Politics

Keith Olbermann tugs Christine O’Donnell’s pigtails: We watch, because we’re paid to

Ruth Graham Contributor

What a week for “Countdown”! Approximately 97 segments about Christine O’Donnell, a song about Christine O’Donnell, and one hilariously bone-headed non-Christine-O’Donnell-related mistake. (Skip to Tuesday to check it out.)

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17: Yet again, Olbermann has become obsessed with a female politician he perceived as dotty. First — at least first in recent memory — it was Sarah Palin. He has devoted hours of airtime to her, and he has dozens of nicknames for her. When he speaks her name, which is often, he usually follows it by stating “That woman is an idiot.” Later came Sharron Angle and Jan Brewer, Western candidates for senator and governor, respectively, to whom he has devoted dozens of mocking segments. Who can blame him? It’s hard to resist making fun of dumb women, am I right?

Now the heavens have opened and delivered Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, who Olbermann spent most of the week ridiculing. By my count, her name was mentioned 30 times on tonight’s show alone, and multiple segments included clips of her past TV appearances. He compared her to Eve Harrington in “All About Eve,” and during the Worst Persons segment he called her, awkwardly, a “lump of dumb and judgmental.” Keep it classy, Keith.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20: Tonight’s show opened with Keith singing a Christine O’Donnell-themed version of the old standard “Witchcraft.” I seem to have blacked out after that, so let’s move on.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21: This is a good one.

So, tonight’s Worst Person in the World was the Republican candidate for governor of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. Olbermann gleefully brandished Walker’s 68-page jobs plan, which was printed in very large font. “The whole thing is in like 36-point type!” he brayed. One page “has exactly 13 words on it!” Another page includes only the words “Invest in infrastructure” in bold type. Olbermann’s conclusion:

“He‘s got a 68-page jobs plan. You know a really good jobs plan? Print the state budget like that! Think of all the new forklift operators and hernia surgeons you would need. Scott Walker, Republican candidate for governor of Wisconsin — at least you can see his crap from a mile away — today‘s Worst Person in the World.”

Zing! Nailed it!

There’s only one little catch. The 68-page proposal was … a joke. A campaign aid blew up the font in Walker’s original five-page jobs plan to make it one page longer than the 67-page proposal offered by Walker’s Democratic rival, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett. The cheeky blog post on Walker’s campaign website reads “It’s the best of both worlds: good, substantive ideas for people who are into that type of thing, but also lots and lots of pages!!!”

Keith, you got duped. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, the joke document was so over-the-top that Walker has since distanced himself from it, saying he “had nothing to do” with its creation.

The Walker campaign’s point in publishing the ludicrously large-font paper was that Barrett’s actually-very-long proposal was a “thick packet of fluff.” Coincidentally, that’s also the official definition of Keith Olbermann’s head.

The rest of today’s show included a bit about Justin Bieber, and the phrase “one of the major leaders of our society today, Lady Gaga.”

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22: Tonight’s “Countdown” opened with a scoop! Turns out, when Republicans talk about tax cuts for small businesses, they aren’t always talking about, in Keith’s words, “mom-and-pop hardware stores.” Sorry, I should have warned you to sit down before revealing such shocking news.

The point of this exposé was that tax cuts will also benefit some larger businesses, which everyone knows are evil — as opposed to “ordinary Americans,” whose ability to find work has nothing to do with the fate of large businesses in Keith’s world. Remember, mom-and-pop hardware store = good. Successful mom-and-pop that expands = evil.

The part of this report I most enjoyed was all the B-roll footage in the background as Keith discussed the vile rich: Fancy 1990s-era home interiors! People with shopping bags! Women in mink coats!

Also in tonight’s show: Righteous anger over the fact that Fox sometimes displays its guests’ websites on the bottom of the screen during interviews, and, when those guests are candidates for higher office, this information sometimes facilitates campaign donations, because otherwise viewers would have absolutely no idea how to find websites.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23: Tonight’s big guest: Michael Moore. Seriously, he’s really big. (I’ll be here all week, folks!) My real point: As Moore blathered on tax cuts and always-imminent crisis, a chyron across the bottom of the screen read “MICHAELMOORE.COM.” It’s almost makes you think “Countdown” is just a mouthpiece for Democratic activists!

Tonight’s other big, though much smaller, guest: Congressman Anthony Weiner, a Democrat who is up for reelection this fall. Ahem.

During Moore’s segment, he lamented that “We are living in a modern-day ‘Grapes of Wrath.’” You know, it’s fun to panic, but we actually aren’t, Mr. Moore. Cheer up! The unemployment rate reached 25 percent during the Great Depression. Prices dropped 25 percent in four years. Half of all banks failed. But one thing was better back then: Almost no one had a television.