On Tuesday’s Countdown show, Keith Olbermann referred to Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly as "inducers to violence" as the MSNBC host, during the show's "Worst Person" segment, attacked conservative talk radio host Eddie Burke of Anchorage, Alaska, for making inflammatory remarks calling two women who organized a protest against Governor Palin "socialist, baby-killing maggots," and for giving out the women’s cell phone numbers to his audience leading the women to receive death threats. Olbermann suggested that Burke would fit in with Limbaugh or O’Reilly: "Mr. Burke, he got a paltry one-week suspension, and, no doubt, consideration to fill in some day for comedian Rush Limbaugh or Billow or some other of radio’s inducers to violence."
And during the show’s regular segment, "McCain in the Membrane," a recently added portion of the program whose purpose is, according to Olbermann, to cover "the most outrageous or untrue things said by or on behalf of Republican presidential nominee John McCain," the MSNBC host charged that it was "sick" for Palin to tout herself as an advocate for special needs children after she had, in Olbermann’s words, "gutted" funding for the Alaska Special Olympics. But Olbermann ignored the recent finding by FactCheck.org that, as governor, Palin secured a substantial increase in state spending for special needs children in the education system, thus strengthening her credentials as a advocate for special needs children. Update: As documented by NewsBuster Noel Sheppard, it seems Olbermann was incorrect in his accusation that Palin reduced spending on the Alaska Special Olympics. Click here for more details.
Citing an article in Education Week in their analysis, FactCheck.org contends:
Palin signed legislation in March 2008 that would increase public school funding considerably, including special needs funding. In particular, it would increase spending for certain special needs students that Alaska calls "intensive needs" (students with high-cost special requirements) from $26,900 per student in 2008 to $73,840 per student in 2011. That almost triples the per-student spending in three fiscal years. Palin's original proposal, according to the Anchorage Daily News, would have increased funds slightly more, giving intensive needs students a $77,740 allotment by 2011.
The Education Week article quoted Carl Rose, executive director of the Association of Alaska School Boards, as calling the increase in funding a "historic event."
Ironically, during the same show's "Worst Person" segment, Olbermann cited FactCheck.org to disprove G. Gordon Liddy's claim that Barack Obama cannot prove he was born in the United States. Olbermann: "The nonpartisan Web site, FactCheck.org, examined the birth certificate in person showing him born in Hawaii. They touched it, they photographed it, they analyzed it. It’s the original. He was born in Hawaii."
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Tuesday, September 16, Countdown show on MSNBC:
KEITH OLBERMANN, IN OPENING TEASER: And as the Republican campaign descends into what one former McCain supporter today describes as "farce," Governor Palin again invokes special needs children while vetoing more than a quarter of a million dollars for the Special Olympics.
OLBERMANN, PLUGGING THE SEGMENT: -"McCain in the Membrane" and the would-be Vice President who gutted her own state’s Special Olympics.
OLBERMANN: But first, our newest feature, the most outrageous or untrue things said by or on behalf of Republican presidential nominee John McCain: "McCain in the Membrane." Twice now in two days – in Colorado, then today at Vienna, Ohio – Governor Palin has again invoked – that is the polite term – her status as the mother of a special needs child and the role of advocate she wants to play for special needs kids. Yesterday, she said, "Ever since I took the chief executive’s job up north, I’ve pushed for more funding for students with special needs." Today the quote was, "I sought more funds for students with special needs."
Problem: As the chief executive up north, she vetoed $275,000, crossed it out, of the state funding of the Special Olympics. She cut the Special Olympics budget in half and is campaigning as an advocate for special needs kids. That’s pretty sick. Well, at least we do know which charity I should donate that hundred bucks to every time she lies about her record: the Alaska Special Olympics.
OLBERMANN, DURING THE "WORST PERSON" SEGMENT: The runner-up, Eddie Burke if radio station KBYR in Anchorage, Alaska. There was a protest against Governor Palin there over the weekend, so naturally Burke called the two women who organized it, quote, "socialist, baby-killing maggots." Then he gave out their personal cell phone numbers and encouraged listeners to call them up and abuse them. The women got death threats. Mr. Burke, he got a paltry one-week suspension, and, no doubt, consideration to fill in some day for comedian Rush Limbaugh or Billow or some other of radio’s inducers to violence.