Olbermann Regrets Offensive Remarks

Greg Sargent reports (a report marred by some nonsense which I will discuss below) that Keith Olbermann expressed regret for his unfortunate remarks:

This line drew some very sharp criticism from The Huffington Post's Rachel Sklar, who noted acidly that Olberman could "only mean one thing: Beating the crap out of Hillary Clinton, to the point where she is physically incapable of of getting up and walking out."

Which prompted Olbermann to send Sklar an apology:

It is a metaphor. I apologize: the generic "he" gender could imply something untoward. It should've been "only the other comes out -- from a political point of view." You could've called for reaction first if your main motive had merely been criticism.

Here is my question - shouldn't the apology be directed to Hillary Clinton, not Rachel Sklar? More . . .

Second, Sargent wrote one of the most ridiculous paragraphs ever:

As I've noted here before, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann has a bizarre tendency to listen to the substance of criticism against him. Even more strange, considering that he's a top-shelf media star, is the fact that he apologizes for his conduct when he's wrong.

Olbermann is wrong, grievously wrong, night after night. He not only does not apologize for his outrageous behavior, he doubles down. Wake up Greg, you are better than this nonsense.

Jeralyn's earlier post on this, with video, is here.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

Update (TL): Joan Walsh's view of the apology is here.

< Clyburn On Olbermann Tonight | Double Standards Again >
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    What you're missing (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by andgarden on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:08:03 PM EST
    is that Sargent thinks Olbermann is usually right (about Hillary, Obama, etc) and always righteous, so it wouldn't even occur to him that there might be some issue other than this particular comment.

    What KO said was wrong (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by myiq2xu on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:37:57 PM EST
    he implied that violence should be used against a Presidential candidate.

    That is wrong regardless of whether the candidate is a woman, and African-American or a Republican.


    It's not clear to me (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by andgarden on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:39:52 PM EST
    how that's a response to my comment.

    My thought exactly. (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Iphie on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:11:24 PM EST
    When is he going to apologize to Hillary? I doubt I'll watch, but he should devote time on his show this evening to publicly apologize to Clinton for advocating violence as a means of resolving an issue that must be resolved by the democratic processes put in place to do just that.

    because (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by TheRefugee on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:23:44 PM EST
    apologizing to the target negates much of what they've gone on record as saying:  no misogyny, no double standard, no playing the race card...as soon as they admit culpability one time they may find they'd have to apologize for more, more often.

    So apologize to your peers (sklar) and continue to tell your target (HRC) to eat shi(cough)!


    If Olberman apologizes to Hillary (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by FlaDemFem on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:38:38 PM EST
    he will stroke out on national television. I expect him to do the same thing when Hillary wins the nomination.

    Hmm (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Steve M on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:16:15 PM EST
    I didn't think Olbermann's comment was so outrageous, but I understand the perspective of those who felt it was.

    I continue to think that the MyDD diaries which say "Olbermann called for Hillary's assassination!" are a bit over the top.

    I say only this (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:37:40 PM EST
    replace Hillary with Obama and Olberman with anyone else on the planet and imagine where we would be tonight.
    worst person at the very least. special comment more likely.

    Agreed. (none / 0) (#15)
    by Marco21 on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:24:41 PM EST
    Never thought he meant that, too.

    Agreed. But freedom comes with a cost (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by Cream City on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:32:55 PM EST
    which is responsibility, and that includes the First Amendment.  It was irresponsible of him to even potentially contribute to the culture of violence against women in this country.

    Media can have powerful effects.  If not, why charge millions for half a minute for an ad?  And the effect can be even more powerful if by someone  saying something who isn't seen as paid to say it.


    As I said when MarkL brought (5.00 / 9) (#6)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:16:52 PM EST
    this up on the other thread.

    No matter what apology Olbermann makes to anyone, you can guarantee it will be well-worded so that it feels like an apology.  However, it won't be sincere.

    Was his apology for Shuster sincere?

    Olbermann proved how gutless he was the other night when he was nice to Hillary in her presence then trashed her behind her back.  Any apology he makes to Hillary, you can guarantee  will be insincere, and made for gutless reasons.

    And BTW, regarding this part...:

    You could've called for reaction first if your main motive had merely been criticism.

    ...I want to ask him when was the last time he called Hillary for comment before trashing her


    Great post (none / 0) (#45)
    by Lora on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 06:55:32 PM EST
    What Teresa said.

    He better be Worst Person tonight... (5.00 / 6) (#7)
    by Marco21 on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:17:32 PM EST
    and that should include an apology. Then, perhaps he can call Elton John and apologize for adding him to the WP lineup for saying Hillary has faced redoubtable misogyny during this campaign cycle.

    Looks like he was right, Keith.

    so far as the media types are concerned (5.00 / 5) (#9)
    by TheRefugee on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:19:57 PM EST
    they aren't chauvinistic...just ask em.

    No, they are just pigs..nt (5.00 / 4) (#31)
    by FlaDemFem on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:40:48 PM EST
    its ok to have double standards (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by TheRefugee on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:18:28 PM EST
    to apologize to those unaffected and to grouse about questions of character while supporting the disenfranchisement of two states worth of swing voters---if you are, or you are supporting, Obama.

    Now we get this nice rehash of SC to shore up the black vote in NC for Obama.

    End of reply problematic (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by gabbyone on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:21:53 PM EST
    Here is his reply....
    It is a metaphor. I apologize: the generic "he" gender could imply something untoward. It should've been "only the other comes out - from a political point of view." You could've called for reaction first if your main motive had merely been criticism.

    I found the last line sort of a back handed way out of the apology. Critics have to call him first before they react to what he says. Do you think he calls each person in his worst person segment to see if he is telling the precise truth about them.  Does he call Hillary to make sure his
    criticism about her is correct? Sounds like he suffers from a bit of the "I am the one" syndrome himself.  

    I found that last line (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by stillife on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:26:50 PM EST
    ridiculous as well.  If Sklar had contacted MSNBC with her complaints instead of blogging about it on HuffPo, does anybody really believe that she would have received even a half-a$$ed apology?  Sounds like Keith's pride is hurt by being called out publicly for his bad behavior.  

    J (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:22:42 PM EST
    a post from you on this regarding Joan Walsh's post would be appreciated.

    Joan Walsh comments (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by gabbyone on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:46:10 PM EST
    Joan Walsh's comments were problematic for me too,
    sort of a boys will be boys and they want to be better but they need our help and now she feels better going back and watching Countdown. I really think sexist attitudes are very ingrained in people and getting caught gets an apology but otherwise, there is a laugh or two about the comment in the back room.  David Shuster did his laughing Hillary pen segment the other day and because very few people saw it, he got a pass.
    He was suspended once but didn't stop him from
    doing it again.  Shuster is here http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2008/04/hillary-sexism-watch-part-eighty-three.html
    What did he learn by getting help in changing?

    Another thing (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:50:07 PM EST
    Walsh kept saying that Olbermann apologized but he only apologized to Sklar, not to Hillary....(although I still hold that the man has a track record for insincere, but well-worded apologies).

    And yeah, boys will be boys is definitely not an excuse.


    Olbermann no dummy (none / 0) (#35)
    by gabbyone on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:57:09 PM EST
    I don't think that anyone would argue that Olbermann is not a very smart man.  He started college at Cornell at the age of 16 and he has a wide breadth of knowledge.  I think he knew exactly what he was saying the other night and when you watch the tape of him saying it.....I don't buy the metaphor argument either.  I think
    it just demonstrates that he is fast on retorts when he gets caught.

    You can be "book smart" (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:58:39 PM EST
    and have no common sense at all.  I see it all the time.

    Of course it was a metaphor. (none / 0) (#46)
    by Lora on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 06:58:54 PM EST
    I don't believe for a minute that Keith meant that Hillary should literally be beaten up by a male (sorry, generic) superdelegate.

    However, his comment was still revolting.


    Poor Choice of Metaphors Any Way You Cut It. (none / 0) (#51)
    by PssttCmere08 on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 09:11:56 PM EST
    Rachel Sklar (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by bjorn on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:23:32 PM EST
    is my hero and the only reason to ever go to the Huffpost. Her current post has a link to 80 examples of sexism against Hillary and her campaign.  Keith has NPD and there is no cure for it!

    Still not acceptable. (5.00 / 4) (#17)
    by Cream City on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:27:50 PM EST
    The "other" in his rewording then conjures up for the frat boyz at MSNBC two women wrestling for power.  Probably in wet t-shirts in a jello pit.

    It still suggests violence -- a metaphor that may work in male sports for Olbermann, but the country would be better served if he'd go back to that.

    And yes, of course, it ought to be an apology to Clinton -- and to all women.  If he ever had even read a bit of the plentiful news coverage of causes of violence against women, he would know such comments contribute to a culture of violence.

    I would so love to get him, Shuster, Tweety, et al., into a women's studies course even for a day -- and they would be allowed to leave the room at the end, but only after listening to a discussion with a roomful of women students so much smarter already than these lost boyz who never grew up.

    And Murrow would never have said it (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Cream City on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:34:29 PM EST
    to measure KO by his own standards.

    At long last, KO, have you no decency?  Uh, no.


    Tom Brokaw ought to take (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by MarkL on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:33:21 PM EST
    Olbermann over his knee and paddle him--and NOT in back room. I want this televised.

    better yet (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:39:01 PM EST
    let me do it.

    THAT's funny! (none / 0) (#40)
    by Iphie on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:58:42 PM EST
    Pay-Per-View (none / 0) (#49)
    by Nadai on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 08:09:17 PM EST
    with the money raised to go to Hillary's campaign.

    so... (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by cdo on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:37:39 PM EST
    Now that Olberman's spokesperson has e-mailed a blogger to explain his mis-use of pronouns...when is Olberman himself going to apologize on air for validating violence against women?

    Olberman's a sexist pig... (5.00 / 6) (#30)
    by jackyt on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:40:39 PM EST
    in a factory farm of sexist pigs. Nothing new there.

    It seems to me that his whole concept of subverting the democratic process by strong-arming a candidate behind closed doors is equally reprehensible and requires an apology to anyone who believes in free and fair elections. (JMHO)

    Hang up the Spikes, Keith (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by santarita on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 06:22:10 PM EST
    The remark was offensive even as reworded.   Keith is basically suggesting the use of coercive tactics to get a candidate to drop out before the people have had a chance to vote.  Sounds pretty undemocratic any way that you word it.  What he said smacks of old style backroom politics.  

    Keith may be used to the sports world where sportscasters can get away with off the wall color commentary.  But even Howard Cosell got in trouble for his off the wall comments.  Keith and the rest of the boys need to rethink what their role in the campaign should be.  

    I wonder if anyone is going to suggest that someone tell McCain to drop out of the race in October because his numbers don't look so good against the Democratic candidate?

    Apologies don't have to be painful. (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by lorelynn on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 07:06:53 PM EST
    You do or say something stupid in the moment like that, just apologize and get it out of the way. Keith should have just bucked up for a second, and said, "yeah, i can't believe I said something that careless. Senator Clinton, I apologize but for the record, I had sports metaphors on my mind, not actual threats of violence."

    Why would be humiliating or hard to say?

    That's an apology? (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by LCaution on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 08:32:15 PM EST
    Has my brain just taken a vacation? If he hadn't used the pronoun "he", it would've been OK?  What am I missing here?

    And, has been mentioned by others, I do think there should be a rule about such opinions: substitute Obama and the equivalent phrase.  If you wouldn't say it about him, don't say it about her.

    top-shelf media star (none / 0) (#2)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:09:27 PM EST

    what I mean is (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:15:18 PM EST
    what does that make OReilly who has twice his ratings.

    a media God n/t (none / 0) (#57)
    by angie on Sat Apr 26, 2008 at 03:30:48 AM EST
    A Harmless Cliche (none / 0) (#12)
    by JoeCHI on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:23:10 PM EST
    Hate Olbermann.  Love Clinton.

    That said, I thought it was a harmless cliche.

    it was harmless (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by TheRefugee on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:33:01 PM EST
    everyone knows it was harmless, that isn't the point...Olbermann has been witch-hunting Clinton for months, on similarly petty mistakes...Olbermann fancies himself a "tough" reporter for going after FOX and friends, for pointing out all of Clinton's faux pas.  Clinton has invariably apologized for distortions/exaggerations she has been called on--O's response when someone calls him out for a fockup?  To apologize to a peer while not feeling he owes an apology to the true victim of his words.

    Olbermann is to journalism what O'Reilly is to journalism--marginalized reporting in lieu of personal opinion and ego-feeding.  A "tough" reporter (ethical, by my definition) would own his words, apologize for mistakes when warranted, and especially for one who willingly compares himself to Murrow--should stick to the facts.


    There are lots of "harmless" (5.00 / 7) (#37)
    by Iphie on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:57:51 PM EST
    cliches that wouldn't be tolerated in this campaign. A good rule of thumb is would the equivalent statement about Obama be allowed? For example, would news anchors have reported on the "Iron my shirt!" incident from a perspective of how humorous it was if it had been the same white guys yelling "Shine my shoes!" at Obama?

    Or just using the example before us (and Rachel Sklar does point this out as well), how do you think people would be responding if someone suggested that Obama should be forced out of the race by using physical violence? I know, people are saying that's not literally what he meant, but consider the uproar when a Republican congressman called Obama a boy -- I doubt Jeff Davis believes that Obama is a child, so he didn't mean it literally, but his statement was incredibly offensive and he not only apologized, but he personally hand-delivered a written apology to Obama's office. (I don't watch KO, but I'd bet money he had something to say about Rep. Davis calling Obama a boy.) When concerns are raised about the language used regarding Clinton, those concerns are dismissed and minimized.

    Eh, but what do I know? I'm just some hysterical woman.


    Harmless? Here's another perspective ... (5.00 / 5) (#38)
    by cymro on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:58:18 PM EST
    Clinton, Criticism, and Misogyny

    In a short but insightful post, Melissa McEwan makes the point that "particular ways of criticizing Hillary Clinton trade on very specific and ancient misogynist frames, and that those particular ways of criticizing her cannot be divorced from their history."

    She goes on to explain and give examples, and concludes:

    And it strikes me that many of the male commentators, in comments here or at other blogs --- including dismissive snark like ending a post criticizing Hillary with "Cue the Clinton feminazis to tell cry misogyny" --- are exasperated with the whole thing because they're totally bloody ignorant about women's history. (And not a few women, too.) They unintentionally use misogynist framing, then get annoyed when called on it, because they feel like their intent wasn't motivated by misogyny, so what they said couldn't possibly be misogynist.

    Except, of course, that it can.

    So you may want to give Olbermann's the benefit of the doubt, and argue that his comment was unintentional, but that does not absolve him from all responsibility for what he said.


    Richardson was pretty creepy last night on Larry (none / 0) (#18)
    by SunnyLC on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:32:02 PM EST
    King, too...all of these people are just beyond belief!

    Let Me Tell You About Bill Richardson and "RICHARDSON'S RULES"...


    Last night wasn't the first time Richardson favored disenfranchising voters...He's pulled the same act in NM recently, too!

    I'm sick of them all...

    thanks for the reminder of (none / 0) (#23)
    by TheRefugee on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:37:07 PM EST
    Richardson's call to temper the attacks on Clinton--guess that all changes when you drop out of a race and one of the two frontrunners makes a better salespitch (via pork or appointment no doubt.)

    Richardson Was Almost Hysterical At Some Points. (none / 0) (#52)
    by PssttCmere08 on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 09:15:29 PM EST
    Just guessing, but I am thinking he wishes he had never crossed over into Obamaland.

    Sometimes Fake Apologies Are Worse Than (none / 0) (#34)
    by MO Blue on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 05:55:54 PM EST
    no apology at all. Also, Keith should quit pretending to be any kind of serious journalist and admit that he is no different than the people he criticizes. He may have different biases but his tactics and  rhetoric is much the same.  

    yes, he "apologized" (none / 0) (#53)
    by sleepingdogs on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 10:44:08 PM EST
    ...bless  his heart.  


    (Love that expression now that I know, thanks to Carville,it is a Southern slap!)


    The apology... (none / 0) (#41)
    by kredwyn on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 06:07:09 PM EST
    should be addressed to Clinton.

    This guy is a talking head on an infotainment show. Where exactly does he get off suggesting that SDs should do something along this lines?

    Bang Bang (none / 0) (#42)
    by daryl herbert on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 06:08:41 PM EST
    What is Olbermann saying, that he wants a female superdelegate to take Clinton into a room, have a cat fight, and leave her unable to walk out?

    What's important is not the gender of the enforcer.  What's important is that the woman is put in her place.  Okay, Keith, thanks for your "apology."

    I still don't think his remarks were "sexist" any more than it would be "racist" to say the same thing about Sen. Obama.  They were just disgusting.

    They are on par with Ted Nugent's call for certain prominent Democrats to "suck on" his machine guns--using death threats, or just discussing the murder of a politician, even figuratively, is disgusting.

    Olbermann's never had any class, so it's no surprise he would say something like that, or make a phony apology.

    Joan Walsh give KO the benefit of the doubt (none / 0) (#43)
    by cymro on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 06:11:12 PM EST
    See the conclusion of the post linked in Jeralyn's update:

    I think these guys want to do the right thing, but they need a lot of help.

    I'm not always so charitable, I must confess. I must try harder, I guess. I'll have to pray about that.

    An appology? (none / 0) (#54)
    by Sweet Sue on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 10:51:31 PM EST
    Does KO, BO's puppy dog, call Hillary Clinton for a "reaction" or a response before he blasts her for some offense, usually imaginary?
    Didn't think so. Thanks MSM and Bloggerboyz,I'd climb over red ant hills naked for Hillary now.

    Sorry-apology-same sentiment (none / 0) (#55)
    by Sweet Sue on Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 10:53:36 PM EST

    the problem with KO channeling McCarthy (none / 0) (#56)
    by DandyTIger on Sat Apr 26, 2008 at 01:15:42 AM EST
    is that even if he hits upon something where he has some semblance of thoughtfulness, we'll all just laugh and say, riiight. Whatever. He has made himself a laughing stock. A joke. He has no integrity. I can't trust him to stand outside and tell me if it's raining or not.

    I think the outrage (none / 0) (#58)
    by ChrisO on Sat Apr 26, 2008 at 05:28:56 PM EST
    toward Olbermann would be a little better received if was framed the way some of the commenters here have. Yelling "he wants someone to beat her!" just feels like ginned up outrage. I hate it when the Obama folks do that (pretty much every day) and it's no more attractive coming from Clinton supporters.

    What's more telling to me is how many Obama supporters are crying about a "back room deal" if the supers end up going for Hillary, but have no problem with a "back room deal" if the party leadership successfully pressures Hillary to drop out.