The XX Factor

Olbermann’s Straw Apology

Jessica , I’m with you on wondering why Keith Olbermann doesn’t just apologize and write RAINN a check to make all this pressure go away. As someone who has been trying to help out a little on the #mooreandme hashtag, I also have to add that Olbermann was attacking a strawman.* The main instigators of #mooreandme, especially Sady Doyle, Kate Harding, and Jaclyn Friedman have all been very clear about what is upsetting them. And it’s not asking questions of Interpol or the use of a case that would otherwise be closed to nab Julian Assange when they can’t get him on other charges. It’s about how we as a society treat women who file rape complaints.

I haven’t seen a single feminist writer, especially with any reputation to speak of, not agree whole-heartedly that the timing of Assange’s arrest is political in nature and has nothing to do with rape. We mostly joke sardonically that we wish that law enforcement took rape so seriously. Kate Harding has clearly laid out the case against Moore and Olbermann, and it has nothing to do with criticisms of Interpol or the U.S. government. It is because Moore lied about the two women making the accusations. And he did so in the same way that rape apologists usually do, which is to imply that rape victims are just overreacting and hysterical.

Is it really so hard for Moore and Olbermann to separate the choices of the women who went to the police after they came to the conclusion that they couldn’t get closure for these alleged assaults through their own channels, and international law enforcement that has decided to exploit this case in order to nab Assange?  There’s reason to believe that one of the accusers is perfectly capable of telling the difference, so certainly a couple of big time journalists should be able to manage the feat.

By far, the weirdest part of this battle has been Keith Olbermann attacking Sady Doyle for being a smoker.  What kind of Calvinball political debate rules say tobacco addicts can’t have opinions on sexual violence?

* Correction, Dec. 20, 2010 : The original version of this post attributed a tweet to Michael Moore that was actually from Keith Olbermann’s Twitter. The headline has been changed to reflect this.