Keith Olbermann just doesn’t know any better: We watch, because we’re paid to

Ruth Graham Contributor
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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22: During a hair-raising segment on campaign spending — I don’t know if you guys have heard, but a lot of money gets spent in campaigns! — Olbermann pointed out that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union will spend $87 million in the midterms. In fact, Olbermann said, that union is the top outside spender this election! The No. 2 spot goes to the villainous Chamber of Commerce, which Olbermann has been freaking out about almost nightly for weeks now. It has spent $75 million.

So, to reiterate, the good guys have spent $12 million more than the bad guys. And spending is bad. So how to reconcile this? Like so:

“The alarming amount of political spending by right-wing super-PACs and the Chamber of Commerce may be getting the attention of voters. It‘s certainly galvanized at least one key group that is not beholden to a corporation.”

So a union becomes the biggest outside spender, and that becomes evidence of the vile nature of lesser spending by “right wing super PACs and the Chambers of Commerce,” because they forced the union to spend that money? I think I have that right.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 25: Tonight, Keith spoke some words that really cut to the core. It happened during a conversation with Washington Post columnist EJ Dionne. Apparently Bill O’Reilly was mean to Dionne in his opening segment. Here’s what Keith advised Dionne to do:

“Watch it later on. Or actually, have someone you don’t like watch it and then tell you about it.”

As a person who is paid to “watch it and then tell you about it,” I have to admit this hurt.

I recovered enough to bring you this Out of Context Keith Olbermann Quote of the Week: “You’ve got a very large, possibly angry animal in your pool. How do you get him out?”

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26: Tonight, Keith scored a big “get,” which is something that can rarely be said of “Countdown”: He snagged the first interview with Lauren Valle, the woman who attended a Rand Paul rally and was forcibly held down and either violently stomped or gently tapped, depending on your political persuasion. (What a weird political season this is, in which the word “stomped” has become politically charged. But I digress!) Back in the hazy days of early this week, this was a big story, believe it or not.

Now, Olbermann is the Larry King of the MoveOn crowd: Interviewees can rest assured the host is barely paying attention and will throw only the softest of puffy white softballs. It’s a safe space. Here were some of his questions for Valle:

“How are you feeling?”

“The wig was what? Why were you wearing a wig?”

“That brings us to a concluding question. You were not trying to hand anything to Rand Paul. You were not trying to get to Rand Paul. You just wanted to hold up a sign?”

Take what you can get, America. This was the closest Keith got to journalism all week.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 27: Olbermann tweeted on Tuesday: “That Tea Party Special Comment I just promoted for Wednesday’s show? It’ll be approximately 20 minutes long.” I took that as a threat. And unfortunately he followed through.

The gist of this Special Comment was the Tea Party-associated candidates this election season are trying to establish a “theocracy for white males.” The candidates, er, “moderately talented performers,” that Olbermann is angriest at include Jan Brewer, Sharron Angle, Marco Rubio, Vicky Hartzler and Christine O’Donnell, but never mind.

He pulled out all the old favorites. Robber barons! Militarism! Tax loopholes! “Business swindles”! Anchor babies! Terror babies! “Agents of repression”! He said, “They want to make the world safe for Bernie Madoff.” But despite this, it was a relatively lackluster performance. Then, really, he just urges us to vote, over and over and over: “You do not think your freedom is at stake next Tuesday?” he asked. “Look to the future and vote!” If you were really a stickler at the FCC, you might call this an anti-Tea Party ad. An incoherently written, excruciatingly smug 20-minute anti-Tea Party ad.

(For more coverage of this Special Comment, check out TheDC’s Alexis Levinson’s liveblog here and Jim Treacher’s post-mortem here.)

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28: Tonight Keith did a whole segment about how unbelievable it is that any woman would ever vote for a Republican. Don’t women know what’s good for them, according to Keith Olbermann? (Don’t answer that.) In Keith’s defense, it’s fun to end the week on an infuriatingly condescending note. It’s kind of like how I find it so unbelievable that he keeps churning out this god-awful show week after week. I’m sure he’s trying his best, but he just doesn’t know any better.