Olbermann Watch: The 18-Second Gap: "The 18-Second Gap
On Friday, Countdown reported on the latest allegations against George Allen. We noted that they did so by rerunning a report that aired Thursday on Hardball. David Shuster interviewed a woman who said she heard Allen using racial slurs.
But as we revealed exclusively on Olbermann Watch, the Countdown version differed from the original Hardball broadcast in one significant respect. Snipped from the taped piece were a series of questions that revealed the political affiliation of accuser Pat Waring. We will disclose now what Keith Olbermann did not want you to hear.
From the transcript of Thursday's Hardball, this is the exchange that was censored from Friday's night's Hour of Spin:
SHUSTER: You volunteer, you acknowledge you are a registered Democrat.
WARING: I am indeed.
SHUSTER: You volunteer at the local Democratic office?
WARING: I do.
SHUSTER: Once a week?
WARING: Once a week,
SHUSTER: Couple hours?
SHUSTER: What do you do for them?
WARING I sit there and answer the phone and give people signs.
Obviously, MSNBC believed that the partisan bias of the accuser was relevant if viewers were to fairly assess her credibility. Just as obviously, somebody decided that this exchange, roughly 18 seconds long, had to be removed when the piece was shown on Countdown. Result: the accuser's background as a Democrat activist was never disclosed to the audience.
Who ordered that a pre-taped piece should be sent back to the editing bay, just to remove these particular 18 seconds? Was it notorious quote-doctorer Shuster who decided this report should be doctored? If so, why a special, edited version just for Countdown? Or is it more likely that the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann "