Keith Olbermann talks too much about himself: We watch, because we’re paid to

Pat McMahon Contributor
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It’s summertime, when a cable television host’s thoughts turn to himself. Yes, this was an unusually self-absorbed week for Keith Olbermann,  which is a bit like saying this was an unusually slimy week for John Edwards – it’s *really* saying something.

FRIDAY, JUNE 25: The rich and famous aren’t like you and me: You and me have friends and family to spend time with on Friday nights. Then there’s Keith Olbermann, who spent the evening engaged in a one-sided Twitter fight with Sarah Palin over whether or not her linking to an article including a comparison between Hitler and Obama was equivalent to making the comparison herself. This guy really, really needs a hobby.

As for Friday’s show, Tucker Carlson and the Daily Caller merited a Worst Person mention for the site’s exposé on Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel’s impolitic email rants against the conservatives he was supposed to be covering. By Monday, Olbermann would introduce Weigel – a frequent “Countdown” guest in the past – as a brand-new official MSNBC contributor. Weigel surely showed poor judgment, but isn’t that punishment just a little harsh?

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MONDAY, JUNE 28: Did I imply Keith Olbermann doesn’t have friends? Silly me. Keith Olbermann has a friend and his name is Jason Bateman, which I know because Olbermann name-dropped the actor during Monday’s show, calling him “my friend, Jason Bateman.” (He also recently posted a photo to Twitter of Bateman at a baseball game, but he seems to have deleted the photo.) We get it, Keith. You’re very popular. Celebrities tolerate you.

Now, nobly using his nationally broadcast television show to insert himself into a fight between a tabloid magazine and the millionaire television actor, the host gave US Weekly magazine the bronze medal for Worst Person in the World. The magazine reported that Bateman had skipped to the front of the line while waiting at a California Apple store for the new iPhone. Keith refuted the magazine’s account by quoting from a blogger who asked for a statement from the Apple store in question. Then, after that display high dudgeon and higher laziness, he had the nerve to accuse US Weekly of inventing stories.

In case you were curious what really happened in this incident of international importance, Gawker did a bit of reporting and concluded that “Jason Bateman got booed for cutting in line at the Apple store.”

Preposterous. Everyone knows that real reporting — the kind Keith Olbermann does — consists of quoting from a second-hand press release and talking to your close friend who happens to have a vested interest in the story.

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TUESDAY, JUNE 29: News broke on Tuesday that long-time CNN host Larry King would be stepping down this fall after 25 years. For Keith Olbermann, the story was about one thing: the awesomeness and desirability of Keith Olbermann.

“Before I go,” he intoned as the show drew to a close, “Larry King announcing tonight he will leave his nightly show this fall. Larry King is a lovely and generous man, who repeatedly tried to convince his bosses to hire me to precede him at CNN, as long ago as the spring of 2001. I will always be in his debt. Larry King, great broadcaster, hello.“

It’s quite a skill to be able to compliment yourself while appearing to compliment someone else. Kudos, Keith.

When Mediaite asked CNN president Jon Klein if Olbermann’s assertion was true, he answered pointedly “Larry’s got a million ideas a day.” Olbermann probably heard that and thought “I really AM one in a million.”

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30: A few weeks ago, liberal radio host Bill Press ranted on his blog about Glenn Beck’s August “Restoring Honor” rally at the Lincoln Memorial, a cause Olbermann has been furiously championing recently. “In a slap at both President Lincoln and Dr. King, not to mention the American people, the National Park Service has given Glenn Beck permission to hold a Tea Party rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28 — 47 years to the day after Martin Luther King gave his magnificent ‘I Have A Dream’ speech,” Press wrote. “If you ask me, that’s like granting al Qaeda permission to hold a rally on September 11 — at Ground Zero. What the hell were those bureaucrats at the Park Service thinking?”

Apparently it’s an outrage for Sarah Palin to link to an article comparing Obama and Hitler, but when a liberal compares Glenn Beck to Al Quada, he gets an invitation to “Countdown.” The illustrious Press appeared as a guest on Wednesday’s show, and Olbermann egged him on by asking, “Is the desecration of Dr. King’s memory part of this? Should the poster say ‘I’m there to go an be racist and blame black people where Dr. King said ‘let’s all hold hands together?” Press then accused Beck of “stealing money from the troops” and said that “he chose that day to supplant Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I have a dream speech.’”

Soon, talk radio and cable TV will consist solely of shouted references to Nazi Germany and September 11, which will be a proud day for American discourse.

THURSDAY, JULY 1: Tonight Olbermann nominated Pultizer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker for Worst person in the World for a column suggesting Obama’s speech-making is often feminine in sentence construction, and that it employs “tropes of femaleness.” Outrageous!

And that’s not all: She has also called Obama “America’s pretty boy,” compared him to “a starlet obsessing on a svelte waistline” and claimed the “emotionally delicate” Obama has a “feminine consensus management style.” Oh, my mistake, every single one of other examples was written by liberal New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. Surely Olbermann will soon come down on Dowd equally harshly, but for now he’s focused on Parker, whose quotes he read in a mocking falsetto.

The real point, Olbermann made clear, was that Parker (with cohost Eliot Spitzer) is soon to become his direct competitor in CNN’s 8 pm hosting slot. This means that, yet again, Keith Olbermann used “Countdown” to carry out a personal vendetta, although in this case it’s an imaginary future vendetta since Parker hasn’t even started the new job yet. Good luck, Ms. Parker. For kicks, I suggest opening your first show by comparing Jason Bateman to Al Qaeda.

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