updated 5/25/2005 7:51:15 PM ET 2005-05-25T23:51:15

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Quran confusion — It is hard to imagine an American news broadcast of four years ago including both the word "Quran," and the abbreviation "Gitmo"... let alone combining those words, along with references to the International Red Cross, in its coverage of an story that evidently will not go away.  In 2002 and 2003, the Red Cross reported to the American military that terror detainees at Gitmo had complained that U.S. interrogators had desecrated the Quran — including putting it in a toilet.  The organization also revealed today that to its knowledge, the American military responded correctly, and they haven't gotten any more complaints from the detainees.  If only the Muslim world were so satisfied because the Newsweek retraction has done little to quell the controversy .

First Lady of damage control — No matter on whom you want to pin the damage, this country's government is in active damage-control mode in the Muslim world.  Yesterday, it was White House press secretary Scott McClellan suggesting that the editors of Newsweek appear on Arab television networks to explain what happened to their Gitmo story.  Tomorrow the damage-control will be a little more hands-on, from a White House point of view.  First Lady Laura Bush has already departed for a previously scheduled — and fortuitously timed — three-stop tour of the Middle East.  She'll go to Israel and Egypt, Amman and Jordan.  Tomorrow she will attend the World Economic Forum.  Though it doesn’t appear economics will end up the focus of the trip.

Jackson — Presiding Judge in the Michael Jackson trial Rodney Melville heard the talk show legend Larry King’s testimony today .  While the jury wasn’t present at the time, King was called to impeach the testimony of the accuser's mother — saying he'd been told by attorney Larry Feldman she was quote, "whacko" and "in this for the money."  (Note: the word "Whacko" finally came up on the record — only it's not used to precede the word "Jacko”).  Feldman was approached by the family in 2003 — he previously represented Jackson's 1993 accuser — and testified earlier in this case, for the prosecution.  Judge Melville ruled Larry King's testimony irrelevant, the attorney, he said, never directly quoted the accuser's mother.  Buh-bye, Larry.

Trooper hit — It was noted here the other night that a lot of networks base the entirety of their news on "things that could kill you" — predators, politicians, whatever.  You know — networks like that 1984 Channel, the one with Bill O'Reilly.  Well, many newscasts are also secretly devoted to the topic heading: Really Bad Things That Happened To Somebody Else and not You.  Only, as our correspondent Kevin Tibbles reports , the hardest to believe part of the tale from just north of St. Paul, Minnesota is that it had a happy ending.

Hall of Fame: legends — We are nearly to the end of Countdown's Hall of Fame Week.  We have already shown you the Wing Of Stupid Traditions, the Livestock and Other Animals Exhibit, and of course, the giant glowing tableau of Star Wars Geeks.  Still to come, the Countdown Hall of Fame's Greatest Story Ever Told...And tonight — it's the Hall of Fame Pantheon of Legends, honoring those individuals whose singularity of achievement, or stupidity, or obscenity, has earned them newscast immortality.


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