Keith Olbermann disgraces himself again

I used to like Keith Olbermann. I really did. What the hell happened? The guy really has become the Bill O’Reilly of the radical Left. Okay, he’s a little bit more interested in actual facts and fair, objective reporting than Bill-O, but as this clip shows (as well as his poorly conceived attack of British journalist Brian Deer earlier this year), he’s not interested in fair, objective reporting. In the clip linked above, Keith-O declares that the anonymous donor largely responsible for getting the Atheist Bus Campaign ads in NYC is the third worst person in the world. And why does Keith-O think they’re so terrible, presumably more terrible than Osama bin Laden, who didn’t make the list? Because of  the Keith-O’s perceived irony over the fact that they’re remaining anonymous while financially supporting an ad campaign that encourages atheists to come out of the closet:

Tonight’s worst persons in the world. The bronze: To the person who donated the scratch for ten thousand dollars worth of ads on the sides of buses in New York City, promoting atheism. They read, “You don’t have to believe in God to be a moral or ethical person.” The hope, from president Ken Bronstein of the group NYC Atheists, is to get people to stop hiding their non- belief — to stop hiding it. No complaint about the message — however, while Bronstein says, “We want to get atheists to come join us, to get out of the closet,” unfortunately the donor who made the ads possible is keeping his identity anonymous. (Contemptuous eye-roll.)

So an atheist promoting a campaign to encourage other atheists to come out while choosing to remain anonymous yourself makes you a bad person? According to Keith-O, the answer apparently is not only YES, but it makes you the third worst person in the world.

I think Greta Christina sums up the flaw in Keith-O’s logic quite well:

If you were doing a segment about an ad campaign designed to let gay people know that they weren’t alone and to encourage them to come out of the closet — and one of the major donors to the campaign wanted to remain anonymous — would you decry them as one of the worst persons in the world?

Or would you understand that coming out as gay can — yes, still, even this day and age — be a hazardous enterprise? Would you understand that coming out can mean alienating family and friends, losing your job or your kids, getting beaten up or even killed? Would you understand that people have to come out on their own timetable, and that a person who wants to take action to support gay rights and gay visibility still might not be completely out of the closet? Would you understand that even gay people who are out to their families and friends and colleagues still might not want their name, and their gayness, splashed all over the national news?And if so, then why don’t you understand it about atheists?

There are some realities about living as an atheist that you may not know about, Mr. Olbermann. Coming out as an atheist can have serious real-world consequences. Parents get denied custody of their children for being atheists. People get harassed and vandalized by their neighbors for being atheists. Teachers get suspended for being atheists. Teenagers get harassed and suspended from school for being atheists. Politicians whip up anti-atheist fear to try to get elected. (And that’s just in the US. I’m not even talking about parts of the world where atheism is a crime, punishable by imprisonment or death.)

And that’s coming from someone who is both gay and an atheist. Sorry Keith-O, but I’m calling this one an EPIC FAIL!

11 Responses to Keith Olbermann disgraces himself again

  1. There is one other opyion that both Olberman and the article overlook. The anonymous donor could be, to borrow a term from the gay movement, a flaming atheist. There could be absolutly no correlation between his or her desire to keep their finnancial transactions anonymous and their public status as an atheist.


  2. mjr256 says:

    True. Hell, the donor might not even be an atheist at all, just someone wanting to promote conversation or generalized secularism. Since we don’t know who they are, it’s useless to make assumptions about them.

  3. Azadeth says:

    Well said. I’m not gay, but if I had 10,000 to spend on a gay ad campaign, I’d contribute to that just as readily as I’d contribute to an atheist campaign. It’s about defending human rights, not about backing up people who are only “one of you.”

  4. Aidan Maslow says:

    You have to admit there is a certain level of hypocrisy in wanting other atheists to come out of the closet, but not coming out of the closet yourself! I think that is the point Keith was making and Jun 29th was a slow news day.

  5. mjr256 says:

    I don’t admit that. I have no idea who the donor is or what their motivations were.

    That requires the assumption that the donor is even an atheist when they might not be one. And if they are an atheist, for all we know they are very “out” in their personal life but, like most anonymous donors for any cause, might simply not wish to divulge their financial investments.

    It’s entirely possible that that like many anonymous donors, the act of concealing their identity was more about performing an act of selfless charity without needing to accept the credit for it. Not only would that not make one a terrible human being but it’d be actually more admirable than making making their identities known.

    What Keith Olbermann is essentially saying is that it’s better to not donor to the charity at all than to donate anonymously. And that’s absurd.

  6. Becky says:

    If a person remained anonymous about atheism while making an ad telling people to come out, that is nowhere near “worst person in the world”. It’s ironic and kind of funny, that’s about it. The message “you don’t have to believe in God to be a moral person” doesn’t say anything about coming out. It’s more about saying that atheists are not such bad people. Maybe the organizer wanted atheists to come out, but the ad didn’t convey that message.

    In the gay rights movement and others there have been pushes to come out for political reasons. I’m thinking of Harvey Milk telling the gay community to come out to family and community, to show them that gays aren’t some distant “other” group; they include people close to them. Coming out can be a positive step for this reason. Even so, people still need to come out only when they are completely ready, because not only is there risk, but it is also something you can’t ever take back.

  7. billydelyon says:


    Mountains out of ant hills?

  8. sillywhispers says:

    Oberman’s “Worst Person In The World” bit is done tongue in cheek. Sometimes he points out a person just because of irony. It was funny! I applaud the donor for donating even if he or she didn’t have the guts to come out too. Who knows what he or she had to lose. Oberman was doing his job and at least he mentioned the campaign, thereby giving it more exposure, which is a good thing,IMO.

  9. mjr256 says:

    How many people are really going to read this pick as just tongue in cheek and how many will see it as a condemnation of atheists? Olbermann would not have done the same thing if the campaign was promoting gays coming out because it’d be considered deeply insensitive. But atheists–everyone hates them anyway, so why not?

    The problem I think lies in his always having to come up 3 items every day. Sometimes there’s nobody to attack, so they just make up any excuse they can think of to get the list to 3.

    And the irony isn’t even really there. The campaign was about promoting secular values. Nowhere on the ad does it actually directly encourage atheists to come out of the closet. And people donate anonymously to causes all the time. It usually has zero to do with being afraid to have one’s name connected with a case. So why does everyone simply assume the donor “didn’t have the guts to come out?” For all we know, Richard Dawkins was the donor, and he’s been out for some time now. Last I checked, Olbermann’s job was to report news, not to discourage people from donating money to causes.

  10. […] by an anonymous donor. So I wonder if once again, the anonymous donor will enrage Keith Olbermann like it did last time because apparently, few things piss off Keith Olbermann more than selfless generosity. How dare […]

  11. Closet Bins says:

    Keep in mind the goal is to maximize the amount of space you have available in your closet.

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