Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Keith Olbermann Wannabe: Who Owns Whom?

Meet Tucker Swanson Carlson, formerly of MSNBC, whose unhealthy obsession with the network’s top-rated host resulted in a questionable and infantile scheme to purchase the domain name “keitholbermann.com” for no apparent purpose other than to harass Mr. Olbermann. Or rather, nip at Keith’s ankles from beneath the bridge like a silly wingnut troll, yelping “I own you.” Carlson’s internet outlet, The DC Caller, breathlessly followed up with a typically misleading header: “Keith Olbermann threatens legal action against The Daily Caller via Twitter.”

Keith did no such thing, as the DC Caller conceded:
In a tweet posted at 10:46 AM, the aging cable anchor wrote, “Regarding @TheDailyCaller and Keitholbermann.com: I hope whoever sold it to them got CASH.”

Several minutes later, an apparently still-reeling Olbermann clarified his meaning: “Also regarding @TheDailyCaller and KeithOlbermann.com – the law’s pretty clear on this, so, nice waste of money, Tuckie. #p2 #tcot.”

The implication is that MSNBC, or Keith Olbermann personally, will pursue legal action to stop the dissemination of news and information on The Daily Caller.

Not so fast, responded Tucker Carlson, editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller. “Some might step back and allow Mr. Olbermann to drain his bladder on the first amendment – indeed, on the Bill of Rights itself,” said Carlson. “Not us. No, by God, not us.”
So. According to Tucker Swanson Carlson’s internet outlet, Keith was “reeling” from the news, then “apparently still reeling” when he tweeted the “implication” that MSNBC or Olbermann himself “will pursue legal action to stop the dissemination of news and information on The Daily Caller.” First, real journalists understand there is a huge gulf between threat versus intimation of legal action. Second, the allegation that Keith’s possible lawsuit based on violation of the copyright laws, is pissing on the First Amendment and “the Bill of Rights itself,” strains credulity. Even though Tucker Swanson Carlson invoked God to his defense, legal scholars actually believe Olbermann has a good case.

No one has denied Tucker Swanson Carlson’s media outlet its First Amendment right to publish whatever it pleases. Who really cares –- it’s only one more wingnut propaganda outlet among thousands infecting the internet. Indeed, the optics are terrible for them. Carlson’s publicity-chasing stunt looks to be sleazy and desperate. It’s not as if the Daily Caller doesn’t have its own domain. It’s the petty and malicious intent behind Carlson’s purchase of keitholbermann.com. He is using it to redirect searchers to the Daily Caller site and its steady stream of attack screeds aimed at Olbermann and has also appropriated Keith’s name as his “personal” e-mail:
Continue to check this space for updates on this developing story. And in the meantime, Tucker Carlson may be reached at his personal email address, keith@keitholbermann.com.
This is really weird. Let’s face it, there are better ways to increase readership: good writing, honest reporting, scoops, and exclusives come to mind. Tucker Swanson Carlson’s site is the usual hodge-podge of lies, distortions, poor writing, and right wing talking points that characterizes wingnut media. Increasing readership on Keith’s back beyond the true believers and ditto heads seems to be a tall order. A conservative critique based on facts and verifiable statements is one thing. Wingnut trash talking is another thing altogether -– not an audience grabber.

In the last analysis, wingnuts are their own worst enemy. They are hypocrites and demagogues. The truth is as toxic to them as the BP oil gusher is to fishers in the Gulf of Mexico. There’s nothing left for them but to lash out with ad hominem attacks until caught red-handed with their hands in the cookie jar. Evidently, Tucker Swanson Carlson has convinced himself that his childish antics will reflect well on him and his media outlet; that gleefully bawling he “owns” Keith Olbermann will magically transform his minnows into more than zeros.

But who really owns whom?

Back in the days of the Clinton impeachment, I recall how wingnuts fixing to troll liberal boards would frequently invade the sites by assuming the names, or handles, of some of the notable liberal posters, with a missing letter or other slight modification. This always puzzled me. Why would someone want to assume someone else’s name? I could only speak for myself. It had never occurred to me that submerging my identity in someone else’s was a good thing. There’s acting and there’s pretend. But we were discussing facts and issues. Reality. When I ventured into “enemy territory” either I used my own name or created a new one that had no connection with existing ones on the site.

I’m no Freudian analyst either, but I couldn’t help but think that these trolls lacked a good deal of self-esteem and were, by definition, rather twisted. Invariably, they were conservative libertarian types, with a similar profile to Carlson’s, united by a rabid disdain for liberals. Low self-esteem mixed with an arrogant disrespect for liberal views makes for a volatile mixture. The ad hominem attacks came thick and fast.

Tucker Swanson Carlson is using his infantile scheme as a platform to launch vicious personal attacks on Keith. Everything from Keith’s clothing to personal habits (real or imagined) is grist for Carlson’s hysterical tongue lashings. He sports a butterfly necktie yet criticizes Keith’s clothing -- pot meet kettle. He claims Keith is the most unpopular person in the building “by a factor of 10.” (I wonder how that particular math calculus was reached.) He claims to have received e-mails from MSNBC employees thanking him for his attacks. For all Keith’s alleged unpopularity (taken with a huge grain of salt, considering the source) it’s a wonder he is able to host MSNBC’s consistently top-rated show night after night.

Who are all these disgruntled Keith haters? If they stay in e-mail contact with Tucker Swanson Carlson, perhaps they should be working for Fox. Or Breitbart. Or Tucker Swanson Carlson himself. In a sense, it’s understandable that someone named Tucker Swanson Carlson (Swannie?) should consider a name change, even if it is Keith Olbermann. And it doesn’t hurt if the purchased name belongs to an Emmy nominee for outstanding writing in journalism. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Unfortunately for the DC Caller femme fatale, in this instance it is neither sincere nor very elegant.

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