Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Keith Olbermann gets into a flame war

Going through the first few pages of the inbox for the public e-mail account this morning, there seems to be some confusion shared by a number of visitors.  If you missed it the repugnant Keith Olbermann attempted to launch a flame war on Iraq War veteran and athlete JR Salzman.  Why?

Because Keith Olbermann is both hateful and an idiot.   And apparently desperate for attention.

If the disagreement stemmed over an actual issue, I think some would be less shocked.  (In fairness to Keith, we should note that there is no issue more important to him than Keith Olbermann.)  If this erupted over some prized belief or some contested event, it might appear less shocking.  But what happened is Salzman Twittered an observation that attempted humor ("Getting 2nd Amendment advice from Bob Costas is a bit like getting career advice from @KeithOlbermann.").  Anyone mentioned in "advice from" with half a brain would have moved on.  But expecting Olbermann to have even half a brain is expecting far too much.  So an exchange ensued culminating with Olbermann telling the veteran he "embarrasses the military."

This was grand drama on Keith's part and his attempt to Worst-Person Salzman.  

If the events above are incorrect, please correct me.  I knew nothing about this exchange until I opened the e-mails this morning and began attempting to figure out exactly what was going on.

The e-mails from people who are confused basically express the belief that I need to call out Keith Olbermann because I've praised him in the past.

Confused?  You're either wrongly remembering what you think I wrote or you're wrongly assuming that I would praise Keith Olbermann just because, for many on the left, it was the thing to do.

Sexism is treated by many on the left as something that can be overlooked or ignored.  It's hatred of a group of people and no other hatred would be ignored like that.  Keith was not a great person in spite of sexism.  Sexism was about who he was.

At Third, where Ava and I cover TV, we've repeatedly called him out.  From "TV: One Less Bag To Leak Gas:"

Last week looked like it might shape up into a discussion about the state of children's programming in the US, a discussion launched by a new MTV series. Instead, America's biggest -- if not most favorite -- blowhard sucked up all the oxygen in the room as people wondered: "Why?" and "Why, oh, why?" The answer -- indeed the questions -- like most of life's riddles can be found on a Carly Simon album.
Friday night, our modern day Betty Hutton announced his departure from MSNBC (click here for video). It was typical drama queen and, yes, he did strike his Scarlet O'Hara pose yet again by declaring, "As God is my witness" -- which has led so many to wonder if Keith Olbermann hated women so much just because he saw them as competition for -- or reality checks on -- his drag routines? Regardless, he was yet again explaining there was no place for women in his world as he referred to viewers as males.
His announcement brought a variety of responses. For example, Steven Weber insisted, at The Huffington Post, on seeing the announcement as time to yet again attack 'the other,' "They accuse, they lie, they do everything they have been bred to do to survive. And in doing so, they drag down the system, they drag down humanity, forcing all to live by their antiquated rules and eye-rolling superstitions. The gun fetishes and the god fetishes amount to one big ignorance fetish, a sad commentary on the failure of the intellect to overcome instinct." And you thought just his acting was bad. Mike Hegedus, at the same outlet, offered a more clear eyed appraisal. As usual The Docker Boys at The New York Times and Perez Hilton were lost while TMZ, by contrast, demonstrated it can get the gossip.
At The Washington Post, Greg Sargent stopped rubbing the obscene fat pockets under his eyes long enough to huff and puff and lament. What? Ethics is now something the Journolister Sargent -- who has raised concerns at The Post over his online links/reach-arounds -- worries about? Sargent managed to exemplify the worst reality about Olbermann and his groupies: Facts don't matter.

And "TV: Cable Nation's New Model:"

Keith Olbermann has burned another bridge. On Friday came news that Current TV had fired him. Charges were tossed back and forth over the last few days and a big lawsuit is currently expected. Several friends assumed we'd be rejoicing and were surprised when their phone calls were met with yawns on our part.
Keith Olbermann is a sexist pig and we've spent years calling him -- and those who enable him -- out. We last wrote of the diva in June of 2011 ("TV: The Fawning") and like any rational person covering TV, we knew he would be off Current TV in less than a year. But it's hard to do a jig or dance of joy when his departures no longer matter -- not when the spawn of his seed carry on his work across the cable nation.
Never a widely popular brand but always an immensely copied one, Olbermann and all he spawned can be seen as driving the 'genteel' (by comparison) Larry King and others off the airwaves. Though Keith Olbermann would prefer to be seen as an original, he's a copy himself, a negative photo copy of Bill O'Reilly of Fox News.
We don't clutch the pearls, so Keith adopting Bill's shrill tone never bothered us one bit. His inability to stick to the facts did. At first he rivaled Bill in the fact-free department but he quickly surpassed O'Reilly and the Fox News host was left looking like a fact checker by comparison.

That's just two examples. Unlike Terry Gross and so many others, we never fawned over Keith Olbermann. 

But I do agree he's shamed himself yet again.  And if we had praised him, I'd certainly need to take some accountability now.  So I encourage those who want to see some accountability for the blowhard to turn to those who couldn't stop praising him.  I'll help you out with a list of some of the bigger names who've promoted him and excused him: Basically everyone at The Nation magazine, Terry Gross, Bill Moyers, Greg Sargeant, Luke Wilson, it's a long, long list.

And I can see how someone could be confused.  But we've been calling out Olbermann for years now and our argument is that the hatred he has shown women is who he is, not a 'quirk.'  He's no differen than Nir Rosen or other sexists pigs. 

That Keith Olbermann would get into a flame war is not surprising, that it would be with an Iraq War veteran is not surprising, that it would be with a wounded Iraq War veteran is not surprising.  If you'd spent years -- as so many did -- excusing and ignoring Keith's overt sexism, you may be surprised.

I'm not surprised. 

If we had praised him, believe me, I'd be embarrassed right now.  Because Keith wasn't even merely praised, he was lavished with non-stop slobbering.  And  for those who don't get it -- maybe you're not of the left, which is fine -- Keith didn't just emerge from no where.  He was the replacement for yet another sexist: Howard Stern.  Howard Stern even made the cover of The Nation magazine back then.  That's who was upheld as the voice of the left.  And that's why feminists like myself are so appalled.  It's not even that we're expected to overlook just one sexist.  Over and over, we're expected to 'take one for the team.'  So now this is on all those who defended him and apologized for him.

They'll, no doubt, find a way to minimize this (or, more likely, ignore it -- that's what they did with pig Nir thinking they could redeem him).  But it is telling.  There was no reason for Keith Olbermann to start this flame war.  It should be considered not just petty but beneath him.  But, as we have learned, nothing is beneath Keith Olbermann.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, Adam Kokesh, Pacifica Evening News, Black Agenda Report, The Diane Rehm Show, Susan's On the Edge, C-SPAN and Antiwar.com --  updated last night and this morning:

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq