The Olbermann smackdown, and the lack of response to it

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I don’t watch much TV news, having learned years ago that most of it is unintentionally superficial and unintentionally funny. (I prefer to watch things that are superficial and funny on purpose.) I do catch clips online now and then, however, when something is brought to my attention that’s worth noting.

Keith Olbermann’s 10-minute commentary on his MSNBC program “Countdown” earlier this week, which you can watch here, fits that description. I enjoyed Olbermann’s sense of humor when he was an L.A. sportscaster in the 1980s, and I’ve recently been entertained by his constant harassment of Bill O’Reilly on “Countdown.”

But I never would have expected the level of gravitas and incisive commentary that he displays here. He reminds me of Edward R. Murrow (whose commentaries were dramatized in “Good Night and Good Luck”) in that it’s not enough to read the transcript of his remarks. You have to watch his face and hear his delivery to get the full effect of the scathing things he’s saying.

(By the way, you can watch the Bill Clinton interview from two days earlier, which Olbermann’s piece is partly a response to, here.)

Having watched the Olbermann clip without much introduction and having been stirred by it, I poked around the Interwebs to see how the conservative blogs were responding. I don’t read many political blogs of any denomination, so I had to do some Googling to find conservative ones.

The few I found that mentioned it at all were depressingly predictable: They harp on Olbermann’s manner and delivery and don’t even try to rebut the things he actually SAID.

“Watching this douche clumsily trying to channel his paranoid rage into lofty rhetoric has been one of the true joys of blogging these past few weeks.”

“It appears to me like it’s almost as if he feels he has to top himself with each new commentary. Be more outlandish … more daring … more critical.”

“I think Olbermann’s ‘Special Comment’ testifies eloquently to his and his fans’ ‘issues’ and requires little elaboration.”

I guess the reasoning is that if you’re writing a conservative blog for conservative readers, you don’t need to explain why Olbermann is so wrong. Your readers already KNOW why. So I wish someone would explain it to me, a more-liberal-than-conservative person who doesn’t read the political blogs every day and doesn’t know why Olbermann’s commentary is so off-base. He seemed to me to be making excellent points and to be making them exceptionally well. He’s actually SAYING something, which is more than any of the bloggers (that I could find) did in response to him.

P.S. I know liberal bloggers do the same thing: A conservative says something, they automatically mock and ridicule him without regard for what he actually said. It’s the major reason I don’t read political blogs, because both sides are equally jackassish about it. The Olbermann thing is what happens to be on my mind at the moment, that’s all.

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