Dick of the Week: Keith Olbermann

8 Nov

An upstart blog perhaps, but we here at Dick of the Week believe in standards. Each week we will offer you one new entrant into the All-Time Dick Hall of Fame, and one Dick of the Week, the individual that best exemplifies all of the qualities of dickishness that Dick of the Week treasures for the current week.

So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, it should come as little surprise that your Dick of the Week for the week of October 31 to November 7 is Keith Olbermann!

This is an outrage!


Keith Olbermann, who abandoned a promising career at ESPN in favor of the wonderful world of political punditry, has spent the last several years hosting MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” one of the most successful shows on the station occupying a prime time slot.  Of course, MSNBC has a fairly low bar for the definition of “successful” these days, but in any case Olbermann is one of the most recognizable personalities on the station.

Keith has made a career out of essentially countering Fox News, demonstrating particular animus towards Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.  On Olbermann’s well-known “Worst Person in the World” segment, O’Reilly has been named to the top spot more than any other single person, though fellow Olbermann adversaries such as Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch have also occupied the top spot a disproportionate amount of the time.

Olbermann’s distaste for Glenn Beck has resulted in him asserting that men like him should be “legally stopped” by the government, apparently for offering dangerous opinions.  Of course, this is nothing new for Olbermann, who has referred to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich as a “dangerous creature.”

Olbermann regularly sprinkles terms like this amidst his diatribes against those with opinions with which he finds fault, with Gingrich in particular being on the receiving end of terms such as “fascism,” “barbarism” and “delusions of grandeur.” Usually one has to dig these words individually out of his rants, but sometimes Olbermann manages to top even himself, such as when he referred to then-candidate Scott Brown as an “irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against woman and against politicians with whom he disagrees.”

The face of evil.

Woo!  But hey. Maybe Scott Brown IS evil. Who the hell are we to say? Olbermann gets paid for his opinions, and he’s obviously got more time on his hands than us.  And sure he’s a pundit, but who says pundits can’t remain objective.   In fact, Olbermann had even said that he doesn’t vote in order to maintain the appearance of journalistic objectivity.

We’re not sure what’s worse: that Olbermann doesn’t vote for the politicians he clearly supports, or that he thinks that he has journalistic objectivity.  In any case, Olbermann has repeatedly driven home the point that he firmly believes that journalists should remain impartial, especially attacking Fox News for their reporters’ and executives’ campaign contributions.  After News Corp. gave a $1,000,000 contribution to the Republican Governors Association, Olbermann mocking declared “We now have another million reasons why Fox News is the Republican news channel.”  Olbermann, of course, conveniently overlooked the $2,300,000 that Time Warner (CNN’s parent company) gave to Democrats during the 2008 election cycle, but hey, you’ve got to pick your battles, right?

Unfortunately for Keith, his delusions of objectivity caught up with him recently, and he is coming off an “indefinite” (read: two-day) suspension.  For what was he suspended, you ask?  Why, making campaign contributions (the maximum he was allowed to give, in fact) to three different democratic Congressional candidates.

Keith won't tell if you won't.

Now, the level-headed among us will say that Keith Olbermann is clearly not objective and the fact that he donated a bit of money to a few campaigns is obviously not the most partisan thing he has ever done.  In fact, he’s perfectly entitled to donate to those campaigns, were it not for MSNBC’s policy.

Immediately following the incident itself, Olbermann’s apparent understudy, Rachel Maddow, used her show to talk about how MSNBC is so much more wholesome than the likes of Fox News because they have standards that they hold their reporters to, unlike those devils at News Corp.  Now Rachel, we at Dick of the Week hardly consider ourselves experts in the field of ethics, but it seems to us that if the fact that Keith Olbermann contributed to a few campaigns was the first inkling that he may have some democratic leanings, then MSNBC’s viewership is not as bright as Keith may want to believe.  However, we at Dick of the Week have suspected for years that Olbermann and Maddow are fueled by concentrated smugness and delusion, so it comes as little surprise that they have found a way to convert this crisis into useful energy for their internal clockwork.

Of course, it was not lost on Keith that this was just another opportunity for him to display his dickishness.  Jeff Bercovici, a blogger over at Forbes.com, noted that Keith Olbermann is the Brett Favre of MSNBC.  The analogy holds up frighteningly well.  Just as Brett Favre, despite throwing a colossal number of interceptions and sitting comfortably behind the likes of Alex Smith in quarterback rating, is “too big to bench,” Keith Olbermann is too big to suspend.  Bercovici notes that Favre’s coach, Brad Childress, will never bench Favre, because he simply doesn’t have the capital.  If he tried and failed (which he would), it would instantly become clear who really has the power in Minnesota.  Likewise, it has now become clear that Olbermann has more power than his boss, MSNBC president Phil Griffin, as his “indefinite” suspension has morphed into little more than a four day weekend.

In fact, according to Bercovici, not only did Olbermann not apologize for violating MSNBC’s policies, he even demanded and received an apology for the way he’s been treated, as though his suspension was some grave miscarriage of justice.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, despite his blatant hypocrisy and gross violation of his employers’ policies, Keith Olbermann has maintained the moral high ground in Keith Olbermann’s head, a place of fantasy and delusion where, if the reports of a formal apology are true, all of MSNBC has come to reside.

And not a Republican in sight!

So Keith Olbermann, for being a blatant hypocrite who identifies the blatent hypocrisies of others; for somehow believing that you retained the moral high ground in the midst of a scandal that was entirely your fault; and for carrying yourself in an “I am the network!” fashion, you sir are our very first Dick of the Week.

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