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Keith Olbermann needs a safe space: We watch, because we’re paid to

Ruth Graham Contributor

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10: Tonight, Keith Olbermann joined everyone on Facebook and Twitter in getting a kick out of an Ohioan Phil Davison’s speech in support of his nomination to the GOP candidacy for county treasurer. Davison paces and shouts with dictatorial fervor about his master’s degree in communications and his intentions to change things in Stark County. If you think irrationally angry people are funny — which I’m guessing you do because you’re reading a column about Keith Olbermann — you probably got a kick out of it. Here’s how Keith described it:

“It’s like getting to watch Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg address if Lincoln had anger management issues and was more stoned than Keith Richards.”

Jokes about anger management and Keith Richards are what keep Olbermann on the cutting edge of comedy.

Anyway, remember that Keith Richards joke, which essentially accused this local wannabe politician of being stoned without evidence. Later in the show, Olbermann will award the Worst Person in the World award to a high-school principal who accused a student of being stoned without evidence. Within the space of about a half-hour, unfounded accusations of drug use turn from hilarious joke into cause for pious condemnation.

In related news, according to the national drug rehab program Narconon, “The short term effects of marijuana use include memory loss.”

In other news, here is your out-of-context Keith Olbermann interview excerpt of the week:

POLITICS DAILY REPORTER ALEX WAGNER:  Keith, for a dying, starving man, an Oreo cookie is a feast.
OLBERMANN:  Yes.
WAGNER:  I think, you know?

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 13: Last night’s NBC Sunday Night Football ratings were the best ever! It was also the first broadcast since Olbermann’s unceremonious dismissal. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

On “Countdown” tonight, a discussion of Newt Gingrich’s suggestion that President Obama has a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview, Olbermann called the former speaker “a little David Duke-ish” and compared him to George Wallace. The discussion included this impenetrable series of questions:

“Why do they call Rhodesia Rhodesia? What’s his end game? Nobody’s blown himself up in America except Wile E. Coyote. What does Newt Gingrich want from us? ”

According to Narconon, other symptoms of marijuana abuse are paranoia and “trouble with thinking and problem solving.”

Then Olbermann teased a segment on “Delawares homophobic, anti-masturbation candidate,” Christine O’Donnell. And I quote: “She’s not going to win tomorrow.”

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14: Annnnnd Christine O’Donnell won today. Whoops! Oh, well, on to a discussion of tax cuts. Here’s Keith:

“We asked Senator McConnell’s office today to supply a single poll showing majority support for extending Bush’s tax cuts for the rich. No reply.”

It is hilarious to me how every few weeks, Olbermann uses his best serious-newsman voice to announce “we” asked a certain public figure for comment and received no reply, which he always interprets as an admission of guilt. A few weeks ago, for example, he reported with horror that Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle “won’t tell us whether she supports removing that adopted kids from families headed by gay couples.” You know what THAT means.

Actually I have a pretty good suspicion of what it means: No one wants to return Keith Olbermann’s phone calls! He’s not a reporter. His show isn’t respected. And no one feels an obligation to respond to his wild accusations.

Keith, when in doubt, remember Occam’s Razor: The simplest explanation is usually right, and also no one likes you.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15: Tonight Olbermann made fun of Sarah Palin for advising Democrat senatorial candidate Christine “She’s Not Going to Win Tomorrow” O’Donnell to “speak through Fox News and let the independents who are tuning in – let them know what it is she stands for.”

Olbermann scoffed at this: “She is apparently still operating under the delusion that independents watch Fox News.”

Oh, Keith. Bad news. Only a few days ago, Pew released a major survey on how Americans consume the news. Guess what they found out?

Twenty percent of self-identified independents regularly watch Fox, compared to 17 percent who tune into CNN and a measly 10 percent for MSNBC. Also, by the way, about 23 percent of the total public regularly tunes into Fox, compared to 11 percent who watch MSNBC.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15: Tonight Olbermann introduced a routine segment about Karl Rove with his own agonizing rewrite of a passage from “Moby Dick.” He calls O’Donnell “The Queequeg to Palin’s Ishmael,” which makes everyone vaguely familiar with the book feel smart. The riff concludes with the phrase “and I only am escaped alone to tell thee,” originally from the book of Job, which means Keith is not-so-subtly comparing himself to a character in the Old Testament and another from one of the greatest works of Western literature. As a bonus, the line also seems to imply that he is the lone prophet telling the true Tea Party story.

Narconon says another symptom of marijuana abuse is “distorted perception.”

Keith, if you have something to share, I hope you will consider this a safe space.