On the October 13 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann awarded the "gold position" in his daily "Worst Person in the World" segment to Focus on the Family founder and chairman James C. Dobson, who claimed during the October 11 broadcast of his radio show that Olbermann, by mentioning a comment that Dobson made about the scandal surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), demonstrated that he "can always be counted on to give the leftist slant on everything." During the radio broadcast, Dobson also baselessly claimed that Media Matters for America engaged in "sp[i]n" by quoting the on-air remark by Dobson that Olbermann cited, in which Dobson asserted that Foley's sexually explicit instant messages to an underage male House page "turned out to be what some people are now saying was a sort of a joke by the boy and some of the other pages." As Media Matters noted, Dobson and Focus on the Family vice president of public policy Tom Minnery criticized Olbermann for quoting Dobson's comments, but Dobson did not explain what the purported spin or "slant" was, nor did he accuse Media Matters or Olbermann of having misquoted him or quoted him out of context.
Olbermann began the segment by saying that he needed to make a "correction," but after airing Dobson's comments, Olbermann said: "So, as you can see, I was totally in error -- hey, wait a minute! That's exactly what I said he said! I guess no correction is necessary -- from us, that is." Olbermann added that Dobson received the "Worst Person in the World" award "first for saying the Foley scandal was a joke and again for lying about having said that."
From the October 13 edition of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
OLBERMANN: But in our gold position tonight, a Countdown correction. It seems we named Dr. James Dobson of the right-wing influence group Focus on the Family, the "Worst Person in the World" last week for saying this whole Mark Foley sex scandal had turned out to be a joke being played on Foley by the pages. Here's how Dobson responded on his radio show.
[begin audio clip]
DOBSON: One of the most far-leftist reporters or talk show hosts or news people on cable television is a man named Keith Olbermann. He's another one who can always be counted on to give the leftist slant on everything. Let's hear his actual words about this issue that I just described.
OLBERMANN [audio clip]: James Dobson, founder of the religion group Focus on the Family, suggesting that, quote, "The whole thing turned out to be what some people are now saying was a sort of a joke by the boy and some of the other pages."
DOBSON: Well, there it is again, Tom, and it's all over the Internet, and I just want to set the record straight. What do you think they're trying to do with this?
[end audio clip]
OLBERMANN: Well, I'm not sure what I was trying to do with that. In fairness, let's play what James Dobson actually had said.
DOBSON [audio clip]: As it turns out, Mr. Foley has had illicit sex with no one that we know of, and the whole thing turned out to be what some people are now saying was a sort of a joke by the boy, and some of the other pages.
OLBERMANN: So, as you can see, I was totally in error -- hey, wait a minute! That's exactly what I said he said! I guess no correction is necessary -- from us, that is.
So, for first for saying the Foley scandal was a joke and again for lying about having said that, James -- now of course, he's getting his clock cleaned by the Bush administration while he thinks they're his friends, so maybe that's embarrassing enough -- nah!
James Dobson, today's "Worst Person in the World."