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Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Utah state Sen. Chris Buttars speaks in session back in February.

Chris Buttars is just getting more and more famous these days.

Not that that's a good thing.

The Utah state senator from West Jordan made it on MSNBC's "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" on Tuesday. As a matter of fact, he was at the the top of the list of that show's No. 2 story — the daily "Worst Person in the World" countdown.

As you might guess, what got the Republican state senator on the list was his introduction of a resolution calling on Utah retailers not to "exclude Christmas from your holiday greetings." And, while Olbermann didn't quite get it right — he confused a resolution (which cannot be enforced) with a law (which can), the host attacked Buttars with his usual gusto.

Heck, Buttars beat out frequent Olbermann target Bill O'Reilly, who contradicted himself on whether there has been abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and the Virginia Republican state chairman who told his people to compare Barack Obama to Osama bin Laden (and now has blamed the media for reporting that he did so) to finish on top of the "Worst Person" list.

"'I'm sick of the Christmas wars,"'Olbermann quoted Buttars as saying. "'We're a Christian nation and ought to use the word.' Mr. Buttars does not explain how the law would encourage store owners to have their employees use the phrase.

"He claims he has support from other Utah state senators but can't or won't name them. And he's apparently not realized that if he could somehow pass a law encouraging people to say, 'Merry Christmas' in stores, somebody else could pass a law encouraging people to say, 'Merry Christmas' in synagogues or mosques.

"Utah state senator Chris the-character-on-'Southpark'-is-just-a-coincidence Buttars — today's worst person in the world!"

One more example of how Utah and Utahns are portrayed in the national media.

All in all, it's rather predictable. Buttars' resolution is the kind of thing that's an easy target and provides the ammunition for Olbermann's gun.


OF COURSE, SOMETIMES people shoot at you for no reason whatsoever.

On Tuesday's edition of ABC's "The View," the women were discussing/mocking New York Giants star Plaxico Burress, who shot himself in the leg with his own gun at a nightclub.

The discussion turned to where he had the gun and how it came to fire.

"What kind of underwear you wearin' that your gun falls out your underwear?" panelist Sherri Shepherd asked.

"It was like the Mormons," interjected Joy Behar out of nowhere. She went on to make a derogatory comment about the underclothing that faithful members of the LDS Church wear, adding "Maybe it was one of those."

Shepherd, Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Barbara Walters all laughed.

Where the heck did that come from? It had absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand. And, gee, the women of "The View" seemed to think that mocking something sacred to members of a religion was just hilarious.

HERE'S ONE MORE reason why it's so easy to hold Walters in contempt.

The woman is an enormous hypocrite.

Walters recently blew up on the air at Rosie O'Donnell, defending herself and attacking her former "View" employee because it was reported that O'Donnell called her a "liar."

Walters never called out O'Donnell by name, but it was clear who (and what) she was talking about when she said on the air, "There are some people who have done the show and then for years feel they have to dump on it. ... I resent it. If the shoe fits, ladies, get on with your lives!"

Well, there are a couple of things wrong there. First, O'Donnell never used the world "liar" in a teleconference with TV critics and writers. Yes, some media outlets used that word in their report, but I've got the transcript and it's not there.

In response to a direct question asking her opinions about "The View" — which she answered pleasantly and without malice — O'Donnell said, "No matter what, Barbara wants everyone to believe and think and act as if everybody (on 'The View') gets along and is really good friends and happy and hangs out together. And it's just not the reality. I'm not saying they loathe each other. But the fact is, there wasn't a lot of camaraderie off camera there. People don't get together and have dinner once a month, the 'View' ladies. They don't."

That's hardly inflammatory, not coming close to the level that would require some sort of on-air response from Walters. Unless, perhaps, she only read the headlines without bothering to check out what O'Donnell actually said.

And, gee, I thought Walters was supposed to be a journalist.

But what does make this rise to the level of unbelievable hypocrisy is that, back in May, Walters admitted on "Oprah Winfrey" that she lied about why Star Jones was fired from "The View." That she offered to tell any story Jones wanted, that she wanted to spend more time with her husband (whom she is now divorcing) or anything other than the truth. That ABC wanted Jones out because of falling ratings.

And yet Walters told Winfrey she was stunned when Jones accused her of lying.

"Yes, I was lying to protect her," Walters said.

Yes, that would be lying to viewers. Lying. To. Viewers.

First, it's hard to swallow when an admitted liar acts offended when she thinks she's been called a liar.

And, second, given her admission, how can anyone trust anything Walters says about any of the happenings behind the scenes on "The View"?

ANOTHER REASON to hold Walters in contempt is her contribution to the glamming up/dumbing down of television news. And there's no better example of that than her annual "10 Most Fascinating People" special, which airs tonight at 9:01 p.m. on ABC/Ch. 4.

This year's celebrity parade includes Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Michael Phelps, Sarah Palin, Tina Fey, Rush Limbaugh, Miley Cyrus, Thomas Beatie, Frank Langella and so on and so on.

No. 1 on the list is supposed to be a big surprise, but it will only be a surprise if it's not President-elect Barack Obama.

If you're allergic to fluff, avoid this hour.

E-mail: pierce@desnews.com