Patterico's Pontifications


Keith Olbermann Owes James O’Keefe a Correction

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:39 pm

Olbermann recently claimed that O’Keefe needed permission from his “parole officer” to come to CPAC — language that implies O’Keefe has already been convicted. This is false and Olbermann owes O’Keefe a retraction.

The first passage occurs at the beginning of this video, 43 seconds in:

Here Olbermann says:

O’Keefe accepting an award there, I kid you not, with permission from his parole officer, according to Politico. Trust the law and order party to check in with its parole officers.

Later, at 4:01, talking to Dave Weigel, Olbermann says with a smarmy little smirk:

We’ll start with the law and order party, honoring the guy who needs to get his parole officer’s permission to attend.

Weigel did not correct Olbermann; I suspect he didn’t know any better.

Note that, in the second passage, Olbermann does not attribute the claim to Politico, but makes it outright. Meaning he owns this falsehood and has an independent duty to retract it.

Because the problem is, O’Keefe didn’t get permission from a “parole officer.” Politico has been forced to issue a correction on this by Retracto, the indefatigable alpaca at Big Journalism:

First, Mr. O’Keefe did not need “permission from his parole office to attend CPAC,” as he has never been paroled. We’re not sure Mr. Vogel meant “parole office” or “parole officer” (the latter makes more sense since O’Keefe does not own or operate a New Jersey parole office), but the claim is factually inaccurate either way. The lead entry for the word “parole” at is, “the conditional release of a person from prison prior to the end of the maximum sentence imposed.” In other words, in order to be paroled, one must first be convicted and sentenced. Mr. O’Keefe, of course, is still pending trial. In a statement to, Mr. O’Keefe said he was granted permission to attend CPAC from a “pretrial services officer” from the New Jersey Pre-Trial Services Agency. The role of the officer assigned to him is to “investigate defendants who are charged with federal crimes and awaiting a court hearing.” The operative word being “charged.” Politico’s characterization of Mr. O’Keefe implies a conviction.

Politico has now issued a correction:

CORRECTION: This story was altered to reflect that O’Keefe and Basel are on pre-trial release, not probation or parole, as was stated in an earlier version.

Olbermann owes James O’Keefe a retraction.

46 Responses to “Keith Olbermann Owes James O’Keefe a Correction”

  1. this’ll be first thing I promise I just need a… I just need a nap… merciful God but I need a nap

    retracto (713679)

  2. Brad Friedman is also butt hurt that Breitbart did not publicly attack his blog at CPAC. Heh!

    daleyrocks (718861)

  3. I’m pretty sure that the legal eagles, both in-house and outside, who advise NBC on defamation claims would insist on an immediate retraction on this one. There’s no question that the statement made by Politico and republished by Olbermann was false, and likewise it’s in a particular category of false statements that are considered defamatory “per se.” That leaves them arguing over “actual malice” (O’Keefe certainly has made himself into a public figure) and the amount of damages, neither of which arguments can justify continuing to refuse a retraction.

    Beldar (a6fb71)

  4. Friedman lied and said that Hannah Giles “admitted” that O’Keefe and Breitbart “lied.” I’d post about it, but I’m not sure it’s worth giving the guy any more attention.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  5. Later in the video, Olbermann blasts gov. Pawlenty for relying on internet stories about Obama using a teleprompter to talk to school kids when he actually used two of them to give a speech to reporters later from the same school, not the school kids.

    According to Olbermann, Pawlenty is dumb for relying a widely reported story that was close to the truth. Meanwhile, anyone with the meanest of intellects would know that O’Keffe does not have a parole officer.

    snookered (6f83c5)

  6. I’ve noticed a lot of sloppiness at Politico. Recently, in a Ben Smith story about Palin, he referred to her daughter’s “alimony fight” with Levi Johnson. How can a college-educated guy, particularly one under the age of 60, possibly confuse child support with alimony?

    Infidoll (10ef17)

  7. Patterico – I left Brad a comment about it.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  8. Uberdouche is much too dramatic for my tastes…

    GeneralMalaise (0428a9)

  9. daleyrocks,

    Your comment was good, but the more relevant thread is this one:

    (link via but goes to

    Check out his title.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  10. You can also see Brad’s lying headline at this URL:

    Patterico (c218bd)

  11. Olbermann won’t retract false statements because he isn’t interested in the truth. His falling ratings (and Obama’s decline in popularity) have made him desperate. He’s given up on any semblance of journalism and is merely trying to get attention by being more and more strident.

    He’s nothing more than a monkey flinging its poo.

    Jayc (67b43d)

  12. Whoa everyone — Olbermann is correct, he just identified the wrong official.

    O’Keefe would have needed permission from his Pretrial Services Officer to travel to CPAC.

    Someone on Pretrial Release — bail — has their travel restricted usually to their home city and the city where they are charged, as well as travel between the two.

    I don’t know where O’Keefe resides, but if he doesn’t live in D.C., then he would have needed permission to travel to D.C. to attend.

    WLS (3dde12)

  13. Is “law and order party” supposed to be some kind of insult?

    Dopey (a812c5)

  14. Patterico #9 – I had a comment (#23) in the thread you flagged. Somebody else was giving Brad a hard time in that one so I took it easy on him.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  15. Olberdouche aplogize?
    Yeah, Right!
    That’s just not going to happen;
    though NBC might be forced to make a correction, I just don’t see it coming from KO’s hyperbolic mouth.

    AD - RtR/OS! (b35340)

  16. “Whoa everyone — Olbermann is correct, he just identified the wrong official.”

    WLS – The point is that the official Overdone chose implies O’Keefe had already been tried and convicted of a crime. As a sooper geenyus journalist, shouldn’t Keefe know these things, or did he do it deliberately, or was it just a lazy rip and read from another source?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  17. WLS: There’s a doctrine in defamation law, at least as practiced in some states, known as “substantial truth,” the basis of which is a judicial assumption that when someone is falsely accused of something that’s just about as bad as what might be truthfully said of him, there’s no harm and no foul.

    But there is a HUGE difference between a parole officer and a pretrial bail monitor: Conviction based on proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

    The two things aren’t remotely equivalent, and the substantial truth doctrine wouldn’t apply.

    Beldar (ac93a2)

  18. Olberman is too stubborn to retract. So, let’s unzip his wallet and empty it.

    Mike Myers (3c9845)

  19. Yes, I’m trying to take the easy way out, but since the initial flurry of activity speculating on what was what, I haven’t seen or heard much. What do we now know is what?

    MD in Philly (e347b2)

  20. That goat creature made Politico his bitch.

    j curtis (5126e4)

  21. > Politico’s characterization of Mr. O’Keefe implies a conviction.

    Well, for Politico and for Olbermann, it’s pretty much a sure thing that O’Keefe was instantly convicted of any damning thing he is, was, or ever will be accused of the moment he associated with the GOP.

    ‘Nuff said.

    IgotBupkis (79d71d)

  22. Politico has been forced to issue a correction on this by Retracto, the indefatigable alpaca at Big Journalism:

    I’m pretty sure Retracto is not only an alpaca, but a Grass-Mud Horse as well. And that’s exactly suited to Olberman.

    Mike G in Corvallis (70f47e)

  23. Beldar — I understand your point, but I don’t think the argument would get very far because the point of Olbermann’s comment as I understand it was not to suggest he had already been convicted of a crime, but that he had to seek permission to travel.

    The latter is correct, Olbermann simply identified the wrong official.

    The fact that there is no longer “parole” in the federal system, thus there are no “parole officers” supports the proposition that it was simply a mistake made by someone talking about something they don’t understand — Olbermann probably copied it off someone’s post at Daily Kos, the same way he gets about 90% of his material.

    shipwreckedcrew (3dde12)

  24. Olbermonkey needs to retract his head from his anus.

    Icy Texan (843437)

  25. Hey shipwreckedcrew, Olbermann’s point was to imply guilt, simple as that.

    Icy Texan (843437)

  26. Bustin’ loose: O’Keefe wrestles with parole officer to make CPAC
    By: Nikki Schwab and Tara Palmeri
    Washington Examiner
    02/17/10 8:46 AM EST

    Thanks to the courts, he’s stuck in Jersey. But conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe is desperately trying to claw his way to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

    O’Keefe told Yeas & Nays he’s in the process of petitioning his parole officer to let him cross state lines to make the big event Thursday where he will be awarded the “XPAC Annual Award for Impact” for cracking ACORN with his pimp suit and, of course, his most recent attempt at high jinks in the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.

    “We’re having this e-mail exchange right now, actually,” O’Keefe said about his correspondence with his parole officer.

    O’Keefe isn’t on complete lockdown — he did spend Presidents Day on the ski slopes of New Jersey. But for a trip to the District for CPAC to join his cohort Hannah Giles, he’ll have to beg.

    “But hopefully I should be able to make it down to D.C. on Thursday,” he said.

    If he can’t make an appearance, he plans to do a prerecorded or satellite interview with Town Hall’s Kevin McCullough that will appear Friday.

    But even if he does make an appearance, don’t expect him to be raging at the concerts, comedy shows or bar parties.

    “That’s just not my scene,” O’Keefe said.

    Read more at the Washington Examiner:–84528327.html#ixzz0gHB1e6mm

    Big Dan (4f7d51)

  27. This is my chance to start a rant about how some bail conditions can be more onerous, and more restrictive of an innocent person’s fredom, than parole conditions for a convict, but I won’t do it. No sir, I won’t.

    But which, if KO were any kind of thinking human being is what he would have done. Liberal just does not seem to mean what it used to anymore.

    nk (db4a41)

  28. O’Keefe’s case would have made an interesting question about not only the Eighth Amendment but also the First had he been denied permission. But I wouldn’t take it. Few lawyers would, I think.

    nk (db4a41)

  29. Hey big dumbass, of what has O’Keefe been convicted? You aren’t put on parole unless you have been convicted and sent to prison.

    Liberal liars are going to have a “hard winter out of power” and your liars in the press will join you on the dole.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  30. […] assiduous Patterico, who made a similar request of Olbermann last night, pointed out that this time, Olbermann […]

    » Correction Request: Keith Olbermann, MSNBC - Big Journalism (d59464)

  31. Whos’ the big dumbass, PCD?

    nk (db4a41)

  32. Like I said … the real Liberals I know work very hard to keep innocent people (people who have not been convicted of anything) from being deprived of their rights.

    KO has always been a creep. I used to listen to the Dan Patrick show on ESPN radio. I stopped when I heard KO. Before I knew anything about his politics. He’s just a smarmy little jerk. It’s too bad Patterico does not let us use the word “f______t”.

    nk (db4a41)

  33. WLS – The point is that the official Overdone chose implies O’Keefe had already been tried and convicted of a crime

    Yes, how dare he speak colloquially! Damn it, we demand exact definitions of which law enforcement officials control O’Keefe’s movements. No more colloquialisms in Breitbart Nation!

    You guys now champion semantic complaints by a sheep against national media outlets. Wow

    Meanwhile, I agree Olberman SHOULD apologize. He should apologize to anyone who actually respects law and order when he refers sarcastically to Republicans as the party of law and order. If there’s one thing that is apparent about the movement birthed by Goldwater, it’s that conservative respect for law and order is tenuous at best. Let’s see some greatest hits:

    Republicans defended New Jersey cops in ’67 who shot unarmed fleeing men in the back.

    They supported Lt. William Calley and made sure for his crime he spent a minimal time behind bars. They even held fundraisers for this murderer of children

    The supported Nixon, Colson and Liddy. Enough said

    They supported Oliver North and Elliot Abrams.

    They love them some Judge Moore from Alabama

    They supported the torture administration documented in the most recent OPR report.

    They supported Scooter Libby.

    They supported Karl Rove illegally using non-White House email accounts and then deleting the records, in violation of Federal records statutes.

    They support Dick Cheney, a man who admitted national TV that he supported water-boarding detainees.

    Now, they support O’Keefe.

    With a litany of almost 50 years of holding separate ideas of what “criminal” means (a fake distinction between non-violent economic acts and non-violent political acts), I’m pretty sure you can’t call the Republicans a law and order party. Simply put, you want to write a book, commit a political crime and Republicans will throw you a fund-raiser and buy your book.

    If Bill Clinton were a Republican, then his obstruction of justice and perjury would have made Republicans vote him President for life, although they would have been troubled by crazy ideas like budget surpluses and rising median wages. Then again, he wouldn’t have been impeached without hypocritical Republican moralists.

    Still, Keith owes all the rest an apology. While he’s at it, maybe he could apologize for being a nitwit and an arrogant albatross around the neck of “libruls.”

    timb (449046)

  34. ^even for timb, that was truly the most blowhardy and venting of spleenish – post evah. No wonder he so adores Keefer.

    Dmac (799abd)

  35. Dmac – that was its routine Monday hate-fest.

    JD (a030d3)

  36. Dimb –

    Ultimately, Richard Nixon left office voluntarily because courageous leaders of the Republican Party put principle above party and acted with heroism in defense of the Constitution and rule of law.

    “What did the president know and when did he know it?” a Republican senator — Howard Baker of Tennessee — famously asked of Nixon 30 springtimes ago.

    From a USA Today Op-Ed by one of your heroes, Carl Bernstein.

    Enough said? Indeed.

    Matador (176445)

  37. Who what it that said that Obama’s picklebiters have only two arguments: Watergate and racism?

    Except that the country does not buy either. Let’s hope they maintain this strategy.

    nk (db4a41)

  38. You remember a short, flabby, pimply geek, a couple of years ago, climing to have fellated Obama? I gave it no credence, then. Now, I wonder whether Obama himself did not put the story out there to give hope (that they will fellate him) to short, flabby, pimply geeks, like imdw.

    nk (db4a41)

  39. Sorry, like timb. They both sound the same to me.

    nk (db4a41)

  40. timmah has Tourette’s!!!

    Icy Texan (449fea)

  41. 34, timb, stop giving Obama a Monica when you talk. You may actually sound like a sentient being.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

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  45. “Note that, in the second passage, Olbermann does not attribute the claim to Politico, but makes it outright. Meaning he owns this falsehood and has an independent duty to retract it.”

    if you repeat
    what’s untrue
    then it becomes
    your lie too

    Good to know!

    Snertly (046fa9)

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