Feminism / News

#mooreandme Day 7: Keith Olbermann’s got questions, I’ve got answers

I

Some questions Keith Olbermann has asked of #mooreandme supporters, and my responses:

Olbermann [to Sady Doyle]: [W]hy are you encouraging smoking by women in your avatar?

A. What? Seriously?

OK, well, Sady already gave this a more serious response than it deserved, so I’ll just quote her:

.@KeithOlbermann must also acknowledge I endorse glasses, couches, sweaters. SIT ON COUCHES! FOR FEMINISM!

UPDATE: Sady just promised to quit smoking if Olbermann makes a full correction.

Olbermann: How anti-feminist is that?

A: If Sady ever explicitly promoted smoking among women, I suppose that would be fairly anti-feminist, as well as just plain stupid and bewilderingly uncharacteristic of her. But it would still have fuck-all to do with the fact that you disseminated false information and stubbornly refuse to correct it.

Olbermann: So he has no right to defend himself legally?

A: None! None whatsoever! String him up by the balls without a trial, I say! An accusation is as good as a conviction in my book!

There, now when someone asks you to provide an example of a gen-yoo-wine feminist saying Assange doesn’t deserve due process, you can link them back here. Because I’m pretty sure you won’t find one anywhere else.

Olbermann: What if he’s not guilty?

A: That wouldn’t change anything the majority of us are saying.

  • If he’s not guilty, it’s still a fact that he was accused of rape.
  • If he’s not guilty, it’s still a fact that unprotected consensual sex is perfectly legal in Sweden.
  • If he’s not guilty, it’s still a fact that the allegations are about far more than a broken condom.
  • If he’s not guilty, it’s still a fact that you didn’t correct Michael Moore when he distorted all of the above facts during an interview with you.
  • If he’s not guilty, it’s still a fact that you personally spread ridiculous misinformation as well.
  • If he’s not guilty, it’s still a fact that you boosted the signal on a patently ludicrous, nakedly sexist article by an unreliable writer. [UPDATE: Olbermann just said on Twitter that he "repudiated the linked article weeks back when the author was alleged to have been a holocaust denier." I have no idea where he did that, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.] [UPDATE 2: On Dec. 7, he tweeted "If the author of that article is a holocaust denier, I repudiate him and what he wrote, and apologize for retweeting the link" in an @ reply to user @mcmoynihan -- meaning it would only show up in feeds of people who follow both Olbermann and Moynihan, and on Olbermann's main page -- not in his 150K+ followers' feeds. So yes, he apologized for that before #mooreandme started, but not quite publicly.)
  • If he's not guilty, it's still a fact that trivializing real rape allegations contributes to a culture in which victims are hesitant to report being raped for fear that they won't be believed.
  • If he's not guilty, it's still a fact that you've behaved like a blinkered, condescending, mendacious (or at best, willfully obtuse), mansplainingchildish shitbag in response to sincere feminist criticism. [UPDATE: Olbermann has responded fairly respectfully to me on Twitter this afternoon, so he at least gets points for doing waaaaaaay better than Moore on this. Enough that I'll even take back the "shitbag." The rest stands.]

I mean seriously, “stupidfest“? Why not just call us pinheads?

Olbermann: Are you out there attacking Bianca Jagger, too?

A. Dude, Bianca Jagger has fewer Twitter followers than I do. You retweeted that link to over 100,000 people. Michael Moore then retweeted your tweet to over 700,000. Come on.

II

Some questions Keith Olbermann really should be asking himself, and their correct answers:

Q. If I am indeed the greatest male supporter of feminism in TV news, does that say far more about TV news today than my feminist bona fides?

A. Yes.

Q. When I make a derogatory claim about my critics, do I have a responsibility to substantiate it?

A. Yes.

Q. Is “retweeting a web piece” without comment fundamentally the same thing as publicly endorsing it?

A. Yes.

Q. Can calling #mooreandme a “frenzy,” a “spectacle,” and a “stupidfest,” and accusing participants of abandoning reason reasonably be interpreted as calling its participants irrational?

A. Yes.

Q. Was the person who wrote “kill yourself” making a sly reference to that time I responded to a viewer e-mail with, “Hey, save the oxygen for somebody whose brain can use it. Kill yourself”?

A. Quite possibly.

Q. If unprotected consensual sex is illegal in Sweden, where do Swedish babies come from?

A. OMFG, I can’t believe I said that out loud.

Q. Is defending and apologizing for a rapist the heart of what I’m being accused of here?

A. No.

Q. When in a hole, is it generally a good idea to stop digging?

A. Yes.

39 thoughts on “#mooreandme Day 7: Keith Olbermann’s got questions, I’ve got answers

  1. I <3 you, Kate. And your totally terrifying logic and rationality. What a beautiful smackdown! (more nuanced feedback at some point in the future when I stop rolling on the floor laughing)

  2. This whole ordeal has been so disheartening. First Moore and Olbermann, then Naomi Wolf talking about what constitutes “real rape.” Ugh.

    Thank you for writing this and for your continued tweeting.

  3. I can’t believe that his “proof” that he is the “most feminist” news person is that he is responsible for Rachael Maddow having a show. WOW. WOWOWOWOWOW. Yes, she certainly had nothing to do with it! (BECAUSE SHE IS A WOMAN.)

    His feminism smells weird.

  4. Wait – Olberman “repudiated the linked article weeks back when the author was *alleged* to have been a holocaust denier”?

    OMG WTF innocent until proven guilty wharrgarbl due process argle fark!

  5. @Lesley: Likewise, I am the best short order chef around because I helped a friend of mine get a job in a Perkins when I was sixteen, and he turned out to be pretty good at flipping pancakes. Oh, the skills I’ve acquired via osmosis, it’s really the only way to do things, you know. None of that *work* or *credibility* all the little people are on about, pshaw.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to stand next to Konstantin Novoselov until he does something great — I inspire him to be a the world’s greatest physicist, you know, you see how close I am standing to him? He can’t help it, my brilliance is like an aura.

    I just got back from the mindsuck of Privilege Denying Naomi Wolf. (here is the trigger warning song) The whole thing has been taken over by rape apologists. I would like to put each one of these on a postcard and mail one to Naomi Wolf every day, so she can see just what kind of fancy crowd she’s drawing with her brilliant insights on perpetual sexual availability and vast misapprehensions of law, and just how many people she has inspired to say/believe, “IT’S ONLY RAPE IF YOU ARE VIOLENT TREAT WOMEN LIKE ADULTS”

    This is a quiet place and I am happier here.

  6. Anyone else have Derailing for Dummies open in another window while reading this? Got to say Keith is a DfD ninja-Jedi Master. And, no, that’s not a compliment.

    • I had it open while writing! Original plan was to identify exactly which derailing tactic he was engaging in with each tweet, but it became too much work/too many links.

      • All I need is “PMSing/or on the rag, sweetie?” to fill my Derailing for Dummies (Advanced Man-splain Division) Bingo card. Surely, it’s a matter of when not Olbermann’s favourite subordinating conjunction?

  7. Re: your last point — In my mind, that’s perhaps the most important lesson of the internet. WHEN YOUR HEAD IS LEVEL WITH THE GROUND, STOP DIGGING.

    • If I have the energy (and if Al doesn’t throw my computer out a window so I can’t look at Twitter anymore), my next (and last, I certainly hope) post on the matter is going to be about how people like Olbermann and Moore need to learn to fucking internet. With tips such as:

      1) Google to check your facts before you start spouting off about something on TV, because your viewers certainly will.
      2) If you want pissed off bloggers to quit screaming at you, you respond to them asap. Otherwise, they just get more pissed off bloggers to join in every day.
      3) Linking = endorsement, unless you specifically state otherwise. For this reason, it is wise to read the things you link to, follow any links within those pieces, do your best to evaluate the author’s credibility, and look carefully for shit that might totally embarrass you.
      4) An @ reply to one dude is not the same as a public retraction of a previous tweet.
      5) When you throw a hissyfit on Twitter, EVERYONE CAN HEAR YOU.

      • Could I add another one?

        1) If you’re so fucking lazy you’ve outsourced your fact-checking and research to Twitter, don’t be too precious when you’re not thanked for it by people who don’t have the staff and resources of a large ‘mainstream’ media outlet at their finger tips.

        2) On the internet, credibility is hard won and lost in an instant. Throwing yourself a pity party will not change that.

        3) On the internet (like everywhere else), everyone makes mistakes — great honking mortifying mistakes with real consequences. Sadly, not everyone has the grace and integrity to own their shit: Fully and property retract, correct and apologise. You, and only you, can determine what side of that fence you sit on.

        4) Re-Tweeting (or linking to) misinformation and abuse is every bit as bad as putting it out under your own name. Lacking the courage of your nastiness does not make you nice.

  8. Thank you for being so articulate, so straightforward and so generally awesome! I’m still a little too new to feminism to really add to the conversation quite yet (at least, add anything more than ANGERANGERANGER), but I had to at least drop by and say how much you inspire me! :)

  9. I got nuthin to add, but love for y’all.

    I’m standing with you.

    But obvs not close enough to take credit for it. Could everyone scootch a little bit closer?

  10. “Is defending and apologizing for a rapist…”

    Whoa whoa whoa, wait a second. Last I checked, Assange has not been convicted of these crimes. Say what you will of him and his actions in this extradition case, but he has NOT been convicted of these crimes. You cannot call him a straight-up rapist otherwise, merely accused.

    As such, since when have accused rapists entered the same category as Gitmo prisoners, in that they are guilty until proven innocent? Answer us that, and you are to DISREGARD Assange’s actions in the aftermath of this case, because that alone is not proof of guilt.

    • So, I sat on this comment before approving it because I couldn’t figure out what the fuck he (I’m assuming) was responding to. I know I never claimed Assange is guilty, and I couldn’t find that phrase in the comments.

      I just reread the post and realized he’s quoting KEITH OLBERMANN’S WORDS, which only exist in this post as a set-up for me to say no, for fuck’s sake, that is NOT what anyone’s saying about you. (And it’s a real dick move to willfully misrepresent the protest that way.)

      I don’t really expect strong reading comprehension from people who just want to shake their fists at feminists, but oof! What a terrific example of someone completely ignoring what’s actually being said, because that would interfere with the fight he’s enjoying in his imagination.

      So I posted the comment, but ??? has now been banned, just like everyone who comes here to argue in bad faith.

  11. Such a fabulous post, Kate. I had to log out of Twitter to see the linked statuses (OMGKO’d!), but was finally to get all the lulz.

    I’m so glad you kicked off with that LOLly WTF anti-smoking nonsense. I still marvel at what that has to do with the price of tea in China. (Smoking = bigger issue to women than rape and sexual assault? Whut?) What a patently ridiculous man.

    • I’m so glad you kicked off with that LOLly WTF anti-smoking nonsense. I still marvel at what that has to do with the price of tea in China. (Smoking = bigger issue to women than rape and sexual assault? Whut?) What a patently ridiculous man.

      It’s a delicious mash-up:

      1) Concern-trolling. ‘Cause smoking is really bad, you know, and Keith is really concerned about womens health – when it suits.

      2) Appeal to dubious moral authority. You see, Keith, is “anti-smoking” and silly little Sady Doyle is polluting her precious lady temple.

      3) Passive-Aggressive ‘Crazy Bitch’ BS. How could you possibly take anyone who smokes seriously? (Shall we pass that one off to Edward R. Murrow?)

      4) Standard issue Handwavium derail from Olbermaan’s own conduct to Sady Doyle’s avatar.

      We’ll just take KO’s man-tronising head-patting as read. But as yuu say, it’s totally irrelevant to anything

      • ‘Cause smoking is really bad, you know, and Keith is really concerned about womens health

        Don’t you know that women have NO GREATER ADVOCATE than KO? He said so himself!

      • And let’s not forget the extra-special implication (with his “role-modelling” tweet), that women/young girls are so empty-headed that THEY WILL START SMOKING BECAUSE THEY AGREE WITH SADY AND SADY SMOKES! Monkey-see! Monkey-do! We are 13-year-olds forever!

        (Hint: Keith, maybe smoking isn’t decreasing in women because they use it as a coping mechanism for both for the myriad minor bullshit heaped upon them every day, as well as dealing with outright trauma. Like, fuck, I’ve never smoked a day in my life, but my best friend in university did – the one who was raped by her uncle at 13 and was constantly battling depression, nerves and PTSD.)

    • For that matter, would you see Keith Olbermann accusing notorious tobacco enthusiast Christopher Hitchens of lacking moral/intellectual/political credibility because several of his books have cover photos of him, cig in hand?

  12. The best thing to come out of this whole thing is that I’ve found you and your wonderful brain. Writing isn’t my thing, so to find someone so straightforward and smart, so good at dissection, it’s like a ray of sunshine. You and Sady are national treasures.

  13. A big THANK YOU Kate for articulating everything I’ve been thinking about when it comes to this latest bunch of misogynistic bullshite fail.

    I remember when I was naive and foolishly thought that Moore and Olbermann included women when they talked about the “progressive movement” and its ideals. But then I remember when women were the supposed base of the Dem Party too. Gollywonkers do I now know better!

    Thank you for making sense of things when I can’t even speak due to the red hot rage inside, trying to put it into words, make coherent sense of their absolute fuckery. I soo need a calming cup of tea…

  14. You and Sady are culture warrior goddesses. I can hardly manage to form a coherent sentence about all this, all I get is “argle fark” (thanks, MissPrism!).

    I have long suspected that KO was a faux-G jerk-o-nine-tails concerned mostly about self-promotion, ditto Moore. But Naomi Wolf? Has she been taken over by the pod people in the last six years, since she wrote that moving NY Mag piece about staying silent about Harold Bloom for decades and how she wasn’t taken seriously by Yale because she didn’t scream or whap him on the head with her favorite vase or something? I don’t know if I’ve seen a more severe case of fact allergy in my life, and boy, do we ever need someone to develop a vaccine for THAT.

  15. I just can’t get past the whole “I am responsible for Rachael Maddow” thing. Because nothing says “feminist” faster than a dude taking credit for a woman’s work.

    BUT.

    Is it possible that:

    BECAUSE (A) feminism may be in part responsible for (C) Maddow’s career, AND

    (B) Keith Olbermann believes he is (at least in part) responsible for (C) Maddow’s career,

    THEREFORE, A=C and B=C, thus, A=B WHICH MEANS

    Keith Olbermann = FEMINISM ITSELF?!?!?

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