Olbermann to Apologize for Giuliani Miscue

Keith Olbermann plans to apologize Friday night on his MSNBC show for criticisms he leveled at Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani based on a mishearing of a Giuliani quote from a campaign speech.

That's according to an MSNBC spokeswoman, who said Olbermann would air the correction and apologize on his Friday-night show.

Olbermann had taken aim at Giuliani on a segment of Tuesday night's Countdown program. He said Giuliani "accuse[d] the Democrats of coddling [Osama] bin-Laden and [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad a year before the election, and Giuliani is already publicly contending that the Democrats are willing to invite Osama bin-Laden to the White House to negotiate. Sure they are, buster."

Olbermann then played a clip of Giuliani mocking Democratic candidates Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for saying that they would invite Ahmadinejad and [Syrian president Bashar al-Assad] to the White House.

But Olbermann heard "Assad" as "Osama" and attacked Giuliani for either lying or engaging in hyperbole for suggesting that the Democrats would invite a terrorist to the White House, with guest Ariana Huffington adding her criticism of Giuliani as a "thug" and a "tyrant.”

Olbermann was not the only one to get it wrong. The AP also issued a correction for misreporting the comments.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.