Monday, November 27

One Thing I Hate about Olbermann

w.youtoube.comDon't get me wrong, I love the man and his show. He is the one broadcaster who has been telling truth to power for well over a year now. He first came onto my own radar last october after he literally danced a jig after reporting that Bill O'Reilly had announced he would retire in two years.

Since then he's been a godsend. Reporting the abuses of this Presidency an agressive manner with his infrequent but incredibly powerful Special Comments.

His ratings are up. O'Reilly and Faux News ratings are down.

These are all good thing in my mind. But there are some things about Olbermann and his show that really, truly annoy me.

I don't mind the sillyness of "Oddball." It's dumb bit it's cool. Sometimes I feel his "Worst Person in the World" segment resorts to cheap shots, but that's not the big problem either.

I really hate his "Keeping Tabs" segment.

It used to be that he pretended to dislike it as well. He used to say "And now another story my producers and Making me Cover", but no longer. Now you tell that he simply loves to slow roast celebrities on a spit.

And there's a hypocracy here that can't be ignored. Not long after railing about the Unconstitutional and illegal actions of the President, warrantless wire-taps, torture and coereced false confessions, blocking habeas relief -- he then turns around and jumps on the Bash OJ Wagon.

Shock and Awe "What do you mean Vyan - OJ is a vicious Killer." - I can hear you say.

Yeah yeah yeah I know, but the point is this - the verdict he received a decade ago in the Criminal Case was the correct one and it's high time people got the hell over it.

Let's recall that LAPD entered his home without a warrant and illegally collected evidence (Just like the NSA is doing with our phone calls). The Chain of Custody of the blood evidence was questionable. While on the stand Dr. Henry Lee pointed out that the LA Lab had a massive cross contamination problem. Dr. Cotton, head of one of the DNA Labs, admitted on the stand that no lab had a method of detecting false positive matches caused by exactly the kind of contamination that Dr. Lee described. That's absolutely reasonable doubt about the blood evidence right there. Then you have another LAPD detective - one who had access to all the evidence and had been the one to jump the fence at OJ's house commit perjury on the stand.

I would expect that most of us know that illegally gathered and coerced evidence is never justified. It's why we and Olbermann argue vehemently against Gitmo, the Secret Prisons outside the perview of the Red Cross and warrantless wiretaps outside of FISA. The fact that most of this evidence could never be used in a normal court of law is a major factor why the President has insisted on Military Commisions which allowed for coerced, self-incriminating and classifed evidence. Evidence which may in fact have only been classified to protect the fact that it was gathered illegally.

Yet, when the subject of OJ comes up - all the tenets and platitudes about a "Fair Trial" and the Rule of Law seem to go out the window. It's suddenly becomes "Fry the Bastard" or "He Got Off by Playing the Race Card", which is often followed by "The Jurors were just too dumb to understand DNA." all of which - besides being a potentially racist argument itself - misses the point. LAPD and the District Attorney Gil Garcetti fucked that case up, just as they fucked up the McMartin Molestation case. OJ's contineud freedom is the price we all pay for their mistakes.

Look, I get that most people figure OJ's guilt is a given. But the issue here is actually bigger than OJ himself. Most of the conduct that his defense team alleged where things that had been occuring to many defendants in LA for decades, particularly Geronimo Pratt who spent 27 years imprisoned for a murder that took place while he was 400 miles away in Oakland - according to FBI wiretaps that were suppressed.

Tampering with evidence and framing suspects is exactly the type of conduct that was revealed by former Officer Rafeal Perez in the Rampart Scandal, after he was caught stealing drugs from evidence and giving them to his girlfriend to sell.

Jonny Cochran was not making this shit up, he was Geronimo Pratt's attorney. He'd seen it up close.

LAPD was the police agency that invented S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics) which is essentially the use of paramilitary weapons (assault weapons and armored personel carriers) on civilians. It's exactly the same thing as the FBI's HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) use - y'know the people who used tanks at Waco?

Those were LAPD tactics adapted to a Federal Level.

LAPD have been, at their core, a Proto-Fascist Organization. That doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of fine, brave and honest Officers working there - it simply means those officers have an uphill battle in front of them for the forseeable future.

The Rampart allegations are why the FBI and Civil Rights Division of the DOJ have had them under a Consent Decree to curtail these types of activities for the past few years. Yet we still have situations where LAPD officers shot and killed an unarmed 11-year-old boy, just last year.

So please - don't try to pretend that LAPD has credibility. They don't. They aren't Adam-12. They aren't Dragnet. (Both of those shows were originally part of LAPD's own propoganda campaigns run out of their two entertainment divisions by Chief Parker). They have long way to go to dig themselves out of the decades deep hole they've dug themselves into. I'm not even sure they ever will, not with many of us who've witnessed their tactics first hand.

If OJ did indeed get away it, as most people believe, it's because of them. Period. He won his case the same way that Lt. Cmd Swift won the Hamdan case - using the facts and law.

But here we have our Civil Liberties Champion Olbermann getting all haughty about OJ daring to actually use his first amendment rights, just like everyone else in the world gets to do? Et Tu Keith?

Then there's the big woody Keith sports when ever he gets to dump on easy targets like K-Fed. Hello - is there anyone who isn't so insanely jealous or so without compassion that the don't see how sad it is to discover you're getting a voice via a TEXT MESSAGE? Even for Lousiana trailer trash like Britney - that's just low class. Yet even Keith plays the story like she's the hero somehow?

Keith seems to automatically assume Kevin can't have any talent, he gives him plenty of air-time yet they hasn't even bothered to play even a single second of the audio from one of his records or concerts.

Being from LA myself and a musician I've known a lot of other musicians, particularly from the 80's - like members of bands such as Dokken, Warrant, LA Guns, Foreigner, Dio and Alice Cooper who everyone assumed was completely washed-up but in fact did a lot of their best work after the spotlight was no longer shining on them. Poison toured all through the late 90's and outdrew Korn! Even Vanilla Ice has put out some nice records since "Ice Ice Baby" - but if you simply listen to the critics, you'd never know it.

Their ears and closed and so are their minds - so I don't trust their opinion of K-Fed's music for a second. That includes Keith and his giggling pal Micheal Mustow.

And lastly there's his favorite whipping boy - Tom Cruise. Which has become a nightly bashing was I think comes dangerously close to religious intolerance.

Most of this started with Tom's interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show about Brooke Shields use of anti-depressants.

Somewhere in the mix, people forgot that Tom is absolutely right about the over-prescription of drugs like Ritalin to our children, and that it's now being used recreationally by young adults.

Methylphenidate (Ritalin is the brand name of the drug's inventor, Novartis), has been abused by teenagers and college students since the early 1990s, and it is now on the rise among a new group of people. Doctors say it is hard to quantify just how much recreational use is taking place, but anecdotal evidence suggests that it is growing as former college students continue to use the drug after leaving school. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, the number of emergency room overdose cases involving methylphenidate has increased nationally in each of the last 5 years. While the agency says that Ritalin was usually not the primary substance abused, it nevertheless was taken recreationally.

It may be fair not to agree with Tom's skeptism of psychiatry as a profession, but he's right about the use of electric shock treatment against unwilling patients. But he never said that "All medicines are bad" as Olbermann has claimed when the issue of Katie Holmes receving pain relief medication during child-birth was discussed.

There was point in time that Countdown actually denied that Suri Cruise even existed.

STEWART: As promised, Paul F. Tompkins, comedian and contributor to VH1‘s “Best Week Ever,” joins me to talk about the Hollywood baby shrouded in mystery.

Paul, simple question: Do you know if anyone has seen this child of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes?

PAUL F. TOMPKINS, COMEDIAN: Well, Alison, there‘s no actual confirmation of anyone seeing the baby. I mean, a lot of people talk a big game and those people have been debunked as the spinners of urban legends. A lot of people say they sort of see Suri out of the corner of their eye, but when they turn to look she‘s gone. And of course.

STEWART: The tooth fairy was like that when I was a kid.

TOMPKINS: Absolutely. But you did get that money didn‘t you?

STEWART: Yeah, I did. I got my quarter.

Call me a stick-in-the-mud if you like, and I'm sure some people will, but they're talking about a baby here - and I don't see how any of that is funny. Make fun of Tom or Katie all you like, but exactly when did a toddler become fair game? When did we lose all sense of propriety and proportion?

What all of this displays to me is a blatant bias.

I understand that our society overhypes celebrities and it can be fun to take them down a peg or two, I understand that sometimes their just begging for it - but I also think that Keith's "Keeping Tabs" goes more than a step or two too far. Celebs are people too. They can be hurt, they can be cut and they do bleed.

All it took was one careless critic to comment to Karen Carpenter that she looked "fat" - to help send her into a anorexic spiral that eventually ended her life.

We have no idea how many of these types of commetns are damaging and how much of it simply slides off of them. Some of them have tough-skin and know how to take it - some don't.

Part of the reason many Celebs seem so abnormal, is because of the abnormal treatment they receive from nearly everyone around them, especially the media. It's not normal to have photographers following you to the grocery store. It's not normal to have to 24-hour bodyguards. It's can be a slow torture to live like that and yes, some of them act out occasionally. I think A) They aren't really that interesing as people anyway and B) We should all cut them a little slack from time to time.

All of the Grocery Store Magazines and even Keith are doing is exploiting these people for ratings and sales.

It's cheap, it's unneccesary - but profitable.

What Keith does here isn't journalism and the kind of vicious glee he often displays in attacking these people - especially when Michael (God, what a DICK!) Mustow is on the show - IMO damages the earnest seriousness that his criticism of the President.

I'm grown-up enough to know this isn't going to change, but I'm still going to hate it, even though I love just about everything else about Countdown.

"Keeping Tabs" Sucks.

There, I've said it - it's off my chest. Agree? Disagree? Fine, I said what I needed to.


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