Hannity and Olbermann Jump In the Crazy Pool Over Waterboarding

By David Goguen on May 01, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Incident Raises Cable News Hyperbole Threat Level to Orange

We've all been there. One little awkward pause in a conversation and suddenly you're talking about how you wouldn't mind being waterboarded. But when Sean Hannity made that claim on his Fox News show last week, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann jumped on it like, well, like Keith Olbermann jumping on a claim made on a Fox News show.

The issue came up last week when Charles Grodin was a guest on Fox's "Hannity" program, discussing interrogation of suspected terrorists and the controversy over the waterboarding technique. According to the Associated Press, Grodin asked Hannity whether he would allow himself to be waterboarded. Hannity responded "Sure," and said he'd do it "for the troops' families." Right, because watching a television host giggling in a bath tub on a Manhattan soundstage should make up for the whole overseas combat duty thing.

Soon afterward, on his own "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" show, Olbermann offered to donate $1,000 to the families of American soldiers for each second that Hannity endured waterboarding. Speaking directly to Hannity, and upping the stakes in a game where only subtle restraint loses, Olbermann also offered to double the donation "when you admit you feared for your life."

There's been no word as yet from the "Hannity" show in response to Olbermann's offer. At least we're pretty sure nothing else has been said about it. Trying to pay attention through the kaleidoscope of news crawls, promo graphics, and banners has been torture.

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