Dichotomy Of A “Worst Person” Story

Have you even wondered as I have about the people who make Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Persons” list who are not politicians or household names? I confess it is oftentimes my favorite segment on his nightly show on MSNBC.

Tuesday night Olbermann singled out a San Diego County sheriff’s deputy who he said maced and roughly threw to the ground and then handcuffed the hostess of an event at her home where a neighbor complained about loud noises. He made it sound the deputy over-reacted because of political reasons.

Whether the deputy-turned-Rambo did or did not is under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs Division. I checked out the story on the San Diego Union-Tribune’s online website to discover Olbermann’s account, while fair as far as it went, left out enough critical details that I’ll try to fill the gaps.

The unnamed neighbor who called in the noise complaint was said by witnesses to yell obscenities and “loser” at Francine Busby, the perennial Democratic candidate seeking election for the fourth time to the 50th Congressional District, one in which is gerrymandered to all but guarantee a Republican victory. The seat is now held by Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Encinitas) a former surfer and county supervisor who Busby accused was a carpetbagger during the campaign that replaced disgraced Congressman Duke Cunningham.

Busby was addressing through a loud speaker a group of about 30 guests at the Cardiff home of Shari Barman, 60, at about 9:30 p.m. Friday. Among other things, Barman refused to reveal her age to the deputy identified only as deputy Marshall Abbott.

The evening ended in chaos, with sheriff’s cars and a firetruck parked outside, a helicopter circling overhead, a police dog sniffing around, pepper spray in the air and the 60-year-old hostess in handcuffs for refusing to reveal her date of birth to a deputy, according to the newspaper report.

In comments attached to the online story, readers citing newspaper accounts, identified Barman as a known lesbian who assaulted a police officer years ago at San Francisco International Airport. Others complained the behavior of the Sheriff’s deputy was politically motivated because the group was primarily Democratic “liberal” supporters of Busby. These are fighting words in the 50th Congressional District that includes the county’s north coast and affluent Rancho Santa Fe.

Busby herself used the incident to issue a letter to district voters in a plea to raise money for her campaign against Bilbray.

In full disclosure, I was a reporter for the old Evening Tribune for 19 years and personally know Sheriff Bill Kolender and his chief assistant Bill Gore as well as dozens of Democratic activists in the Solana Beach, Caridff, Encinitas and Carlsbad area. I’ve never known the two top law enforcement officers to condone bad police conduct.

Author: JERRY K. REMMERS, TMV Columnist

Jerry Remmers worked 26 years in the newspaper business. His last 23 years was with the Evening Tribune in San Diego where assignments included reporter, assistant city editor, county and politics editor.

Share This Post On

9 Comments

  1. Actually, something worthwhile would be to try to understand the Etiology of Keith Olbermann, whose name is now synonymous with pathological behavior.

  2. I've always wondered about the psychosis of a Keith Olbermann veiwer.

  3. OK, I have to ask, of what possible relevance to what happened are:

    Barman refused to reveal her age to the deputy
    and
    identified Barman as a known lesbian

    I also failed to see one specific incident described or even hinted at that would seem to warrent a response that led to:

    sheriff’s cars and a firetruck parked outside, a helicopter circling overhead, a police dog sniffing around, pepper spray in the air and the 60-year-old hostess in handcuffs for refusing to reveal her date of birth to a deputy

    I despise Olbermann, but on the surface he seems to have gotten this one right.

  4. DLS Please tell me when Olberman stages a stage hand immolation. There is almost nobody doing a show like Firing Line from either the left or right. But high brow doesn't generate ratings like an Olberman or O'Reilly.

  5. “a known lesbian”…am I missing something? What kind of muffin she munches is relevant in what way? I didn't see any reference to this being a “hate crime” against her because of this.

  6. Austin Roth is completely right–there's no obvious reason for this level of response.

    Oh, and Olbermann is just as witless a blowhard as anyone (ie, everyone) you'll find on Fox.

  7. Oh come on. We've all known a hostess that we would like to mace, roughly throw to the ground and handcuff.

    Keep an open mind here people.

  8. “There is almost nobody doing a show like Firing Line from either the left or right.”

    The Charlie Rose show at least used to be worth watching (I haven't seen it in ages).

  9. Add me to the list of people who don’t get the “known lesbian” part? How is this any more relevant than “known brunette”? The back-story of having previously assaulted an officer is very relevant, but the sexual orientation? There doesn’t seem to be any accusation going about that the arrest was motivated by her orientation, so why mention it?
    I’m sure though that there might be another side to the story, or at least that it’s possible that “political motivations” is not a foregone conclusion. That’s what investigations are for, after all.

Submit a Comment