Thursday, March 30, 2006

Made up news retracted

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who should have stuck to sports, admitted tonight that the video he'd been playing every night for a week, supposedly showing "Silvio Berlusconi" mock-humping a female police officer, was a fake. Then he put on the source, some editor of something or other, to share the embarrassment, which for Olbermann, one hopes, was intense.

The editor, who looked about six and had a lisp, said that "within 15 minutes" of posting the video he'd received scores of e-mails saying that it was actually a clip from a German satire, but "after that I was just too distraught . . ."

There he trailed off or Keith talked over him. Too distraught? To do what? Retract the story on his site? Tell Olbermann? Very bizarre. Olbermann didn't say why he ran the video for so many days without checking it, either. Of course, we know why: it was too good to check. But even a little looking around would have come up with Bye Bye Berlusconi. Here's someone pointing it out on the 24th of March (scroll down the comments) on Guerrilla News Network (which itself hasn't acknowledged the mistake).

Even more sleazily, in retracting the story Olbermann managed to show another piece of Bye Bye--the one with "Berlusconi" in a crowded restaurant picking his nose and nonchalantly popping the booger into his mouth.

Update: It's still all over the internet, especially the nose-picking. No retraction anywhere I could see, including Olbermann's MSNBC site (linked above) or his pathetic blog, the last update of which March 13 is titled "Daily made-up news."

Update March 31: Retracted made up news retracted again. This evening Olbermann acknowledged at least four times in his Friday roundup of "funny" stuff (some of which was funny) that the Berlusconi video was fake. He made jokes while he was doing it, though. Does that count? And of course he showed the video again, intoning, over "Berlusconi" humping away, "Well, even if he's not Berlusconi he's certainly the Prime Minister--of gittin' it onnnn." Funny, but hardly exculpatory.

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