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

On his Countdown show Thursday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann hyped "new questions now concerning the judicial ethics of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito" because of alleged conflicts of interest, including the judge's participation in court cases involving Vanguard and Smith Barney, companies through which Alito owned mutual funds and stocks. Olbermann expressed his view that "it would seem to me these are throat cutters" and that "he shouldn't be on a federal court after this anymore."

Although Olbermann did note that in the case involving Smith Barney, Alito had sided against the company, he did not present a balanced look at the situation as he merely interviewed George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, whom Olbermann credited as "the first to raise questions about Judge Alito's personal conflict...even before he was officially nominated."

Turley criticized Alito because "a judge is supposed to recuse himself when there's an appearance of a conflict," while he also conceded that "it's not that Judge Alito doesn't have an argument here. It's a technical one." A complete transcript of Olbermann's interview with Turley from the November 10 Countdown show follows:



On his Countdown show Wednesday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann managed to cram four lines of liberal bias all into the first 14 minutes of his show: Questioning whether Bush's announcements of Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court and of an avian flu plan were politically timed to distract from administration problems, passing on Jimmy Carter's anti-Bush accusations without question, belittling Scott McClellan's defense of the administration'


While introducing an interview with former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean on his Countdown show Friday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann implied that Plamegate is worse than past White House scandals because, in contrast to scandals from the Nixon, Reagan, and Harding administrations, a sitting White House staff member has been indicted. Referring to Bush supporters who were offended by the title of Dean's book, Worse than Watergate, Olbermann quipped that because of Libby's indictment, "the protests about John Dean's title might instead be coming from the fans of Presidents Nixon, Reagan and Harding."



Unlike ABC and CBS, on Thursday night, NBC informed viewers of a report on the United Nations Oil-for-Food scandal, as NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams stated that "2,000 companies paid nearly $2 billion in kickbacks directly to Saddam Hussein" and that "the country with the most companies involved in this was Russia, followed by France." A complete transcript of the story from the October 27 NBC Nightly News follows:



On Wednesday night's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Andrea Mitchell filed a story in which she turned to Bush administration critic and former National Security Council member Flynt Leverett, "who quit in protest before the war," to contribute a soundbite charging that the Bush administration "had decided to fight back" against Joseph Wilson in response to his criticism of the Iraq invasion.



On Friday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Lee Cowan filed a story on Congressman Tom DeLay's appearance in a Texas courtroom, which on some counts was balanced, but which glaringly highlighted a Replublican critic of Tom DeLay who referred to him as a "hog." Although Fort Bend Star publisher Beverly Carter has been a longtime critic of DeLay who even endorsed his opponent in last year's election, Cowan simply referred to



On his Countdown show Wednesday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann began his show by hyping an article by the New York Daily News claiming that President Bush "rebuked Karl Rove" two years ago for having a role in the leaking of Valerie Plame's name. The Countdown host also showcased the President's refusal to respond to a reporter's question on the article, and proposed that this revelation implies that the President had lied about his knowledge of Rove’s involvement. The opening teaser showed a picture of the article with the headline "Bush Whacked Rove on CIA Leak" next to a photograph of Bush and Rove while the words "What did the President Know?" appeared at the bottom of the screen.

Olbermann opened the show speculating about what the implications would be if such a story were true, which he referred to as a "bombshell," and listed out his proposed implications while showing them on-screen lined up next to a photograph of Rove: "Mr. Rove would be involved. Mr. Bush would have known Mr. Rove was involved. When Mr. Bush's spokesman said nobody at the White House was involved, somebody would have been lying. And when Mr. Bush talked about what would happen if somebody on his staff was involved, he would have damn well known somebody was and he wouldn't have said anything about it."



Mirroring the same evening's NBC Nightly News (see earlier NewsBusters item), on Thursday night's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann led with the rehearsed meeting between President Bush and U.S. troops serving in Iraq. Olbermann spent considerable time showing and making fun of clips from this event and from a contentious White House press briefing with Scott McClellan before proceeding to an interview with Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank, during which he seemed to play along with and was amused by Milbank mimicking the accent of an Iraqi soldier at the Bush event, a politically incorrect action which would bring ridicule if performed by a conservative: "I just want to say thank you, Mr. Olbermann. I like you's, I like anything."

Video of Milbank: Real or Windows Media



On Wednesday night, viewers of MSNBC's Countdown got to see host Keith Olbermann elaborate on his latest conspiracy theory during a segment entitled "The Nexus of Politics and Terror," in which Olbermann outlined 10 of what he referred to in the segment's introduction as "13 similar coincidences -- a political downturn for the administration, followed by a terror event, a change in alert status, an arrest, a warning." After plugging this special segment on his show for the last couple of nights, the Countdown host devoted 24 minutes of his hour-long sh



This week, Keith Olbermann, the host of MSNBC's Countdown show, is continuing to push his latest conspiracy theory that terror alerts have been politically timed to distract attention away from events embarrassing to the Bush administration, or for other political reasons.



On the Saturday edition of the NBC Nightly News, anchored by John Seigenthaler, correspondent Lisa Myers reported several critical mistakes made by Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco in handling the Hurricane Katrina crisis. The story even showcased a whispered conversation, recorded by CNN, between Blanco and an aide in which Blanco admitted she had been too slow in asking for federal troops.



Another terror alert, another chance for Keith Olbermann to question whether it's politically motivated. There seems to be a pattern that when the Bush administration announces a terror alert, MSNBC's Countdown host speculates about whether it was politically timed to benefit the administration in some way.



Leave it to Keith Olbermann to link the topics of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers and the 9/11 attacks. On his Countdown show on Tuesday night, the MSNBC anchor relayed that Miers was the person who handed President Bush a memo in August 2001 that warned of Osama bin Laden's desire to attack the U.S.



On Wednesday night, Keith Olbermann, on his Countdown show on MSNBC, delivered his latest attack on Rush Limbaugh, indirectly implying that Limbaugh is a "rude, vile pig." This latest insult came as Olbermann introduced an update on Limbaugh's legal problems while transitioning from a story about entertainer Elton John in which Olbermann poked fun at a clip of John shouting the words "rude, vile pig" at paparazzi photographers.

Olbermann started his "Keeping Tabs" segment by relaying the story of Elton John's offer to perform a private concert for a substantial fee. He then played a clip of John shouting "rude, vile pig" at paparazzi members, and joked that the clip was a preview of one of John's songs. The Countdown host then flamboyantly pretended to be excited that this song might be played at the concert and, in an over-the-top manner, repeatedly shouted, "Rude, vile pig!" as he pumped his fists while the video screen beside him displayed a picture of Limbaugh. After quickly reassembling his composure, Olbermann immediately transitioned into an update on Limbaugh's legal problems by saying, "Which brings us to the latest on the Rush Limbaugh investigation."

A complete transcript of Olbermann's presentation of the Elton John story and the subsequent Rush Limbaugh story follows. Video excerpt: RealPlayer or Windows Media



On Wednesday night's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, one night after he scathingly attacked President Bush's handling of hurricane relief (see this Wednesday NewsBusters posting), made what seems to be a bizarre comparison between those who approve of Bush's handling of disaster relief and those who voted against Lincoln's re-election in 1864.

Olbermann relayed his belief that the current political climate was a "re-creation" of the "mindset of the national politics of the year 1864," the year when 45 percent of American voters voted for Democratic candidate George McClellan, "whose campaign platform consisted entirely of promising to immediately end the war, let the South secede, and let slavery continue there." Considering the recent criticisms made by some that President Bush was insensitive to hurricane victims trapped in New Orleans because most were black, Olbermann's choice of McClellan, a man who ran on a pro-slavery platform, suspiciously looks like an accusation that Bush's supporters similarly are insensitive to the black population, or, at least, are supporting a man who is just as obviously undeserving of support as McClellan was.

Olbermann then went on to recite Gallup poll results that shed light on whom the public blames for disaster relief problems, but excluded the finding that only 13 percent of those polled believe Bush was "most responsible for the problems in New Orleans after the hurricane." He instead distorted the results by combining those who blame Bush -- 13 percent -- and those who blame federal agencies -- 18 percent -- to say that 31 percent blame "the President or federal agencies."

A complete transcript of Olbermann's comments follows:



On Thursday night's 11pm EDT The Situation with Tucker Carlson on MSNBC, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter recommended that President Bush meet with Cindy Sheehan, calling him "stubborn" for not doing so already, and contended that what the current "anti-war movement" wants from Bush is for him to be the "public mourner-in-chief" and to be "more publicly responsive to the suffering."



On Tuesday night, ABC's World News Tonight ran a report placing some of the blame for high gas prices on government regulations that make it difficult to build new refineries in a timely manner.


On Thursday night, Keith Olbermann interviewed anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan on his Countdown show. While he did at least ask her about reports that her attitude toward Bush had changed since her meeting with him last year, he also did not challenge inflammatory accusations she made against the President, such as accusing him of the premeditated murder of her son.



The August 9 CBS Evening News drummed up pessimism over the Iraqi government's ability to move forward with drafting a constitution, warning that "Iraqis fear brighter days may not be ahead,' and that "Many Iraqis fear it could be the next thing to blow up here." There was even a shot at President Bush in the form of a clip of an Iraqi leader who complained about being pushed to meet a deadline "because Mr. Bush wants to claim a success of his adventure in Iraq." The complete transcript is after the break.



While I'm posting, for humor, an item I saw Monday night on the CBS Evening News -- a line Bob Schieffer couldn't have gotten away with. After a story on people who subscribe to satellite television in their SUVs (one of whom had become a couch potato in his car), substitute anchor John Roberts ended the show imagining out loud his version of the good life: "So let's see. Driving the car, talking on the cell phone while watching the Naked News. Good idea."

 

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