Keith Olbermann dislikes Dick Cheney: We watch, because we’re paid to

Ruth Graham Contributor
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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12: Welcome to Total Loss of Perspective Week on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” in which, er, Olbermann undergoes a total loss of perspective. No, no, I know: That’s every week. But this week it’s even worse than usual!

First up, Olbermann blamed the terrorism of Sept. 11 on George W. Bush’s management style. “Three thousand people died on September 11, 2001, because George Bush did not prioritize,” he intoned. “Perhaps no one says it because it is such a painful, awful truth to confront: 3,000 people dead because Bush and Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld and others simply had other agendas than fighting terrorism.”

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Some people might argue that there were a few other factors involved. I’ll give you a hint on one of them: It rhymes with with Shosama Shin Shladen.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 15: Accusation-of-Murder Accusation Week continues apace. Dick Cheney is the target again, having given an interview in which he defended his support of the war in Iraq. Olbermann went with an argument he has returned to over and over, like a lucky penny: “And then there is the war of choice, for profit, that Mr. Cheney and the neocons lied their way into,” he began, warming up. “The former vice president and Halliburton’s CEO’s latest lie that the conflict began with the surge and that the 4,376 American lives we have spent to help line the pockets of Cheney and his cronies has been worth the cost.” A bold claim — blood lust, lies, murder for profit — but one that loses some of its boldness when repeated hundreds of times over many years.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16: And over in Insensitivity Corner, during a discussion about President Obama’s plans to build a few nuclear power plants, it was time to lament the “bad PR” of the devastating 1986 explosion at the nuclear power plant outside Chernobyl: “The exposure caused alarming rates of disease, death among hundreds of thousands driven from their homes. But if that‘s not bad enough PR, there‘s also the 21 years of ‘The Simpsons.’ Homer Simpson, of course, takes home uranium from the Springfield nuclear plant in his coat every night, sometimes twice a night. And the fish in the polluted pond outside the plant have extra eyes.”

Wow, way to keep it in perspective, Keith. I guess mass death is only a serious matter when you’re accusing Bush and Cheney of responsibility? At other times, it’s an excuse to happily natter on and on about your favorite Fox cartoon show.

To cleanse your palate, I now bring you the out-of-context Keith Olbermann quote of the week: “No half-naked women with whips this time, just the animal kingdom continuing its war on television personalities.”

It takes a bold man to take what is patently obvious, what is universally agreed upon, and present it as a blast of go-against-the-grain honesty. Tonight, Olbermann bravely condemned the man who crashed a small plane into an IRS building. He huffed and he puffed, seeming to address Joseph Andrew Stack directly:

“If you have become so angry over the U.S. tax system that your idea of stopping the insanity is to fly your small plane into an office building that houses 200 federal tax employees, that is by definition the act of an insane person.”

There, there, Keith. I know you’ve been stuck in “outrage mode” for the last several years, but there’s actually no real need to turn this one into a preaching moment. No one disagrees with you! Americans are actually pretty united against suicide bombers. We’re on board. Calm down.

Later, Olbermann soothed himself with some narcissism, playing a clip of Boehner mentioning his name at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and also showing off a doormat with his own face on it. Neat-o! Later, he replayed an old, long clip of himself as a guest on “The David Letterman Show.” Then he recycled a line about Glenn Beck — “He has the long-term memory of a Roomba” — that he had used in identical form last Friday. No one can accuse Keith Olbermann of not being a good liberal: The man loves to recycle.