After MSNBC host Keith Olbermann was briefly suspended for making campaign donations to three Democrats, Philadelphia Daily News Stu Bykofsky columnist wrote a piece about the controversy. Bykofsky sought comment from Olbermann, e-mailing the address firstname.lastname@example.org. Shortly after publishing his column, he receieved a reply. The e-mail, claming to be from Olbermann, insulted Bykofsky, calling him “pathetic” and “beneath contempt.” It went on to insult MSNBC chief Phil Griffin, saying that he isn’t “intellectually qualified” to be Olbermann’s boss. Here is the reply in its entirety:
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, November 08, 2010 2:46 PM
To: Bykofsky, Stu
Subject: RE: [SPAM] From the Philadelphia Daily News
Unfortunately your column (which I just saw) had already run before I read this email. What a shame. I assume you saw the irony in attacking someone for betraying journalism, while you, a self-described journalist, failed to get a single quote from the person you were attacking. Pathetic. Indeed, beneath contempt. How dare you pose as the heir to Murrow.
You didn’t wait for the facts before writing your screed, but for what it’s worth I, unlike you, am a journalist, not a hack. Was I treated fairly by MSNBC? It’s hard to imagine a dumber question, as I don’t work for MSNBC, but for NBC News. As I’ve said publicly before, Phil Griffin is not my boss (thank god), nor is he intellectually qualified to be. Phil pretends otherwise in public. I’m not his shrink, but I assume it makes him feel better. The remarkable thing is that fools like you believe his fantasies. That pleases Phil, but only exposes your ignorance. The proof? I’ll be anchoring on election night 2012, long after Phil Griffin has moved on to a job for which he’s actually qualified, perhaps on QVC.
I hope that clears up your misconceptions.
Bykofsky and “KO” continued to e-mail each other back and forth, and their conversation became more and more hostile. One e-mail supposedly coming from Olbermann told Bykofsky he has the “attention span of an ant,” prompting the Philadelphia columnist to respond that Olbermann must have an “anger-management problem.” The blog Phawker published the e-mails in their entirety, believing that the e-mails coming from Olbermann were authentic.
Yet Yahoo News soon discovered that the e-mails were not from Olbermann at all. In a statement given to the site, MSNBC confirmed that the e-mails were not from their host. “Mr. Bykofsky has been, I would suggest, hoist on his own petard,” Olbermann told Yahoo News.
So who was replying from the address email@example.com? Yahoo News’s Michael Calderone reported this past summer that Tucker Carlson, the editor-in-chief of the conservative blog The Daily Caller, purchased the address. “We want to be the Keith Olbermann superstore,” Carlson said at the time. “We want to be your first and last stop for Keith Olbermann analysis.” In a phone interview with Carlson Tuesday night, Yahoo News confirmed with Carlson that he was behind the emails. “Could you resist?” Carlson told them. “It was just too funny. The flesh is weak.”
Carlson’s juvenile attacks do not reflect well on The Daily Caller. At the time of the Caller’s launch, Carlson wrote that it is “primarily a news site. We see our core job as straightforward: Find out what’s happening and tell you about it. We plan to be accurate, both in the facts we assert and in the conclusions we imply. If we’re not, tell us. We’ll fix it immediately.” One has to wonder how Carlson plans to fix his latest act of deception.