Keith Olbermann Backlash Fueled By Declaration Of Katie Couric As "Worst Person In The World"


Keith Olbermann's declaration of Katie Couric as "Worst Person in the World" on Wednesday night's "Countdown" has been met by many in the media blogosphere with sharp criticism.

Huffington Post's Rachel Sklar writes:

I find it a bit rich that Keith Olbermann would chastise anyone on the subject of "separating the hype from the news" or "the nonsense that Senator Clinton was a victim of pronounced sexism." And yet he did just that last night in naming Katie Couric his "Worst Person in the World" for speaking out about the sexism evidenced in some of the media coverage of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Radar pronounced him "intolerable" and asked, "Has Keith Olbermann always been this aneurysm-inducing, or is he feeling extra bombastic after his narrow 'victory' over a vacationing Bill O'Reilly?"

Jossip writes:

How did we go from naming Rupert Murdoch the "Worst Person in the World" to adding America's sweetheart Katie Couric to that list? Ah, right: Because Keith Olbermann's popular segment is as much a place to criticize world leaders guilty of human rights violations as it is for him to defend his own. And thanks to Couric aiming some "anonymous" critical comments at the NBC family, there she is, Keith's No. 1 target.

The response to Olbermann's Couric declaration is just the latest in a growing backlash against the "Countdown" host.

This past weekend, Howard Rosenberg asked in the Los Angeles Times, "Is Olbermann's snide act on MSNBC the future of TV news?" Rosenberg went on to summarize "Countdown" as follows:

The leer, the smug histrionics, the relentless needling, the shameless self-puffery, the accusatory rants excoriating Bushies and other Republicans as well as cable competitor Fox and its temperamental bully, Bill O'Reilly.

Many have questioned the appropriateness of Olbermann — and his primary-night partner Chris Matthews — anchoring election night coverage while espousing strong opinions of his own. During coverage of the Montana and South Dakota primaries, Tom Brokaw chided Olbermann on air for alleging that Hillary Clinton was "trying to shoe-horn her way into" the night of McCain's and Obama's speeches. Brokaw would later claim that the press drumbeat for Clinton's exit from the race — of which Olbermann was a major part — was "inappropriate," and it was "commentary disguised as reporting."

The current wave of the backlash against Olbermann was sparked by Time television critic James Poniewozik, who wrote last month (after Olbermann's "Special Comment" on Hillary Clinton's RFK remarks) that Olbermann "sounds like just another of the cable gasbags he used to be a corrective to."

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