In what, in my opinion, is one the most disgraceful and shocking exhibitions of callous disregard for journalistic standards not to mention human decency, the New York Post gossipy Page Six ran a story describing MSNBC host Keith Olbermann’s terrifying experience with a threatening letter that contained a “white powder.”
September 27, 2006—MSNBC loudmouth Keith Olbermann flipped out when he opened his home mail yesterday. The acerbic host of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” was terrified when he opened a suspicious-looking letter with a California postmark and a batch of white powder poured out. A note inside warned Olbermann, who’s a frequent critic of President Bush’s policies, that it was payback for some of his on-air shtick. The caustic commentator panicked and frantically called 911 at about 12:30 a.m., sources told The Post’s Philip Messing. An NYPD HazMat unit rushed to Olbermann’s pad on Central Park South, but preliminary tests indicated the substance was harmless soap powder. However, that wasn’t enough to satisfy Olbermann, who insisted on a checkup. He asked to be taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, where doctors looked him over and sent him home. Whether they gave him a lollipop on the way out isn’t known. Olbermann had no comment.
The fact that the story is not considered “straight news” is absolutely no excuse. The columnist, Paula Froelich, should be fired immediately.
The tone of the piece is not only insulting but attempts to make light of what must have been a horrifying experience for Mr. Olbermann. And, as Dave Neiwert points out, sending the letter is considered an act of terrorism – hardly something to yuck it up about with references to “lollipops” not to mention the attempt to portray Olbermann as something less than courageous.
Yes, I realize I wrote a piece yesterday skewering Mr. Olbermann for his pretentiousness, his ignorance, his hysterical exaggerations about the right, about Bush, and Republicans. Politics is full contact sport and going for the jugular as Olbermann does on his show and I do on this site from time to time necessitates using rhetoric more suited to knife fighting than pistols at 20 paces.
But the United States is not a banana republic where we go around trying to kill our political opponents. Tear them down, yes. Hit them where they’re weakest, yes. This has been the nature of politics in America for more than 200 years. And if you know anything about history, you know that things are much, much more civilized today than they were even 100 years ago. Politics is a blood sport and if you want sweetness and light, get thee to a nunnery – you ain’t gonna get it from the wardheelers of Chicago, the Back Bay Brahmins of Boston, or in the high rise offices of the media manipulators, pollsters, advance men, oppo researchers, or candidates of today.
Our friends on the left are trying to tar the entire conservative media by conjuring up the conspiracy theory that because The Post is owned by Fox News’ Rupert Murdoch, that somehow Froelich’s disgrace was instigated by evil right wingers.
What is it about the left and conspiracies? For them, 2 + 2 = 4 is a conspiracy because it’s possible one of the 2’s used to be a 3 and colluded with the 5 to step aside and allow the 4 to hide the fact that the 3 is now a 2.
Can’t things just be coincidence every once and a while? You know, like real life. History is replete with coincidences that few have bothered to posit conspiracy theories for. And making a conspiracy about everything your political opponent does reflects badly on the critical thinking skills of many liberals not to mention their emotional maturity and innate intelligence.
The New York Post has no excuse. One would hope they would fire Froelich and issue a page one apology to Mr. Olbermann forthwith.
Were Ed Morrissey and Rick Moran brothers in another life? Ed and I have been on the same wavelength all day. Here’s his take on Froelich’s disgrace:
I don’t know what Froelich was thinking when she wrote this piece. Olbermann has surely slammed the Post on a number of occasions, perhaps even in personal ways. That doesn’t excuse Froelich from belittling someone who had good cause to be frightened, especially considering the level of animosity he provokes. The anthrax attacks in 2001 went to media offices, something Froelich fails to mention in her schoolground rant.
Being partisan is one thing. Being inhuman is something else entirely.
And Hugh Hewitt thinks its time for the entire staff to go – again. You may recall the “Page Six Fix” from last year where it was discovered former columnist Richard Johnson was getting expensive gifts and other goodies from some of the subjects mentioned in his columns. Of course, it was just coincidence that references to the gift givers were almost always positive.
Pride goeth before the fall…
Add Patterico to the fire Froelich/shame on the Post group. He points out Ed, Hugh, and I all came to the same conclusions he did without any of us aware of the other’s position.
Maybe all of us were brothers in another life. Let’s see…I would have been the black sheep, Hugh the scholar, Ed the man about town, and Pat the lawyer.
We would have called ourselves “The Undefeated…”