While MSNBC host Keith Olbermann was recently dismissive of conservatives for highlighting radical Islam’s persecution of homosexuals in some countries, the Countdown host also has a history of showing more interest in mocking conservatives who complain about the persecution of women by radical Muslims than of actually reporting on such mistreatment.
Last July, Olbermann ignored a story about an Iranian woman accused of adultery who was sentenced to death by stoning – a story carried by the NBC Nightly News and ABC’s World News – but on September, 28, 2007, when conservative activist David Horowitz mistakenly cited an image from a movie as if it were taken from an actual stoning, the MSNBC host pounced to slam Horowitz, calling him a "right-wing fringer," naming him "Worst Person in the World," as he sarcastically mocked the conservative activist’s attempt to draw attention to such persecution. Olbermann:
The image is actually from a 1994 film made in Holland... [The actress] has made at least three appearances on Dutch TV since. Evidently she’s okay. But keep plugging away, Mr. Horowitz. Let’s keep spending billions of dollars to stoke up religious hatred and send our kids to their deaths on the battlefield so we can prevent Dutch actresses from having to do scenes in which their characters are buried alive in a movie. Right-wing water carrier David, "I saw it in the movies, it must be real," Horowitz, today’s "Worst Person in the World!"
By contrast, on July 8, 2010, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams set up a report about a woman who was awaiting the sentence of stoning to death in Iran, and treated the issue with the seriousness that it deserves:
Fair warning, this next story is tough to watch. It’s about a tough subject that is not for any children who may be in the room. It’s about an international outcry tonight over an ancient and brutal form of punishment, one you might think had vanished from the modern world: a woman in Iran convicted of adultery scheduled to be stoned to death. And her own son is risking his life to save hers. It’s a story that’s captured attention around the world.
Before informing viewers that the Iranian government had apparently backed down and chosen not to carry out the sentence, correspondent Dawna Friesen recounted: "Stoning in Iran is less common than it once was. Amnesty International knows of just six cases since 2006. When it does happen, men are buried up to their waists, women up to their breasts. If they manage to struggle free, the death sentence is commuted, but women, buried more deeply, rarely do."
On the July 9, 2010, World News, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer introduced a piece on the subject: "And all eyes are on Iran tonight, where a wave of international outrage may be causing the ayatollahs to stop an awful execution – a mother of two, the charge, adultery. She is scheduled to be stoned to death slowly."
Correspondent Jim Sciutto informed viewers: "Six Iranians have been put to death by stoning since 2006, a brutal punishment following a set of arcane rules. Men are buried up to their waists, women to their chests. And the stones, the penal code says, must not be large enough to kill instantly or too small not to be called a stone."
Last Thursday, during a discussion of former RNC chairman Mark Mehlman's revelation that he is gay, Olbermann and guest Dan Savage, a syndicated columnist, dismissed Mehlman's suggestion that Republicans are more inclined to battle radical Muslims -- known for oppressing homosexuals -- than Democrats:
KEITH OLBERMANN: Mr. Mehlman's suggestion that gay voters ought to vote Republican to oppose the greatest anti-gay force in the world, he's not out of several other closets of self-delusion, is he?
DAN SAVAGE, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: No. The Bush administration did nothing in the wake of the fall of Baghdad and toppling the Saddam Hussein regime to stop the anti-gay death squads that were roaming Iraq in the first five or six years of the war, murdering gays and lesbians, mostly gay men, with impunity all over Iraq. So, no, and Mehlman didn't speak out, didn't say anything about that at the time either. No credibility there either.