Rachel Sklar of the Huff Po is going after Olbermann for saying that one of the superdelegates should confront Hillary and “take her into a room and only he comes out.”
Do I really think Olbermann thinks Hillary Clinton should really be violently beaten to the point of physical incapacitation, or worse? No, though some have taken that statement to its logical conclusion. But it is an unmistakably violent image — and that point seems to be undisputed by those who have written about it so far (Google “Olbermann” and “take her into a room” and you’ll see results like “Keith Olbermann Advocates Violence Against Hillary” “Olbermann: Misogyny 101” “Calls To End Race Turn Violent“”Olbermann: How To Snuff Out Hillary Clinton“). Even Fineman seemed taken aback by the statement – there is a distinct pause after, and it’s an eternity in TV time. He’s not facing the camera but you can tell that the statement was jarring. (Even so he agreed, saying, “Yes, yes exactly.”)
There really seems to be only one interpretation here, and the only point of debate is on whether it’s okay or not. I’m going to cut that one short: It’s not. To the fellow (male) journo I wrote to about this yesterday, who waved it off as just some colorful film-noir imagery, I say: can you IMAGINE if someone had said that about Obama? That he should be taken somewhere and dealt with, so that he wouldn’t come back? Can you imagine if some right-winger had talked about getting Obama out of the race “the old-fashioned way?” If that last one makes you cringe, it should, because it evokes a history of violence against black people in this country that is raw and real. Well, frankly, the same goes for women — many of whom have been taken somewhere private, and never returned.
And Olbermann wasn’t happy with Sklar’s post:
Update: And it wasn’t — an MSNBC spokesperson sent over an apology from Olbermann, which I have reprinted in full:
It is a metaphor. I apologize: the generic “he” gender could imply something untoward. It should’ve been “only the other comes out – from a political point of view.” You could’ve called for reaction first if your main motive had merely been criticism.
It is true, I did not contact MSNBC for comment – I was reacting specifically to the on-air commentary by their top-rated anchor, as seen by me and about 950,000 other people. To be fair, Olbermann regularly does the same in his “Worst Persons” segment, which often calls out on-air personalities for their remarks. I do, however, appreciate the alacrity of Olbermann’s and MSNBC’s response.
How many “Worst People in the World” have had the opportunity to retract or clarify their comments?