The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

19 February 2008

MSNBC's Hardball Behind Latest Obama - Osama Confusion


Time To Stop Blaming Right For These Gaffes

With yet another example of Osama / Obama confusion airing on network television, can we finally put to rest the idea that conservatives, especially talk hosts, are somehow behind this persistent phenomenon?

Since Chris Matthews and MSNBC can hardly be considered part of a right- wing cabal, his Hardball gaffe will be difficult to pin on FOX News, Roger Ailes and Rush Limbaugh. But your Radio Equalizer has little doubt they will try.

Hardball's on- screen blunder actually made it appear Osama bin Laden had been accused of plagiarism by the Clinton campaign. Does that make Obama a terrorist? Ha ha, just having fun with our Media Matters / HuffPo friends.

Via TVNewser, here's the clip:

When reviewing the previous Obama / Osama slip- ups, it appears that liberals (and their mainstream media allies) have actually edged out conservatives, at least slightly, in making this surprisingly easy mistake. In December, it was a CNN morning anchor guilty of the name switcheroo, while Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck have also made this error.

In the latter two cases, both Romney and Beck were widely chastised by the left. Earlier in 2007, CNN had made exactly the same gaffe, with even more embarrassing results.

And of course, the granddaddy of them all is Ted Kennedy's mega- mix-up, which occurred during a 2006 speech:

Even though Kennedy started it and several of the subsequent examples have come from MSNBC and CNN, there's little doubt this will continue to be blamed on Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives. Here's what he had to say about this back in December:

RUSH: Did you hear what former Senator Bob Kerrey had to say about Obama? He said, "I like the fact that his name is Barack Hussein Obama and that his father was a Muslim and that his paternal grandmother is a Muslim," Bob Kerrey said to the Washington Post. After the
Clinton campaign says, "We're going to get rid of all these kind of references to his being a Muslim and drug dealer and all this," here comes Bob Kerrey using the middle name! I keep getting accused of calling him "Osama Obama." Ted Kennedy called him that! We just made a joke out of it in the parody, but Ted Kennedy called him that in answer to a question at the National Press Club. "There's a billion people on the planet that are Muslims, and I think that experience is a big deal," Bob Kerrey said. The New York Post headline is this: "Kerrey's Praise of Barack a Big O-Bombo."

Here's Media Matters slamming conservative talkers for repeating Kennedy's gaffe over a year ago.

Yet, according to Volokh, even Microsoft spell- checkers can be faulted for turning "Obama" into "Osama" with the use of certain programs.

Rather than a right- wing plot to smear the Dem presidential contender, can we finally agree that confusing Obama with Osama is a surprisingly easy mistake to make? Otherwise, why would it occur on CNN and MSNBC?

FLASHBACK: Remember the Osama Mama?

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  • Chris Mathew's is hardly one the left, don't be silly

    since you beat up on Bernie Ward

    another Republican in trouble with Kiddy porn, bu bu bu Ward!!!

    Robert A. McKee, a long-serving Republican delegate from Western Maryland, announced his resignation yesterday after authorities, who say they are conducting a child pornography investigation, seized two computers, videotapes and printed materials from his Hagerstown home.

    First elected to the House of Delegates in 1994, McKee was chairman of the Western Maryland delegation and sponsored legislation to protect minors from sexual predators. McKee, 58, also resigned yesterday from his post as executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County, a child mentorship program where he has worked for 29 years.

    "For me, this is deeply embarrassing," McKee said in a statement. "It reflects poorly on my service to the community."

    The FBI's cyber-crimes unit and the county sheriff's office are reviewing the materials seized from McKee's home Jan. 31, federal and local authorities said.

    "No charges have been filed as of this time," Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore said.

    Mullendore declined to elaborate on what he called a child pornography investigation and said authorities have not searched the delegate's office in Annapolis.

    McKee's resignation will take effect at 8 p.m. Monday. He said in his statement that he will cooperate with authorities.

    "In the meantime, I have entered treatment," McKee said, without providing specifics. "My primary focus is to get well and stay well. I know this can only happen with the support and prayers of my family and friends and the help of professionals."

    The delegate's resignation came after the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reported yesterday that local authorities had obtained a warrant to search his home. McKee was at the State House on Thursday morning but skipped a committee hearing that afternoon and was absent from a floor session yesterday.

    McKee, who is considered a political moderate, has sponsored bills this year dealing with minors, including the Child Protection From Predators Act and a proposal to collect DNA samples from sexual predators. McKee has sponsored several other sexual offender and child abduction bills in previous years.

    For decades, McKee has been involved in youth athletics and children's groups, according to his General Assembly biography. He has served in officer positions in two Little League groups and as secretary of a parent and child center advisory committee.

    During the 1970s, McKee was a reservist in the U.S. Navy. He is a former chaplain for the Hagerstown Jaycees and is a trustee and community services chairman at First Christian Church.

    "In the long run, I hope and pray that my work in the local community for the last three decades will speak louder than the challenges I now face," McKee said.

    House Republicans convened an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss the situation. Minority Leader Anthony J. O'Donnell (Calvert) said he had not spoken with McKee since news broke about the investigation and said he would not speculate on the investigation.

    "It's troubling," O'Donnell said. "But look, in this country, we afford our citizens the right to hear details."

    House GOP leaders issued a statement saying the Washington County Republican Central Committee will meet soon to select a replacement.

    McKee served on the Ways and Means Committee and was well respected by his colleagues, said Del. Sheila E. Hixson (D-Montgomery), the committee's chairwoman.

    "He's capable, works well, represents his party and constituents well and is very well liked by the committee leaders in both parties," Hixson said.

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 19 February, 2008 15:33  

  • Concerning MSNBC’s inadequate response to the Osama/Obama moment, viewers deserve to know how and why this mistake was made. Presumably, graphics of the terrorist leader have some kind of OBL (Osama bin Laden) demarcation vs. graphic for the Senator, which one imagines might have a more formal title, maybe US Sen. Barack Obama. The standard here is full discloser about who made the mistake and what MSNBC is doing about it. You would think the network of the Don Imus and David Schuster scandals would know how to handle these things by now.
    Given the fact that serious journalist and pundits and even candidates can’t keep the words Osama and Obama separate, and in light of the heat Sen. Obama took over his statement that he would go after bin Laden inside of Pakistan, I say ‘if you want to catch Osama you’ve gotta vote Obama’. Well, that’s what my bumper sticker says. Want one? Just email me at

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 February, 2008 17:03  

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