On MSNBC's Countdown show on Tuesday night, host Keith Olbermann brought aboard actress and Air America radio host Janeane Garofalo to discuss conservative columnist Robert Novak's latest problems after he was involved in a scuffle with an airplane passenger. The segment turned out to be the Air America host's latest opportunity to rant against conservatives, FNC, and what she sees as a "right-wing" media. Notably, Olbermann voiced agreement with attacks she made against conservative columnist Ann Coulter and FNC's Fox and Friends.
After Olbermann reported on Novak's airplane scuffle and showed a puppet show reenactment of it for fun, then came the segment with Garofalo, which was presumably intended to poke more fun at Novak. Garofalo was soon on the attack against conservatives as she contended that Novak and other "right-wing partisan hacks ... are always on the verge of punching somebody or always, they always behave as if they've just been cut off in traffic" and "they have an anger management problem that, that, then they just pretend is Republican or conservative politics." She later suggested that Novak might find punishment by being forced to appear on FNC's Fox and Friends, which she described as "akin to waterboarding" and as "a really, really unpleasant place to be." To which Olbermann quipped, "Punishment is watching Fox and Friends."
At one point, Olbermann oddly wondered, as if Novak's part in the CIA leak story had not already been reported in the mainstream media, "How in the world has all of this CIA leak story unfolded without Robert Novak getting indicted or reprimanded or fired or just mentioned?" In part of her response, Garofalo managed to bring up conservative columnist Ann Coulter and attacked her by comparing her to Novak: "Or Bob Novak is just so unpleasant that they would rather avoid dealing with him than follow the letter of the law. ... It would be like dealing with Ann Coulter. ... I think that people would rather see justice miscarried than actually have to talk to Ann Coulter or something like that." To which Olbermann agreed, "Lord knows I would vouch safe for that latter point."
The Air America personality even found time to argue that "right-wing" media bias is evidenced by the fact that Novak was not fired by CNN for his role in the CIA leak case: "There is definitely a right-wing bias in the media that protects these bullies and, again, hacks, for lack of a better word, that are so clearly motivated by other things than journalism."
Asked by Olbermann what would be remembered about Novak, Garofalo took another jab at FNC as she theorized that he'd be remembered for "what kind of trouble you can get into by following the lead and the counterfeit stories of partisan right-wing hacks and basically stenographers like Bob Novak or Judith Miller or the Fox crew, things like that."
A complete transcript of Olbermann's segment with Garofalo follows:
Keith Olbermann: "Let's start with the scuffle, or, as they would call it in the circles of his favorite basketball team, 'no harm no foul.' Do you buy this story? Could this really just have been passenger rage or might there be something darker behind this? Could that have been Joe Wilson or Pat Fitzgerald or James Carville or Bob Woodward's source trying to start something with Robert Novak?"
Janeane Garofalo: "No, but there is definitely something darker behind this. Bob Novak, or I like to refer to him as Nosferatu because he, although he's less likeable than Nosferatu, but he, like a lot of partisan hacks for today's Republican party and today's conservative movement, which is neither republican nor conservative, they seem to be operating by a lot of dark forces or inner tensions or just cantankerousness that is evident in the way that they do business with politics. And everything with them is a zero sum game. So I believe that Bob Novak, spiritually, like a lot of other right-wing partisan hacks, are always on the verge of punching somebody or always, they always behave as if they've just been cut off in traffic. That's spiritually where they are all the time, and they have an anger management problem that, that, then they just pretend is Republican or conservative politics."
Olbermann: "So that raises the, I mean, that brings us back to the broader point that I mentioned at the beginning of this segment. How in the world has all of this CIA leak story unfolded without Robert Novak getting indicted or reprimanded or fired or just mentioned?"
Garofalo: "Well, probably because Karl Rove is the one who leaked the information to him like Karl Rove used to leak information to him during the governor's race in Texas about the Bush campaign. And I would think that Karl Rove is protecting himself, and so Bob Novak is protecting him. Or Bob Novak is just so unpleasant that they would rather avoid dealing with him than follow the letter of the law."
Olbermann: "Let him go rather than drag him here and have him testify."
Garofalo: "Yeah, he's just so unpleasant. It would be like dealing with Ann Coulter. You know what I mean? I think that people would rather see justice miscarried than actually have to talk to Ann Coulter or something like that."
Olbermann: "Lord knows I would vouch safe for that latter point. It appears that the newspaper column that he does is going to continue, but his TV career is not. He had stormed off the set at CNN shouting 'BS,' only he didn't do the abbreviation, at James Carville in August. And he's not been on the air since. And even the New York Post reported two weeks ago that he's not going to be on the air again. His contract apparently expires in the new year, and they're just going to let it fade out. So he did lose the TV gig. On the other hand, the gig he lost was at CNN, which is in kind of flux at the moment. So is losing a gig at CNN a punishment or is it a reward?"
Garofalo: "It's neither. Actually, a punishment would be if you're forced to go work at Fox and Friends morning show. That would be a cruel and unusual punishment, almost inhumane."
Olbermann: "Punishment is watching Fox and Friends."
Garofalo: "That is bad enough."
Olbermann: "There you go."
Garofalo: "Yes, watching it is bad enough. Being on it is akin to waterboarding, in a way, not to take away from the severity of waterboarding, but if you've ever seen Fox and Friends or been on it, you know that it's a really, really unpleasant place to be. So that would be the punishment. But how he even remained on television as long as he did really is sort of a mystery. But that goes to show, again, there is no quote, unquote, ‘liberal bias' in the media. There is definitely a right-wing bias in the media that protects these bullies and, again, hacks, for lack of a better word, that are so clearly motivated by other things than journalism. And why they were interested in journalism in the first place is just as mysterious."
Olbermann: "The other option, of course, is, and I believe in this just as much as I believe in the one you just brought up. I also believe in long-standing bureaucratic network clerical errors, but we can go into that when there's more time and another subject. I got about 45 seconds here. When this is all over, how or if we will remember Robert Novak, your thoughts on that?"
Garofalo: "Well, hopefully as a cautionary tale, what kind of trouble you can get into by following the lead and the counterfeit stories of partisan right-wing hacks and basically stenographers like Bob Novak or Judith Miller or the Fox crew, things like that. It actually leads to tremendous trouble."
Olbermann: "What would you do if he took a swing at you or pushed you out of the way?"
Garofalo: "I guess fall down. I don't know."
Olbermann: "I don't know, Janeane. I think you could, I think you could probably take him. I've seen him. I think you could probably, this, whoever this guy was, he must not have been in shape or anything. That's what I'm thinking."
Garofalo: "Oh, I have no idea."