I admit it, I watch Countdown with Keith Olbermann. In fact, it’s probably the thing I watch most on MSNBC (which isn’t saying much), tuning in occasionally when there’s nothing better on TV.
I first started noticing the show for its special comments, scathing, well-written burn jobs on the Bush administration, that appear occasionally at the end of his show and get huge play online.
But the rest of his show stands in stark contrast. His criticisms are petty, his sarcasm isn’t anywhere near as funny as he thinks it is, his segments are filled with celebrity gossip and fluff, and his ego means he doesn’t realize he’s just as bad as those people he criticizes, particularly Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly.
A prime example of this happened on Friday’s show, when Olbermann went on one of his many diatribes against O’Reilly, wasting his time picking on the most petty of O’Reilly’s mistakes. (Olbermann and O’Reilly take jabs at each other because they compete directly with each other and have a long-standing feud. Amazingly, they even spar over minute details of their own ratings demographics, an issue only they could possibly care about.)
Olbermann criticized O’Reilly for saying that the Book of Revelation was written 5,000 years ago. Of course, because it’s part of the New Testament, that’s obviously not true. Olbermann explained this by saying that Jesus Christ (whose life preceded the Book of Revelation) died 2007 years ago, and he is the basis for the calendar we now use.
Of course, in criticizing this irrelevant detail, Olbermann himself got Biblical history wrong. The calendar is based on the date of Jesus’s birth, not his death, which came at about 33 A.D. (Of course, whether he was born 2007 years ago or 2013 years ago or at some other time near those dates is still a matter for debate.)
No doubt O’Reilly will pounce on that fact on his show Monday, causing Olbermann to respond in kind, and the cycle will continue.
It’s an unintentionally hilarious journalistic trainwreck, and I can’t help but check in on it every now and then.