It appears the New York Post's assessment that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is on the verge of another professional meltdown was quite prescient.
On Monday's "Countdown," answering to criticism that his Special Comment last Wednesday about President Bush's "panoramic and murderous deceit" was so over the top that he should be suspended, Olbermann had the unmitigated audacity to claim those offended were showing "their instinctive hatred for, and contempt for" America's troops.
His targets: conservative commentators and stalwart supporters of the United States military including radio hosts Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin.
I kid you not.
What follows is the video of Olbermann's extraordinarily convoluted and Norman Bates-like explanation for his deplorable behavior last Wednesday as well as the transcript:
For those that couldn't stomach watching this cretin, here was the money section:
I cannot imagine that kind of evil knee-jerk reflex. I feel very sorry for those that have shown it. It seems to me these right-wingers have inadvertently shown their true colors, their instinctive hatred for, and contempt for those self-sacrificing Americans who have been needlessly placed in harm's way and the politicians they support. They hear criticism of our nation's collective conduct in Iraq, and they immediately assume it's the fault of the soldiers. In the wake of an insult that exists only in their minds and never in my words or in my heart, there remains I think only one question to ask: Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, why do you hate our troops?
Amazing. Olbermann accused Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, two of the strongest supporters of the war in Iraq and our military, of hating America's troops. This is how the most popular commentator on MSNBC responds to criticism that he has insulted the U.S. military.
Sounds like something a preschooler says on the playground, doesn't it?
I'm rubber, you're glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.
General Electric, NBC, and MSNBC must be very proud to have such a high-profile person in their employ. I frankly wonder how any American patronizes such companies.
As for you, Keith, it's time you took a vacation. A very long one.
Here's the full transcript. Pay particular attention to Olbermann blaming viewer confusion on editing:
Finally, as promised, a post-script tonight regarding last week`s Special Comment. You may remember Mr. Bush had used a cumbersome phrase to describe insurgents in Iraq, "cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives." Last Wednesday, I quoted that phrase from the Politico.com interview to say that Mr. Bush had now also given America cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives. I identified them as Mr. Bush`s personnel, quote, those in or formally in your employ, who may yet be charged someday with war crimes.
I also described the chaos of post invasion Iraq with an "American viceroy, enforced by mercellous mercenaries who shoot unarmed Iraqis and then evade prosecution in any country by hiding behind Mr. Bush`s skirts." No writer or broadcaster is ever as precise and clear as he thinks he is. Television goes by quickly and the viewers are not provided a copy of the script. So it is possible that reasonable viewers might have been confused by exactly to whom I referred, especially considering that I edited the original line, which was: "Mr. Bush, at long last, has it not dawned on you that the America you have now created includes cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives? They are called your cabinet and your Pentagon."
During the editing process, it seemed that was a little broad, that there appear to be men in both of those places, General Ricardo Sanchez, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, perhaps even the new Secretary of Defense Mr. Gates, who did not merit inclusion in that list. Obviously, my use of Mr. Bush`s phrase, cold-blooded killers, did not refer to U.S. troops. I have never had anything but the highest respect for them and their sacrifice. This newscast constantly advocates their causes, their needs, our collective debt to them. And we constantly call out the administration on its failures to honor them, to protect them, to stop the Pentagon from sticking a band-aid on those whose hearts and minds are broken, and send them back for another tour.
The U.S. troops in Iraq, even those few who have done bad things there, are still victims in this equation, and most are the proverbial innocent bystanders. My use of Mr. Bush`s phrase, cold-blooded killers, referred not to the them, but rather to those former and current members of Mr. Bush`s administration and Pentagon who so irresponsibly unleashed the hounds of war and may indeed someday face war crimes trials.
And that phrase merciless mercenaries seemed to be self-explanatory. Neither are these U.S. troops, not when there are literally mercenaries in Mr. Bush`s employ, principally from Blackwater USA, who literally shot unarmed Iraqis, most infamously in a massacre in Baghdad last September.
Strangely, when the terms cold-blood killers and mercenaries were used in a public forum, my critics in the lunatic fringe, rather than even considering that the criticism even might be directed at the Pentagon or the administration or Blackwater USA, immediately decided that these were descriptions of our American heroes fighting in Iraq.
It is perhaps instructive, I think, that to the right wing commentators and right wing blogs those terms should first invoke not the war-mongers of the Pentagon, nor the gunmen from Blackwater, but U.S. troops.
I can not imagine that kind of evil knee-jerk reflex. I feel very sorry for those who have shown it. It seems to me that these right wingers have inadvertently shown then their true colors, their instinctive hatred for and contempt for those self-sacrificing Americans who have been needlessly placed in harm`s way by these very commentators and the politicians they support. They hear criticism of our nation`s collective conduct in Iraq and they immediately assume it`s the fault of the soldiers.
In the wake of an insult that exists only in their minds and never in my words nor in my heart, there remains, I think, only one question to ask: Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, why do you hate our troops?
*****Update: Don't miss Johnny Dollar's view of Olbermann's explanation.