MSNBC's Olbermann, Abrams take on E.D. Hill's fist bump comments

››› ››› ANNE SMITH

MSNBC's Dan Abrams and Keith Olbermann took issue with Fox News host E.D. Hill's suggestion that a fist bump by Sen. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, might be "interpret[ed]" as a "terrorist fist jab," with Abrams saying, "[O]ver at Fox News, if it's Obama, it must be something far more sinister."

On the June 9 editions of their MSNBC shows, Dan Abrams and Keith Olbermann mocked Fox News and host E.D. Hill over her suggestion that a fist bump by Sen. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, might be "interpret[ed]" as a "terrorist fist jab," with Abrams saying, "[O]ver at Fox News, if it's Obama, it must be something far more sinister."

As Media Matters for America noted, on the June 6 edition of Fox News' America's Pulse, Hill teased a segment on the Obamas' fist bump -- which they did as Sen. Obama prepared to give a June 3 speech in St. Paul, Minnesota, after becoming the presumptive Democratic candidate for president -- saying, "A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab? The gesture everyone seems to interpret differently."

Olbermann showed a clip of Hill's comment on the June 9 edition of Countdown, and discussed it with MSNBC contributor Rachel Maddow. Olbermann said, "So, let me see. Michael Jordan and Charlie Sheen, who try to fist bump in this new underwear commercial, they're terrorists? ... [T]here are all sorts of other examples, like every professional athlete and many actors and entertainers. They're all terrorists." Abrams showed a clip of Hill's comment during the "Beat the Press" segment of his show, Verdict, and stated: "Yes, a handshake or a terrorist fist jab. Everyone just interprets it differently."

From the June 9 edition of MSNBC's Verdict with Dan Abrams:

ABRAMS: It's time for tonight's "Beat the Press." First up, let's be clear: Most of us in the news business are dorks. I don't know how else to say it. When the Obamas gave each other a fist bump, it was cool. When my colleagues in the news business try to relive the moment, it's just tough to watch.

[begin video clip]

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ (co-anchor of CBS' The Early Show): All right, everybody, give me a little pound-pound. A simple fist bump --

HOWARD KURTZ (host of CNN's Reliable Sources): Byron [Pitts, CBS national correspondent], I'm not cool enough to grasp this, so tell me, is this what all the brothers do?

KURTZ: Byron Pitts, Gloria Borger [CNN senior political analyst] --

BORGER: Ooh.

KURTZ: -- Jake Tapper [ABC News senior national correspondent].

TAPPER: Word.

RODRIGUEZ: -- Thursday. There you have it. Nice job.

WOLF BLITZER (host of CNN's Late Edition): Go ahead, you can do it. There we go. All right, good work.

[end video clip]

ABRAMS: Please stop. Stop. But of course, over at Fox News, if it's Obama, it must be something far more sinister.

HILL [video clip]: A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab? The gesture everyone seems to interpret differently.

ABRAMS: Yes, a handshake or a terrorist fist jab. Everyone just interprets it differently.

From the June 9 edition of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:

OLBERMANN: There is some degree of ignorance and prejudice that Senator Barack Obama must confront as he makes his bid for the presidency. And his campaign can also count on a dose of inflammatory idiocy, not only from the senator's critics, but also from a so-called news organization. More on Fox Noise and the Obama fist bump presently.

[...]

OLBERMANN: And the anti-Obama campaigning is getting more and more, well, out there. Criticism of the Obama knuckle knock or fist bump, an attempt, in fact, to link it to terrorism, one we all saw right before his victory speech last night in St. -- or last Tuesday in St. Paul.

Fox News' E.D. Hill, teasing an upcoming segment on this, said this:

HILL [video clip]: A fist bump, a pound, a terrorist fist jab? The gesture everyone seems to interpret differently.

OLBERMANN: Hill's America's Pulse program then had a body language [expert] on to say, basically, you have no pulse. No, she said that the fist big -- the fist bump was no big deal. Thus, Fox Noise's unanswered innuendo could be applied forward, which must mean that North Carolina's Governor Mike Easley, as you saw, also might be a terrorist.

Let's turn now to MSNBC political analyst Rachel Maddow, who also hosts her own show on Air America Radio on weekday afternoons. Rachel, good evening.

MADDOW: Hi, Keith.

OLBERMANN: So, let me see. Michael Jordan and Charlie Sheen, who try to fist bump in this new underwear commercial, they're terrorists? And this is -- there are all sorts of other examples, like every professional athlete and many actors and entertainers. They're all terrorists.

This apparently springs from a comment on a right-wing blog. In a sense, if they're clutching at straws like these in June, do you feel a little sorry for the far right?

MADDOW: Not really.

Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Keith Olbermann, Dan Abrams
Show/Publication
Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Verdict
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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