Olbermann gets hypocritical on Beck, Grayson

MSNBC host goes after a rival for a sexist comment, but fetes a friendly congressman

Published November 25, 2009 9:36PM (EST)

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann does deserve some credit for standing up against a sexist remark made by one of his rivals, Fox News' Glenn Beck. After Beck repeatedly referred to Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., as a prostitute, Olbermann called him out on his show Tuesday night, naming Beck "Worst Person in the World" and saying, "Where are the conservative feminists? A woman politician is called a prostitute and you're OK with that. It's OK if I call Sarah Palin that? The hell it is."

Olbermann's anger would have seemed a whole lot more sincere, though, if it weren't so transparently hypocritical.

Earlier in the same show, Olbermann had interviewed Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., who got some unwanted attention late last month for an appearance he'd made on a conspiracist radio show, during which he'd called a former lobbyist a "K Street whore." Of course, Grayson wasn't on "Countdown" to talk about that -- he was there for a friendly, even fawning interview about his proposal to change the number of senators needed to overcome a filibuster to 55. He never got the "Worst Person in the World" award for his comments, either.

This wasn't the first time in November that Grayson had been on "Countdown." His comment hit the news on Oct. 27; that night, Olbermann hosted his show, but didn't criticize the congressman. Then the host went on vacation for a few nights; his first night back, Nov. 2, he had Grayson on. Again, it wasn't to talk about his having called a political opponent a whore, but for another friendly interview.

To paraphrase Olbermann himself: A woman was called a prostitute, and -- apparently because the man doing the namecalling was on his side -- he's OK with that.


By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Alan Grayson D-fla. Glenn Beck Keith Olbermann