Mary Katharine Ham ‘Worst Person in the World’
Keith Olbermann has named Mary Katharine Ham the “Worst Person in the World” for expressing the view on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” that Bill Clinton has to be a bit stunned by the backlash over his negative campaigning on behalf of his wife because he was used to soft treatment from the press.
I think he’s sort of a victim of the — or not a victim, but he’s getting used to the 24-hour news cycle. When he was president, he was not subjected to quite as much scrutiny, and I think he got a lot of passes, and now he’s mad he’s not getting them anymore.
Olbermann gets positively apoplectic over this, making fun of Ham’s youth and pointing out that Clinton got the 24-hour news cycle in all its force during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and was, after all, impeached:
AllahPundit contends, “Nowhere did MK suggest that Clinton had gotten a pass about Monica, only that he’d gotten passes otherwise” but given the context of the “24-hour news cycle,” Olbermann’s interpretation isn’t unreasonable.
The so-called “CNN Effect” was in full swing by the time Clinton took office. Ham has a point though, that “the quick and constant fact-checking of the Internet” and the fact that “his mis-statements and blow-ups are routinely recorded and picked apart” are new advents. Matt Drudge made his name by scooping Newsweek on its own story with the Lewinsky affair but, for the most part, the pack mentality of the Big Media was all there was during Clinton’s time in office; the blogosphere kicked up the 24/7 scrutiny several notches.
Olbermann would be on much firmer ground here if he weren’t so over the top. While I’d argue that Clinton often benefited from a press corps that was sympathetic to his ideas and won over by his charm, it’s hard to make the case that he wasn’t subject to plenty of press scrutiny. But, surely, that’s not an argument worth blowing a gasket over.
While I realize that “Worst Person in the World” is one of Olbermann’s shticks and that it’s meant to be hyperbole, it’s really a bizarre title to bestow for expressing an opinion on such a minor issue.