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Keith Olbermann has a mean streak: We watch, because we’re paid to

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Ruth Graham
Contributor

Almost every night on “Countdown,” Keith Olbermann names three “Worst Persons in the World.” He also wrote a 2006 book with same title. (The fact that the cover bears a huge photo of its author always cracks me up.) One night in February, he grandiosely announced that he was discontinuing the “Worst Person” segment in favor of a “Hall of Shame” — and, surprise, he has a “Hall of Shame” book coming out in October — but soon enough he returned to naming Worst Persons. This week provided a good opportunity to look at the Worst Person segment in depth. It’s as mysterious and maddening as the man himself.

FRIDAY, APRIL 23: Olbermann came out swinging tonight, naming media scion James Murdoch one of the Worst Persons. Murdoch’s crime: storming into a newspaper office and yelling about a headline that displeased him. Heavens! It’s pretty ballsy for Olbermann to get upset about this during the same week in which it was widely reported that he threw a temper tantrum forcing a fellow MSNBC talking head off the air.

He also had to correct a previous Worst Person designation. The AP had reported that New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s staff was earning $2 million more per year than his predecessor’s staff, which Olbermann had pounced on. (Three guesses about whether he would have cared about this if Christie were a Democrat.) In fact, the difference was $440,000.

Now, it’s not Olbermnann’s fault that the AP got the story wrong. But his so-called apology was typically obnoxious: He explained the new figure, and dismissively said, “Like THAT’s OK.” He also didn’t mention the fact that the $440,000 includes Christie’s salary, which the governor’s gazillionaire predecessor Jon Corzine had declined. When you factor everything together, the average Corzine staffer earned $71,440 a year, while Christies’ staffers make $75,726.

I guess Olbermann’s point is that employees shouldn’t be paid well when their organization is going through tough times. If that’s the case, maybe he should take a pay cut in response to MSNBC’s ratings.

MONDAY, APRIL 26: Olbermann named a Thai restaurant in Australia on of the Worst “Persons” in the World tonight. The less said, the better.

Meanwhile, he also suggested that Sarah Palin had committed perjury during the trial of the young man accused of hacking into her e-mail account. His exact words: “In testifying that she did not conduct gubernatorial business that way, she may have committed perjury.”

Unfortunately, guest Dave Weigel soon joined him to throw cold water on that idea. “You seem to be having a good night and I hate to wreck it for you,” he said. “But it doesn’t sound like she actually trapped herself in anything here.” Whoops! Good thing Keith himself isn’t legally bound to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

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  • jpatrickham

    I believe they misinterpreted the report. I think, what they meant to say is that Keith Olbermann has a mean “STINK,” we of course can’t smell him over the airwaves, but I am sure they, at MSNBC can. We all knew that Olbermann was stinking up the air waves for years, but we thought if the people of MSNBC could stand it we could, cause we only had to turn the channel. I guess the people at MSNBC, are either used to it, or they don’t really mind it. His fragrance isn’t my cup of tea either, so, I air out the room and just change channels. I hear a whole lot of people don’t like the stink coming off old Keith either.

  • eej003

    You forgot the best part of the Thursday show! Olbermann called the Arizona Diamondback’s a bunch of racists because they are the only team without any good hispanic players. Of course, you have to completely ignore the fact the historical face of their franchise is Luis Gonzalez and that Miguel Montero is one of the best catchers in baseball.

    But even if you exclude those two names, think about what Olbermann was actually saying there. “Hey there good young Hispanic players on the Diamondbacks. You suck now, so why bother trying anymore?” And this from somebody whose only legitimate claim to fame was his baseball knowledge. Apparently in MSNBC dream land, if you aren’t a future hall-of-famer or all-star your rookie year, you are a disgrace to your race and should just quit. Either that, or Olbermann got caught yet again stealing Daily KOS talking points live on air and didn’t have the stomach to correct himself.

  • Injest

    “Almost every night on “Countdown,” Keith Olbermann names three “Worst Persons in the World.” He also wrote a 2006 book with same title.”

    “but soon enough he returned to naming Worst Persons”.

    And the definition of “one trick pony” is?

    “Keith Olbermann names three

    “Worst Persons in the World.”

    Hey Keith with all yur edumakation ya got at dat horse milking school, did ya ever come across this?

    Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people

    Eleanor Roosevelt

    Did you understand it?

    Next up Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Persons in the World.”

    Blahhhhhhhhhh Blahhhhhhhhh!

  • Spalding

    Most gay people I meet are really happy.

  • tdpwells

    Nice headline. Also, water is wet.