Keith Olbermann announced on Wednesday that he is once again suspending his "Worst Persons In The World" segment.
Olbermann has done so before; he took the segment off the air for a few weeks in November 2010 after Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity.
This time, Olbermann made the announcement in the context of the ongoing controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh and his comments about Sandra Fluke. Many on the right, as well as some Democrats, have decried the campaign against Limbaugh, saying that left-leaning commentators such as Olbermann have made similarly nasty comments about women and have not paid any price for them. Kristen Powers, a Democrat who works for Fox News, wrote a column in the Daily Beast making this argument.
"if Limbaugh's actions demand a boycott--and they do--then what about the army of swine on the left?" Powers wrote.
Olbermann was a prime target of Powers' column. She brought up controversial comments he'd made about Hillary Clinton as well as ones about conservative commentators S.E. Cupp and Michelle Malkin.
In his Wednesday segment, Olbermann addressed those two comments, fervently arguing that neither one had been sexist. After watching Cupp attacking Planned Parenthood, he tweeted in 2011 that Cupp was "a perfect demonstration of the necessity of the work Planned Parenthood does." He said he meant that her parents could have used Planned Parenthood's counseling and family planning services, and denied that he was intimating that he thought she should have been aborted.
"Was it a nice thing to say? No," he said. "Was it sexist? Hardly."
Olbermann also brought up his comments about Malkin. In 2009, he drew fire for likening her to a "big, mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it," something she said was an example of "freak-show misogyny." Olbermann said on Wednesday that his full comment (he said that, without her "fascistic hatred," she would be reduced to a bag of meat) was taken out of context, and was also a reference to the HBO series "Eastbound and Down."
While he maintained that he had not made a sexist comment about either Cupp or Malkin, Olbermann said he would "apologize to them both." Then, he announced that his most famous segment would be benched.
"I'm going to try to raise my standard about not using gratuitously abusive remarks about women, and men," he said. "In fact, I'm going to suspend the Worst Persons segment again, possibly permanently."