Keith Olberman says ‘Sarah Palin’ a lot: We watch, because we’re paid to

Ruth Graham Contributor
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Ah, election week, when our man Keith Olbermann really thrives. And by “thrives,” I mean “name-calls, repeatedly misses the point, and shouts at Chris Matthews.”

FRIDAY, MAY 14: Olbermann kicked off Friday’s show by coming down on the secretary of the interior, Ken Salazar, for what Olbermann sees as regulatory negligence. “Mr. Obama blamed a decade of MMS [Minerals Management Service] coziness with Big Oil, neglecting to mention that the interior secretary, Ken Salazar, was applauded by big oil when Mr. Obama chose him to fix these problems. President Obama today putting Salazar front and center at his meeting on the spill and charging Salazar again to fix those problems — after almost a year and a half of his having failed to do so.”

Oooh, he’s really speaking truth to power! Now let’s flash forward to Wednesday, when guest Robert Redford pointedly refused to lay any blame on Salazar for the recent oil spill. Olbermann’s brave response: “Robert Redford, actor and environmental activist … we thank you for your time.” Get ’em next time!

MONDAY, MAY 17: Recently, Olbermann taunted Sarah Palin by saying she doesn’t have the courage to come on MSNBC. Tonight, he responded to a “tweet of the day” encouraging him to have Palin on “Countdown” by saying “Ms. Palin says she’ll do it, as long as it’s not on MSNBC and as long as it is on FOX. As long as it’s not me or Rachel, as long as it’s Hannity, and as long as she can edit out anything she doesn’t like.” If you can decipher that, it means he’s suggesting yet again that Palin’s too chicken to come on “Countdown.”

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The truth is, he wouldn’t know what to do with Palin if he actually nabbed her as a guest. This taunt is coming from a man who hasn’t encountered an opposing viewpoint since his makeup artist timidly suggested a Maybelline foundation with less orange in it. Olbermann is like a junior high kid at a dance who talks up his skills with the ladies in front of his friends, and then goes all clammy and silent when an actual girl appears in front of him. For all his swagger about doing real journalism, the guy only really knows how to sit behind a desk, deliver angry monologues and “interview” people who already agree with him. Oh, and he’s also good at going to baseball games.

TUESDAY, MAY 18: “Countdown” was on the air for two full hours on Tuesday night, because of special election coverage. Does that qualify me for overtime, or, at the very least, hardship pay? He desperately attempted to cast Rand Paul’s victory in Kentucky as, okay, fine, yes, sort of a victory for the Tea Party, but more importantly a defeat for Mitch McConnell. This is a handy way to view a Republican primary won by the faction you’ve been railing angrily against for weeks as a win for Democrats.

Election night also allows Olbermann the chance to interact with some of his fellow MSNBC blowhards, leading to pricelessly passive-aggressive interactions like this one:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: He’s a man of the center-left. I think it’s fair to say that Arlen has become —

OLBERMANN:  Chris, I’m going to interrupt you — Give me — I’m going to take my life in my hands.

MATTHEWS:  But in terms of voters —


MATTHEWS: In terms of voters, they thought he was to the left.

OLBERMANN: Give me one second. The Associated Press has just called this race for Joe Sestak. That’s the only reason I would attempt to interrupt you.

Then, whipping himself into a grandiose frenzy about those results in Pennsylvania, he stumbled upon a truly unfortunate metaphor: “Arlen Specter, who was elected to the U.S. Senate the same year that Ronald Reagan was elected president of the United States, who has survived all the races since then, who survived in some sense switching parties [Ed. note: He really didn’t], who survived Stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the brain tumor, never missed a Senate session, underwent chemotherapy in 2005, chemotherapy in 2008, does not survive the primary nomination process for the democratic nomination for Senate from the state he has served since 1980.”

So Specter “survived” cancer” but didn’t “survive” the election. Classic sensitivity from a master of metaphor.

Lets cleanse the palate with your out-of-context Keith Olbermann quote of the week: “I’m German, dumb-dumb.”

WEDNESDAY, MAY 19: By Wednesday, Olbermann was ready to view Rand Paul not only as the enemy of Mitch McConnell, but as his own enemy, too. He came up with some stinging evidence of Paul’s dastardly character:

“Last night, Dr. Paul saying ‘Kentucky’ — you know, the place he’s running to be the senator from — only once,” Olbermann reported. “He said ‘Tea Party’ nine times.”

Ooh, this game sounds fun! Let’s try it out. On Friday, Olbermann used the word “journalist” once and “Palin” eight times. On Wednesday he used the phrase “chicken lady” three times and “eye doctor” only once. On Monday, he said “robot” three times, and “sheep” once.  THINK ABOUT IT.

THURSDAY, MAY 20: Ending the week on a classy note, Olbermann called Rush Limbaugh “racist, drunk and stupid.” Then again, Keith makes accusations of racism with the casualness most people employ when asking for a stick of gum. Next he compared former White House press secretary Dana Perino to a stewardess, even doing a ditzy high-voiced voice imitation of her. Of course, this should no longer be surprising. One of Keith’s go-to strategies when mocking an attractive woman is to belittle her. That’s one of his many nicknames for Sarah Palin is “Little Miss Bendy Straws.” Serious question: How do you think Olbermann’s followers would react if “racist, drunk and stupid” Limbaugh were to regularly call our secretary of state “Little Miss Hillary Clinton”?

This week’s out-of-context Keith Olbermann video:

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Read about more adventures in Olber-land here.