Brad Wilmouth

Contributing Writer


Brad Wilmouth is a former Media Research Center news analyst and an alumnus of the University of Virginia.

Latest from Brad Wilmouth

Appearing on Keith Olbermann's Thursday January 26 Countdown show on MSNBC, while comparing President Bush's words on his NSA wiretapping program with Bill Clinton's "lying," New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd made known her view that she found Bill Clinton's lying "poignant and endearing" because "when Bill Clinton would deceive, he would throw in a semantic clue that let you know he was deceiving.&quo



On ABC's World News Tonight on Wednesday January 25, anchor Bob Woodruff showed some reluctance to label Hamas as a terrorist organization outright, but instead qualified the label by calling it a "militant" group "which the U.S. calls a terrorist organization." Woodruff also referred to Hamas once as a "radical group" and once simply as a "group."



Leave it to Keith Olbermann to rationalize Hillary Clinton's comparison of the Republican-controlled Congress to a plantation, a comparison she made during what should have been a celebration of the civil rights movement.



In the aftermath of a U.S. air strike in Pakistan targeting Osama bin Laden's righthand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, ABC's World News Tonight played up Pakistani anger at America over the operation on its Saturday January 14 show.



On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann questioned whether the leaking of an FBI investigation of terror suspects who tried to buy untraceable cell phones from Target and Wal-Mart stores was timed to bolster the administration's case for its controversial NSA wiretapping program. The Countdown host, who has a history of questioning whether the Bush administration politically times terror alerts to distract attention from events embarassing to the administration (see NewsBusters postings covering his Oct. 11 and Oct. 12 shows for details), made known his latest suspicions: "Reassure me it only looks too convenient to be believed." While interviewing Time magazine's Mike Allen, Olbermann proclaimed that "the administration sure gets a lot of these breaks. Their position is challenged, and then suddenly there is a hazy story about something that seems to at least tangentially justify that position."

Olbermann relayed to the audience that the recent leak by FBI sources, first reported by ABC News, regarding the arrests of terror suspects who had bought mass quantities of untraceable, disposable cell phones coincides with the NSA whistleblower who "suggests the illicit tapping of American phones is thousands of times larger and thousands of times less focused than the President claims." Olbermann reasoned that the story, if true, "makes the wiretapping look like a good idea and its leakers look like they've already helped terrorists outsmart the eavesdropping."



On his Countdown show Thursday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann delivered his latest attack on conservative commentators Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter by indirectly referring to them as "dogs" during a discussion of politicians who write children's books in the name of their pets.



On the Thursday January 12 CBS Evening News, anchor Bob Schieffer let slip to the audience that he already considers the Bush administration's controversial NSA wiretapping program to be "illegal," even though this issue is in dispute.

Correspondent Mika Brzezinski filed an unrelated story about phone record availability, which conveyed that anyone can purchase another person's cell phone records without that person's permission, and whether there should be government protection for the privacy of cell phone subscribers. After the story's completion, Schieffer quipped that the government could just buy people's phone records instead of doing "illegal eavesdropping":

Bob Schieffer: "Well, thank you very much, Mika. I mean, maybe the government doesn't need to do this illegal eavesdropping. They could just buy it."



On MSNBC's Countdown show Tuesday night, Keith Olbermann devoted the first segment of his show to more discussion about President Bush's impeachability over the NSA wiretapping controversy. On the December 20 show, as detailed in an earlier Newsbusters posting, substitute host Alison Stewart discussed the issue with Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer without any conservative guest to provide balance. Similarly, this time Olbermann interviewed, without rebuttal from any Bush supporter, former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean, a longtime critic of the Bush administration, who notably helped inspire Boxer's inquiries into impeachment by proclaiming to her that Bush was "the first President to admit to an impeachable offense."



As a follow-up to today's NewsBusters posting on MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who on his December 27 Countdown show made a comparison between the radio show of conservative host Janet Parshall and an "Al-Qaeda Show on Al-Jazeera talking about infidels," a further example of Olbermann's hostility to religion occurred on his November 23 show. On his Countdown show on Wednesday November 23, the MSNBC host attacked proponents of intelligent design theory, which he labeled as "nonsense," and compared its supporters to those who believed t



On Tuesday night's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann launched his latest attacks on FNC's Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson, at one point saying O'Reilly is "one of those blissful idiots who can rationalize anything." Olbermann also indirectly called Gibson "functionally stupid" by contrasting him with O'Reilly, saying that O'Reilly "is not so functionally stupid as to deny things that are preserved on tape, which is what Mr.



Tuesday night on MSNBC's Countdown show, Keith Olbermann's substitute host Alison Stewart featured an interview with Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer discussing the possibility of impeaching President Bush over the current NSA spying controversy. Quoting a recent statement by former Nixon White House counsel John Dean that Bush is "the first President to admit to an impeachable offense," Stewart interviewed Boxer about her inquiries into impeachment without a rebuttal from any conservative guest. Instead, Stewart followed up with an appearance by Newsweek correspondent Richard Wolffe. Citing a column by "my pal," Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, Stewart raised the charge that "the only reason that the President did not want the NSA program to become public knowledge was because it was embarrassing and it would make trouble, not because it threatens national security."

Stewart plugged the Boxer segment in the opening teaser, conveying that "most on the left are critical of Mr. Bush and what he did. And now they are doing something about it." She then opened the show: "It's the first mention of impeachment since the President acknowledged authorizing the NSA to spy on certain Americans without a warrant. Senator Barbara Boxer of California advancing the 'I' word after former Nixon White House counsel John Dean said that the President, in admitting he authorized the NSA spy program, Mr. Bush became, quote, 'the first President to admit to an impeachable offense,' end quote."

 



Inspired by a pro-Christmas resolution voted on in Congress earlier in the day, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann devoted an entire segment of Thursday's Countdown show to attacking FNC personalities for conveying their concerns about the word "Christmas" being driven out of the public eye, declaring that it was a "fictional controversy concocted to drive the ratings and stuff the wallets of a couple of cable fat heads who do quasi newscasts." The Countdown host then promoted the anti-conservative views of Democratic Congressman John Dingell by spending over two minutes displaying footage of the Congressman reading a poem in which Dingell not only attacked Bill O'Reilly and Fox News for "concocting" the controversy, but also made other attacks on Congress from the left.

Olbermann opened the segment : "We readily admit to making things up sometimes here on Countdown. Of course, we always emphasize that we have made them up because we're not just honest about it. We're also smug about it. But when a fictional controversy concocted to drive the ratings and stuff the wallets of a couple of cable fat heads who do quasi newscasts makes it all the way to the government, then we must protest." After quoting the resolution in question, Olbermann then introduced Dingell's poem "expressing his feelings about House Resolution 579 and his feelings about the big giant head [referring to O'Reilly] who started this imaginary war."

Countdown staff added graphics and clips of O'Reilly to the clips of Dingell reading his poem. At one point, they mocked O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter by displaying their photos side-by-side with reindeer antlers painted on their heads, with a red nose painted on Hannity, and with an eyepatch painted over one of Coulter's eyes.



On MSNBC's Countdown show Thursday night, host Keith Olbermann corrected his show's "Worst Person in the World" segment photo mixup from the night before when MSNBC displayed a photo of former Democratic Senator Max Cleland while Olbermann attacked conservative radio talk show host Neal Boortz.



On MSNBC's Countdown show on Wednesday night, while host Keith Olbermann attacked Atlanta-based syndicated conservative radio talk show host Neal Boortz, a photograph of former Democratic Senator Max Cleland of Georgia was mistakenly displayed on-screen.

During his regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, Olbermann normally chooses three nominees to be awarded the dishonor of that name. His three nominees are labeled as "Worse," "Worser," and "Worst." Boortz was given the runner-up label of "Worser" because of comments Boortz posted Monday on his blog regarding the possibility of clemency for death row inmate Stanley "Tookie" Williams. While Olbermann read the story on Boortz, whom he referred to as "one of those commentators who give free speech a bad name," Cleland's photograph was shown on-screen. (Once again, Olbermann picked up on something from the far-left Media Matters, which at least posted a picture of the real Boortz.)

Video: Real or Windows Media, plus MP3 audio

Below is a transcript of Olbermann's comments on Boortz from Wednesday, December 14:

Keith Olbermann: "The runner-up: Neal Boortz. He was another one of those radio commentators who give free speech a bad name. In a blog posting, Boortz predicted that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would commute the sentence of convicted killer Stanley 'Tookie' Williams because if he didn't, quoting Boortz here, 'there will be riots in South Central Los Angeles and elsewhere.' Boortz added, 'There are a lot of aspiring rappers and NBA superstars who could really use a nice flat-screen television right now,' unquote. So the guy's not only got no handle on predicting events, but he's also a racist? Okay."



On MSNBC's Hardball Friday night, four weeks to the day after he devoted his show to trying to convince viewers that the Bush administration tried to make the American public believe Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks to sell the Iraq War (see earlier Newsbusters posting for details), Matthews again pushed this myth, claiming that "many, many times" between the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq invasion, "the case was made that we were going after them, the people that had attacked us.



While appearing on MSNBC's Hardball on Friday December 9, NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell, reacting to a clip of John Kerry saying he would not vote to authorize the Iraq War if he had it to do again because, in his words, he was "misled about the intelligence," Mitchell responded by claiming, "It's true they were lied to, misled, however you want to characterize it."



On Friday night's CBS Evening News, substitute anchor Russ Mitchell read a short item relaying Bill Clinton's criticism of President Bush, with Clinton calling him "flat wrong" for opposing the Kyoto treaty in a speech at the UN conference on climate change in Montreal.



On his Countdown show Thursday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, while interviewing New York Daily News correspondent Ken Bazinet about rumors that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld would soon retire, wondered if there would be "rioting from the hard right" if Bush replaced him with a Democrat.



On Thursday night's CBS Evening News, while filing a story about a "change in tone" by the Bush administration that is "an answer to critics who claim the President won't acknowledge errors or learn from them," correspondent John Roberts distorted soundbites by both President Bush and Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace to boost Roberts' story theme which implied that the administration is finally admitting to mistakes in conducting the



Catching up on an item from a couple of weeks ago, on Monday November 14, MSNBC's Countdown host Keith Olbermann posted on his Bloggermann Web site a blog entry that, while actually praising one show from Fox News Channel, also charged that FNC generally is a "network devoted to reinforcing prejudices and stereotypes."