Keith Olbermann: Truth Teller

Melinda and I have gotten into the habit of watching Keith Olbermann every evening. I think we got started because Randi Rhodes mentioned him on her radio show (

Anyway, count us among the many who record the program on our digital video recorder so that we can watch it at our convenience (and zoom past the ads and the portions of the show that we aren’t interested in–and there are some, like all of the Anna Nichole Smith/other celebrity stuff).

Here’s the link to the show —>

And I liked this article from Rolling Stone magazine:

Keith Olbermann:

Tim Dickinson

Keith Olbermann photo

A god among sportscasters, Keith Olbermann had never quite proved his mettle as a big-league news anchor. But that changed in five minutes on Labor Day 2005, when the MSNBC Countdown host confronted Katrina’s compound disasters — one natural, the other government-made — in a Hall of Fame rant. It all started when Olbermann heard Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff declare to reporters that “Louisiana is a city that is largely underwater.” A city? Louisiana is a city? For Olbermann, something snapped. “This was no longer a political question to me,” he says. “It was, ‘I am a citizen. You are the government. And you keep screwing up.'” Olbermann fired up his computer. “This was one of those moments when it felt like the words were just coming out my fingers,” he recalls. “I didn’t have very much to do with them.”

On that night’s broadcast, after playing a clip of Chertoff’s city/state confusion, Olbermann let fly: “If ever a slip of the tongue defined a government’s response to a crisis, this was it.” And the gloves truly came off when he took aim at the president — “a twenty-first-century Marie Antoinette . . . This is the Law and Order and Terror government . . . And it has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water.”

Posted on the Net, the rant was soon forwarded around the world. The president of NBC pulled the forty-six-year-old anchor aside and encouraged repeat performances. Most recently, Olbermann blasted Ohio Republican Jean Schmidt for questioning the courage of the Democrats’ leading opponent of the Iraq War on the House floor: “John Murtha, the decorated Marine intelligence officer from Vietnam — a coward? Right, congresswoman. He’s a coward, and you’re the leading argument against intelligent design.”

But Olbermann is committed to keeping his punditry in reserve. “It’s not going to be talking points and ‘bad guys’ and ‘good guys’ and all of that TV nonsense,” he says, in a shot at Bill O’Reilly. Olbermann compares himself instead to a judicious sniper. “When I’ve got the bullets,” he says, “I get to bring out the gun.”Posted Dec 15, 2005 1:16 PM

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