Friday, December 03, 2004

Olbermann vs. Harris (continued)
December 2, 2004

Keith Olbermann

I should clarify what I wrote in this space last night about Countdown’s interaction with Bev Harris of Black Box Voting. My staff is not certain that any of our messages to Ms. Harris inviting her on the show since the week of November 15 have specifically asked her for permission to play the videotapes of her work trying to audit the Florida vote. We think so, but I’ve got only three people booking all the guests on this program, and they each probably make about 100 calls a day.

Complicating our effort is the fact that even as we hoped to provide a platform to publicize and illuminate her efforts, Ms. Harris had returned none of the messages left on her own voicemail by Countdown staffers since she spoke to our staffers briefly, twice, during the week of November 8. Only today did she even get back in touch with us, and was so belligerent, threatening, and demanding, that we have chosen to withdraw our invitation to her to appear, or to have videotape of her efforts played, on Countdown.

Threats against myself or my staff will not be tolerated. We are not only busting our humps on the voting irregularities beat, but we remain the only mainstream news organization to continue to cover this vital story. These are my people — they are running professional risks I can’t begin to describe — and I will stand up for them, first, last, and always.