Keith Olbermann, your country needs you: We watch, because we’re paid to

Ruth Graham Contributor
Font Size:

Thick-headedness, incorrect facts and a spectacular example of hypocrisy: If you’re going to watch one week of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” make it this one!

FRIDAY, MAY 21: Like many “Countdown” episodes lately, most of tonight’s show was spent ranting against Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul without a single, even half-way substantive critique of his positions. Olbermann seems to think he has his hands on a big “gotcha” moment in the mere fact that avowed Libertarian Rand Paul, son of Libertarian leader Ron Paul, publicly professes Libertarian principles. If anyone on MSNBC could claim the “gotcha,” it was Rachel Maddow, who at least invited Paul on her show. But even so, this is really more of a “dog bites man” story, Keith. Or in your case, “dog bites doofus.”

MONDAY, MAY 24: Olbermann came out swinging tonight, suggesting that BP executives should be arrested and/or in jail and said that the oil company’s continued involvement in the spill’s aftermath is “like having Jack the Ripper try to save the victim and run the murder investigation.”

I’m sincerely interested in what he thinks the alternatives are, considering that the next day he’ll suggest “the Minerals Management Service and big oil are virtually the same thing.” That rules out the entity with the most intimate knowledge of the spill, and also the government agency charged with overseeing it. (Casting around for alternatives, he wondered, “Is the Navy on vacation this month?” Funny you should ask: They actually kind of are.)

Most significantly, however, Olbermann ended the show by deviating from his traditional closing in which he counts down the days that have passed since “the previous president declared ‘Mission Accomplished’ in Iraq.” In case you were wondering, as of last Thursday, it had been 2,576 days, which is the approximate amount of time that has passed since Olbermann really started phoning it in. Tonight, however, he closed with these words instead: “That is ‘Countdown’ for this the 34th day since the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill disaster began.”

Still, he never did manage to offer a satisfactory solution to the spill. Assuming he doesn’t have anything else in mind — space robots, perhaps? a time machine? — I’d like to propose an innovative solution: If we could somehow transplant America’s No. 1 source of sucking to the bottom of the ocean, we could have this thing cleaned up in no time. Keith, you will never hear these words from me again: Your country needs you.

TUESDAY, MAY 25: It’s always enjoyable when an insufferable know-it-all demonstrates that in fact he really, really does not know it all. Tonight’s delicious moment of schadenfreude came courtesy of a smug reference to a North Carolina Tea Party candidate Tim D’Annunzio, who no one, including the local Republican party leadership, seems to like. Apparently D’Annunzio once told his ex-wife that he had discovered the lost Ark of the Covenant in Arizona.

“Hope all the animals had their papers with them,” Olbermann quipped.

Whoops! The Ark of the Covenant is, of course, not at all the same thing as Noah’s Ark, so this “joke” doesn’t make a lick of sense. (I’ll also go out on a limb and say that neither ark was likely discovered recently in Arizona.)

Keith, for future reference, here’s a helpful guide you can clip and save:

Sacred wooden box: Ark of the Covenant.

Enormous wooden boat: Noah’s Ark.

Study of building design and construction: Architecture.

Home state of President Clinton: Arkansas.

Keith Olbermann’s No. 1 most frequent Google search: “Are carrots turning my skin orange?”

WEDNESDAY, MAY 26: And now, your out-of-context Keith Olbermann quote of the week: “Remember, mud spelled backwards is dum.”

THURSDAY, MAY 27: On Monday morning, Bill O’Reilly made a joke on “Fox & Friends” about creatively plugging the hole in the ocean floor: “I thought that they — basically, in the very beginning — should stuff every member of NBC News in that hole,” O’Reilly joked. For that riff, Olbermann piously declared him the Worst Person in the World.

Flash forward to Thursday, and Olbermann is sitting at his anchor chair chatting with guest Michio Kaku. Discussing one fanciful plan for a cleanup of the spill, Olbermann said “One would think that would be alternative to stuffing old tires into it. Perhaps old BP executives could be of some use here.”


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In other words, he made the exact same joke he had excoriated O’Reilly for just three days ago. Although, to be fair, Keith Olbermann demonstrating extraordinary hypocrisy is a “dog bites man” story, too.

Read about more adventures in Olber-land here.