MSNBC's Keith Olbermann named Rush Limbaugh "Worst Person in the World" on Monday for standing by claims the radio host made about President Barack Obama, even though the talk-radio personality knew the claims were based on a satirical Web site.
For promoting claims that had been proven false, Olbermann compared Limbaugh to Orly Taitz, the "birther" lawyer leading the charge to prove that Obama is not a US citizen.
As various news sources have reported, Limbaugh recently cited Obama's "college thesis" to allege the president has an agenda to redistribute Americans' wealth. But the college thesis was a spoof hosted on the satire blog Jumping in Pools.
Limbaugh cited an excerpt from Obama's purported thesis that stated, "The Constitution allows for many things, but what it does not allow is the most revealing. The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned."
"Ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama is seriously dangerous. To say that distribution of wealth is economic freedom is insane," Limbaugh told his audience.
"Nothing -- not even the age-old maxim that if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't -- caused Limbaugh to think even for a second," Olbermann said on MSNBC's Countdown Monday night. "Jumping in Pools is a spoof blog, a satire Web site. It posted its spoof in August. It's now October and nobody has reported the shattering the details."
Added Olbermann: "Thus Limbaugh proved he has neither honesty nor common sense."
But what prompted Olbermann's criticism was that Limbaugh continued to defend the fake college thesis even after he was informed it was fake.
It may have been fake but "we know he thinks it," Limbaugh said on his radio program. "Good comedy, if it's comedy, must contain an element of truth. ... So we stand by the fabricated quote, because we know Obama thinks it anyway."
"Back-pedaling like a bear on a unicycle," Olbermann retorted. "The others who bit on this whopper -- like the National Review, even Lou Dobbs -- rushed quickly away from their embarrassment. But not Rush Limbaugh, or as he might now best be renamed, Orly Taitz."
"Orly Taitz Limbaugh -- today's worst person in the world," Obermann quipped.
This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast Oct. 26, 2009.