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January 22nd, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Avlon: Independents looking for alternative to angry politics

Editor’s note: John P. Avlon is a senior political columnist for The Daily Beast and author of "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America." Previously, he served as chief speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.

On the left, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann; on the right, Rep. Steve King.

On the left, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann; on the right, Rep. Steve King.

By John Avlon, Special to CNN

In a week dominated by the aftermath of Haiti’s devastating earthquake and a seismic political shift in Massachusetts, the wingnuts couldn’t help but weigh in and drag the discourse down.

Keith Olbermann went on an epic rant, calling now U.S. Senator-elect Scott Brown a racist and conservative Congressman Steve King managed to politicize the pain in Haiti with talk of refugee deportation.

It’s a cliché to say that some liberals reflexively reach for the race card when attacking political opponents. But in 2010 that’s just one of the weapons in the identity-politics arsenal. And this week, with the Massachusetts special election hours away, Keith Olbermann threw the entire kitchen sink at Republican Scott Brown. Here’s his summation:

"In short, in Scott Brown we have an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, tea bagging supporter of violence against woman and against politicians with whom he disagrees."

I’m not sure which accusation is most offensive or absurd – “supporter of violence against women” might win that low-blow award. But the attempted call to arms apparently didn’t frighten Democrats to the polls and it might have helped alienate independent voters, who went for Brown in record numbers.

Olbermann is a smart, funny guy and his special commentaries are sometimes incisive, but this might have set a record for the most unhinged since he called President Bush a “fascist” and told him to “shut the hell up.”

The incivility award in Congress often goes to conservative Iowa Representative Steve King. During the ’08 campaign, he said that if Obama “is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al Qaida, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11, because they will declare victory in this War on Terror.”

After Joe Wilson screamed “You Lie!” at President Obama during a Joint Session of Congress, King came to his defense, calling him “an officer and a gentleman and a patriot” and saying “he said what we were thinking.”

Send in your suggestions for Wingnuts of the Week

After the Haiti earthquake, King’s apparently irresistible wingnut impulses erupted yet again. He told ABC News that a push to grant Haitian refugees temporary protection status is a political ploy and he also suggested that it may be better to deport Haitians, so they could contribute to the relief effort in their home country.

"This sounds to me like open borders advocates exercising the Rahm Emanuel axiom: 'Never let a crisis go to waste,'" Congressman King said. "Illegal immigrants from Haiti have no reason to fear deportation, but if they are deported, Haiti is in great need of relief workers, and many of them could be a big help to their fellow Haitians."

A common sense degree of compassion – or intellectual honesty – doesn’t seem to intrude on ideological battles for wingnuts on the right or left. It’s evidence of why the decline in civility from professional partisans has so many independents – now the largest and fastest growing segment of the electorate – looking for an alternative from angry politics-as-usual.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Avlon.


Filed under: Opinion • Politics • Wingnuts of the week
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. billy

    This guy was a Republican speechwriter

    March 12, 2010 at 3:02 am |
  2. justinnitsul

    Listen no body on this Earth surface is purfect and it may be because we live in a society built on puffery and materiality that we have such bafoons leading our nation. No doubt Capitalism is about making a profit but it is ALSO about securing our nation's sovereignty and citizenship. It seems like most people have forgotten about the citizen and sovereignty. Which is proven to those who seek the un-biased data of non-partisan studies in order to recieve true knowledge.
    It is quite obvious that most of everything, that most politicains do is for show. To me the majority of them seem out of touch and inept at their positions. What is more funny is when people are ignorant enough to play into anything that any of them say. Really, people should take the time to join a responsible group with a like mind and petition the government instead of hooplahing and creating more drama. Everytime we believe the pufffery and lies, we only prove to them how gullible we are. Think about it.

    March 6, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
  3. Keith

    Yeah Oberman went over the line on Brown.......

    But it's small considering what he did before.......

    That crazy socialist was getting donations to give free healthcare clinics around the country.

    If this continues all will be lost and there will be no more liberty
    and freedom.

    Now he's spending time taking care of his father's healthcare
    crisis and completely ignored the tea partyers invitattion to attend
    one of their functions.

    Oberman is a real nut alright...He has absolutely no respect for letting
    the free market take care of healthcare. Rascal!!!!!!

    Keith

    March 4, 2010 at 2:08 am |
  4. Kat

    I still can't believe Keith Olbermann called for Hillary to be "taken into a back room and only one comes out". I don't know if it's astonishing, alarming, or merely amusing that people are annoyed that the red-faced man spitting with righteous fury could be described as "wingnut". Oh the horror! It's enough to get you voted "worst person in the world"!

    February 26, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  5. ruth dausener

    I challenge any and all conservatists and independents to publish exactly how their demands are to be accomplished. Exactly how will you decrease the budget when decreasing the budget will decrease services (social security, medicare, the space program, the post office, all the programs that keep us safe, usda,etc, etc.) and decrease the number of people employed to administer those services. If you are employed in one of these jobs, will you be a hypocrite and protest when your job is eleminated in order to decrease the federal budget? Which of these services will you eleminate or down size, specifically WHICH ONES? In the United States no one has a legal right to health care. We do have certain legal rights to emergency room health care but no legal right to any other health care. There is no such thing as low cost health care. Every person involved in providing health care expects and deserves to be paid and there are always a lot of people involved in the provision of even minimal health care. Will you plainly state that you do not and will not ever agree that health care should be a legal right for all United States citizens or will you just continue to shout "communism, socialism"? JUST HOW WILL YOU ACCOMPLISH YOUR DEMANDS? DON'T TELL ME YOU WILL ELECT SOMEONE AND THEN THEY WILL DO IT. HOW WILL YOU DO IT?

    February 14, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
  6. Tom Wieliczka

    Has John who called Keith a wingnut done anything to help the UNinsured get medical help by setting up health clinics around the country?

    Has he done one thing to take BIG BUCKS out of his own pocket to help out?

    Has he said one bad word about the Insurance Company that just gave a 5 year old boy his own "DEATH PANEL" by denying him coverage for an experimental cancer drug – a drug that is helping the young lad?

    If CNN viewers have not seen that news, it was on Keith's show.

    Well John, have YOU done any of these things to help people out instead of just calling people WingNuts?

    Or are you doing all this Hot Air to SELL A BOOK???

    February 12, 2010 at 11:19 am |
  7. Rodger Immer

    John: do you have any knowledge of US history/ politics; the rhetoric is beautiful but where is the content? I will take a Winston Churchill or a Thomas Jefferson over all of the centrists you can line up

    February 12, 2010 at 9:06 am |
  8. thesenator

    Thanks, Lisa. True, age is not synonomous with intelligence. But wisdom is. So therefore God commands us to "Seek wisdom" throught our lives. See Proverbs 1&2. And that, plus experience, SHOULD bring good judgment. That is why I was selected to become the Chief AL Judge of the US DOI in 1982, with 42 judges under me. How about you? "Having" children-meaning conceiving them, bearing them TO TERM, and raising them "in the fear and admonition of the Lord" DOES bring both those qualities-which God highly values OVER intelligence. Scripture even tells us that ones' gray hair is a good sign of faithful parenthood., and a "crown of glory". God LOVES parents, as well as HIS children, every one. Regardless of their "intelligence" or even their "imperfections". Those are even more reasons that abortion is "the gravest evil", as the Christian Church at Rome has rightly taught for 2000 years--Pelosi's wilful stupidity on that issue to the contrary notwithstnding. EVERY human society which has killed its own children God then destroys-Ancient Israel, the Spartans, the Romans, the Mayans, the Aztecs, the NAZI's, the Stalinists and the Maoists, et al.-the list goes on. Capice? God DOES agree with me. You are the one who "differs" with God-a dangerous and foolish position. PS The LDS is a pagan, self-deification cult which DENIES the original Divinity of Jesus, believes in "eternal marriage", "works salvation", and a host of other ANTI-Christian heresies. It is a pagan cult-and therefore NOT Christian. Read their Book of Morman, which I have, or ask their bishops and stake presidents, which I have, at length, and who are political friends and Federal co-workers of mine, going back 40 years, to when you were age 10. Neither is the LDS flip-flopper on abortion, Romney. God agrees with my analysis, not with your fact-less assertions, my friend. Please read and research before you wrongly assert the very OPPOSITE of the truths!!!

    February 4, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
  9. Lisa Wallace

    thesenator: I will be 50 years old this year, so, yes, I have been around for a while. However, in my opinion, age is not synonomous with intelligence, nor is having children. Your subsequent posts seem to support that philosophy. I would not be surprised if you somehow found that complimentary as well.

    With all due respect, spare me your holier-than-thou claims of who is a "Christian" and who isn't. I have a strong feeling God would beg to differ with your take on the situation.

    February 4, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  10. thesenator

    To Lisa Wallace: You are right that Scott Brown may be as wishy-washy and often wrong as Mitt Romney, who is NOT a Christian. But I am right about my analysis. And I have been right since 1952 and in 51 political campaigns for others and myself, and as an analyst and strategist. And pro-abortionists and big banksters ARE the LAST people whom we want in power over us!

    February 4, 2010 at 1:58 am |
  11. thesenator

    To u2canfail: I actually AGREE with you in principle on many of your substantive points, my friend. I have many friends in the Progressive Caucus in the US house, where I was a staffer for 2 Democrats, going back over 44 years, and I have been a friend of the "good guys" like Ralph Nader and of Ron Paul, etc., for over 30 years. But your vitriol against all those listed people [who are actually correct, not wrong, much of the time!] undercuts your message. As God in Scripture tells us, "A soft answer turneth away wrath". A word to the wise should be sufficient, as my late Mom always used to say.

    February 4, 2010 at 1:49 am |
  12. thesenator

    To Lisa Wallace: At my new age of 69, I take as a compliment that I am a "poster child" in your eyes, Lisa! Actually, my 5 kids, all of whom I fathered in my 50's with their mother in her 40's ARE my "poster children", especially my 10-year old boy! Have you done that? Have you been around this long on Earth?

    February 4, 2010 at 1:37 am |
  13. Lisa Wallace

    "thesenator" - you are a poster child for my earlier post. Based on your commentary, "YOUR" people are the last ones that I would want in charge. I will agree with you on one point, though, Mr. Brown's celebrity will be short-lived, not because of the reasons outlined in your tirade, but because he is a politician who swings with the wind, just like the rest of them.

    February 3, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
  14. John Stafford, J.D., thesenator

    Sen.-elect Scott Brown is marginally better, it appears, than his truly horrible opponent. BUT he is a pro-abortion, "big tent", Christie Whitman-style, heretical Jesuit-trained and indoctrinated, Rockefeller "Republican"-all of whom whom we are trying to eliminate from our Party. So the "rejoicing" by some will be short-lived. Just as with a similar politician in FL, Gov. Crist, we are appreciative that Crist stopped an even WORSE Democrat pro-abortionist like Martha Coakley-Cong. Jim Davis. But Charlie Crist is no true conservative, and we constitute almost 50% of all Americans. We want OUR people to be in charge, not these pro-abortion puppets of the big banksters of Manhattan and Wall St. and of NC and SF, and their pals, the criminal big "businessmen" who are all actually corporate socialists and fascists, who DESPISE true free enterprise. PS The best candidate in the MA special election for the U.S. Senate seat was the 3rd party candidate.

    February 2, 2010 at 5:08 am |
  15. Doug

    JOHN AVLON IS HOT HOT HOT!!!!!!! WELCOME TO CNN....

    January 28, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  16. Stephanie Hayward

    Scott Brown's win was not a win for the GOP, but a win for independents, WE THE PEOPLE. Independents are becoming the largest voting block in the nation and the GOP needs to pay attention and get rid of the bloated head! Extreme right and left politics are ignorant at best. WE THE PEOPLE can think for ourselves and we are looking for integrity and transparency. And we are watching!

    January 27, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  17. Lisa Wallace

    I used to be proud to be an independent. Now, I am not so sure. it seems like the majority of frothing at the mouth lunatics have left the Republican and Democratic parties and declared themselves independents. And, as usual, they are the only ones being heard by the media and politicians. I guess the rest of us who desire an honest debate and workable solutions with regard to crucial issues are not as newsworthy. I do not remember anyone from the media or government calling and asking for my opinion.

    January 26, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  18. John Stafford, J.D.

    Former CNN "Crossfire" anchor and a good friend of mine since grade school at Blessed Sacrament School in Chevy Chase in 1952, Pat Buchanan, and my other CNN anchor friend Bob Novak are both correct: abortion must be opposed. Both of them are and were faithful Catholics. The return to traditional moral teaching and principles is required for America to even survive-literally. Amen and amen.

    January 24, 2010 at 10:33 am |
  19. John Stafford, J.D.

    "Anger" is NOT "the problem". That is just more "PC" insanity. The active promotion of the gravest evils, and the chronic pathological and deadly lying by "the loveless Left" is the real problem. They are self-centered and immoral hedonists, and they have been rightly and utterly condemned by God and Moses and our observant Jewish "elder brothers and sisters" and by the Christian Church at Rome for 2000 years, including this present Pope Benedict. Their active promotion of mass 1st degree murder by abortion and infanticide is THE gravest sin and evil ever committed by ANY group in all of human society. 53 MILLION of our own baby boys and girls are not with us due to abortion. THAT very grave sin is THE source of nearly all of our current social and moral and economic problems. Abortion undermines everything! The truth and that particular truth needs to be told. Few of us are willing to tell it.

    January 24, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  20. SteveT

    The Wingnut of the Week should be Pat Robertson.

    Last week he said that Haiti was "cursed" because they had made a pact with the devil to win their independence (Apparently, in Robertson's mind the Haitians _must_ have made a deal with the devil because the God that Robertson venerates would never support the effort of black slaves to free themselves from white owners).

    This week Robertson was an invited guest at the inauguration of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. Just imagine the. umm . . . excrement storm we would have had from the mainstream media if Jeremiah Wright had been invited to attend President Obama's inauguration.

    This double standard would be breathtaking if it weren't such an everyday occurrence. Not only did Robertson do the same thing Wright was vilified for - blaming 9-11 on America. But he has also blamed hurricane Katrina on New Orleanians and now has blamed the Haitian earthquake on Haitians.

    So much for the myth of a "liberal media".

    January 24, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  21. Mr Joshua

    Oberman most certainly a wingnut, But he gets paid for HIS opinion. Just like the COMMENTATORS CNN and FOX News. If you do not want to hear it, Don't watch? I prefer the general News Segments on CNN and FOX, General news is General news not Opinion. I do not care for Oberman so I dont watch. Savy?

    January 24, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  22. Mr Joshua

    Oberman most certainly a wingnut, But he gets paid for HIS opinion. Just like the COMMENTATORS

    January 24, 2010 at 9:36 am |
  23. davidpollan

    why is it that fox garners such high ratings?

    could it be that its nothing more than a road-side car accident? illiciting the same response in all of us which is staring in disabelief and horror, that's why!

    fox's ratings are NOT because its a legitimate news organization but is simply more than entertainment.

    As a 'left wing wingnut" myself, count me amongst the 7 million nightly viewers...i confess, i too am a voyeur and thoroughly enjoy Bill O'Reilly, Shean Hannity, and the uncttious "fox and friends" make daily spectacles of themselves...but for anyone, on the left or right to suggest that they provide to us anything more than provocative entertainment has lost touch with reality OR, they've forgotten what journalism or a news broadcast organization is to provide.

    January 24, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  24. jeff

    On the left Mr. Olberman, Rachel Maddow, and Ed Shultz
    On the right Hanity, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly

    All these people on both side and there are many more should be taken off the air and not be allowed in the public eye ever again.

    I also think all news media should take some of the blame and only have neutral guests.
    I hate watching news and having to listen opposite sides arguing their point Neither side cares about the truth. They come on the shows and give their propaganda.
    It is time for the news to have guests discuss the facts and give the public the facts

    January 24, 2010 at 12:38 am |
  25. smith

    wasn't Brown a centerfold and a contestant on american idol. ?He is a teabagger and against gay marriage. Humm was Olbermann far off? If the right can get rich spewing this garbage then I guess Kieth ca too.

    January 23, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
  26. u2canfail

    Faux News? The truth, well fact check that one. And do it with an actual history book. We now have lists of GOPers whom even the party can no longer be proud of. Let's start with "W". I noticed he was not invited to speak for John McCain's campaign. Then we have Hoover, McCarthy, and I could keep going. Then there are a long list of those you should be embarrassed by Cheney, Bachman, Palin, Colter, DeMint, and then Joe Wilson. And I should not forget Mr. NYC, who said out loud, ..... there were no attacks under the Bush administration. (Who was he standing next to, after 9/11? Just to name a few idiots in the GOP Then there is Limbaugh, Beck, and oh yes Robertson at the 700 mile from the LORD club. He speaks to the devil. So many idiots I cannot keep up. I become more liberal each day. I used to be independent, but this is entirely too much. I can actually read.

    So, Oberman what? Went on a rant? I need to rant.

    I needed health care reform, and I still do. The party of NO, wants my insurance company to win. I keep paying premiums, they keep denying claims and raise my rates. I am so grateful the Democrats passed Medicare and Social Security. Without Medicare most seniors would have no care at all.

    This is a 2 party system that is broken. It is not broken because the Dems are in power, it is broken because the GOP simply says NO. I know that compromise is not an authoritarian strong suit, but for the American people, Congress needs to work. This required debate and compromise.
    I went to a health forum. It was a joke. Screaming TEA BAGGERS, no one could speak. Politics to me is about discussion. Civil discussion. America works best with discussion. Sad, what we have now. Gridlock does nothing. And it is most disgusting in a Democracy. I do not think I will ever again vote for anyone in the GOP, even if that means I never vote again. This is America, we need all parties to participate or go home. And when you go home we all lose. No tea bagger will ever get that.

    We will need a dictator next, for these BAGGER guys. They should elect Hitler. They carry around his image all the time. He is closest to thing what they want. A my way or the highway guy, an I'll kill anyone against me, guy. A leader who without restriction, or compromise, does things, no matter the consequence. They almost had one in "W", why do they not like him now? I called him KING George, but that was me, and he was President. Let's see, no taxes, well he did not pay for anything while President, he gave $$ to the wealthy, tax breaks. He started wars. Not paid. He even added to Medicare, not paid, No child left behind, not paid, and then there is torture. Tea baggers love torture, it is why they can't talk, only yell!

    January 23, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  27. spencer blair

    The best of election night coverage in Massachusetts was MSNBC watching Rachel MadCow explain why the voters in that state were idiots. She reminded me of Don King running around the ring when Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson. "It's a mistake...it's all a big mistake. We want a do-over!"

    January 23, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  28. aranhas

    Keith, Ed, and Rachel are as loony as Beck. I rotate through all four news channels when commercials come on and I quickly turn to another channel when any of these four are talking. They are so partisan they serve no real purpose other than to give solace to people who think as they do. There are commentators who attempt to be fair, although you can quickly determine their bias by the words they use. As an independent since 1982, I've learned that hyperbole doesn't help me understand issues. I need to hear both sides, but not when the comments are nothing more than vitriol. I don't have any friends who watch those four commentators. I don't know how they earn their keep.

    January 23, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
  29. tbrnotb

    C'mon Democrats....grow a pair. The Repubs destroyed the country for 8 years without the majority you have. Get tough. WE want a public option, we want the wars to end, we want someone to come down hard on Wall St., we want Lieberman thrown out of the caucus AND we want you come to through on your campaign promises.

    DO SOMETHING DEMS...get a moral backbone and do the right thing...quite worrying about the polls.
    Sheesh.

    January 23, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  30. Joel

    Gayle, if you want to make stuff up about what Keith Olberman did or did not say, you should do the basics such as see what's on YouTube on the topic. I've always thought that the biggest problem in this country is that we have lost our edge in the area of education. You have proven my thoughts to be true.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLjAahyKfp0&w=640&h=360]

    January 23, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  31. Tony Dunn

    Atleast what Olbermann says is true the other guys at FOX just lie their behind. Like Fox mantra says, "We Distort, You Decide".

    January 23, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  32. Richard

    Hmmmm....Olberman is a "smart, funny, guy"..... okay, that pretty much shows your true colors. You're an idiot and so is he.

    January 23, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  33. randall

    Wingnuts.... have you watched Fox News lately! They would be really funny if they were not so dangerous to the American way.

    January 23, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  34. Jac

    How about you add yourself and the rest of the media to the 'wingnuts' list?

    For the last year you've been repeaters instead of reporters. Parroting Nancy Pelosi's narrative that nobody was really angry. It was astroturfing by a violent nanzi and unamerican mob! Plants paid for by the insurance industry to cause trouble! Let's show our unbiased reporting and deride them as teabaggers! Gosh we're reportin' now baby!

    Well guess what pudding head, you and the rest of the media got it wrong. Not only were people actually angry, they turned out to be quite furious! Curiously, the only cable news outlet that got it right is the one you like to deride as 'faux news.'

    The comedy of it all, is that you really can't figure out why – while you're busy fawning over Dear Leader, getting tingles up your spine when he speaks, asking him tough questions such as 'what is your wife wearing today?', someone else's ratings are going through the roof.

    January 23, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  35. Joanna in PA

    Keith may have went a bite off the deep end, but they are NOT wing nuts. They do deal with facts and reality. Unlike Fox and co, the true wing nut activists!

    January 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  36. Annette Grant

    While I sometimes agree with Mr. Avlon, I think this time he is trying to, as CNN does, to make it seem we Liberals or the same as conservatives. I disagree. We are compassionate and not "ME" people. We even help elderly conservatives whom I hear quite often in Georgia state wrong facts to discredit President Obama. CNN tries to be too fair because they get to be untruthful to make us liberals look like conservatives. I live here in the south and I can tell you that there is a White and Black world and most southern conservatives still refer to such bull as "Constitutional rights" when it refers to something that is beneficial to them but cry foul if it benefits others. Some people will cut off their nose to spite their face and I see it a lot. Mr. Avlon, you may be a bit out of touch if you think this is not about keeping the status quo for those who benefitted before other races had rights in America. Mr. Avlon, MA was about race, and keeping the status quo. About Boston, lived there too, and they are not as liberal as you think ("Mitt Romney"). Racism is also entrenched there. So this was about keeping the status quo and having "NO" change and trying to reverse the change that we fought for. Independents also need to take a look at their reasoning. Massachusetts, good luck with Mr. Brown.....from what I see, you will need it. He will act only as an obstructionist and it will not be beneficial to MA, they have health care....maybe he will repeal it.....you might like that.

    January 23, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
  37. DEMHATER

    This is just the beginning, I can't wait to see Overbite in Nov.

    January 23, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  38. John from NC

    "...fox news' ratings are through the roof (7 million viewers on any given night) and the main stream media's ratings are in the toilet. "

    Predictica, so why then is Fox News not the main stream media?

    January 23, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  39. TrueLiberal

    This is why the recent Supreme Court decision was so important. When a corporation that owns a media business as part of its holdings promotes an agenda, like NYT, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, PBS (hah) does, why should corporate owners of non-media firms be blocked from promoting their views? It isn't as if NYT, CNN or MSNBC report the news, they are clearly promoting an adgenda they believe benifit sthe cororate ownership. The Wingnuts like OBL, Maddow, Matthews or Krugman are just the rabid dogs they use to promote that agenda.

    January 23, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  40. Purtman

    How could Glenn Beck be left out? Steven King has the perfect name. He's a horror flick for all of us in Iowa. Fox DOES NOT report the news, it slants the news. Heck, Murdoch himself even admitted that his network was "trying to shape the war" on Iraq. Fake videos, polls that add up to 120 percent, turning $2 billion into $200 billion, calling Obama's fist bump with his wife "a terrorist fist bump", etc. How can anybody trust that? This wingnut of the week segment is run nightly on Fox. It's Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly.

    January 23, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  41. Callahan

    and CNN laughs at me when I say this nation really needs to turn back to God.....

    Civility, compassion, empathy, love, service...this all comes with those who serve the true God....yet this nation is constantly harping there is no God...or berates, belittles, and demonizes those who believe.

    We need to return to boundaries in this country...boundaries of what comes out of our mouths and in our actions. The national motto would be best served under 'DO NO HARM"

    January 23, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  42. Corwin7

    Congratulations Mr. Brown for picking up the "Brokeback Conservative" vote!

    January 23, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  43. charlotte

    Mr. Avlon does a disservice to the art and credibility of journalism by not fully explaining the background to behaviors he cites. Unfortunately, Mr. Avlon seems more interested in making a name for himself, than to promote journalistic integrity. Here's hoping he'll be a flash in a pan, and the quicker he is dismissed the better. The message he should take with him as he goes up in flames is that the American public can see through him.

    January 23, 2010 at 12:27 am |
  44. Scott

    Predictica how long have you been drunk on the fox News Kool-Aid, Fox is slanted and MSNBC is slanted. But everyone else try's to be middle of the road because they don't want to lose viewers, which means they don't say anything of value to the left or right. But to be honest most of the news is crap and people are going to believe what suits their level of knowledge. So you can spout all the crap you want about Liberal Biased News, but Sarah Palin is on CNN more than she is Fox News. As far as Scott brown goes It is the American dream, a stripper wins a Senate seat and is the 41st vote against health care reform, but to be honest i am glad. The reform as it was passed by the senate was no good for anyone but the insurance companies. So a big thanks to all the tea birthers who voted for Scott Brown.

    January 22, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
  45. Nathan Green

    Let's be honest. CNN is the only place to get real news. Fox News and MSNBC are purely partisan and our collective IQ's drop 20 points by watching their hateful rhetoric.

    January 22, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
  46. Steven Garner

    watched olberman the other night go on a incoherant rant the was the same as the nuts on the right only with alunatic left spin nothing in the way of real news exist anymore.

    January 22, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
  47. Ed D

    Keith Olbermann's wit is good for ESPN but is an epic failure in the political/news sector. His confident delivery makes him look handled. In short Keith Olbermann is tool that needs to back to being a sports host.

    January 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
  48. OldUncleTom

    I long ago stopped confusing television and journalism. Television is entertainment, and if it stops being entertaining it goes off the air.

    Information is secondary, though I often get a first peek at news there, which I verify through more legitimate sources. My favorite is a minimum of 3; one left, one right, and at least one offshore.

    Many may find it surprising, but I find the greatest objectivity on most issues (excepting Palestine) from Al-Jazeera English. I wish my cable company would carry it.

    January 22, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
  49. clf1990

    @ross berg-buffalo ny,

    I guess they will just have to suirm just like Rush, Glenn and you were crying about in '06 and '08..Things always change there is alway a shift in voting. I don't think there is some magic solution to all problems in this country..Tax breaks for the rich is not alway the solution because this is always the Republicans fix for all. I truly believe as far as the Republican and health care Die quickly is the only solution that they will ever come up with. The only reason the Reagan's Presidency was susseccful was at least the Democrats willingness to work with him..But this Cry baby Republicans don't want to work with anyone except themselves....

    January 22, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
  50. Diane Portland Or

    Steve King is a Politician (although a bad one) and Keith Olberman is a political pundit. The Politician should show dignity for the office he was elected to. Keith Olberman is supposed to to entertaining (and he is)
    I notice you had only 1 short sentence regarding steve king and alot of junk about Keith Olberman. Its pretty obvious that your intention was to give your opinion about Keith but had to throw a little something else in just so you could pretend you are not biased. We all see through you.

    January 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  51. Allen from Illinois

    Why don't we see articles like this about Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh when they spout their garbage? They say stuff worse than this everyday! CNN is losing it's objectivity....

    January 22, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  52. Aron

    Keith Olbermann is simply trying to make him self relevant, and in doing so, is making a complete fool of himself. This comment gave him more coverage than ANY other show he's ever done....EVER. He's an idiot. He should have stuck with Sportscenter and comment related to athletes rather than trying to prove his lack of intelligence.

    January 22, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  53. American

    Can we all agree we don't like wingnuts? Maybe we can learn to vote for moderates? Unlike Olbermann, King actually has an argument for his statements and some basis for them. Olbermann is the typical liberal newscaster. That's why I like CNN, one of the few news agencies that isn't liberally biast.

    January 22, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  54. Stu SMith

    I think that name-calling and character assassination of polititians and pundits is unacceptable. Except when Mr. Avlon does it. Then its high-end journalism.

    January 22, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  55. MikeB

    Hey Scott, you clearly don't respect America. Barack Obama is the elected President of the United States. Never before has any member of Congress jeered a President during an address to Congress. It's no coincidence that Obama happens to be black and Joe Wilson is a member of an organization called "Sons of the Confederacy" and supports flying the Confederate flag.

    January 22, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  56. Andrew Shafer

    To Predicta:

    Fox News does not report the news. It makes it up half the time. I don't think as a collective, the staff has the first idea of what news gathering and reporting is all about. While Mr. OIbermann clearly went out of bounds with his remarks about Scott Brown, it was opinion, clearly denoted as opinion. You may not like it, or the tone in which it was delivered, but there was no mistaking his opinion from his reporting the news. Sorry to say, Fox makes no such distinction.

    January 22, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  57. rebekah

    The reason Fox news is so popular is because it is so like a train wreck and you just can't look away! It is sensationalism news with zero substance and the same people who watch Fox watch The Hills, American Idol and all those trashy reality shows. Anyone see Idiocracy? That is what America is becoming. As far as wingnuts? if we could keep religion out of all politics I think there would be a few wingnuts lurking here or there, but the majority would be gone.

    January 22, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  58. observer

    "liberal loons" , Fox = News?!
    PREDICTA = wingnut that spins to the right...

    January 22, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  59. Grrace

    I don't know what I'd do without Keith Olberman. Yes, he went a little overboard on Brown, but what he said was true, expecially by Right Wing Nut standards. Some media people keep trying to make the left/right wing nut equal. They are not the same. The Right have no conscience for fellow Americans, and just want to kill people. The Left want to save people and are extremely bothered by their conscience when it doesn't happen. Killing Healthcare is a cruel inhumane thing to do to Americans, and it's being done by the RIGHT WING NUTS like that racist KING.

    January 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  60. Alex

    I saw the show in which Olbermann made those comments and he was most definetly talking about Scott Brown when he made them.

    January 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  61. PREDICTA

    It amazes me that the liberal loons continue to go after fox news for doing what they should...reporting the news...Unlike the main stream media, whose ratings have plummeted because of their left wing slant on everything Obama, fox news is the only news outlet reporting what's going on. This is why fox news' ratings are through the roof (7 million viewers on any given night) and the main stream media's ratings are in the toilet. People are just tired of the Oberman/Mathews spin at every turn and it shows.

    January 22, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  62. ross berg-buffalo ny

    I must say that as a lifelong conservative I thoroughly enjoyed watching Oberman and Raddow squirm through their shows election night doing their best to try and explain Scott Browns stunning vistory!!!

    Some of their commentary has got to get them into the Wingnut Hall of Shame!!!

    Priceless!!!

    January 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  63. sonny chapman

    Keith Olbermann, though an imperfect human being, has one thing that the Right Wing Screamers lack--human decency. Keith, contrary to those guys & gals, has also shown a trait that is a sure sign of a Deity Complex-the inability to admit error.

    January 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  64. Ric

    I hate to point fingers but the truth is that the Republicans and conservative talk radio (and more recently,Fox News) have been the source of angry politics since Bill Clinton was elected. Keith Olbermann is a more recent angry response from the left.

    The GOP policies and platforms represent a minority of Americans. They will not compromise or negotiate. When they controlled the Congress and the White House, they did not reach across the aisles or work with Dems. They pusched through everything they could and called people un-patriotic nor un-American if you didn't agree with them. Now, that they are in the minority, they have closed ranks and dug in their heels in unison. They are in lock step with one another and it's their way or no way.

    We will not be able to avoid the angry politics until one of 2 things occur. One – the GOP changes their platform and appeal to a broader and more diverse group of Americans....or ....Two – The GOP loses more support and a stronger third party emerges.

    January 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  65. MD

    This story isn't slanderous to anyone. I just watched the commentary by Keith Olbermann and he was talking exactly about Scott Brown. So Mr. Avalon was dead on with his quote. And as for the congressman, I totally disagree with what he said. Why would you send people back to a country with nothing and claim they could help. With what? Add to burden of a country which we (US Citizens) are donating money to aid? They can help best by allowing them to work here and send money back. But the real point is that these extreme comments get people so riled up that they can only respond in kind. I am not saying I am happy with Scott Brown being voted in but I wouldn't call him a supporter of "violence against women" either. Just say you don't like his viewpoints and move on.

    January 22, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  66. Gayle

    This story amounts to slander against Mr. Olbermann. Not only was Olbermann not talking about newly elected Senator, Scott Brown, but he was actually atlking about the real wignut, which you, yourself, named as a wingnut, Glen Beck, and Olbermann, was referencing Becks' own words about Scott Brown, words, which you, yourself, highlighted.

    If this is the best kind or research John Avlon can do, then I'd like to apply for his job.

    Pure slander of Mr. Olbermann, and without including a disclaimer, or apology, before the end of the show, begins to make CNN look as bad a source for truth, as Faux Noise, the unfair, unbalanced Republican propaganda cable channell....

    Wow! Very irresponsible of CNN. May I apply for Mr. Avlon's position???

    Gayle

    January 22, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  67. Jasper Lucas

    I strongly disagree with your characterization
    of Keith Olberman as a "wingnut". Mr. Olbe
    rman, Rachel Maddow, and Ed Shultz (whom I believe you've also characterized as a "wingnut" on occasion) are the only people who help me keep my sanity when I hear some of the right-wing psycho-babble that comes out of the mouths of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and those pathetic excuses for journalists at Fox News. While Mr. Olberman may have gone a bit overboard in suggesting that Scott Brown is a racist, the fac
    Gt is he DID dispute th
    e fact Barack Obama's mot
    her was married to his father when she gave bi
    rth to him, and he DID refuse, at the very least, to denounce what a supporter clearly said at a rally, suggesting a curling iron be inserted in a part of Martha Coakley's anatomy. The facts speak for themselves.

    January 22, 2010 at 7:57 am |
  68. Scott

    If the statements happen to be true can you really call the congressman a wingnut?

    Al-Qaida was dancing in the streets and obama does lie.

    January 22, 2010 at 7:05 am |
  69. Jack, Long Island, NY

    Joe Lieberman: "wingnutless" He's no longer as important to Dems! need another world wingnutless implies something else

    January 22, 2010 at 6:58 am |