Monday, May 9, 2011

Two FOK News Channel posts for this date.
Click to go directly to:
Snappy Answers
Worst Persons
Snappy Answers: Tara Palmeri Hopes For A Career In Journalism Some Day

Keith Olbermann Struggles For Staff At New Gig

That was the New York Post's headline this morning for what might have been – even for them – a record-setting amount of lies and falsehoods in a story about me.

This one is, in fact, almost completely fabricated. And worse yet, they knew it was when they printed it. One of the junior sleazebags over there, somebody named Tara Palmeri (she's @tarapalmeri, tweeters) ran her steaming load of crap past the media relations department at Current on Friday. The appropriate correction (and proof) was emailed back, same day. Yet her item published in the "newspaper" today she lied and claimed a "representative" did not "get back" to her.

Let's look at this line-by-line, so you can enjoy each of her other lies and the embarrassing result when a little truth is applied:

Gasbag Keith Olbermann can't seem to wrangle staff for his Current TV show, "Countdown."

We have ten full-time editorial staffers, plus two consultants. I think on Countdown we had fourteen or fifteen editorial full-time staffers. Gosh, this only gives me six weeks to line up the last couple.

Still in need of an executive producer and other staff, famously difficult Olbermann has crawled back to his contacts at MSNBC, many of whom he offended while there, to beg for staff.

Wow. Just wow. This moron is going to look, well, moronic, when we announce the identity of the Executive Producer. That deal may get wrapped up this week. Also there is this phrase "beg for staff." I only asked about half a dozen of my former staffers to join me, largely because most people in television have contracts and can't just pick up and leave – now. And if we want to debate "famously difficult" we can, but I'll take what my ex-colleagues thought of me as my epitaph. I wonder if Rupert Murdoch would dare do the same.

"Everyone is laughing," said a source. "They would never leave the network to work for him."

If they're laughing over there, it must be because they're reading The New York Post. Three of the new staff of Countdown on Current are from the old staff of Countdown on MSNBC. A fourth staffer came in from another show. One of the consultants is from MSNBC. And we've engaged more than a dozen people, familiar to you from the old show, as formal Contributors to the new one. So if you'd like to add that all up, in point of fact around 20 people have done what the Post's made-up source claims they'd never do.

And I say made-up source because it goes without saying that I won't believe anybody at NBC would actually feed them false information in an attempt to damage Countdown on Current.

A witness recently saw him hobbling around the Upper East Side with a stick in his hand. Olbermann is recovering from a foot injury.

This was the only part the unfortunate and professionally doomed Ms. Palmeri even bothered to alter even though she was corrected on all this more than 72 hours ago. Her original version had me 'walking around the Upper East side with a walking stick' as if I should have also had a top hat and tails and been singing 'Sooopa Dooopa.'

The Post is bizarrely interested in how I dress. In 2002 it breathlessly reported that I had attended a Mets game and sat in the press box 'wearing shorts.' They were cargo pants, and it was 90 degrees, and that day about half the media were wearing them.

And so another Page Six staffer begins her inevitable descent out of journalism. The internet doesn't tell us much about Tara Palmeri, except that she used to work for another bastion of reporting, the DC Examiner, and that she has appeared on the unintentionally hilarious "Red Eye" show on Fox, and that she was once expelled from a benefit for Haitian earthquake relief because she chose that somber and important event to badger Sean Penn about a tasteless remark he'd made about cancer. She appears to have begun what must have seemed to her to be a career, at CNN. So it's CNN to DC Examiner to Page Six. The next step in that progression would be writing graffiti on the wall of a men's room at New York's Penn Station.

UPDATE POSTSCRIPT: The thing was immediately picked up by the myna birds of the right wing media. A website called Pajamas stepped in it up to its neck with this gem:

"...(he) is legendary around Washington for his awful treatment of everyone who works for or near him."

I've never worked full time in Washington. Another fine, accurate news source.
Worst Persons For May 9, 2011
text only

With the advisory that there won't be any videos for the next three days because we're shooting other stuff (and I'm appearing on David Letterman's Show on Wednesday), here are the Worst Persons for May 9, 2011.

The bronze goes to Bill Simmons, a writer for ESPN. The two-time defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant were about to lose their fourth game in the best of seven series to the Dallas Mavericks. So, since the game was to be played in Dallas, in what passes for wit among half-wits, Simmons tweeted:

The Kobe era just made the turn at Dealey Plaza and passed the book depository...

This reference to the assassination of John F. Kennedy might not bother you (it didn't seem to bother Simmons, who despite a degree in political science might qualify as one of the least plugged-into-reality people in sports), but as somebody who knows two of the late president's nephews, it bothers me. So I tweeted back that it was tasteless.

Simmons' response was not to defend the remark nor apologize for it. He tweeted back some hackneyed personal attacks on me, highlighted by two incidents I long ago had apologized for (one of the apologies dates to 2002), another of which was a total fabrication about my career. That was it – no "maybe that was over the top" and not even one of those watered down "if anyone was offended" non-apology apologies.

As an aside, this is the second time I've criticized this writer and both times I was shocked by the response. Shocked, that is, by the number of people I heard from at ESPN congratulating me on taking on The Sacred Cow of Bristol. He apparently has more detractors internally there than anybody

Our runners-up: Atlantic Southeast Airlines, which has yet to fire two pilots who forced Muslim clerics Masudur Rahman and Mohamed Zaghlou off their flight from Memphis to North Carolina. The pilots evidently believed the two Imams – in their religious attire – made other passengers nervous. The men were re-screened, and the pilots still refused to let them board, and took off without them.

What this – the equivalent of throwing a couple of nuns or priests off a flight – is all about is unclear. But check out this quote from a wire account:

One representative of Delta Air Lines, who claimed to be advocating on the two men's behalf, came out visibly red-faced after a long talk with the pilot, according to Rahman. This was after the plane had returned to the gate and Rahman and Zaghoul had gotten off and gone through a secondary screening process. Shortly thereafter, the plane took off — without the men, who hadn't been allowed back on board.

The two Imams were, of course, headed to North Carolina for a conference on intolerance against Muslims.

If this sounds familiar to you, it should. In November 2006, six Imams were kicked off a US Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix. Their crime? They were praying, they were sitting separately, and some of them asked for seat-belt extenders. Even after the re-screening of the Imams and a sweep of the plane turned up absolutely nothing, one passenger told reporters:

"These guys were up to no good. We think the airport people did a real good job in taking care of it."

Later on the issue became the danger of innocent bystanders being victimized: the passengers who complained.

But our winner: Greg W. Howard, who tweeted just another one of those "accidents" confusing Barack Obama and Osama Bin Laden:

Based on the twitter feed on it, this appears to be Mr. Howard's site. There's either a lot of hate on it, or a lot of typos. It has apparently not been updated since February, which may or may not have anything to do with the fact that this "financial advisor" filed for bankruptcy the year before.

You know, a week ago, here, typing in a hurry, I did a very mild form of this myself. I wrote that George W. Bush had personally de-prioritized the "hunt for Obama." And you know what? It was very much a Freudian slip. Because alone among the leading Republicans of 2008, Bush did not attack his eventual successor's credentials, experience, loyalty or birth.

So even if this pig Howard simply "slipped" in tweeting that "Obama's" body should be used as a latrine, or hung from the Statue of Liberty – if it was just a Freudian slip, it was because Howard's unconscious was pondering, perhaps advocating, just such an assassination.

More over, a tweet is not a thousand-word blog post nor even an on-air blooper. It's a 140-character haiku and most tweeters have to agonize over every letter and space to make it all fit and make it all make sense. You review it and review it.

In short: if, in a typo, you publicly advocate hanging a president of the United States, you apologize for it. Otherwise it will be assumed you meant it – which makes Greg W. Howard the Worst Person of the Day.