Physician, Heal Thyself

Olbermann's war continues, but does the Countdown host hold himself to the same standard he demands of others?

In case you missed it, Keith Olbermann's war against Fox News continues apace. We aren't going to reiterate all the gory details of the latest dust-up; there's a summary with transcript at TVNewser, and Inside Cable News has a lively discussion going (as does OlbermannWatch). But we do have a few points to put on the record.

The meat of Mr Olbermann's latest salvo was another slam at his "friend" John Gibson. Based on a radio comment, Mr Olbermann imputed all sorts of evil thoughts to Mr Gibson:
He is one of those people who think all religions but his are mistaken. You know, the way a lot of these religious nut bag terrorists think.

Rather than detailing why it's obvious to us that Mr Olbermann's "analysis" here went completely off the deep end, we will quote Cecelia, frequent commentator at OlbermannWatch, who made the following observations at Inside Cable News:
When Gibson makes the statement about a “wrong religion” he is responding to Parshall’s statement that the Judeo Christian God commanded total allegiance to him. Gibson states that this theological question is “probably a bit over my head” but “if” someone has to answer for following a “wrong” religion (Parshall’s thesis) then they’ll answer to God (not Gibson or Parshall).

Olbermann has compared these statements to the beliefs of Islamic terrorists! The are the opposite! Olbermann concludes that Gibson’s remarks (beliefs) have essentially forfeited his right to the airwaves. Who’s the totalitarian here?

As you can see from the transcript, Gibson was anything but judgmental about the rightness or wrongness of certain religions, responding to Parshall’s thesis essentially by saying that if there are wrong ones, then the adherents answer to God not to society. Society's only call to believers is that they not persecute each other.

And with that I’ll address the question presented here about the definition of tolerance. Tolerance is not concluding that ‘your myth is as good as my myth’. Most religions and their holy books assert that theirs is the way of “truth”. To believe otherwise contradicts the religious text and precepts. You cannot simultaneously believe that Jesus is the Messiah and believe he was merely a good man or prophet. What you can do, and what Gibson’s point was to do, is not beat up, blow-up, discriminate against, people who do not hold your religious faith.

It’s the height of irony that Olbermann essentially accused Gibson of heresy and wanted Gibson barred from his choice of profession. The point is you shouldn’t have to parse your every statement and give loyalty oaths to the ideological tenets of spiteful sportscasters in order to protect yourself from being mischaracterized on national television. Gibson is not guilty until he proves himself innocent. It’s up to Olbermann to prove the hyperbolic charge that Gibson has the same thinking as Islamic terrorists. He can’t with Gibson’s words, and he can’t with the the theological argument he attempted to make against Parshall’s statements.

I think it’s to Gibson’s credit that he didn’t attempt to make a theological argument of yea or nay to Parshall’s statements. No, the person who launched a theological rebuttal of Parshall was Olbermann. A ridiculous and illogical one.

Why should Gibson have to publicly declare his religious beliefs? If Gibson does believe that Christianity is the one true religion, isn’t that the sort of faith-based doctrinal tenet that Olbermann demands equal time for, in the marketplace of religious beliefs? Isn’t a public doctrinal litmus test the very thing that Olbermann would choke on if it were demanded of…say…anyone but a Fox News employee?

Olbermann is not merely a clown. His makeup is far more malevolent than that.

Mr Olbermann goes on to castigate John Gibson for not fessing up and agreeing with Olbermann's unique take on what was said:
Ordinarily when somebody gets caught saying something as intolerant as this, their choices are a) to apologize, b) to resign, or c) to make sure there's no tape and try to lie their way out of it. John chose "d" -- blame it on somebody else. The audio clip is the definitive answer, and I would hope John would now have the self-respect to acknowledge what he said, and to leave the airwaves for good. Because, between the remark and the denial, he has--sadly--forfeited his right to stay here.

But does Mr Olbermann hold himself to this same standard? Just moments earlier, Olbermann said of Bill O'Reilly:
Instead of trying to refute even one of the hateful things we've quoted him as saying or doing, he instead turns to the ratings.

Except that refuting Mr Olbermann's hateful remarks is an exercise in futility. When he railed for days against O'Reilly over punting records (!), the college in question issued a statement and said, no, Mr Olbermann, you are factually wrong. Their rebuttal was never mentioned, let alone reported, on Countdown.

An even more egregious example was Mr Olbermann's ridiculing of Bill O'Reilly for an alleged comment about election-night ratings. Here is a case where Mr Olbermann got the comment wrong, video exists proving he was wrong, he was personally informed that his attack was wrong--and he still refused to correct his error or express regret for his insults.

Ordinarily when somebody gets caught saying something as reckless as this, their choices are a) to apologize, b) to resign, or c) to make sure there's no tape and try to lie their way out of it. Mr Olbermann chose c), but forgot to make sure the tape didn't exist. That video is the definitive answer, and one would have hoped Mr Olbermann would have had the self-respect to acknowledge the falsity of his attack, or leave the airwaves for good. Because, according to the standard Mr Olbermann himself stipulated, he has forfeited his right to stay.

posted: Wed - December 28, 2005 at 01:14 PM       j$p  send