On his April 8 "Countdown," host Keith Olbermann smeared Iraq war veteran David Bellavia as a racist:
OLBERMANN, from the April 8 "Countdown" opening credits: Nothing obscure about this: Racism as a Republican campaign plank. Sen. McCain introduced at a rally on Capitol Hill."
BELLAVIA, introducing then hugging McCain: You can have your Tiger Woods. We've got Sen. McCain.
OLBERMANN: Did he actually just say that? And why did McCain then embrace him?
Bellavia is running as a Republican for Congress in upstate New York and is pitted against another Iraq veteran, Democratic nominee Jon Powers, in that contest. Olbermann turned to liberal professor Michael Eric Dyson to sanction Olbermann's specious charge that the McCain campaign is racist:
OLBERMANN: When you hear something said like that, is intent impossible to calculate? And does it even matter? Is the idea behind the remarks the same regardless of the intent?
DYSON: Well, my pastor used to say, look, a mosquito's intent is only to get blood from you, but the consequence, it could give you malaria. So at that level, the intent will never exhaust the consequence. The consequence here is huge. Now, we can't discern the person's intent, it may have been fine, but that's even more problematic. If there was no specific and particular and conscious intent to do harm, that means that this grows out of a pattern of habit. That it's just a natural reflex, and that one, you know, interchangeable African-American multi-racial person is as good as the other, or they're indistinguishable...
In other words, forget intent and context. If it's thoughtless it betrays a "pattern of habit" or "natural reflex." I guess that's just like Olbermann associating a black athlete with a dish popular in soul food restaurants or associating Gov. Bill Richardson with guacamole.