Winding Up on Countdown

Moments after I completed my strange appearance on the CNN program hosted by Nancy Grace (see this blog for details), my wife received a phone call from a friend in New York. Even though he's not someone likely to be a regular Nancy Grace viewer (he works for The Daily Show on Comedy Central), she naturally assumed that he had seen my mug pop up on television. Instead, he revealed that the current Message had inspired an amusing item on MSNBC's Countdown With Keith Olbermann.

The column concerns Denver Post media writer Joanne Ostrow, who'd been tailed to a Wild Oats market and ambushed in the parking lot by one of Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly's producers after she'd declined to appear on Big Bill's regular program, The O'Reilly Factor. (O'Reilly wanted Ostrow to defend her view that he'd spewed "racist bile" in a heated debate with fellow Fox-er Geraldo Rivera.) Olbermann used this material to name O'Reilly April 19's "Worst Person in the World."

In the item, which you can see by clicking this link (unfortunately, you'll have to sit through a brief commercial first), Olbermann said Westword had inferred that while the actions of the producer may not have fit the legal definition of stalking, it came pretty close. That's not quite right; any such inferring was done either by Olbermann or his staff. Ostrow's name was mispronounced, too: It's Ahh-strow, not Ohh-strow. And yet the snippet was mighty amusing anyhow -- and coupled with the Nancy Grace appearance, it made for a busy night, Westword-wise, in the cable-news universe.

Think of it as a teensy palate cleanser amid a terrible news week. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts