Olbermann named Limbaugh "Worst Person," flagged Lehrer post about Morgan

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On the May 17 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann named nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh the "winner" of his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment for complaining that, as Media Matters for America noted, Democrats are not asked "why there are no women and minorities on stage" during presidential debates. On the May 16 broadcast of his radio show, referring to the May 15 Republican presidential debate, Limbaugh asserted that "there's a template developing for the Republican debate last night. 'How come there are no women and minorities on stage?' I guess you forgot about 2004." He added: "And I guess -- you know, the Democrats never get those kinds of questions because it's always assumed that they're fair and just, and not discriminatory and all that." During the "Worst Person" segment, Olbermann said: "Or, and this is just a theory, maybe it's because at the Democratic debate there were women and minorities on the stage. I thought you were a more worthy opponent than this, sir. I forgot you were comedian Rush Limbaugh: today's 'Worst Person in the World.' "

Olbermann also named Republican strategist Bay Buchanan the "Runner-Up" for asserting in her new book, The Extreme Makeover of Hillary (Rodham) Clinton (Regnery Publishing), that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY) is defined by a "debilitating" "lack of confidence and self-esteem," and that, "[a]fter days of research, I was led to a fascinating field of study involving narcissistic personality style." As Media Matters documented, Buchanan then referred to an endnote -- which is apparently missing from the book -- that purportedly offers "symptoms of the related disorder," despite her assertion earlier in the book that she is "not ... a medical professional." Olbermann highlighted the fact that Buchanan's endnote apparently does not exist, and added: "Also, that phrase 'days of research,' Bay, it may not be as impressive as you thought when you wrote it."

Finally, Olbermann gave conservative radio host and Move America Forward (MAF) chairman Melanie Morgan the "bronze" for her appearance on the May 8 edition of Public Broadcasting Service's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, during which, in Olbermann's words, "she proceeded to shout [co-founder and chairman of VoteVets.org Jon] Soltz down every time he tried to speak." Olbermann had awarded the producers of the NewsHour the "bronze" on Countdown's May 10 "Worst Person" segment for hosting Morgan to discuss Iraq policy despite her extensive history of spreading false, misleading, and unsubstantiated claims regarding the Iraq war, as Media Matters has noted.

Olbermann also cited a May 17 post on PBS' website by Linda Winslow, the NewsHour's executive producer, in which Winslow responded to viewer complaints regarding the May 8 program featuring Morgan and Soltz. Winslow wrote:

Last night the NewsHour attempted to help our viewers understand why the members of Congress are having so much difficulty arriving at a decision regarding the way forward in Iraq. We believe the intensity of the pressure being exerted on Democrats and Republicans by the "wings" of their respective parties is having an impact on those who are looking for some sort of compromise position. We decided to let representatives of those wings explain their positions, hoping they would participate in a dialogue with us and each other. As our guests demonstrated, however, that was a forlorn hope and the result was a lot of heat, but very little light.

Since neither guest was in the studio with Judy Woodruff, there wasn't much she could do to prevent them from interrupting one another, short of saying -- as she did at least three times -- "please let him/her finish his/her point". The NewsHour style is to ask pointed questions politely; we expect our guests to subscribe to the same rules. Since the program is produced live, we can't do much to eliminate rude guests from your television screen once the segment has begun; what we can do is guarantee you will never see that person on our program again.

From the May 17 edition of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:

OLBERMANN: The real American Idol, suffering from a shocker -- you mean the shock that people still cared. That's ahead, but first, time for Countdown's latest list of nominees for "Worst Person in the World." The bronze to right-wing water-carrier Melanie Morgan, who had been inexplicably invited on to the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer to debate Jon Soltz of VoteVets.org in war-funding issues.

She proceeded to shout Soltz down every time he tried to speak. Good for her ego, bad for her long-term viability. Responding to viewer complaints, NewsHour executive producer Linda Winslow responds: "Since the program is produced live, we can't do much to eliminate rude guests from your television screen once the segment has begun. What we can do is guarantee you will never see that person on our program again." Buh-bye.

Our runner-up tonight: commentator Bay Buchanan, positing a theory that Senator Clinton is suffering from extreme insecurity that disqualifies her to be president. Miss Buchanan writes in a new book, quote, "Not being a medical professional, I decided to look more deeply into the condition. After days of research, I was led to a fascinating field of study involving narcissistic personality style. The symptoms of the related disorder were intriguing. I have included them in an end note."

And then it has that little 74, indicating you should go read Chapter 1, Note 74 for details. Of course, there is no Note 74 in her book. Also, that phrase, "days of research," Bay, it may not be as impressive as you thought when you wrote it.

But the winner: comedian Rush Limbaugh, one of those days to be extra-special glad you're not him. I'll just read this verbatim. May I? "There is a template developing for the Republican debate last night. How come there are no women and minorities on stage? You know, the Democrats never get these kinds of questions because it's always assumed that they are fair and just and not discriminatory and all that."

Or, and this is just a theory, maybe it's because at the Democratic debate there were women and minorities on the stage. I thought you were a more worthy opponent that this, sir. I forgot you were comedian Rush Limbaugh: today's "Worst Person in the World."

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