Patterico's Pontifications


New York Post Publishes Idiot Piece

Filed under: General,Morons,Terrorism — Patterico @ 6:22 pm

This New York Post Page Six entry is just plain idiotic:

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.

There is not a damn thing funny about getting white powder in the mail. I don’t care if you’re a Senator, a news anchor, or just a panderer and failed sportscaster. Mocking the guy for taking the letter seriously is just dumb. I would insist on a checkup too.

This is especially obnoxious because the New York Post was a recipient of one of the actual anthrax letters. Therefore, you’d think that paper in particular would refrain from making fun of someone who takes precautions after receiving powder in the mail.

You’d think that — but you’d be wrong.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey says almost exactly the same thing.

UPDATE x2: So does Rick Moran.

UPDATE x3: Add Hugh Hewitt as well, who also notes (as I did above) that the Post was a victim of the real anthrax attacks.

It’s great to see these three writing almost exactly the same post as I did — apparently without any of us having seen the others’ posts first.

34 Responses to “New York Post Publishes Idiot Piece”

  1. The powder is not funny, but I have zero sympathy for Olbermann. Just yesterday he accused Bush of blaming Clinton for 9/11, and he said this was a “textbook definition of cowardice.” Looks like his reaction this incident is another one.

    Jim C. (85b830)

  2. If the Olbermeister didn’t mail it to himself for attention, then I don’t think it’s funny. But. As unhinged as he is getting, I dunno.

    Kat (4a462a)

  3. Fair point.
    The person who did this needs to be punished, no doubt.

    However, if this happened to O’Reilly how do you think Olberman, and his Kossiac followers would react?

    I’m guessing not in this manner.
    See: Fox News Journalists kidnapped and their cheering of said event.

    The Ace (8d7f7b)

  4. Jim, comment #1:

    Wait, so really, you are comparing the value of a person who made a comment on TV by someone (even if you don’t like them) to a terrorist threat against them?

    Make no mistake, I think Olbermann should be defended for his statements on the merits. Or not defended or attacked, on the lack thereof.

    But anyone who equivocates about terror threats against public figures based on political leanings is at least not serious, and likely just a partisan troll who doesn’t even care about terror. Please remember those who died in the still unsolved anthrax attacks.

    Kat @ #2 simply isn’t worth responding to.

    fishbane (3389fc)


    krazy kagu (f674df)

  6. The world is full of all kinds of dangers and, frankly, it’s really hard to get protection these days, but for Keith Olbermann, I suggest a full sized prophylactic. Having watched his poor excuse for a news program, I’m sure he will be right at home.

    Neo (cba5df)

  7. I’m really disgusted by most of the comments here. I’m no KO fan, but I thought the NY Post smear was in extremely bad taste and completely unnecessary. And I don’t care what he said about George Bush, it doesn’t excuse this sort of threat.

    sharon (dfeb10)

  8. […] 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. […]

    Right Wing Nut House » I WOULDN’T WISH IT ON MY WORST ENEMY (5ada7f)

  9. Yep, concur.

    Keith Obbermann’s “doucheness” (there was a big debate on YouTube about whether the ‘sycophantic MSNBC bills it as “Obberman asks the tough questions,” [and gives Bill Clinton thousands of dollars live on camera while commenting on how wonderful he is] interview’ was the most “douche like” — their words — action in television history) comes from his on air presence.

    Reacting seriously and instantaneously to threats of bodily harm is just sensible. And commendable.

    Not taking one’s own life seriously would be the shameful thing.

    Obbermann was completely right and Paula Froelich and Bill Hoffman of the NY Post piece should be ashamed of themselves… and apologize tomorrow.

    Note: I was once in the bathroom stall at a McDonald’s restaurant downtown in a large city and youth thugs threw or sprayed some type of gaseous chemical at me that caused burning and difficulty breathing. I reacted quickly and ran out to face and stop my attackers, but they had left.

    I thought it was most likely pepper spray (and therefore harmless) despite never having been pepper sprayed before. In the military I had been tear gassed routinely and I handled it without problem yet was trained to react quickly and urgently to this type of thing.

    I too insisted on being taken to the hospital for an exam in case it was something else and because I felt burning and difficulty breathing, I did this poste haste. And without the slightest bit of shame for being attacked while I was in the John. I was the victim of an unprovoked criminal assault and I take my life and health seriously.

    Christoph (9824e6)

  10. While I obviously can’t spell “Olbermann”, the point remains. Paula Froelich and, if he even knew this was going to be published, Bill Hoffman are laughing at the victim of a terrorist attack. A mode of attack that has killed numerous people and even had my ex girlfriend, among millions of Americans, fearing for an attack while she worked at the U.S. post office.

    And I was scarred for her too so I have no damn sympathy for Froelich and Hoffman.

    Plus his newspaper itself was the victim of a successful terrorist anthrax attack.

    Paula Froelich and, if he was involved, Bill Hoffman should be fired.

    Christoph (9824e6)

  11. That sounds like something I’d write, which is the exact reason I don’t write for newspapers..

    Andrew (8a0c5d)

  12. C’mon, Olbermann is off the rails but it’s not he freaked out over a tissue with a lipstick imprinted kiss from Andrew Sullivan. The NY Post should sic Phil Muschnik (sp?) onto the case and apologize.

    CTS22 (ef8165)

  13. […] UPDATE: Others: Done With Mirrors, RWNH, A Blog For All, Patterico, TMV, Political Pit Bull, Hugh Hewitt, […]

    Blue Crab Boulevard » Blog Archive » Very Bad Moves (a177fd)

  14. Make that four.

    Choice quote:

    Even though I’ve been vaccinated against [anthrax], it’s a sure bet that I’d be insisting on a checkup too. Grow up, NYP.

    W2 (46785d)

  15. “Froelich! Hoffman! What the Hell we’re you NOT thinking about? (spits sunflower shells on dugout floor) Another G-ddamn literary strike out.You’re outta the game and I’m thinking that Franken’s tinfoil batting helmet may just fit you two!When you’re at the Plate for this team YOU GOTTA PRODUCE not swing away! yeeesh!
    Olbermann, take it easy buddy everyone has somebody in the ‘stands’ that don’t like ’em. Glad you didn’t get hurt, but you’re outta the game today so take off your hat…I know your angry but don’t crumple that hat up son!

    paul from fl (464e99)

  16. Keith Olbermann does not deserve to be mailed suspect materials and making fun of his reaction is just plain stupid. Years ago we had a severe earthquake in Los Angeles during a news telecast. The newsman dived under a sturdy desk, just like you are supposed to do. If I remember correctly, he advised the camera man to do the same, showing a concern for others that I found admirable. Never the less, some people made fun of him. Reactions like that to sensible behavior have always seemed to me to be the most visible proof of ignorance. In this case, ignorance of the danger of anthrax or earthquakes. After all, didn’t we find out on 9/11 that overreacting to a threat is sometimes a very good idea?

    tyree (0ceee8)

  17. Defending Keith Olbermann…

    His rants against the Bush administration have made Keith Olbermann a rock star among the denizens of the Left Blogosphere and and object of scorn and ridicult on the Right. It’s rather amusing, then, to see a pro-Olbermann blogstorm among the l…

    Outside The Beltway | OTB (30d6b6)

  18. I reserve the right to make fun of Olbermann’s on-air reaction, however. He had time to pull himself together and he came up with yet another stupid rant.

    MayBee (c5700f)

  19. making fun of his reaction is just plain stupid

    Never watch but there’s plenty of online support for putting Keith in the company of anti-WoT who mock the WoT in terms like “little freaked out, intimidated, frightened, right-wing Republican”.

    So if that’s true I’m ok with saying “How does it feel now? Are you a little freaked out, intimidated, frightened maybe?”

    Just to be clear here …

    Mailing powder = bad

    Calling hypocrisy = ok

    boris (e173ce)

  20. Congrats to the majority of you guys for being decent human beings. I don’t know much about Olbermann or his show, but this isn’t something like a flaming bag of poo on his porch. I think anyone would be freaked out.

    And I also think that any envelope filled with white powder is going to draw attention from the press, regardless of its recipient.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  21. Olbermann reacted like any sane human being would, and I appreciate the fact that most of you recognize that. Regardless of political opinion, I try to keep discourse civil, and keeping it SAFE seems to me to be beyond argument. We all love this country, we just disagree on some things. I may occcasionally engage in hyperbole, but that’s where the line should be drawn. Someone decided psyops tactics were a good idea, and that someone is an idiot.

    mmm...lemonheads (a960c9)

  22. After I had been told it was soap flakes I would not have gone to the hospital. And I don’t understand why anybody else would. To each his own, I guess, and it is unseemly to make fun of a guy who thought he was being anthraxed. But I would not have sought medical attention for soap flakes.

    spongeworthy (45b30e)

  23. spongeworthy says “I would not have sought medical attention for soap flakes.”

    That was my first thought. My second was that any real anthrax delivery will probably be concealed in a neutral carrier, since (1) everybody knows it’s a white powder and (2) prompt medical attention usually keeps it from being serious.

    Patterico says Morrisey Moran and Hewitt wrote “exactly the same post as I did — apparently without any of us having seen the others’ posts first.”

    Well, you only had to copy off the daily Rove control sheet, right? 😉

    Sam (c71bb1)

  24. I liked Olbermann on Sportscenter; I sent him a letter, and he sent me one back. I don’t watch his MSNBC show; I find him almost as unwatchable as O’Reilly.

    But so far as I know, Olbermann’s not stomping puppies or kidnapping children, which is about what it would take to get any kind of humor out of this.

    I know Pat deals with victims of all sorts – some of whom are not lovely people – and that tends to accentuate the understanding that just because whatever person’s a screwup of whatever order doesn’t mean they can be shot/stabbed/robbed/fake-anthraxed/whatever.

    Olbermann’s a commentator with a view. Laughing at his misfortune makes me want to vomit. Thinking he ought to have laughed it off strikes me as insane.

    And it’s vitally important that responsible people who disagree with Olbermann’s politics crush the Post for their stupidity. Good for most of the right-of-center blogosphere for doing exactly that. And, yeah, the Post should apologize in print and in person.


    JRM (de6363)

  25. Patterico, I’m not a fan of yours, but your response here is all class. Thank you.

    Violet Slandre (28694d)

  26. I’m only seein this at Macsmind (and as enjoyable as I find him, I can be susepct of some of his stuff at times). Anyone else hearing this?

    Metzger (2c7fdc)

  27. I’m not saying Mr. Olbermann filed a false police report, but he does have a history of staging stunts to resuscitate his ratings. This one fits the pattern. Are we supposed to believe there is a “disgruntled viewer” intent on harming him for his “anti-Bush rants?”

    Count me among the skeptical. First of all, there are so few viewers, secondly, it’s not like his histrionic attacks are taken seriously by anyone serious so it is unlikely that one of the President’s supporters would react this way.

    Mr. Olbermann can answer these questions straight away. Simply provide copies of the police report and the viewer note he received with the powder on his website and the feature it on tonight’s show.

    It’s the responsible thing to do. If in fact there is some miscreant running around sending letters containing a powder substance, this person should be apprehended and charged. Olbermann would be doing himself and the public a great service.

    Chris A (f5dba9)

  28. On Friday night Mr. Olbermann claimed he cannot share the details of the incident at the request of investigators.

    Instead of using the segment to explain the issue in greater detail, he launched into a vitriolic attack on NY Post and News Corp for having the audacity to report on the incident further fueling the skeptics.

    Chris A (ad3f99)

  29. This is starting to get interesting…Interesting developements ahead, I think.

    nikkolai (b316fa)

  30. i agree with you chris A.
    i certainly wouldn’t put it past him to conjure up something like this for ratings.
    his refusal to make the police report and the note public,kinda makes you think….

    roger scott (7336e7)

  31. “i agree with you chris A.
    i certainly wouldn’t put it past him to conjure up something like this for ratings.
    his refusal to make the police report and the note public,kinda makes you think….

    Comment by roger scott — 10/5/2006 @ 6:27 am”

    Based on your comments, that would be the first time.

    mmm...lemonheads (a960c9)

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