Olbermann Still Playing the Race Card
AIM Column | By Roger Aronoff | February 16, 2010
Did facts matter to Olbermann when expressing hatred for President Bush or Vice President Cheney, calling them war criminals and comparing them to Nazis?
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann has offered another of his mindless rants that he calls "Special Commentaries." This time, he tried to rile up his audience by throwing around vague charges of racism against white people, including himself!
People--especially anti-Obama Tea Partiers--are surrounded and motivated by racism, Olbermann said, huffing and puffing in righteous indignation. This helps explain why Obama is losing popularity and his policies are failing, he implied.
Olbermann's diagnosis is correct, at least in part. Taking him at his word, he is a racist, and so is his network. Is this why there are no black faces hosting MSNBC political talk shows? Perhaps Olbermann will continue this series of commentaries by naming the CEO of NBC Universal (parent company of MSNBC), Jeff Zucker, as the worst person in the world!
"I think," the MSNBC host said, "having now been one [a white person] for 51 years, I am permitted to say I believe prejudice and discrimination still sit, defeated, dormant, or virulent, somewhere in the soul of each white man in this country."
Does it sit that way in Olbermann's mind? What exactly is he talking about anyway?
He continued, "But facts don't matter when you're looking for an excuse to say you hate this president (but not because he's black)."
The tired race card approach to politics and current events would not normally require any response or comment. It could be dismissed for what it is, coming from a questionable source who deals in vile rhetoric and regularly denounces people as "the worst" in the world.
But it is fascinating and worthy of comment because of what it says not only about Olbermann but the network which pays him so much to generate the high ratings that he wants but cannot get. According to Bill Carter of the New York Times, in January CNN surpassed MSNBC for the first time in six months in the ratings, and Fox has approximately triple the ratings of either CNN or MSNBC. So maybe the latest "Special Commentary" is an attempt to see who is paying attention and actually watching the show. We at AIM plead "guilty as charged," at least in this special case. Please forgive us.
Playing into Olbermann's hands, one is tempted to tune in to the next program, if only to see whether Olbermann will take the dramatic next step of setting himself on fire in protest of something or other, real or imagined. What will happen next? Will he show up drunk? Will he turn up missing? Does anyone care?
Olbermann seems determined to make himself into a martyr for some cause which only he seems to understand. It is not pretty but it is somewhat entertaining. Perhaps he will next allege that he is receiving special instructions from the ghost of Edward R. Murrow, the broadcasting legend that Olbermann shamelessly tries to imitate.
A pasty white man who tried to act like he is blacker than Al Sharpton, Olbermann deployed the race card in this commentary and suggested that white people are racists if they oppose the agenda of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama, only one of whom is black. He acknowledged his use of terms like "Tea Klux Klan" might be "incendiary," but it's only because he's so "angry that at so late a date we still have to bat back that racial uneasiness which envelops us all."