Olbermann’s ‘Racial Resentment’ Monologues Claim New Victim: SRLC

Keith Olbermann covered the Southern Republican Leadership Conference on Friday, complete with video clips from Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich and the high-brow concern that distinguishes Countdown from many angrier voices on the left. Yes, I know: an extensive Countdown segment on those Tea Party ‘racists’ should not be news. But the fact that Olbermann keeps doing them means that, at least to some extent, they are working.

Olbermann limited his range of political figures in discussion to Palin and Gingrich, and cited polls claiming that “racially resentful” Americans, however that may be defined, are more likely to join the Tea Party movement than those that are not resentful. He sounded the alarm of impending un-American violence from the right and limited his monologue to conservatives such that only middle Americans brandishing Obama hammer-and-sickle signs qualified for the label.

To pin Palin and Gingrich against each other is to ignore a wide range of candidates that may share right-wing sensibilities without being so divisive within their own side of the political spectrum, just like limiting the range of political issues in the Tea Party to race and violence distracts from actual policy concerns involving taxes, health care and foreign policy. What many on the right have yet to properly address, however, is that Olbermann’s attacks are effective because they all contain a nugget of truth diluted in a sea of propaganda, and that’s what makes his tactics dangerously reckless.

Since it isn’t useful for him to distinguish among factions on the right, Olbermann puts the stamp of a prominent radical on the entire movement and diverts attention from Americans who have joined the Tea Parties based on their opposition to big government alone — not based on racism or an affinity to violence. Logic would tell you the sensible members of the party are the majority, but unfortunately logic doesn’t sell on primetime cable news, and Olbermann’s having enough of a hard time herding in viewers as it is. Thus he adopts the political philosophy that “a bad apple spoils the bunch,” which is highly convenient since there are so many apples it becomes impossible to not find at least one rotten one. People like Palin and Gingrich, who do not enjoy universal appeal within the Republican/conservative/libertarian complex, are a godsend to liberals like Olbermann because they do the work of polarizing the right for him.

Of course, what Olbermann doesn’t realize is that, for his aisle of the political spectrum, he is the bad apple himself. There also happen to be plenty of sensible people on the left that listen to and understand the grievances of the Tea Party movement, even if they disagree. But they never seem to be loud enough to drown out Olbermann’s tedious race- and violence-tinged monologues.

Dan Abrams: Obama Will End Up Appointing A Justice “Not As Liberal As Stevens”

With Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens retiring, the media woke up to a new guessing game: just how much trouble will Republicans give Barack Obama’s choice of nominee? NBC’s Chief Legal Analyst and Mediaite founder Dan Abrams joined Contessa Brewer on MSNBC earlier today and suggested the President may preempt the opposition by picking someone “not as liberal,” in an effort to reduce the uproar.

With representatives of any number of communities are already abuzz with the anticipation that one of the group will be joining the Court, Abrams expressed the desires of those in the legal world: that “the greatest legal scholar in the country will be nominated.” The problem is that being a great legal scholar is only part of the key to being a successful Supreme Court justice, and, ultimately, the decision will be political. If the White House doesn’t do it, both sides are ready to politicize the issue for them.

Watch the clip below:

Chyron Of The Day: Tiger Woods Is “Back With A Bang”

MSNBC, 10:28amET:

Tiger Woods had a great first round of golf yesterday at the Masters – his best first round ever in the tournament. But which network’s chyron writer was going to take the bold step to make a sex joke with the news? Not Comedy Central – MSNBC.

CNN went with “A Masterful Showing” and “Tiger On The Loose.” Fox News had “Tiger Roars In Comeback.”

MSNBC? Well they decided to go with “Back With A Bang.”

Perfect, right?

Willie Geist is out covering the tournament today, and all week, for MSNBC.

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Keith Olbermann On Sarah Palin: “That Woman Is An Idiot” (And Here’s Why)

Keith Olbermann is often criticized for letting the lofty lefty in him get the better of his journalistic sensibilities, but once in a while the stars align and he gets his finger right on the pulse of his viewers’ thoughts. How far can you get into Sarah Palin’s playground allegory of nuclear disarmament without blurting out “that woman is an idiot”? Chances are you lasted less than Olbermann.

Even the biggest Palin fans had to have been thinking it after the clip, where Palin boils international nuclear disarmament down to a schoolyard fight among children, claiming it is “unacceptable” for one of the “kids” in the “playground”– namely, little Barack Obama– to refuse to punch back:

“That’s kinda like getting out there on the playground, a bunch of kids getting ready to fight and one of the kids saying ‘go ahead, punch me in the face and I’m not going to retaliate, go ahead and do what you want to with me.’ No, it’s unacceptable! This is another thing that the American public… they’re going to rise up and say ‘no more’…”

Here’s the clip:

It’s hard to expand on this kind of language more than Olbermann did, but here’s a shot:

  • Nuclear disarmament and the relationship between post-Cold War Russia and the United States is significantly less arbitrary than a schoolyard brawl. The complexities inherent in a type of diplomacy that for decades relied almost exclusively on fear cannot be understated. Every piece of that relationship’s history– from WWII to the Bay of Pigs fiasco to the fall of the Berlin Wall– is essential to understanding it.
  • Of course it is possible to disagree with the new direction Obama is taking the nation in. In fact, many who hold national security to be the most important responsibility of a federal government are concerned that now is not the time for Obama to be extending olive branches to hostile nations with psychotic leaders like Iran, Venezuela and, yes, Russia. I include myself in that category. But the privilege of holding an opinion comes with the responsibility of having to defend it, and Sarah Palin has proven not to be able to do that about any opinion she has professed.
  • Her assertion that the child in her story saying “I won’t retaliate” is “unacceptable” is somewhat problematic considering that “I won’t retaliate” (or, more commonly, “turn the other cheek”) is a major tenet of the religion that Palin has relied so much on to gain popularity among religious Americans. Granted, this isn’t the first time a religious belief is reincarnated as a political one in Palin’s ideological framework, much to the chagrin of those of us who respect Jesus (and any other deity, for that matter) enough to leave to Caesar what is Caesar’s. And before you pick up your pitchforks against me for pointing out her egregious conflation of church and state, listen to any extended statement she gives to the press. Palin has done everything in her power to blur the line between her religious beliefs and her political ones to confuse everyone into thinking she has any political views at all. Cornered into answering a political question, Palin panicked and threw her own god under the bus.

So congratulations Keith– after being wrong so many times, about so many things, you’ve finally hit a clean ball. Sarah Palin really is an idiot.

The Daily Obsession: Palin/Bachmann 2012?

Minnesota was the place to be last night as Rep. Michele Bachmann welcomed guests Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin to a campaign rally supporting her reelection. Hannity riled up the crowd with the prospect of Palin/Bachmann ‘12, and the cable news characters were stepping all over each other to come up with the wittiest analogies. But Keith Olbermann especially had a field day with what was either his biggest dream or his worse nightmare.

The creative writing departments at Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN came up with “twisted sisters”, “rodeo queens,” “Thelma and Louise,” and “a pair of Ronald Reagans with skirts on” –and no, those weren’t all meant as insults (just ask Pat Buchanan). And as for Olbermann, it took him a while to get over the shock that Palin and Bachmann are, indeed, separate people.

Here’s Newsweek’s Daily Obsession:

MSNBC President Tells Fan That Shuster “Was Not Moral, Ethical Or Professional”

The only public statement about David Shuster’s suspension from MSNBC was five words from a spokesperson.

But Mediaite has obtained an email from MSNBC President Phil Griffin to an angry fan, explaining in slightly more, and much harsher, detail the reason for Shuster’s indefinite suspension.

Here’s the full email from Griffin, sent last night to a fan:

From: Griffin, Phil (NBC Universal)
Sent: Wed 4/07/10 11:16 PM

Sorry, but this is a business and I need team players. He was not moral, ethical or professional and that is not fair to the 500 people who work at msnbc.

Thanks for your note,

This was meant to be a private correspondence, but it is interesting to see the President of a network so freely respond to someone who was upset about a host’s punishment.

It also sheds some more light on the severity of what MSNBC believes took place – separating Shuster from the “team players” and calling him “not moral, ethical or professional” are serious charges.

Here is part of the email Griffin responded to:

To: Griffin, Phil (NBC Universal)
Sent: Wed Apr 07 23:04:29 2010
Subject: David Shuster

I am a political junkie who works at home, and I watched MSNBC 24/7 until October 2008 when I
could no longer bear to watch Morning Joe. (Never mind that Joe is a boorish oaf who mentions the 1994 Congressional class every 7 seconds — what I could no longer stomach was the vacant Mika sitting self-consciously beside him, nodding obsequiously. How retrogressive that she now is dressed like June Cleaver.)

Your “suspension” of David Shuster makes it necessary for me to boycott MSNBC, which is slowly but surely going the way of Fox “News”.

I will miss Countdown and parts of Maddow’s show, but I refuse to watch MSNBC ever again. It is a hideous embarrassment and an indictment of your judgment that you have Pat Buchanan on every daytime show and some of your evening programming.

> Update: Just to clarify, we have confirmed the email’s authenticity.

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Eliot Spitzer: From Disgraced Governor To MSNBC Anchor

Back on June 29 when Dylan Ratigan’s first MSNBC show debuted, his featured guest was former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

With Spitzer’s name being thrown around as a potential political candidate again, he moved into a new role today – as anchor on MSNBC, filling in for Ratigan.

Spitzer and Monica Novotny co-anchored for Ratigan at 4pmET, who was out today.

Through several interviews based on finance, but also foreign policy and more, Spitzer held his own, was engaging – and certainly proved this may not be a random occurrence.

With one anchor gone, a new one emerges. Maybe if he eschews the political arena he can stick with TV news.

Here’s one of the segments:

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