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A Week of #MooreandMe: Keith Olbermann and the Eternal “If”

Last night was the longest night of the year. I mean, it was the solstice: Nights have literally been getting longer and longer, and last night lasted for longer than any others, for as long as a night can. And I mention that because, in a stunningly melodramatic Emily-Brontean sort of coincidence, this was also the best possible metaphor for my feelings about #MooreandMe. That, after six days of it, after nearly a week, it seemed that every day was given to a greater and greater portion of darkness. That a number of beliefs I’d held, as a political activist and as a person who works in journalism and has at times done actual reporting, as a woman and as a survivor and as a proud progressive and as a human, were being kind of unavoidably shattered.

Which beliefs? Well, for one, the idea that journalists are obliged to tell the truth. That’s a big one, something not necessarily even related to rape, that hurts pretty badly. I’m the daughter of a reporter,  a woman who got death threats before I was even born, because she reported about KKK activities and they didn’t like the way she’d covered it or her commitment to telling the truth about them, I mean: The KKK wanted to murder my mother, just because  she believed that the responsibility of journalists was to tell the truth to the people, no matter what the issue and no matter what the risk or cost to the journalist in question. So, yeah, it matters to me that journalists uphold that responsibility. If it nearly killed my mother, it can slightly inconvenience or embarrass Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore.

And when I first started publishing, a writer and editor I admired greatly agreed to tell me how journalism worked, how the Internet worked, how things like “pitching” and all of that worked. He agreed to help me, in an act of incredible and unexpected generosity, for no real reason — I was literally nobody. Why was I worth his time? — but he sent me an e-mail in which he required that I give him a few personal assurances, that I keep in mind (he didn’t say this, but I thought it) that a betrayal of those assurances would betray him directly. Would mean I had used his help to do bad things, and had therefore betrayed the massive amount of trust, goodwill, patience, and willingness to help that he had inexplicably shown me. The first thing I had to promise him was that I would meet my deadlines. The second thing I had to promise him was that I would never knowingly tell a lie. There were other things I promised, but that was in all caps, NEVER LIE, and I think about it every time I write a piece; I made a promise to a good and generous man that I would not lie, and I intend to keep it. It matters to me, that journalists uphold their responsibility to tell the truth to the people.  That is a principle nearly as dear as feminism to my heart: Just plain telling the truth.

The thing is, though: What I’ve learned is that Keith Olbermann does not care about that responsibility. At all. That he will willingly violate that standard, as he deems it to be necessary or convenient. He violated it once, when he said that consensual sex without a condom was considered rape in Sweden: That was factually untrue, and he didn’t correct it. He violated it twice, when Michael Moore went on his show and said that Assange was only alleged to have had a condom break, when that was factually untrue. Assange was alleged to have penetrated one woman in her sleep which is rape under all circumstances, and to have held a woman down and pinned her to prevent her from reaching for a condom, thereby using force to coerce her, and a few other things which constitute sexual assault. It bears repeating: We only got the fullest and most detailed account of these charges over the weekend, but the Guardian and other reputable sources had already reported that the allegations were indeed allegations of rape and sexual assault, and we had many of the relevant details including the unconsciousness and the pinning down, this was all known, and Michael Moore did not tell the truth, and Keith Olbermann did not correct him.

Up until this point in the story, either of these two things could have been considered mistakes.

Maybe Keith Olbermann actually didn’t know the allegations; that’s irresponsible, if you’re going to report on them you should probably know them, but it happens. Maybe Michael Moore didn’t know them either. Maybe Keith Olbermann didn’t know that the article he RT’d, alleging that an Assange accuser had “CIA ties” because she’d talked to this one dude this one time, came from a guy who also doesn’t believe that the Holocaust happened (which is to say: Not someone whose ability to assess the truth of a situation is, uh, all that great?) or that the guy represented WikiLeaks in Russia and so had a direct personal investment and was in no way an objective or neutral source, maybe Keith Olbermann didn’t read it that closely, maybe he didn’t research, maybe he didn’t think about it long enough to realize how he was shaming and smearing and endangering women for alleging rape, maybe he didn’t realize that by helping that guy put it out there, he was making the world unsafe not just for her but for many rape victims who would see him do this and become too scared to report their rapes, he was promoting a pro-WikiLeaks agenda at the expense of the facts and the safety of the women in the case, maybe it was an honest mistake. It was a re-tweet. Those take 0.5 seconds and little to no thought. My dog has accidentally RT’d things by stepping on my computer keyboard. It could have been a mistake — I mean, he got it from Bianca Jagger, who seems like a nice lady, and I’m not protesting her specifically because her role in spreading this misinformation is substantial but she’s not one of the nation’s leading left-wing journalists and thus just doesn’t have the same responsibility to truth that Olbermann has, truth isn’t her career – anyway, maybe he just trusted Bianca Jagger and he made a mistake. Until yesterday, it was possible to believe that Keith Olbermann had just screwed up, and since everyone screws up, it was possible to believe he’d just say, “whoops! I screwed up. I’m sorry.”

I mean: I accidentally posted a link to the accusers’ photos, in another forum, yesterday, because someone sent me a link to them and I had to click on it to vet it, and I got it confused with a different YouTube video  I had open in a different tab (okay, I’ll admit, it was the “I Only Wanna Be With You” video which has a young Keith Olbermann in it: I’m human, I think that’s funny under the circumstances). So when I wanted to post the “Only Wanna Be With You” video, I just posted the first YouTube link I could find in my browser, and actually posted the photos of the women alleging rape against Julian Assange. That was a MASSIVE fuck-up. I endangered those women, by not looking closely enough at a link. I’ll say it again: I, exactly like Keith Olbermann, endangered the lives of two women, by not looking closely enough at a link before posting it. But when I did it, it was a mistake, and I took it down as soon as I realized what I had done, and I said “I’m sorry.” I did that within ten minutes. It wasn’t hard, because I knew it was wrong, and I wanted to correct it.

Keith Olbermann doesn’t think what he did was wrong. After yesterday, we know that he did not make a mistake, he did not screw up, he will not apologize: He doesn’t think it’s wrong. He doesn’t think it’s bad, to say false things that obscure the facts of a rape case and minimize allegations, and then refuse to correct them. He’s doing it on purpose. He came back into the #MooreandMe thread, and the first thing he said was (unable to link directly, due to RE-BLOCKING), “I endorse, sympathize with, and empathize with, the rape consciousness goals of #mooreandme.” Great. Amazing. As far as responses go, he couldn’t have started his response any better. But then, it all went downhill. Like so:

and have already apologized accordingly.

Except he didn’t. He apologized “if anyone thinks” he had “addressed it without full sensitivity.” If, thinks: These are words you insert into an apology to create the impression that you might not have done anything wrong, that it might just all be in the head of the person who wants an apology. If, in particular; I have reasons for noting that word, when Keith Olbermann uses it. And you will soon hear them. But Keith Olbermann gave a non-apology, an “I may have offended” non-apology, of the sort he has condemned on his own show many times. And he never addressed what he was being called upon to apologize for: Giving out false information, and not correcting it. He never apologized for that.

So, right there, again, with “and have already apologized accordingly,” Keith Olbermann was starting it up again, the false information. And, I mean, it gets worse from there, with his insisting that the tactics of #MooreandMe mirror those of rapists and rape apologists — comparing us to rapists and rape apologists, for protesting, that was a shocking new low even for him — and saying that we “hurt” rape victims (how?) and saying that asking for charitable donations to organizations that provide assistance and crisis counseling to rape victims equated to “buying [us] off,” even though none of us will ever benefit from those donations except to the extent to which we will require assistance after having been raped or sexually assaulted, or to the extent to which a handful of us — one or two people I know about or have heard from, I think, who’ve told me the names of the organizations they work for, and then last night’s mass RAINN e-mail that came as a surprise and with which I had no connection — might professionally provide assistance to people who have been raped and sexually assaulted, even though the only people he would help by donating to those organizations would be rape survivors, even though he is a wealthy man and he was being asked for charitable donations, he felt comfortable comparing us to people who want to blackmail someone for petty personal greed, he felt comfortable misrepresenting the truth to that gross and appalling degree. He said, “I do not know of what Julian Assange is guilty, if anything, and neither does anybody else.” Which is undeniably true, and no-one is really arguing otherwise. I’ve made some pretty irresponsible statements in the past few weeks, because of how angry this case makes me, but when someone has come into this comment section and argued that Assange IS a rapist, IS guilty, I’ve corrected them. I’ve corrected myself, for over-implying it. Nobody knows of what Assange is guilty, if anything. But Keith Olbermann knows what the allegations against him are, because they are widely known, at this point — it isn’t the first few days, when no-one knew anything and you could be forgiven for screwing up; he knows, people have every reason to know — and he should be able to correct his earlier, false reports about them. To proceed otherwise is, in the words of Keith Olbermann, “not fact-based.”

It is not fact-based, SIR. It is not. It is not BASED ON FACT. You are getting the facts WRONG, SIR, and you have got to CORRECT THEM. SIR.

And then, it got personal. Because it genuinely wasn’t, before: I wasn’t angry with Keith Olbermann at all. I did make fun of him, but hey, Keith Olbermann makes fun of public figures all the time. He knows how it works. He acted in a very melodramatic and ridiculous and easy-to-make-fun-of way in public; he put the clown suit on, he did the make-up and the wig and the funny rubber nose, and then we laughed at him, because he made himself look like a freaking clown. Public figures who take themselves very seriously are always somewhat comic, especially when they overreact. Someone who covers politicians for a living should get that.

Anyway, I had actually considered Il Keithitano the comic relief in all this, before yesterday. As wrong as he’d gotten this stuff, as responsible as he was for promoting false info and for participating in a smear campaign of Assange’s accusers and endangering their lives, at least he’d responded, which was what we wanted, and at least he’d tried to apologize, though not for the thing he’d been asked to apologize for. I had mentioned Keith Olbermann in one paragraph of my first #MooreandMe post, I’d directed like three or four tweets of the dozens I made that day @KeithOlbermann, Keith Olbermann was not at the center of this protest, Keith Olbermann was not the point, until Keith Olbermann somehow inexplicably decided that Keith Olbermann was the point and proceeded to act as if Keith Olbermann were the point, thereby miraculously creating nine million times more angry attention and more angry tweets directed at Keith Olbermann. (Keith, buddy, do you seriously just not know how the Internet WORKS? DO YOU NEED HELP WITH THIS?) He was making me laugh and giving us free and useful and good publicity, so I wasn’t angry. Then he did something that made me angry. Then he did it to me.

First, it was the “kill yourself” Tweet. That’s right: Of the hundreds of Tweets, he managed to find the one that went over the line and got violent, and he re-posted that to represent the protest as a whole. Which it didn’t: I haven’t been off Twitter for a week, and I have explicitly only been looking at #MooreandMe and my own @replies in case someone had important information I needed to communicate to the other protesters, and I know what’s on that feed, what the majority of the content is. It’s not “kill yourself.” Dozens of #MooreandMe protesters immediately condemned that Tweet — ScottMadin, Amaditalks, everyone who re-tweeted their condemnations — because it’s not what we stand for and it’s not what we want.

But I also know what the people talking to me are saying. They’re saying a lot worse than “kill yourself” — which, by the way, is what Keith Olbermann once told a very annoying-sounding critic to do, and that was an actual news story, Keith Olbermann telling some random guy “kill yourself” in an e-mail, so it’s not a phrase he’s unfamiliar with and maybe that Tweeter wasn’t either – a lot of the time. And when I said that Keith Olbermann fans were telling me to kill myself, were making fun of me for having survived a sexual assault, were threatening us all with rape, well? He asked for examples. One word: “Examples?” Directed @ me.

So I gave him examples. Even though these posts were being tagged #MooreandMe, so he could see them, even though they were often including @KeithOlbermann tags, so he could see them, even though I’d RT’d one “example” five seconds before reporting that people were recommending that I kill myself and making fun of me for surviving a sexual assault in Keith Olbermann’s name and he was apparently looking at my Twitter feed when I posted that and thus able to see the “example,” I promptly sat down and I created links and I replied to Keith Olbermann with multiple links, and names, of some of the more especially egregious examples. I could give him more: I’ve been taking screen shots, I have over a dozen goddamned screen shots, in case one of the really scary ones — one of the ones that said they wanted me to cry, that sex with an unconscious person wasn’t rape, that “our pussies belonged to them,” that we weren’t really rape — turns out to be an actual, physical threat to me. And his response? To me saying something, and his asking me to prove it, and my replying with absolute goddamned proof that it was happening?

Seriously, if anybody is suggesting anybody in this stupidfest called #mooreandme kill themselves or anybody else, STOP

Don’t look at “stupidfest,” although it’s funny. Don’t look at “anybody,” don’t look at “stop.” Look at the word I’ve explicitly highlighted: “If.” Keith Olbermann asked for proof that something was happening to me, and I gave Keith Olbermann proof that it was indeed happening to me, and he responded by talking about how it would be bad if, if, if it was happening.

We’re protesting rape culture. We’re protesting rape apologism. We’re protesting the silencing of rape victims; we’re protesting a society that automatically disbelieves and seeks to discredit women who report assaults. We’re protesting all of that. And do you want to know what rape culture, rape apologism, the silencing and discrediting of women who report attacks on them, looks like? It looks like you telling a man that you’ve been attacked, and him asking you for proof that you’ve been attacked, and you providing him with that proof — actual, verifiable, indisputable proof, not just a little of it, but multiple proofs, if you are lucky enough to have them — that it happened to you, and that man responding to you with the word if.” “If” it happened. “If” it is happening. When you have just given him proof that it happened, it happens, it is happening right now.

None of us in #MooreandMe doubted that Keith Olbermann had been told to kill himself. None of us did. When we saw proof, we believed it, and we condemned it instantly. We never dehumanized him to such an extent that we would refuse to believe him if he was being verbally assaulted, and we never hesitated to say that verbally assaulting Keith Olbermann was wrong. We were not hypocrites. But when I told Keith Olbermann I was being attacked, he asked for proof, and I gave it, and I said I had more proof I could give him, and he still refused to acknowledge it, he still talked about “if.”

THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT RAPE CULTURE CONSISTS OF. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE PROTESTING. That’s when he didn’t just do it to the Assange accusers — though I stand for their right to allege rape without being assaulted, attacked, harassed, or smeared, and know that what they are going through is far worse than what I am going through — and he didn’t just do it to all of the women who he scared into silence by making an example of those two Assange accusers, he did it, literally and specifically, to me. I told him about an attack, I proved the attack, and he said the attack would be bad “if.” “If” it was real. “If” I weren’t just being hysterical and making it up. WHEN KEITH OLBERMANN KNEW IT WAS REAL, Keith Olbermann said “if.”

I will never, for the rest of my life, financially or vocally support anything Keith Olbermann stands to profit from. I hear he’s not a fan of me smoking, he’s an anti-smoking advocate, smoking is “suicidal” and anti-feminist and somehow as bad as rape, and you know, here’s a promise for you: If Keith Olbermann gives a full retraction, apology, and financial support — not even naming a number, he could send them $5 he found in between the couch cushions — then I will do something for him. I will quit smoking if Keith Olbermann does those three things. No matter how hard it is, I’ll quit. Because I know he won’t do it; I know I will never have to quit smoking. Because Keith Olbermann chose a side. He chose a side, and the side was silencing women who report attacks, disbelieving them automatically. He chose a side, and the side he chose was rape apologism.

I don’t want Keith Olbermann’s apology. I wouldn’t accept it. I don’t want his money, though rape crisis centers could use it. I want Keith Olbermann to stand as an example: For the rest of our lives, when we talk about women being attacked, and not being believed by the media, I want us all to be able to cite, as our chief and most obvious example, Keith Olbermann and the “if.” Because that’s rape culture, ladies and gents. Given that I told him where to find a man explicitly making a rape threat against me and the #MooreandMe protesters, and what that rape threat was, and who had made it, and at whom, that is literally and specifically a prime and self-evident example of rape culture and rape apologism, right there.

“Examples?” Examples. “If.”

Last night was the longest night. The night I realized that a man whose job was to tell the truth simply would not tell it. The night that I realized I could prove beyond a doubt that I had been attacked, to Keith Olbermann, and he would still act as if I hadn’t been; the night I realized how little this champion of WikiLeaks and freedom and transparency and the Internet and truth is willing to report or observe or honor the truth, when it comes to women who report being assaulted.

But the longest night is over. The whole solstice thing, I mean: It’s over. And so is the other stuff. Do you know what comes after the longest night?

The light comes back. The nights get shorter. The darkness rolls back. We are still protesting @MMFlint, hashtag #MooreandMe, because even though Michael Moore is now recommending charitable organizations to donate to and miraculously not mentioning any rape crisis centers, we have reason to believe that he’s better than this. That he can say, “I got the facts wrong; they’re a matter of public record now, and I was wrong about them, and I care about the truth, so I’m sorry.” We have reason to believe that he’s better. It’s why we’re protesting: We thought he was better. We believed in him. And maybe he really is better; maybe this time, whatever level of faith we have in Michael Moore wasn’t grossly misplaced. Because we misplaced our faith, drastically, when we placed any level of faith in Keith Olbermann. He’s been given his ability to make a correction; he’s been given his chance to make a real and direct and complete apology. He made another choice. May God help him, because I don’t plan to.

We also have one person in the progressive media that we have every reason to believe in: One person we all love, that we think is the best thing to happen to the progressive media and to women in the media since God knows when, one person who hasn’t screwed up on this story yet, one person we trust and respect and have never felt betrayed by, in regard to this story. One person whose work we can support, financially and vocally, because we can trust that it wouldn’t include minimizing or misrepresenting or flat-out enabling harm done to us while denying the harm is being done, if she found that convenient. And Keith Olbermann will do that. He did it to the Assange accusers; he did it to all of us; he did it, literally and specifically, to me. We have Rachel Maddow. And she is going to be interviewing Michael Moore.

Forget Keith Olbermann. He was never at the center of this protest — he just tried to make himself the center of it, for whatever Godforsaken reason, and he fooled a lot of people into thinking that this was not about rape or rape culture or rape survivors but about the personal Feelings Journal of Keith Olbermann, The Man Too Delicate To Make Factual Corrections. Michael Moore is at the center of this protest, because we still believe in him. We still believe in Rachel Maddow, and she is interviewing him.

What I am asking you to do, today, is to write the most respectful, kind, and reasonable Tweets you have ever written in your entire life. Direct them at @maddow, hashtag #MooreandMe. Tell Rachel Maddow how much we respect her, and what big fans we are — feminist bloggers, particularly, tend to be embarrassingly big fans of Rachel Maddow, so that should be easy — and how much we would like her to address #MooreandMe in her interview with Michael Moore. Not to pat his back, not to give him a chance to air some whining about it — we’ve got Keith Olbermann, for male whining on behalf of inaccuracy — but to ask him the hard questions. Why he hasn’t responded, why he got it wrong. Don’t pressure her, bully her, intimidate her: Show her, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this is newsworthy, that she can be the journalist to break #MooreandMe and to get Michael Moore’s answer to an ongoing and large controversy.

We placed our faith in Keith Olbermann. We were wrong. We placed our faith in Michael Moore. We may or may not have been wrong about that, too. But we need to talk to Rachel Maddow. As a journalist, as a woman, we need to believe that she is still doing this right. That she’s not there to promote the agenda she finds convenient, but to report the truth, whatever it may turn out to be, and no matter what the cost.


  1. K. wrote:

    I just sent the sweetest 138 character tweet to Rachel about tonight’s interview & checked the #MooreandMe tag to see what other people have been saying to her. I really, really hope that she’s listening. I never really “got” Keith (though in the thick of the George W. Bush years, my mother was a big fan), but Rachel? Rachel means something to me & it would break my heart to see her becoming complicit in the bad case of rape culture/apologism that seems to be making the “journalistic” rounds.

    I haven’t said/done much/anything in relation to #MooreandMe in the interests of self care, but thank you so much, Sady, for continuously putting yourself out there, for monitoring this discussion and keeping us all posted on twitter, tumblr, etc. As someone who is not in a place where they feel they can engage safely, it means so much to see you & so many others stepping up & continuing to force this issue in the face of so much hostility.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Permalink
  2. drst wrote:

    FYI, contact info from the Maddow Blog for those who want to expand off Twitter (please do so politely and respectfully!):

    Contact us

    * (We read our mail.)

    Follow us on Twitter

    * @Maddow is Rachel’s personal account.
    * @MaddowGuestList announces who’s booked for the show each day.
    * @MaddowAux alerts followers when the video playlist has been updated.
    * @producerguy1 is executive producer Bill Wolff.
    * @MaddowBlog tweets links and other blog content.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink
  3. Jessica wrote:

    In my very first journalism class, as a freshman in high school, the first thing we were taught, even before, you know, “Thou shalt endeth every news article with a quote” and stuff, was to SEEK TRUTH AND REPORT IT. Closely followed by Treat Your Sources Like People and If You Make Mistakes, Correct Them.

    I realized pretty quickly that we were talking about a platonic ideal of journalism that hardly ever existed in the natural world, but I never understood WHY it didn’t exist. I still don’t. I don’t understand why Moore and Olbermann are so defensive, what they’re thinking, why it’s so hard to say “I’m sorry”.

    Olbermann was one of the few people in the media I trusted. He might have been abrasive and kind of laughable, but I thought he could be trusted not to LIE.

    Apparently not–he didn’t tell the truth, he didn’t correct his mistakes, he definitely didn’t treat Assange’s accusers like people. Those are cardinal sins against journalism right there, from someone I never expected to commit them.

    That’s why I’ve lost all respect for him… and why I’m really nervous about watching the Rachel Maddow Show tonight.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Permalink
  4. Lauren wrote:

    I think Keith Olbermann is just pissed off this was more about Michael Moore than him in the first place.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  5. Done. I really hope she takes him to task. And I’m sad I won’t be able to watch Countdown anymore, but c’est la vie. I refuse to support rape apologists.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink
  6. Princess R wrote:

    Thank you Sady. I have struggled for a long time with how to find my voice around rape culture. With how to speak truth, and with addressing it even with those close to me.

    I am trying to hope there’s still someone to believe in. It hurts to be let down by the people I looked up to because I thought they’d tell the truth (lookin’ right at Keith there!), but I hope Michael Moore is better than that. And I still believe in Maddow.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Permalink
  7. Aoede wrote:

    Thank you for continuing to document this. It’s easy to lose track in the heat of the moment, and it’s good to have a reminder — directed to us, to newcomers, to doubters, to everyone — of what this is about and why we’re not satisfied.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
  8. cara wrote:

    “He chose a side, and the side was silencing women who SUPPORT attacks, disbelieving them automatically.”

    Was that supposed to be “report”, instead of “support”? Sorry if my lazy winter brain is somehow just reading the sentence wrong.

    More importantly, thank you. for all of this, and much more. i signed up for twitter, just for this.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Permalink
  9. Craig Ranapia wrote:

    Another thought: Maddow is an out lesbian in an on-air role in a major “mainstream” media outlet.

    I suspect she knows better than most how media perpetuates and enables sexism/misogyny. How women are silenced and marginalised by institutional sexism and lesbophobia.

    Well, it also enables and perpetuates rape culture. It silences and matrginalises survivors — not only of rape, but domestic violence and sexual harassment — in ways blatant and subtle I don’t need to man-splain any reader of this blog on.

    Maddow’s got a chance to step up and speak real truth to power. I’m praying she takes it.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Permalink
  10. Sady wrote:

    @Cara: Yes, yes it was! I wrote this at like 4 AM. And note how easily I make the correction!

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Permalink
  11. Zavi wrote:

    Sady, you are MADE of win.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Permalink
  12. Trish W wrote:

    Hi everyone,

    I’m at work right now so I sent off an e-mail to the Rachel Maddow show instead. This makes me nervous as well, we really need this ball in our court!

    I just have this feeling that KO didn’t want to admit that he was wrong. You could see his unbreakable ego throughout the whole campaign. The silencing tactics against us were awful.

    Once again, since I’m at work I can’t directly quote, but I sent off a tweet that said something along the lines of “You can take rape allegations seriously and support wikileaks. #mooreandme”

    He replied with “I do take them seriously”

    So I responded again saying “Then retract the false information you published!” but I never recieved another response.

    Then again I might have now…but I doubt it.

    Everyone’s been doing really great. The support system has been awesome throughout this whole thing. Keep it up!

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Permalink
  13. Lishra wrote:

    Another fabulous post, Sady. Yesterday, I did a Special Comment of my own regarding Olbermann’s extra-long tweet… complete with a stern ‘sir’ here and there, of course.

    This is totally the year in which we lose “progressive” allies, isn’t it? Hence why I’m so nervous about Rachel’s interview tonight. Eep.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Permalink
  14. Amadi wrote:

    My only fear in bringing Rachel Maddow into the loop is that we may be disappointed. MSNBC bosses are, as we’ve come to know recently, rather strenuous about protecting their brand. Rachel may be under orders to keep shtum because calling Moore to account on this will, by connection, implicate Keith. I hate to see us getting our hopes up for Rachel to blow this apart when she may have no choice in the matter, as much as we’d love to see otherwise.

    Meanwhile, keep on keeping on Sady. You’re doing G-d’s work.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink
  15. Jenny wrote:

    The assange allegations:

    In the post he links, Moore admits he’s just as confused as everyone else, so there’s still hope for you convincing him.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Permalink
  16. kpants wrote:

    Olbermann says he’s already repudiated the Bianca Jagger link. For those who’s he’s blocked (like me) but do not have an alternate way to read his public stream, I will quote the relevant tweets with timestamps:

    (1)”@MMFlint @KeithOlbermann All we want is a retraction, and recognition from you that your words were irresponsible and misguided. #mooreandme
    about 2 hours ago via web
    Retweeted by 2 people

    (2)”.@grebnekkah what I don’t get is that I repudiated the linked article weeks back when the author was alleged to have been a holocaust denier
    about 2 hours ago via Twittelator in reply to grebnekkah

    Does anyone know if this is true, and where/when he did so? Obviously, I would ask him directly, but I was blocked a while back and am unable to do so personally.

    And if he did do that already, I don’t know why he didn’t mention that forever ago in answer to the tweet that I believe got me blocked –!/silentkpants/status/16947120003096577

    Nevertheless, if he DID specifically repudiate it, I do want him to “get credit” for that. That would be an important gesture, since offering corrections of erroneous information is part of what’s being asked.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink
  17. nikolina wrote:

    for most oy my 14 years i have been very sheltered from the ideals of feminism and the travesty that is rape. i have begun to read this blog and other feminist centered blog so that i might educate myself some more and perhaps try to begin to understand rape-culture and rape-apologists. unfortunately it seems to be progressing to far for even me to catch up. thank you sady for informing me and hopefully other naive people about the lies, hypocrisy and bullshit and how we can fight back.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink
  18. Other Becky wrote:

    KPants — classically enough, he repudiated it with an “if”. “If the author of that article is a holocaust denier, I repudiate him and what he wrote, and apologize for retweeting the link” Tues Dec 07 2010 18:30:07 EST

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink
  19. GGeek wrote:

    Nothing in that “repudiation” that’s an apology for linking to an article that named the accusers, though. Way to miss the point, Keith.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Permalink
  20. Keith Olbermann’s supposed repudiation of the Bianca Jagger link:

    @mcmoynihan If the author of that article is a holocaust denier, I repudiate him and what he wrote, and apologize for retweeting the link 4:30 PM Dec 7th via web in reply to mcmoynihan Retweeted by 11 people

    Keith Olbermann

    Link directly to the screenshot (b/c I’m too tired to html it):

    There’s that damned “if” again.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Permalink
  21. kpants wrote:

    Other Becky – thank you! Much appreciated.

    I don’t understand his persistent use of the conditional even in instances where it undermines his positions. I really don’t. However…

    Keith Olbermann, if you’re reading this: despite my strong dislike of your equivocating “if,” I apologize for not recognizing you for that, and I sincerely thank you for making that effort.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
  22. intransigentia wrote:

    Thank you Sady and associated Twitter-activists for fighting the good fight.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Permalink
  23. Ennu wrote:

    I really love Rachel Maddow. I’m a big fan. She is literally the only cable news (or fake news) host I still care about. But, I am just not holding out any hope that she will ask him about the misinformation he gave or even mention #MooreandMe. She’s friends with both of these men and I can’t see her positioning herself against them on this. It has been cast as an “Us vs. Them” by Olbermann already instead of what it is–progressives demanding that their fellow progressives uphold true progressive values and not just abandon them when they become inconvenient. I hope like hell I’m wrong, but I have pretty much lost all optimism at this point.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Permalink
  24. chaos wrote:

    In addition to being a rape apologist, I would bet Olbermann won’t take you up on your offer because even his anti-smoking stance isn’t really that strong. He seems to be the type of person who doesn’t really have the courage to stand behind his convictions. After all, you would think as a journalist he might respect or even revere the craft, yet he’s totally sold it out to sensationalism and flat-out lies.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink
  25. Katie wrote:

    The darkness rolls back– that made me cry.
    This does too . . . “A Change is Gonna Come” – vox by Mia Zapata, raped and murdered in 1993.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Permalink
  26. Jenny North wrote:

    THANK YOU for not giving up, for being so goddamned vigilant and articulate about it all.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Permalink
  27. Niveau wrote:

    The whole ‘smoking = anti-feminist’ thing a)was completely nonsensical and b)really bothered me, and I couldn’t figure out why.

    But then I was like, oh, yeah, women’s bodily autonomy! Way to respect that, Keith! In a conversation about rape culture! Hahaha how funny!

    Seriously, though, thank you for all the good work you’ve done on this so far, Sady.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Permalink
  28. Sir wrote:

    It was probably too late by the time I sent it, but I emailed the show and politely asked her to give #Mooreandme a bigger voice and a chance for satisfaction. Here’s hoping.

    Sady, you rock. Thank you. Never give up!

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Permalink
  29. Andrea Kiepe wrote:

    Hi Sady, sorry I don’t know another way to contact you.

    I’m a member of the anti-war and generally lefty group the World Can’t Wait and they’ve moved from generally supporting Assange to straight up rape apology on their Facebook page. I’ve been waging a mini-war with them on FB over this over the past few weeks.

    They keep taking down my posts calling for the charges to be taken seriously and for MM and KO to apologize and are now openly mocking feminists.
    A most recent example (I’d give you more, but they keep removing them):
    “Why are people more concerned of rape allegations against Assange than the fact that 1 in 3 women in the military are raped. Reminds me of when some feminists supported us invasion of Afghanistan in the name of liberating women”

    I’ve been a member of theirs for years, and this is the thanks I get. Any ideas or help from you or your readers would be appreciated.


    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink
  30. Ennu wrote:

    Well, I was sorta wrong? I mean, she didn’t specifically mention #MoreandMe, but she did say the whole thing had “blown up” and made no bones about how important it was to be respectful of these women. At least that part made me really happy. And Michael Moore now says rape charges must always be taken seriously, so that’s good news. Still wish he would apologize for laughing at them and retract misinformation, though.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Permalink
  31. Julia wrote:

    Sady, I wish I could find the right words as easily as you. You do it so succinctly and help me re-organize my thoughts/emotions around this.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Permalink
  32. Karen wrote:

    Keith Olbermann is just a bully. Sometimes I think I like him when both we’re righteously angry and he’s on the same side as I am, but I think that’s a weakness that I have. It’s only when it turns towards me and all women who think that rape charges should be taken seriously even if they accuse someone whose political behavior some of us may agree with and certainly don’t want to see become a political prisoner of wrongdoing that it becomes very clear that bullies suck. I feel like I’ve grown from this experience and I truly enjoyed and am proud of having played my small part in something larger that I believe in.

    Thanks for the empowerment and leadership, Sady!

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Permalink
  33. Sady wrote:

    @Andrea: Gimme the link? I’m glad to publicize it, to show this is a fight we need to keep on fighting.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Permalink
  34. shana wrote:

    been lurking for close to a year now…this here, what YOU did. awesome! so inspiring! you are my hero sady doyle

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 11:15 pm | Permalink
  35. Agnes wrote:

    @Andrea… UGH. I absolutely HATE the “why are people more concerned about x than y” tactic: derailment 101. More than one thing can be important. People can have different axes of concern.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Permalink
  36. Courtney wrote:

    Thank you so very much, Sady Fucking Doyle. Just in case you haven’t heard it enough in the past week–you are an amazing person. I cannot even begin to imagine the personal fortitude this protest has required, and I wanted you to know that I appreciate what you are doing.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Permalink
  37. Unmana wrote:

    Thank you, Sady. You give us all hope.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 3:21 am | Permalink
  38. Wednesday wrote:

    I am going to say thank you every day, Sady, to remind you what a difference you’re making.

    Much love,

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 4:34 am | Permalink
  39. Craig Ranapia wrote:

    Karen@32: QFT. I’m as guilty as anyone of giving a pass to crap that would usually bring out the pitchfork of righteous indignation — as long as its coming from my “side” or an “ally”. About the only positive thing to come out of #MooreandMe personally, is that it has forced me to be more conscious and self-critical of the ways I privilege and exclude.

    Niveayu@27: QFT, again. As a friend puts it: “My body, your fucking opinion neither required nor welcome.” KO ranting about Sady Doyle’s avatar was a textbook derail misdirectdidrect from his behaviour. But, hell, the man-tronising “you’re a BAD FEMINIST” concern-troll was astoundingly tone-deaf.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 6:06 am | Permalink
  40. Samantha B. wrote:

    From the small blurb of transcript on Maddow’s blog, she is extremely cogent on the problems here. I quite like the, “It doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker,” line- a very pithy statement on how Moore-ian progressives have been approaching this. She almost makes me want to watch tv again, but, then, no. Major, major, major noisy kudos to both Ms. Rachel and Ms. Sady. Thanks, fabulous ladies.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 6:40 am | Permalink
  41. Crass wrote:

    Sady Fucking Doyle = Joan of Fucking Arc!

    Seriously, you are a hero for taking this on. Women’s voices are important – it’s a bit frightening how quickly our supposedly progressive male lefties throw us under a bus when it suits them. Truth to power!

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 8:25 am | Permalink
  42. Dave Kielpinski wrote:

    Sady, you are doing the right thing. Please don’t give up.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 8:56 am | Permalink
  43. Ashley wrote:

    Thank you Sady. Keep going.

    In the end, I think it will be good for social justice activists to know how the mainstream media works, even when it is the “left” of the mainstream media. We need to understand that they lie–really lie, not just choose facts that suit their agenda. The total disillusionment is rough, but then we can be clear-headed about strategy.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 8:57 am | Permalink
  44. carovee wrote:

    Thank you, Sady, for this amazing protest. I don’t tweet, and honestly trying to read them makes my head hurt, but I wanted to add to the chorus of voices that are hopefully giving you some comfort and strength.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink
  45. Luisa wrote:

    Hey, I’m not sure if you’ll ever get the chance to read this, and I’d never found your blog until now (a very good friend of mine linked me to it, and I’m really glad she did), but I think what you’re doing is so brave and I wish even half of us had the courage to do it. That’s not coming out as genuine as I’d like, and I wish I had better words, less cliché and less casual, to express how in awe I am of the fact that you’re doing this and how necessary and beautiful and extraordinary I think it is. Please don’t back down, no matter what happens, and know that you’ve got all the support in the world, even when it doesn’t feel that way. Be brave.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 10:07 am | Permalink
  46. Sady, you’re a role model. :)

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 10:24 am | Permalink
  47. Andrea Kiepe wrote:

    Their website is here:

    But the debate has been happening on their Facebook page, which you can find by searching their name.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 10:33 am | Permalink
  48. carovee wrote:

    So I just watched the interview with Michael Moore. For people who have seen it, what do you think? Not exactly an apology but at least he admitted that the charges should be taken seriously even if the timing is a wee convenient for wikileak foes.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 10:34 am | Permalink
  49. Kathy wrote:

    Just stopping by to say this whole week has been incredibly inspiring. I don’t have much to add that hasn’t already been said, but thank you.

    “I mean, she didn’t specifically mention #MoreandMe, but she did say the whole thing had “blown up” and made no bones about how important it was to be respectful of these women.”

    I did a little fist pump when she said that. To be honest, as much as I respect Rachel, I didn’t know what to expect. I liked her reasoned, nuanced take on Wikileaks overall.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink
  50. Today I was having a conversation with someone who’s quite cynical about blogging; he was saying that he believes that activist blogs reach only a small percentage of the population, and the majority of people are unlikely to benefit from their messages. As part of the discussion, we were talking about examples of blogs that have a real emotional impact on the world, even beyond the blogosphere, and I cited you, and this campaign, and the Rachel Maddow show, and the support this campaign has given to survivors and the way survivors and allies have been sharing it with their friends, starting conversations which ripple out into the world. Sady Doyle, you are fucking amazing, and I just wanted you to know that you are having a real, true and powerful impact on the world, and want to thank you for fighting.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 10:41 am | Permalink
  51. This whole fiasco is separating the principled activists from the hero-worshipping wannabes of the “women should be seen and not heard” set.

    Keep your head (and your cigs) held high, Sady; I could only hope I would be half as strong as you in the face of the crapflood.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 10:47 am | Permalink
  52. Loquamani wrote:

    @Crass – Sady’s great, but let’s keep her from being burned at the stake, please!!!

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 10:47 am | Permalink
  53. Arthur wrote:

    “But the longest night is over. The whole solstice thing, I mean: It’s over. And so is the other stuff. Do you know what comes after the longest night?

    The light comes back. The nights get shorter. The darkness rolls back.”

    Did you convert to Wicca all of a sudden? (kidding) That’s our whole symbolism for the Winter Solstice. It’s a celebration, knowing that things have to get as dark as possible, but then that’s when things get better.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink
  54. alice wrote:

    thank you. thank you for everything you do and everything you have done and everything you continue to do. i gave up on being a journalist a long time ago, because i could see just how much “journalistic integrity” meant in a world full of keith olbermanns and worse, but i am so, so grateful YOU haven’t. thank you for telling to truth, and thank you for calling out “journalists” who don’t tell the truth, and thank you for not giving up.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 11:50 am | Permalink
  55. hayesmary wrote:

    Delurking to say Thank you, Sady.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Permalink
  56. RachelW wrote:

    Sady, I was reading Sarah Schulman’s “Ties that Bind” last night, and immediately thought of you and #mooreandme when I read the following line, so I wanted to share it:
    “Resistance gets falsely pegged as the inappropriate behavior because it results in discomfort for the perpetrator.” – Sarah Schulman

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Permalink
  57. Tyler Healey wrote:


    You are one hell of a writer! Thanks for standing up for truth.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink
  58. Esme wrote:

    I just keep thinking about Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh tells lies, and says horrific things, and we all cringe, and we ask, why does no one on the right condemn him? We ask how people can support him, why no one holds his feet to the fire.

    And then things like this happen. The 2008 primary was very eye-opening for me, as I think it was for a lot of us, about the liberal portions of the media, and their willingness to bend the truth, to say appalling things, to suggest violence against a woman for the crime of staying in a primary until it was time to choose a nominee. Olbermann said things that disgusted me. I changed the channel, changed the subject. But now is like those times, when we’ve turned to our conservative friends, and asked them why they say nothing when Limbaugh opens his mouth.

    Keith Olbermann has told us lies, to advance his agenda, one which excludes rape victims from the equation. It is our duty, as liberals, to condemn, and to point this out and at the top of our lungs scream that THIS IS WRONG, this is not what we stand for, this is not, and will never be, acceptable.

    And I thank you, Sady, for your work, physically and emotionally.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink
  59. GallingGalla wrote:

    Sady, thank you thank you thank you for everything that you have done regarding #mooreandme and holding MM and KO accountable for their actions.

    I’m sorry that I’ve contributed so little to this effort (a few tweets here and there), but I’ve had to take care of myself through all this. I’m a rape survivor and I’ve had to limit my involvement to avoid being triggered (and I was triggered anyway).

    I donated a bit of money to RAINN (before I knew of their problem wrt trans folk); when I get some more money in, I’ll donate to some of the QUILTBAG-affirming orgs that have been linked.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Permalink
  60. Agnes wrote:

    I’m curious, as a non-twitter user. Harrasment HAS to be against the TOS; does anyone have any stories of going through official twitter channels to complain this week? Was there any sort of response if you did?

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink
  61. Sady wrote:

    @Agnes: One Twitter user, the biggest and most dedicated and most overtly threatening troll, had (one of) his accounts suspended, that I know of; I know people, including me, complained. But their harassment policy is really weird and weak; it seems to only apply in the case of, like, spam and direct personal threats of physical violence, although they say that in the case of those threats of physical violence, your best option is STILL to call the cops. And I heard from a Twitter employee, and know that there’s at least one person on that team who was part of #MooreandMe and worked to support it. But their harassment policy is pretty darn incomplete, it would seem.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink
  62. Tyler Healey wrote:


    The misinformation out there about you is growing, particularly in Tracy Clark-Flory’s comments section.

    People, but not all of us, suck.

    Hang tough. Right makes might.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink
  63. Citizen Taqueau wrote:

    This is kick ass. You are inspiring as hell. Thank you for not giving up.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Permalink
  64. Emmy wrote:

    Thank you for not dropping this, Sady. I’ve never commented before but I wanted to say something now. (Also I love this blog.)

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 11:41 pm | Permalink
  65. Crass wrote:

    Yes, I hope Sady’s less combustible than St Joan!

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 7:53 am | Permalink