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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:



In this week's U.S. News & World Report, Terence Samuel's profile of "fascinating" Arlen Specter, the "inscrutable" moderate chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is accompanied by a box of mini-biographies titled "Other Players in the Drama." Notice the subtle contrasts in Republican and Democrat profiles.



So President Bush was blamed for Hurricane Katrina, because he wouldn't support and sign the Kyoto protocol. And he was responsible for the slow Federal response, because he was vacationing in Texas/golfing in Arizona/giving a speech in California. And he didn't care about saving the people in New Orleans because they're black. And now we discover that his diabolical foresight is staggering. Because back in April, he added hardships to the people victimized by Katrina, essentially setting a trap for them, and springing it with the storm.


Olbermann's arrogant hypocrisy. On Tuesday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann misidentified Tom DeLay as the House "Minority" Leader, an error for which he soon conceded that "I'd like to give you a good explanation for it, but there wasn't one. I just kicked it." But the night before, Olbermann had launched a five-minute diatribe which pegged great meaning to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff's miscue that "Louisiana is a city that is largely underwater." Olbermann thundered: "Well, there's your problem right there. If ever a slip of the tongue defined a government's response to a crisis." Olbermann soon provided ridicule: "Anybody seen the Vice President lately, the man whose message this time last year was 'I will protect you, the other guy might let you die'? I don't know which 'we' Mr. Bush meant. For many of this country's citizens, the mantra has been, as we were taught in social studies it should always be, whether or not I voted for this President, he is still my President. I suspect anybody who had to give him that benefit of the doubt stopped doing so last week." Olbermann also suggested Bush looked "like a 21st century Marie Antoinette."

Full MRC CyberAlert item follows.



New from the Business & Media Institute



The Early Shows Julie Chen misreports gas prices two days in a row, two different ways.


Coverage of private hurricane relief efforts pales in comparison to constant blame game on network news.


Louisiana Democrats can lambaste Bush and the federal government's response to hurricane Katrina all they want without objection from the Times. But let Republican Gov. Haley Barbour dare praise the federal response, and it "raises eyebrows." That's according to a Tuesday story from reporter Michael Cooper, "Bush Has Staunch Defender Amid Critics on Gulf Coast." The text box reads: "Praise for the federal response from a rising G.O.P. star raises eyebrows in his state."


The Christian Science Monitor notes how book publishers are now looking to blogs as a way to promote their books.

"Just a year ago, screenwriter and aspiring novelist Mark Sarvas had a lot of explaining to do. When he talked up his fledgling book blog at a publishing conference, marketers had just one question for him: Huh?



A major news event follows a very routine pattern. First, we get the hard news phase, where reporters relate the unfolding dramatic facts. In the second phase, those same reporters become analysts, commentators passing moral and political judgment on the story. By its nature, the first phase tends to be devoid of bias. But the second phase often comes loaded with politicized gotchas and predictable liberal editorializing.


Normally, I don’t comment on the columns of Cynthia Tucker, Editorial Page Editor of the Atlanta Constitution. It isn’t worth it. But she has finally jumped the shark.

To prove that the “poor are on [their] own,” she cites this article:


After a week off, Jon Stewart opened his Daily Show on Comedy Central Tuesday night with a very serious lecture about the federal government's failures in the hurricane disaster. Without addressing the bias point that the media framework has held Bush and FEMA accountable to the exclusion of local officials, he scolded those who claim the "left-wing media is being too hard" on Bush: "No. Shut up. No. This is inarguably, inarguably a failure of leadership from the top of the federal government." Stewart's presentation culminated with a laugh line, "Hurricane Katrina is George Bush's Monica Lewinsky. One difference, and I'll say this, the only difference is this: That tens of thousands of people weren't stranded in Monica Lewinsky's vagina. That is the only difference."

Full CyberAlert item follows. For all of the articles in today’s MRC CyberAlert.
 



The Early Show's Harry Smith continued to pile on the Bush administration's relief efforts in Louisiana, shifting from New Orleans to a less-populated but equally if not more so devastated jurisdiction, Saint Bernard Parish, parts of which are awash with oil slicks caused by spills from a local refinery. Smith complained that FEMA had not been able to meet with parish officials until yesterday, and relayed the complaints of the parish's president and disaster management chief before asking Brown if he had "screwed up."



According to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, in response to a question of who is to blame for New Orleans' problems after the hurricane:

"13 percent said Bush, 18 percent said federal agencies, 25 percent blamed state or local officials and 38 percent said no one is to blame. And 63 percent said they do not believe anyone at federal agencies responsible for handling emergencies should be fired as a result."

Once again, there is a split between the American people and the media elite.



When Matt Lauer eventually leaves the Today show, he can look forward to a career in slow-pitch softball. His talents were on full display this morning in his interview of Hillary Clinton.

The conventions of good journalism dictate that when guests, particularly intrinisically political ones, are interviewed, they are challenged on their assumptions.