour with this seeming indictment of House Speaker Newt Gingrich as co-conspirator: "It will never be the same. The bombers saw to that. The tears and grief, the pain and the sorrow were all intended. Terrorism is the politics of murder. We should have seen it coming. Hate was in the air. Government had been vilified, found guilty and sentenced to die. It didn't matter who was in the way. There are lessons for us here, something to take away from the wreckage of that day, if we're listening, one year later."

END of Excerpt

For more: www.mrc.org

One more footnote in recent media history: Moyers was also an early contributor on MSNBC, back when they tried the schtick of hitching their network to the Internet. Moyers rotated in as a host of their badly named prime-time interview show "Internight," and lit up with the usual liberal bias. See: www.mrc.org

New NBC Political Director Toiled for
Harkin, But 'Fan' of MRC

The new Political Director for NBC News once toiled for liberal Democrat Tom Harkin's 1992 presidential campaign, but is also a "fan" of the MRC who maintains his politics are now "as neutral as it comes." Mark Finkelstein, a regular contributor to the MRC's NewsBusters blog, was intrigued by this sentence in NBC's press release announcing the hiring of Chuck Todd, now Editor-in-Chief of Hotline: "Before coming to the world of political reporting and analysis, Todd earned practical political experience on initiative campaigns in Florida and various national campaigns based in Washington, D.C." So Finkelstein contacted Todd and learned "that in 1991 he had worked on the presidential campaign of Tom Harkin, the liberal Democratic Senator from Iowa." Todd added, however: "I am a fan of the Media Research Center and of Mr. Bozell and am aware of your mission."

Finkelstein's February 15 posting on NewsBusters:

When word emerged yesterday [Wednesday] that NBC had named Chuck Todd, currently the Editor-in-Chief of National Journal's "The Hotline," as its new political director, my curiosity as to his personal politics was naturally aroused. I found a MediaBistro reprint of NBC's press release that included this intriguing sentence:

"Before coming to the world of political reporting and analysis, Todd earned practical political experience on initiative campaigns in Florida and various national campaigns based in Washington, D.C."

MediaBistro's posting: www.mediabistro.com
That in turn naturally raised the question: on just whose national campaigns and which Florida initiatives did Todd work? Deciding to go right to the source, I sent an email to Todd that resulted in an interesting exchange.

Todd responded by indicating that in 1991 he had worked on the presidential campaign of Tom Harkin, the liberal Democratic senator from Iowa, later mentioning that as a youth in 1984 he had also worked casually with his grandfather on Ronald Reagan's campaign. The Florida initiatives were ones concerning a bottle bill and off-shore drilling, Todd having worked on the "green" side of both issues. At the same time, the new political director made these points:

-- "I am a fan of the Media Research Center and of Mr. Bozell [MRC founder and president] and am aware of your mission."

-- "I only ask that you and your readers before drawing conclusions, judge me on my work over my 15-year career covering politics. I'm an analyst; I don't have an agenda other than making politics interesting and sharing my passion for the subject in a way that will draw more folks into the arena."

-- "My politics really is as neutral as it comes; I've gotten so engrossed in the game of campaigns that I don't pigeon-hole anyone. For those familiar with The Hotline, they can vouch for that. I view my job as an analyst. Who's up and who's down and why are they up and why are they down."

As I responded to Todd: "From my perspective it would be nice if, once in a while, someone in your position would have to explain that they don't have an agenda despite having worked for Republican politicians or conservatively-oriented initiatives. Instead, we're asked to accept that neither Chris Matthews nor Tim Russert -- and now you --- have an agenda despite having all worked for liberal Democrats."

By the same token, Chuck Todd's willingness to engage with NewsBusters, his admiration for MRC and Brent Bozell, his long tenure out of partisan politics and in reporting at Hotline, and his avowal of neutral-as-can-be politics, are encouraging. Todd will have a much higher profile than his predecessor as NBC political director, Liz Wilner. In addition to his behind-the-scenes duties, Todd will serve as NBC News' on-air political analyst for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, Today, Meet the Press with Tim Russert and MSNBC, including Hardball with Chris Matthews.

END of Finkelstein's item which is posted at: newsbusters.org

From my reading of Todd's articles and his appearances on televisions shows, mainly Hardball, I'd agree with his self-assessment that he's a straight-shooter when it comes to reporting on and assessing the political landscape.

-- Brent Baker