My Olbermann fetish

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.

12 thoughts on “My Olbermann fetish

  1. DAVE ID

    But when he aims his train at Junior (W) it’s always worth it.

    And just to nitpick. Most accounts of Jesus’ life we’re written well over 300 years after his supposed life. So no one knows squat so both of them are probably wrong. Not to forget that when the Calendar was put into effect, it was 11 years off if I remember my history class correctly.

  2. Matthew


    All four of the gospels, the accounts of Jesus life in the New Testament, are conservatively dated as being written between 68 and 110 AD. Paul, whose letters make up most of the New Testament, died between 64 and 67 AD.

  3. DAVE ID

    Even IF Matthew is correct, they were written decades after the f… after the alleged events by these supposed disciples which were basically illiterates to begin with. Then followed by centuries of “copying” “editing” and rewriting by a church with an interest in keeping its flock docile. All this done by flawed human beings.


  4. Matthew

    Could they have written about the events before the f…? There have been found very early copies of these books that match up quite well with later copies. The disciples (or whomever) who wrote the gospels certainly had various levels of literary ability (Luke was by far the best storyteller, for instance) but I think your illiteracy claim is a bit much. Humans may be flawed (compared to what?) but they can definitely write some good books.

  5. DAVE ID

    Well I need proof they wrote it. I need proof who they wrote about. I need proof that someone can walk on water and raise the dead.

    It’s well documented that the Hebraic word for “young girl” was wrongly translated into “virgin”, thus giving us the Virgin Mary and giving a whole new context on the story which wasn’t even written in the original content. I wonder what else was badly translated and misinterpreted.

  6. Matthew

    Why do you need proof? Do you demand proof that someone named Plato really wrote a book called The Republic or that a word here or there was mistranslated? God knows his books have been misused…

    All I am saying is that either way they’re really good books and shouldn’t be dismissed because some jackasses manhandled them.

  7. DAVE ID

    I wouldn’t go and minimalize them as simply good books. These books were used to indoctrinate, brainwash, terrorize and murder hundreds of thousands if not millions of people through centuries of barbarism. Lets not fool anyone by saying these are good books.

    Most people who read Plato read with an open mind and accept that it might be wrong. Most people who read the bible, think it’s the word of god and can’t be wrong. We’re talking about a whole different set of thinking here. The difference between reason and blind folded fear. Between question and supplication.

  8. Matthew

    But the problem, then as now, is that no one bothers to actually read these books. Jesus and his disciples taught total non-violence, the early church was made up mainly of women because they found Christianity liberating, the first Christians lived communally and aided anyone who was in need of help, etc. I can’t imagine what evangelical Christians think of Jesus. Christians didn’t learn to be violent from reading their Scripture. They were and are violent in spite of the condemnation of violence in their own teachings.

    Your own attitude seems to play into this very mindset that the bible cannot be read with an open mind. I think the bible needs to be studied now more than ever, to beat lunatic Christians at their own game, because an understanding of the foundation of western society requires some knowledge of the bible, and because they really are a good read.

    It has been refreshing to see some philosophers such as Alain Badiou, Slavoj Zizek (both of whom are staunch atheists) and Georgio Agamben realizing the politically radical nature of the New Testament writings, especially those by Paul. We shouldn’t be afraid of the bible.

  9. DAVE ID

    I’m not afraid of the the bible. I simply store religion as primitive man’s way of explaining the universe. Now we have the better tool, it is called science. Science explains the universe without the use of the supernatural or fear.

    Religion denatures man by imposing impossible rules of conduct and setting impossible expectations upon its followers. It can be twisted by any ideologue into explaining anything he or she wants because everything is in there to be cherry picked. I have no need for guilt, shame, mind control and crotch control.

  10. Matthew

    I’m not talking about religion. I’m just talking about reading some books. You seem to be giving the bible some magical evil aura (which it obtained through misuse hundreds/thousands of years after it was written) that precludes any value that it might hold. Is this your argument: The bible is wrong (especially since it has been misused) so it is not worth reading?

    Do you think there is ever a circumstance where reading the bible might be worth one’s time? If no, ok. If yes, for what reason? My own thinking is that we can’t figure out that reason until we’ve actually given it a read.

  11. DAVE ID

    I’m saying it was badly rewritten and used and abused OVER THOSE hundreds/thousands of years. Taken as fiction, which it is not, it’s pretty sloppy work which was copied from previous books, like the Torah which was copied from other religion until almost infinite regress and you reach primal animist religions of early man who saw gods and spirits in the sun, the grass, the water.

    Taken as the word of God, it is a dangerous lie that threatens those who believe and especially those who don’t believe.

    It’s not just a book, it’s a weapon of indoctrination, mass deception and cruelty. As Christopher Hitchens often says Religion poisons everything.

    And yes I’ve read it… twice.

  12. Matthew

    It’s been great talking with you, Dave. But I think it is clear that you and I have no common ground from which to move forward. We seem to be talking past each other. That’s alright. Peace, dude.


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