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Disenthralling America
September 26, 2006 6:25 AM   Subscribe

Keith Olbermann's Edward R. Murrow* moment: A Textbook Definition of Cowardice. MSNBC's host excoriates Bush, FOX News host Chris Wallace, and the media for its response to former president Clinton's "tantrum" [still being discussed here]. Note: Don't just read the transcript. Watch the video, because Olbermann's use of visuals adds greatly to the power of his presentation. No matter which side of the red/blue-state divide you're on, students of politics and media will be reviewing this clip for years to come as a little cultural watershed -- if only a consummate example of "Democrat" angerTM.
posted by digaman (169 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I agree with Olberman but his invective against other journalists is getting tired. Point out there journalistic failings, but stop calling them names. It detracts from your credibility.
posted by caddis at 6:34 AM on September 26, 2006


Drastic times call for drastic measures. Bush himself has been calling journalists by his demeaning little nicknames for years now, in White House press conferences yet.
posted by digaman at 6:37 AM on September 26, 2006


I guess it's better late than never that somebody in the US media speaks out, but it's a shame it's about two years too late...

I would be willing to bet that this will change nothing in terms of how the US media gives the Bush administration all too easy ride, when in fact, it should be screaming for an impeachment.
posted by tomcosgrave at 6:38 AM on September 26, 2006


Good on Olbermann to stand up when everyone else in his profession is deliberately dropping the ball in exchange for meaningless, scripted-up-the-wazoo "access".
posted by clevershark at 6:41 AM on September 26, 2006


"a little cultural watershed"? Huh?
posted by stbalbach at 6:43 AM on September 26, 2006


I JUST LIKE TO SAY SMIRK.

SMIRK SMIRK SMIRK!
posted by quonsar at 6:45 AM on September 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


Olbermann makes some excellent points about Bush's free pass, but the video itself is just editorial blustering and movie trailers. I would think Clinton's interview will be a watershed moment of disenthralling, not Olbermann showing off his rhetorical erudition.
posted by rabbitsnake at 6:46 AM on September 26, 2006


Why isn't this man on NBC Nightly News instead of this cable network?
posted by DragonBoy at 6:49 AM on September 26, 2006


I don't like to use the phrase "zing of the day" lightly but... damn.
posted by sugarfish at 6:52 AM on September 26, 2006


I love KO . . . love him. He's been at this for a while now, and in a few years he will be seen as one of few mainstream media figures who had the balls to speak truth to this gang of fascists. He is surely risking it all to do this. Yeah, his rhetoric is a little sophomoric (he needs better writers than himself) and he gets a little long-winded on points that would be more effective served in smaller doses. But NO ONE ELSE is saying these things with a mainstream national audience listening with anywhere near his level of vigor and passion. Right. On. Keith.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:55 AM on September 26, 2006


For those with Macs (MSNBC doesn't like you because you prefer a better operating system than their daddy makes) here is the Crooks and Liars link with both WMV and Quicktime choices.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:58 AM on September 26, 2006


Wow, I thought the cowardice in the link was for Wallace.

Good to know KO is heading straight to the source.

And this is a masterstroke for Fox. Now they don't have to tell their viewers how Iraq is making terrorism worse, or even have to refute the report. They get to run Clinton all the time....it's almost like '98 again.
posted by wah at 7:00 AM on September 26, 2006


I have found much to credit Olbermann in all of his recent screeds, but he needs to be careful not to turn into a parody of himself by doing this time and time again.

His messages are incredibly meaningful right now and he is hitting a home run on pretty much everything, but if the perception is created that he's just doing a "rant of the week" or is treating this as a ploy rather than honest commentary, he'll blow it.

I genuinely hope that in future years we'll be able to look back at these videos and nod sagely at his ability to speak out honestly in such a dark time when others would not.
posted by briank at 7:04 AM on September 26, 2006


As a journalist myself, I doubt that Olbermann is "risking it all." But what he is doing is proving that there's a significant number of voters and viewers who do not feel served by the media's mindless parroting of Karl Rove's talking points, which has kept America babbling schoolyard-worthy phrases like "flip flop" and "cut and run" for years while the war on Iraq boosts global terrorism. (Fourcheese, thanks for the additional links -- FWIW, I'm a Mac guy running OSX v 3.9/Firefox and the MSNBC link works just fine for me.)
posted by digaman at 7:05 AM on September 26, 2006


For those with Macs ...

Not to mention those with Linux. Thanks.
posted by chipr at 7:07 AM on September 26, 2006


*
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:09 AM on September 26, 2006


Only talking head I can watch without spitting up into my mouth. He's been on a roll lately, too, like briank says; enjoy it while it lasts.

[bit overblown on the presentation, though, digaman]
posted by mediareport at 7:11 AM on September 26, 2006


He's been having a lot of Murrow moments lately. His rhetorical speech, and the moral authority with which he speaks, is impressive. Also, because I agree with him, utterly thrilling.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:12 AM on September 26, 2006


Can I also go on record as saying that the asterisk isn't any better than the caret? Just link the words, dammit! It works, it's not broken, it reads better on the page, just imagine a page full of asterisks, etc...
posted by mediareport at 7:13 AM on September 26, 2006


He's mad as hell... and he's not going to take it anymore!

Thank. Fucking. God.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:17 AM on September 26, 2006


His messages are incredibly meaningful right now and he is hitting a home run on pretty much everything, but if the perception is created that he's just doing a "rant of the week" or is treating this as a ploy rather than honest commentary, he'll blow it.

I don't know about this. I am getting a little tired of hearing him say pretty much the same things over and over again. It's great to point out problems, but if your only solutions require those you've vilified to change their behavior, that's not especially empowering.

On the other hand, I'm sure many of the great speeches in American history were preceded by what was previously known as the speaker's "rant of the week" and was afterward completely forgotten. Maybe he's just warming up.
posted by scottreynen at 7:19 AM on September 26, 2006


mediareport, thirteenkiller, and other aspiring copyeditors, linking to the words "Edward R. Murrow" in this case would have resulted in something like a 50 percent first-clickthrough to Wikipedia rather than Olbermann's clip. I made a very conscious decision to use the asterisk in this particular case. Imagine a whole page full of anything. A brief review of my FPPs will reveal that I don't make a habit of using asterisks. Thankyouverymuch.
posted by digaman at 7:21 AM on September 26, 2006


I was with him all the way up until he started playing the clips from 1984, when he godwinized. Still, strong stuff. I applaud the effort.
posted by crunchland at 7:24 AM on September 26, 2006


digaman, thanks. Olbermann says he has the backing of his bosses in this excellent interview on Salon. They can smell his rising share, and see how these op-ed pieces circulate -- I believe the last couple have been among the most downloaded things on the 'net in the days immediately following each's appearance.

It really is an Emperor's New Clothes moment. One guy finally has the guts to get out there in front of the lies on a major network. Now will the mob of his colleagues open their eyes and use their minds? Maybe if they see how much buzz KO generates with these pieces.

But I have to believe that eventually the honchos at GEMSNBC will get nervous about hosting these courageous treasonous calls to consciencetantrums. Ultimately, their bread is buttered by influence, not audience.

So download this, email to friends, etc., if you like what it says and wish there were more voices like this. The more buzz KO generates, the more others will feel emboldened to speak up. I bet there are a few fence-sitters out there. Some (Jack Cafferty, for one) have really impressed me with their commentaries of late. There are also paid (or so they seem)hacks (Wolf Blitzer, Candy Crowley, Chris Matthews, and everyone at Fox News or on a major network news show) who will defend to the death your inability to hear the truth on cable television. They must be defeated and disgraced.

Just watching this is a form of protest. That's why it feels so good. But it is important to channel the righteous anger it provokes. Tear down that wall!
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:24 AM on September 26, 2006


crunchland, it may interest you to know that the man who concocts and focus-groups the GOP's talking points -- political consultant and pollster Frank Luntz -- declares in his upcoming book Words That Work, "When someone asks me to illustrate the concept of 'words that work,' I tell them to read Orwell's 1984 -- and then see the movie.... I am an Orwellian, and proud of it."

The GOP is self-Godwinizing at this point.
posted by digaman at 7:30 AM on September 26, 2006


I guess it's better late than never that somebody in the US media speaks out

Too bad MSNBC is barely a network. Maybe a half-million people watch this show, if you factor in the plus or minus.

Let's see this guy or someone else do the same rant on NBC- during The Nightly News.

It will never happen.

When Murrow went off, it was on real network (obviously because that's all there was).

I could stand in Times Square reading Olbermann's script and more people would hear it.
posted by wfc123 at 7:30 AM on September 26, 2006


Many of us--lefties no doubt--enjoy what Olberman has to say, but I get annoyed that his station uses him to badmouth Fox. Though Fox certainly deserves what it gets nonetheless I don't appreciate one station devoting so much talent and time to badmouthing a competitor. What if all the cable news channels began this and spent a good protion of each show to badmouthing other cable channels?
posted by Postroad at 7:32 AM on September 26, 2006


I love the tone. There are a lot of commentators and pundits pointing out the missteps of the administration, but I can't think of anyone else on TV who's reprimanding the President in the 2nd person.

However, it's more than a little stilted--I expect his next special commentary will be in Latin.
posted by Nahum Tate at 7:36 AM on September 26, 2006


The posting of the clip to the Internet means that many more people will see it than watch Olbermann's show in broadcast, wfc.
posted by digaman at 7:36 AM on September 26, 2006


Postroad, it is preciesly because MSNBC has tentatively opened a conversation with those of us who seek an anti-FOX choice that MSNBC is gaining market share over FOX. And wfc123 is right about sheer numbers, but the influence of cable news is disproportionate to its actual audience. In the time of Murrow, national opinion was more monolithic in its formation and this was not a good thing, really. True, political participation was more widespread too, though not by much (and this is debatable, actually). But cable news is a sampling device, not just a one-way medium. It includes a substantial portion of the market most politicians believe they need to reach to move the political cart. It is where ideas are tested, focus-grouped for broader consumption. None of MSNBC's competitors has a significantly larger number of viewers in absolute political terms. It is simply the share of the market there is that matters most as a guage of any particular message's effectiveness.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:40 AM on September 26, 2006


I don't appreciate one station devoting so much talent and time to badmouthing a competitor

Actually, I want to see much more of that. I'm really tired of the way journalists tend to give each other a pass on important errors out of a misguided attempt at something they call professional courtesy. It's wrong, and they should stop.

More intra-journalist callouts, please. *Before* you're safely retired, thanks.
posted by mediareport at 7:42 AM on September 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


I like Olbermann's serious commentaries (like this one and his 9/11 one) but his "feud" with O'Reilly is so childish and ridiculous that I find it hard to look at him and not see that side of him. Why he keeps stooping to their level when he can do stuff like this is beyond me. If he was like this every day (not content-wise, necessarily, but sincerity-wise) he'd be a household name and get a lot more viewers, I would think.
posted by dobbs at 7:46 AM on September 26, 2006


He's been on fire lately, but this commentary wasn't as good as the others i don't think--basing it on an ex-president's interview with another station weakens his point. He's better when he directly goes after those in power now based on their own words and actions.
posted by amberglow at 7:46 AM on September 26, 2006


Call me simple but, If KO is telling the truth, then isn't all this discussion about everything else irrelevant?

Seriously, all this talk of “he better be careful…” and such is slightly silly isn’t it? The man is telling the truth. If people get sick of hearing it, well that’s on them.
posted by underdog at 7:49 AM on September 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


Thus in his supposed emeritus years, has Mr. Clinton taken forceful and triumphant action for honesty, and for us; action as vital and as courageous as any of his presidency...



Which actions were those, Keith?
posted by Beefheart at 7:49 AM on September 26, 2006


students of politics and media will be reviewing this clip for years to come as a little cultural watershed.

That's interesting Digaman, because it's exactly what I felt. I thought that in the future when the full ruinious impact of this administration is exposed and roundly decried as a terrible mistake in the history of this country kids will look at that clip and say "But, why weren't more people saying what Olbermanm was saying? How could the Bush administration get away with what they did?" And I can see myself leaning back arthritically and saying: "Well, it was a strange time. People were very very scared after 911 and the president and his cronies used it to their own ends...because all they cared about was power and because they intimidated anyone who didn't agree with them by labelling them "Unamerican" and "Appeasers" and "Collaborators"...
posted by Skygazer at 7:49 AM on September 26, 2006


Broder, the "wise man" they all take their script cues from (related, and for mediareport)
posted by amberglow at 7:52 AM on September 26, 2006


Once upon a time no one thought that Fox would have any influence over the Big 3 networks, let alone the American people. That changed real quick. Then no one thought that Fox News would have any power, that too changed real quick.

Although I'd love KO to be on regular NBC, the majors clearly just want to Couric the evening news despite the fact that Fox has no problem playing hardball.

With 90% of US homes wired with cable tv, and a growing number getting TiVo, there should be no reason why MSNBC couldn't get more than a few million viewers a night. If the content is compelling, as is evident with Keith's rants, and word of mouth continues, the viewers will grow.

In the meantime MSNBC would do itself good by getting some of these "Special Comments" up on YouTube real quick-like, since that's the real network of millions today.
posted by tsarfan at 7:54 AM on September 26, 2006


It's still not the masses. Everyone knows Katie Couric. I could stop 100 people on the street and ask "Who is Keith Olbermann?" (even I still have to check to see if I spelled his name correctly) and 90 will probably say "I don't know".
posted by wfc123 at 7:58 AM on September 26, 2006


The media somehow managed to create the public outrage when Clinton was in office. Why not now?
posted by wfc123 at 7:59 AM on September 26, 2006


...create enough public outrage..."
posted by wfc123 at 8:01 AM on September 26, 2006


I would think Clinton's interview will be a watershed moment of disenthralling, not Olbermann showing off his rhetorical erudition.
posted by rabbitsnake at 6:46 AM PST on September 26 [+] [!]


Amen. Clinton's refutation of Wallace's premise and answer to the question were precise and vehement. Olbermann sounds so artificial, and he spends as much time calling journalists and the administration bad little children as he does going over the fact. He wants to be a serious news man, but he's just a bad actor.

Edward R. Murrow he ain't.
posted by wilsona at 8:01 AM on September 26, 2006


I love Olbermann and I'm hard pressed to find anyone else in mainstream media who is saying similar things in a similar way.

I really enjoy what he is doing -he's like a cross between Edward R. Murrow and Charles Grodin.
posted by squidfartz at 8:02 AM on September 26, 2006


ditto mediareport
posted by zeoslap at 8:02 AM on September 26, 2006


*goinf over the factS.
posted by wilsona at 8:05 AM on September 26, 2006


Beefheart, you may not have heard much about Clinton's Global Initiative, which very recently raised over $7 billion to fight poverty, global warming, and disease, because the media has been focused more on his angerTM. But it's a high point of his Monica-muddled legacy.

For what it's worth, I was never a big Clinton fan while he was president (though I did admire his speaking ability and willingness to study the issues). But that's in part because I didn't realize how bad things could get.

And another ditto for mediareport's post. We've seen where unquestioned misreporting takes us.
posted by digaman at 8:07 AM on September 26, 2006


Beefheart, I think you missed the point of that sentence. Olbermann wasn't saying that Clinton's presidency was necessarily courageous. Just pointing out that this interview was at least as courageous as anything he did while actually president. Basically just a roundabout way of saying that he's remained relevant despite being out of office for 6 years. It's the difference between saying that someone is courageous, and that someone just did the most courageous thing they've ever done. They don't mean the same thing, whether you think Clinton was courageous or not.
posted by Farengast at 8:11 AM on September 26, 2006


kids will look at that clip and say "But, why weren't more people saying what Olbermanm was saying? How could the Bush administration get away with what they did?"

I actually think there are many smart, articulate, hard-working reporters and other "professionals" who are constantly challenging the Bush administration -- the reporting on Abu Ghraib, other war crimes, the reporting on secret prisons, the many books by former insiders on the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, the reporting on the resurgence of the Taliban in Afganistan, the leaking and reporting of the torture memos, the daily detailed reports from the ground in Iraq re thousands of civilians dead. What is shocking to me is not that people aren't speaking up -- they are! People are shining lights in many corners, and working hard to do so. What is shocking to me is that it doesn't seem to matter.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 8:12 AM on September 26, 2006 [2 favorites]


I watch everynight and I encourage everyone I meet who expresses some anti-Bush sentiment to do the same.

Him, Colbert, and Stewart are really the only reason to turn the TV on these days.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 8:14 AM on September 26, 2006


I think it's interesting that he says in the Salon interview that he actually has to restrain his bosses - that they want him ranting more - but that he correctly surmises that if he did a rant a day, that's all he would be known for - a cry-wolf blowhard.

Love his work, I really do. It's all I can do to avoid saying "Damn!" when I'm listening at work.
posted by LondonYank at 8:16 AM on September 26, 2006


Boy, he sure showed them. I hear FOX news is now calling for the impeachment of both Bushes (Bush, Sr. retroactively).

Go Blue Team! Or are we the Red one? *waves banner, toes party line, drinks whichever color kool-aid*
posted by Eideteker at 8:17 AM on September 26, 2006


For those of you who seem to have problems with aspects of KO and his slamming tone, forget about the messenger, and listen to the message. He's calling the Fascists on their heinous actions, and speaking the ugly truth about what has happened to the U.S. Olbermann is a breath of fresh air cutting through the cloud of smoke of the Constitution burning at the hands of corporate, religious and political Fundamentalists. Future historians will indeed wonder why more of the members of his profession kept so quiet about the atrocities committed in the names of democracy, freedom and God.
posted by dbiedny at 8:18 AM on September 26, 2006


KO rocks, plain and simple.

I've been telling everyone I know about him for months now (and have actually gained a few converts). He's doing what no one has had the balls to do in, seemingly, forever: Speaking Truth to Power.

Is he stilted? Yes. Snarky? Certainly. But, most importantly, he is absofuckinglutely right. He is erudite, articulate, and passionate. His tone of righteous indignation is appropriate - and way overdue.

He is one of the very few accessible voices addressing the serious assaults on American principles by this administration and its cronies.

Maybe he's just whoring for ratings, but until proven otherwise, I view him as a true American hero.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:18 AM on September 26, 2006


Thanks for this digaman. And yeah like you said, it doesn't matter that it was on MSNBC. Word will spread.
posted by storybored at 8:25 AM on September 26, 2006


Oh, and a nice rallying cry against Bush: "You Did Not TRY"
posted by storybored at 8:26 AM on September 26, 2006


Actually, I want to see much more of that.

Me too! Since there is so little (if any) self-policing going on at any of the major news outlets, if this is best we can get, at this point, I'll take it.
posted by psmealey at 8:28 AM on September 26, 2006


“Our tone should be crazed.”

Wilco.

“...James Dunegan, who had warned, at this very hour, on this very network, in early 1998, of cells from the Middle East who sought to attack us...”

I remember that. Many people thought I was nuts for agreeing with him. You started seeing blowjobbery discussion becoming far more important than foreign policy in certain fanatic quarters (now central) of the Republican party.

Is it cowardice? I don’t know. Effectively equivalent perhaps, but it seems to be a feature of the process.
I mean on the one hand we recognize this Rovian intrigue and grasping for power, yet on the other we criticise Bushco for incompetance.
It’s not incompetance if their aims do not align with the interests of the country - it’s by design.
Of course, we don’t KNOW that, but it’s not mere speculation. I’d invoke the old Sherlock Holmes saw - whatever remains however unlikely, must be the truth.

All that and the side of fries is - whatever Clinton did or didn’t do - who’s the President NOW? Didhe get Osama? Didhe try? Is Osama in Iraq? Ok, then.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:29 AM on September 26, 2006


Now that the lovefest is in full swing, there is one part of Olberman's special comment that did make me gag. It's the part where he's going off on the folks who ran the Lewinsky witch hunt and says something like, "Who made it impossible for us to have security experts on for two years while Monica Lewinsky was the only story?"

Ahem. Coming in the middle of a rant about taking responsibility for one's own failures, that sure was worth a quick laugh.
posted by mediareport at 8:31 AM on September 26, 2006


I also think that the whole Olbermann-O'Reilly thing is childish, even though both shows are on at the same time (I think) and it is fun to see O'Reilly flustered at the attention.

It's not exactly like Olbermann's audience hasn't already made up its mind about the Big Giant Head, or like O'Reilly's audience could possibly get the message even if they heard it anyway.
posted by clevershark at 8:32 AM on September 26, 2006



Many of us--lefties no doubt--enjoy what Olberman has to say, but I get annoyed that his station uses him to badmouth Fox. Though Fox certainly deserves what it gets nonetheless I don't appreciate one station devoting so much talent and time to badmouthing a competitor. What if all the cable news channels began this and spent a good protion of each show to badmouthing other cable channels?


This would probably be the best thing that could ever to happen corporate news. If the different news sources heavily critiqued one another you might get something approaching "unbiased" news, or, as people really mean, news that's been contextualized. If only network news were more like the web -- an equality of presenation, a dense collection of references to and fro, and unhindered access to historical broadcasts.
posted by nixerman at 8:36 AM on September 26, 2006


Go Blue Team! Or are we the Red one? *waves banner, toes party line, drinks whichever color kool-aid*

I looked for the "useless" tag, alas I did not find one.
posted by psmealey at 8:36 AM on September 26, 2006


K.O.'s "rantings" are much more palatable and informative than Paul Harvey or Andy Rooney.

We need more people like him. I might even start watching TV again.
posted by Balisong at 8:38 AM on September 26, 2006


mediareport:

What part of the Lewinsky reference did you not understand?

Let's go back a while, shall we? The same neocon cabal that has screwed the pooch for the last five years harbored such a deep hatred for Clinton that they hounded him for his entire presidency ( see Whitewater, Travelgate, Paula Jones, etc.). After wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on their personal vendetta, and unable to make anything stick, they had the wonderful ( and not divisive, in any way) idea to delve into Clinton's personal sex life.

Nothing was more important to these jackoffs than busting Clinton with whatever dirt they could dig up. They were obsessed, and made sure the public was obsessed. It was dirty, juvenile, and a criminal dereliction of their duty as public representatives.

Did Clinton do it? Yes. Was it, in any way, relevant to the public interest? No. They handcuffed the president, and then ridiculed him because he couldn't wave.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:50 AM on September 26, 2006


im in ur tv excoriatin ur president (sorry--I needed to get that out of my system)
posted by black bile at 8:50 AM on September 26, 2006


Sitting here on the north side of Lake Ontario, i have the feeling that perhaps most Americans who are paying any attention at all about the current crises already realize that the post-9/11 years have been marked by stupid, ruinous, irresponsible and arguably criminal actions from the people in charge.

But I suspect the majority also fear that calling it for what it is, and following through (impeachments, trials, polarization) would be more disastrous to the US than 9/11 itself... so the collective wish is that this will all be rinsed clean after the next election or two.

..Is this the case?
posted by Artful Codger at 9:00 AM on September 26, 2006


I don't know about this. I am getting a little tired of hearing him say pretty much the same things over and over again. It's great to point out problems, but if your only solutions require those you've vilified to change their behavior, that's not especially empowering.

Well, what exactly do you want him to propose? Impeachment? Armed insurrection?
posted by c13 at 9:01 AM on September 26, 2006


Artful, one of Olbermann's main points is that the right has been very successful thus far at rewriting history. How successful? A recent poll showed that 1/3 of Americans still believe that Saddam had something to do with 9/11, though Bush himself has finally been forced to deny it in a White House press conference. That kind of thing must be nipped in the bud as much as possible -- it doesn't seem to "rinse clean" after even the first couple of news cycles.
posted by digaman at 9:09 AM on September 26, 2006


1. The asterisk sucks.

2. Olbermann has very cleverly (I mean that in a good way) adopted some of the tone of Stewart and Colbert. His snark is like Stewart's: they both know they're obnoxious and smug but that's part of the schtick, and they at least laugh at themselves.
posted by unSane at 9:09 AM on September 26, 2006


so the collective wish is that this will all be rinsed clean after the next election or two.

..Is this the case?


That's the case among many reporters and the media in general i think. They don't even cover the fact that most Americans want all of Bush's lies and crimes investigated.
posted by amberglow at 9:14 AM on September 26, 2006


Considering the bitching and whining about Bush & Co. I've read here over the years, I'm dumbfounded that some people in this thread are finding fault with Olbermann. Although his condemnations are late in coming(As he has acknowledged), they are the best thing to happen in American television news in over half a decade - not counting 'fake' American television news.

You've been throwing internet tomatoes at that goddamn crew of racketeers and war criminals for the past 5+ years, and now have the audacity and gall to criticise KO for conducting open warfare against these murdering liars with anger, articulation, and the truth?

What more do you want?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:15 AM on September 26, 2006 [2 favorites]


Well, what exactly do you want him to propose? Impeachment? Armed insurrection?

I'd be happy with more calls for impeachment. I have no interest in armed insurrection. Maybe encouraging his viewers to vote? I'm not sure what the best solution is, but I'm pretty sure it's going to take something more than pointing out the problem, and that's all I've ever seen him do. Granted, he does that well, and it's an important first step, but after five years, I was kind of hoping we'd be on step two, if not four or five.
posted by scottreynen at 9:16 AM on September 26, 2006


Thanks Dig. I want everyone to watch Clinton's lecture, though. Get it straight from the horse's mouth, rather than the horse's ass in the oval office. Chris Wallace, like most humans, is bringing a knife to a gunfight in seeking to match wits with Clinton. He had it coming, and he got it.

My sincere hope is that the outrageous and hyperbolic mewling about Clinton's supposedly "unhinged" diatribe are spurring my republican brethren and sistren to seek out the source material, which I gather is easy to find these days, and watch for themselves. They will be surprised, I think, at the former president's controlled, rational, and persuasive anger - and at the precision and emotional power with which he uses his vast intellect.
posted by Mister_A at 9:21 AM on September 26, 2006


I agree with Olberman but his invective against other journalists is getting tired. Point out their journalistic failings, but stop calling them names. It detracts from your credibility.

No. No it does not. Olberman is right. And he is calling these bottom feeders out. But they scurry and hide under the rocks with their fellow corpse-eating crustaceans. So he has to shout louder.

If these scum had any honor and integrity at all they would step out and admit where they were wrong -OR- they would challenge Olberman directly. Maybe meet in the ring and actually duke it out... put their supposed principles to the test.

But they have no principles left.

Fuck the righties that still support this administration. There are no names I can call them that are strong ENOUGH to describe thier cowardice and lack of honor.
posted by tkchrist at 9:26 AM on September 26, 2006


What good would "calls for impeachment" do when the GOP controls both houses of Congress and the judiciary, scottreynen? Steps two, four, and five have to come after step one: vote the bastards out in the midterm elections.
posted by digaman at 9:29 AM on September 26, 2006


Olbermann's condemnation might be late in coming, but what about Clinton's - would he have been as animated in the interview if he wasn't defending his legacy? How bold can the rant be if it takes that as its starting point? Hell, even Clinton's 'ire' seems calculated - a "get tough" cue to the Democrats in an election year. (OMG, I just channeled a talking point from Bill Kristol.)
posted by Beefheart at 9:30 AM on September 26, 2006


Of course it's calculated. Clinton has always had his finger on America's pulse, and he has an unmatched ability to stir people's emotions based on this intuition. I submit that Chris Wallace, not Clinton, walked into a trap here.
posted by Mister_A at 9:33 AM on September 26, 2006


What more do you want?

To be fair, I don't think the same people that are criticizing Olbermann here are the same crew that has been so frustrated by the Bush Administration all these years.

To be clear, those of us that: Olbermann gives us a voice in the mainstream media that we haven't had during this dark period.
posted by psmealey at 9:34 AM on September 26, 2006 [2 favorites]


What would an "uncalculated" TV interview look like to you, Beefheart? Like Bush's "uncalculated" press conferences? What politician -- much less a former president of the United States -- talks in wholly "uncalculated" terms?
posted by digaman at 9:35 AM on September 26, 2006


vote the bastards out in the midterm elections

Yeah. On their voting machines. Good luck with that. You've also had five years to press for election reform, and you haven't done that, either.

How many people, who are outraged here, take any substantive action, or any action at all, beyond bitching in a web forum? Well, guess what: it's your fault too. It has never been enough to simply wish that evil people stop being evil. You actually have to do some good. And if you don't, then deal with the consequences. This next election won't be any more honest than the last, and with all the busy little gerrymandering that's been going on, it won't have to be.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:41 AM on September 26, 2006


Artful Codger, I have a friend working in Seattle who said he hoped everyone would forget.

Anyway, that was one strange editorial, who brings up Tokyo Rose when talking about contemporary politics in 2006? He seems a little out of touch, along with being a slick and superficial product of the cable television version of media school.

If he had used Tokyo Rose as a nickname for Wallace, instead of a metaphor, that would be different.
posted by Chuckles at 9:51 AM on September 26, 2006


This is just shrill and over-the-top.

The nation’s freedoms are under assault by an administration whose policies can do us as much damage as al Qaida

What?

the current administration, and in particular the President, has been given the greatest “pass” for incompetence and malfeasance in American history!

By who? Bush has the worst rating since Nixon and worse than most all others prior. He's not getting a pass except by his supporters and the right wing.

It was the kind of cheap trick which would get a journalist fired—but a propagandist, promoted:
Promise to talk of charity and generosity; but instead launch into the lies and distortions...


Oh, come on. Journalist should be allowed to ask anything. And that was hardly a hard hitting question. Would Olbermann pass up the opportunity to ask Bush tough questions about Iraq if Bush was on MSNBC to talk about charity?

You ignored the evidence gathered by your own people.
Then, you blamed your predecessor.


Is Bush actually blaming Clinton?

"One does not establish a dictatorship to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.

Bush is now a dictator?

Come on folks. I dislike Bush as much as most but Olbermann is taking an extreme position that defeats his arguments.
posted by Rashomon at 9:57 AM on September 26, 2006


What good would "calls for impeachment" do when the GOP controls both houses of Congress and the judiciary, scottreynen?

I don't know. It wasn't my initial suggestion, but I'm not about to start picking apart other people's suggestions for action. As I said, I'm not offering any new solutions. I'm just pointing out that Olberman isn't either.

Steps two, four, and five have to come after step one: vote the bastards out in the midterm elections.

Great. I'd be happy to see Olberman directly encourage his viewers to do just that. And maybe he's done that and I missed it. All I've seen him do is point out that they're bastards. I don't see much evidence that politicians being bastards makes a significant difference come election time. They were bastards under Reagan. They were bastards in 2000. They were bastards in 2004. Yet we keep voting for them, or worse, sitting at home while others vote for them.

It has never been enough to simply wish that evil people stop being evil. You actually have to do some good. And if you don't, then deal with the consequences.

That's pretty much my point. Olberman is good, but not so good that we can all rest comfortable that everything's going to be alright.
posted by scottreynen at 9:58 AM on September 26, 2006


What? No right wing hand wringing in this thread? I was so anticipating some grade-A neo-con troll bait somewhere in the comments ...

KO sure does hit you with the rhetorical adrenaline and the straps you into the passenger seat of his zinger roadster as he whips around those curves. Good stuff.
posted by Jeremy at 9:59 AM on September 26, 2006


Everyone's a media critic, eh Chuckles? Style is much more important than substance, clearly.

George, inspiring words there, old buddy. Would you propose an armed uprising? Have you ever stopped to consider that maybe spreading information about the problems with the way our elections are run is important? Did you ever stop to thing that perhaps people will be more receptive to proposals to fix the problems if they realize that there are problems? We are supposed to "do something" - what exactly do we do that we're not doing now?

So anyway, keep drinking your hater-ade there guys. You two sound like you are afraid to be "for" anything - it's cool to be against everything, right? Well old pals, if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.
posted by Mister_A at 10:01 AM on September 26, 2006


From his interview with Salon that fourcheesemac linked:

When asked if he had made a conscious choice to reach out to liberals he said "I don't think you can get a bunch of liberals to watch one television network, because they'd be sitting there arguing the nuance of it. So I'm not courting the liberals."

Which is kind of what's happening here in this thread.

For this liberal, Keith Oberlmann is one of the few people keeping my faith alive that we might eventually turn things around in this country.
posted by witchstone at 10:01 AM on September 26, 2006


Maybe we'll get lucky and Katie Couric'll plagarize him. Shit, I'd settle for Soctt Simon. Freaking Lonelygirl.

I totally don't see any snark like Stewarts, either... he's completely sincere!
posted by DenOfSizer at 10:07 AM on September 26, 2006


'The nation’s freedoms are under assault by an administration whose policies can do us as much damage as al Qaida'

What?

posted by Rashomon

Surely, Rashomon, you understand that 'damage' means more than buildings toppling to the ground, yes?
posted by NationalKato at 10:09 AM on September 26, 2006


None of this will matter. At the end of the day Americans truly like Bush. That may seem ridiculous and wrong to you and me, but it is what it is. We'll never forgive a guy for cheating on his wife. But we're always willing to give the benefit of the doubt to a down-home Texas rancher. And if you think Americans will ever get a clue about Bush not being a down-home Texas rancher, you aren't paying attention.

At the end of the day Americans want a guy who does a good John Wayne impression. And all this erudite editorializing is just preaching to the (small marginalized) choir.

I love America. But when it comes to accepting the obvious truth about presidents like Reagan and Bush, Americans make me sick.
posted by Daenoora at 10:11 AM on September 26, 2006


Why do presidents have to be manly?
posted by biffa at 10:17 AM on September 26, 2006


Have you ever stopped to consider that maybe spreading information about the problems with the way our elections are run is important?

Sure, when it's not just preaching to the choir, and if it's not all that you do.

We are supposed to "do something" - what exactly do we do that we're not doing now?

If you have money or time to give to an organization that's fighting the good fight, give it. If you can call up the networks' advertisers and say you're going to boycott their products if they don't stop supporting one-sided shills, do it. If you have halfway decent human being in your Senate or Congressional delegation, let him know how you feel. If you have a good candidate, work for him.

So anyway, keep drinking your hater-ade there guys. You two sound like you are afraid to be "for" anything - it's cool to be against everything, right?

Where did you get that, except out of your defensive imagination? I'm not going to post my activist cred here. But I do what I can.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:18 AM on September 26, 2006


THat's awesome George, now stop being a dick and painting everyone with a broad brush and suggesting that we're not doing anything about the situation in our country.
posted by Mister_A at 10:21 AM on September 26, 2006


NationalKato
Surely, Rashomon, you understand that 'damage' means more than buildings toppling to the ground, yes?

Yes, but keep 'damage' in single quotes. By far the worst thing the Bush admin is doing is the action in Iraq and Guantanamo. But the spying and the Constitutional breaches are no where as bad as they were during World War II. The left [of which I am part] likes to use rhetoric and claim Bush is the worst of all. A little history will show that while Bush is no great leader he isn't some mad dictator suppressing your or our freedoms.
posted by Rashomon at 10:22 AM on September 26, 2006


Anybody know if there's a copy of the original Clinton interview anywhere on the web? People at work tell me that Fox pulled it from YouTube and butchered the hell out of it on their own site, removing much of Clinton's response.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:23 AM on September 26, 2006


At the end of the day, Daenoora, you haven't read the polls, which show that Bush is the most divisive president in recent history, and that the majority of Americans (56 percent) disapprove of his performance as President -- with 39 percent expressing "strong disapproval." So please do a little more homework before trashing the whole country -- though I probably share many of your opinions of Bush.
posted by digaman at 10:24 AM on September 26, 2006


“Of course it's calculated...I submit that Chris Wallace, not Clinton, walked into a trap here.” -posted by Mister_A

If he’s that damned devious, I’d want him back in office. *grin*
But I’d have to ask - so what?
How, if it is calculated - even if it was completely stage managed - does that change one single thing?
The facts are the facts. I remember many of those events and counterterrorism operations then quite clearly. Many of the people in office now were very much in opposition to what was going on.
To be fair however it seems to me those folks would be opposed to anything Clinton did.
I had several issues with Clinton based on principle. I was opposed to the Lewinski B.S. because one does not eliminate an opponent ‘by any means necessary’, one does things for a reason.
Certainly today there are ‘Bush bashers’ - myself now among them - but many of us take issue with the Bush administration based on principle. Not in opposition merely to Bush’s popularity, success, etc. as with Clinton - although those people do exist.

Many of the same people who were arguing that the federal government was taking too much power, guilty of all kinds of abuses (waco, ruby ridge, etc.) are now silent. The only thing that has changed has been the administration.

That, it seems, is the crux of the schism here. Those people who seek the sucess of their agenda by any means are now in power and their policies reflect that.

When Clinton was president I could predict what his administration would oppose or support based on his ideology and ideas and I could support or oppose those accordingly.
I can’t say the same for the Bush administration. Their foreign policy is schizophrenic at best - at the very least because what they share with the American people is not what is put into operation.

I don’t particularly like Clinton, but it’s obvious to me that what he pointed out was the truth. Truth is truth whether you like, dislike or are politically opposed to someone or not. And indeed, whether it was calculated or not.

“He's not getting a pass except by his supporters and the right wing....Bush is now a dictator?”

Well, he’s not being prosecuted. Your careful misunderstanding of the context of the Orwell quote aside, the policies this administration has pursued are indeed relieving the government of responsibility for it’s actions. I’d call it a dictatorship in the making.

“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” - Barry Goldwater
posted by Smedleyman at 10:25 AM on September 26, 2006


“Anybody know if there's a copy of the original Clinton interview anywhere on the web?”
Transcript (from monkeyfilter)

/btw that last in thread quote in my above post was from Rashomon not Mister_A - my apologies for carelessness.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:33 AM on September 26, 2006


"At the end of the day, Daenoora, you haven't read the polls, which show that Bush is the most divisive president in recent history, and that the majority of Americans (56 percent) disapprove of his performance as President -- with 39 percent expressing "strong disapproval." So please do a little more homework before trashing the whole country"

Yeah. Surely then this will be the thing that brings him down. Or stops his power play. Or fixes the disastrous war on terror.

What this country needs is more people clogging the streets with protest marches, and less high-fiving each other from our keyboard. I stopped going to Bush protest marches when it became obvious my fellow Americans will only take action if it's limited to visiting some webpages or watching TV.

Watching The Daily Show is not protest you worthless idiots.
posted by Daenoora at 10:35 AM on September 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


Smedleyman - love the GOldwater quote! Anyway, sure, Clinton knew what he was doing. THe reason it was so powerful (for me) is because, as you point out, it was the truth. That is was controlled, and that it could be called a performance, does not make it any less true. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was a consummate performer. The "mountain" speech is one of the great performances of the broadcast age. It was powerful and effective because it contained truth, both "factual" truth and the deeper truth of King's convictions.

Let's be clear about one thing, though - I am not suggesting that Clinton's dressing down of Wallace and the noise machine (and Bush, implicitly) was as elegant or memorable as King's great speeches. But King's speeches and Clinton's appearance with Wallace are examples of superb political performances. Performance does not always mean "false" - sometimes performance carries the most profoud and unutterable truths. Just ask a musician or a dancer. Performance is the only way to express some of the most sublime truths.

Here's what I meant about Clinton setting a trap for Wallace, not the other way around: He (Bill) knew what he was going to get from this stooge, and he knew how to turn the tables on him. I think he was delighted at Wallace's ham-fisted lurch into the "blame Clinton" zone, and seized the moment with a glee bordering on bloodlust.


PS
I really like Clinton, if you guys haven't figured that out yet.
posted by Mister_A at 10:37 AM on September 26, 2006


Point out there journalistic failings, but stop calling them names. It detracts from your credibility.

Yeah, because reasoned, respectful debate has had such a great track record for the last eight years.

I for one am glad to see someone in the media as flabbergasted as I am. The actions of this administration are so insane, and so un-commented on, that I often wondered if the entire media had been bought out.

My only consolation is that it's pretty obvious they're running out of things to wave in voters faces while they steal the country. I guess stem cell research, gay marriage, and immigration ran out of steam so they thought going after Clinton was a sure bet.

But you know, meanwhile, we're fighting two ground wars badly, we have crippling debt, our economy is teetering, and these bastards can't think of anything better to do than attack the last president. I am constantly disgusted by them , and am glad someone else it too.

And I'd also like to point out that his tone may be angry, but compared to right wing commentators, he's not anywhere near the level of name calling that gets a pass. Frigging Coulter is still invited to talk, and she's called us traitors and publically wished for the bombing of the NY Times building.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:40 AM on September 26, 2006


Watching The Daily Show is not protest you worthless idiots.

Thanks, pal. I'm definitely going to your march.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:42 AM on September 26, 2006


Watching The Daily Show is not protest you worthless idiots.
posted by Daenoora


Let us know where and when you're gathering, Daenoora.
posted by NationalKato at 10:54 AM on September 26, 2006


I notice that LGF put this on their front page - it's a tableturning from the days when liberal blogs would hang on every word from O'Falafel. Now the wingnuts are paying more attention to the... um... sane.

It's nice that the Colberts, Stewarts and Olbermanns have more of a voice, something that gets attention. Even if the wingnuts are just calling names, they're listening. This is a huge shift.
posted by fleetmouse at 10:55 AM on September 26, 2006


Watching The Daily Show is not protest you worthless idiots.

Thanks, pal. I'm definitely going to your march.


Hell, yeah! Just think how much more civil-rightsie the world would be if King or Gandhi or Walesa had thought to rally their potential allies with a stirring cry of "you worthless idiots"!

As to whether this was a calculated move on Clinton's part, the only other explanation would be that he - one of the greatest pure politicians of the modern age, regardless of what you think of his policies - was so thrown by a hamfisted question by a lunkheaded Fox News talking head that he lost the plot in a way he never had in two victorious presidential campaigns and eight years in office.

My armchair theory: he's leading by example. Demonstrating to the Democrats that you can be something other than mealy-mouthed, milquetoast and moderate to a fault, that you can get righteously pissed, and yes the GOP echo chamber will try to smear you with their "loony" brush, but turns out they've got a lot less paint of much cheaper quality than they did in the days of the Deaniacs.

Just a guess. At any rate, no way did this pompous little weasel throw Clinton off his game. Not a chance. Successful or not, it was a strategic move.
posted by gompa at 10:55 AM on September 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


“Performance does not always mean "false"” - Mister_A

Ah, I missed that subtlety. Point taken, I agree.
----
The Daily Show: Reading Metafilter is not protest you worthless idiots.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:03 AM on September 26, 2006


What this country needs is more people clogging the streets with protest marches, and less high-fiving each other from our keyboard. I stopped going to Bush protest marches when it became obvious my fellow Americans will only take action if it's limited to visiting some webpages or watching TV.

The point of most street demonstrations is to be visible and vocal and bring attention to a topic. I've never been to a demonstration where Joe Average passing by immediately quits his job and dedicates his life to the cause, but maybe that's just me. I have, however, been to demonstrations that started with people high-fiving from the keyboard to rally each other.
posted by zennie at 11:12 AM on September 26, 2006


/There is a long history of this kind of rhetoric in America:

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, you worthless idiots.

Now, you miserable ingrates, we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war, you wretched scum. We have come, dumbasses, to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this, morans.

But, in a larger sense, you idiots cannot dedicate, you idiots cannot consecrate, you idiots cannot hallow this ground.

The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above your stupid little powers to add or detract.
The world will little note nor long remember what we keyboard from here, you dolts, but it can never forget what they did here.
(and so forth)
posted by Smedleyman at 11:23 AM on September 26, 2006 [2 favorites]


Every day is that guy's "Keith Olbermann's Edward R. Murrow* moment:".

I like his politics but his preachy psudo-60s anchor shtick gets old fast. His humor is irritating too. He needs to stop trying to be, alternating, John Stewart or Murrow.
posted by delmoi at 11:58 AM on September 26, 2006


What Clinton did is not so remarkable as the fact that so few others do it. How hard is it to go in with a clear idea of what they're going to try to do to you, and be ready for it, and have a short, sharp answer for each of their talking points that shows them to be the idiots they are?

Time and again we (meaning, y'know, our lot) go in to these interviews and panel shows trying to be earnest and expecting honest discussion and just get bullied, and end up looking blustering and defensive. Clinton showed 'em how it's done; and it ought to be easy most of the time because these dorks don't write their own material -- by the time you're a guest on their show, you'll know the talking points they're going to trot out: just open the National Review or the Weekly Standard, then dumb it down even more and you'll have the script you'll be facing.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:01 PM on September 26, 2006


For what it's worth, Olbermann *did* call for impeachment in his 9/11 remarks from Ground Zero. He said somthing like "the polite term for how the Bush administration has conducted itself is incompetence; the impolite term is 'impeachable offense.'"

And a former sportscaster will lead them . . . .

KO, he da man. And as for the assertion that "at the end of the day, Americans like Bush," we'll see. The day ain't over yet. I can't wait until we wake up to just how much economic damage this war has done, and how much our grandchildren (should they survive global climate change) will be paying for it. Hard to like someone that robs you blind, once you find out. Americans "truly liked" Bill Clinton, and the majority still did even after we learned -- horrors! -- that he had engaged in a sexual act with a woman not his wife! Unheard of in America, I tell you!

Stealing a few trillion from the yet unborn is in another category.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:02 PM on September 26, 2006


Mister_A writes "I submit that Chris Wallace, not Clinton, walked into a trap here."

I think Chris Wallace did an Oedipus here -- listening to his own PR to the point where he believed it, and in the end only succeeding in making things worse for himself.

Of course one has to wonder why Clinton consented to be interviewed by Fox News. If I were him I would have granted interviews to every network BUT Fox News, which is like a festering pus-wart on the face of journalism.
posted by clevershark at 12:04 PM on September 26, 2006


Of course one has to wonder why Clinton consented to be interviewed by Fox News.

Because, once again, Clinton knew what to expect and was prepared for it.
posted by NationalKato at 12:13 PM on September 26, 2006


I don't totally disagree with you Smedlyman, but I don't think there are many who are in opposition to Bush as a result of his popularity.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:16 PM on September 26, 2006


,
posted by homunculus at 12:21 PM on September 26, 2006


I'm not gay or anything, but this video clip makes my penis all confused over Olbermann.
posted by thanotopsis at 12:25 PM on September 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'd be happy with more calls for impeachment.

And what if these calls are actually answered? Will you be happier with Cheney?
Maybe the reason he's not coming up with solutions, or you, or me is that there aren't really any good ones. Or maybe it's just the lack of imagination. But in any case, one does not need to have a solution to point out the problems. Normally, people realize that the "put up or shut up" argument is stupid sometimes in middle school. But then again, Americans are special, aren't they?
posted by c13 at 12:27 PM on September 26, 2006


mediareport, thirteenkiller, and other aspiring copyeditors, linking to the words "Edward R. Murrow" in this case would have resulted in something like a 50 percent first-clickthrough to Wikipedia rather than Olbermann's clip. I made a very conscious decision to use the asterisk in this particular case. Imagine a whole page full of anything. A brief review of my FPPs will reveal that I don't make a habit of using asterisks. Thankyouverymuch.

As long as it's not a caret I'm happy : )
posted by delmoi at 12:32 PM on September 26, 2006


And what if these calls are actually answered? Will you be happier with Cheney?

Impeach 'em both at the same time. If we impeach bush, Cheney will be the VP, but his VP will have to be approved by congress. So before we impeach we can negotiate on who the next president will be. If they don't play ball, the presidency will go to the speaker of the house, who, in a democratic congress would be either Nancy Peloci or John Murtha.
posted by delmoi at 12:34 PM on September 26, 2006


Of course one has to wonder why Clinton consented to be interviewed by Fox News.

Clinton got a huge donation for his global initiative from Rupert Murdoch. He also did a fundraiser for Hillary. Murdoch is a smart guy and hedges his bets.
posted by delmoi at 12:36 PM on September 26, 2006


What Clinton did is not so remarkable as the fact that so few others do it. How hard is it to go in with a clear idea of what they're going to try to do to you, and be ready for it, and have a short, sharp answer for each of their talking points that shows them to be the idiots they are?

That's the thing about Clinton though. He's actually a smart guy. You could ask him anything and you'd think he'd been preparing all his life to answer.
posted by delmoi at 12:37 PM on September 26, 2006


Many of the same people who were arguing that the federal government was taking too much power, guilty of all kinds of abuses (waco, ruby ridge, etc.) are now silent

no, they're not silent, they're saying that the PATRIOT Act is the best law EVAR and that kangaroo courts where they don't even show you the evidence against you are A-OK.

but then, Waco and Ruby Ridge were about the rights of white nutzoids carrying lots of guns. had David Koresh been black or Muslim, better yet a black Muslim with a bunch of black followers holed up in some Compton shithole, the "Impeach Clinton over Waco" guys would have been cheering the Department of Justice's "zero tolerance"

on topic: Olbermann's good, but I still think Clinton took a troll's bait and made a mistake
posted by matteo at 12:39 PM on September 26, 2006


Will you be happier with Cheney?

First: impeachment doesn't imply removal from office. Clinton was impeached and he served out his term.

Second: yes, I'd be happier with a spanked lame-duck Cheney with the wind gone from his sails than a strutting Bush braying about political capital he never had. Maybe he'd get busy on some uncontroversial domestic policy and basically just doing the job of being President, y'know, just for a change`. He sure as hell wouldn't fly all over America in Air Force One campaigning for Republican candidates for the Senate; nobody would want him. He'd have nothing to do but his job. He'd suck, but the people would have been heard from and he wouldn't suck any worse.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:41 PM on September 26, 2006


Anybody know if there's a copy of the original Clinton interview anywhere on the web?

Crooks and Liars has part of it.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:53 PM on September 26, 2006


Metafilter: I'm not gay or anything, but this video clip makes my penis all confused over Olbermann.

...Maybe he'd get busy on some uncontroversial domestic policy ...
not likely
posted by amberglow at 1:09 PM on September 26, 2006


Coincidentally, my grocery store got in some new DVDs over the weekend and, Monday being cheap-new-releases night, I watched Good Night and Good Luck last night.

Afroblanco, You could click the last link in the FPP [still being discussed here] to get to the FPP about the Clinton interview and then click the FPP link to get to this video, or you could just click here to see this version.

Thanks for the link, fourcheesemac, I have a PC and MSNBC wasn't loading the video for me, either.

Artful Codger, I think we must elect a majority of Dems to the House and Senate in the up-coming ballot and then impeach, prosecute and imprison a whole bunch of folks.

Here are some links pertaining to Condoleezza Rice's 'rebuttal' of Clinton's remarks:

2001 memo to Rice contradicts statements about Clinton, Pakistan


Rice Falsely Claims Bush’s Pre-9/11 Anti-Terror Efforts Were ‘At Least As Aggressive’ As Clinton’s

Bush Administration’s Pre-9/11 Focus Was Missile Defense, Not Terrorism

Oh, and...
posted by taosbat at 1:23 PM on September 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


But that Katie Couric is just so much more adorable.

/bad impression of typical American news consumer
posted by bardic at 1:34 PM on September 26, 2006


Keith needs a competitor, then he can compete, and thereby sharpen his act. I find I like what he says, but there's a bubbling sense of self-importance that taints the message from my ears (even though one could say it's preaching to the choir). I guess I just want him to throwdown and challenge someone to a colbert-style dual.

I like him, though.

It's like the television media have come to the conclusions of the written media three years ago.
posted by Busithoth at 1:42 PM on September 26, 2006


Thanks, taosbat.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:46 PM on September 26, 2006


Will you be happier with Cheney?

I'm willing to give that a shot. I have trouble imaginging much I wouldn't be happier with.

Normally, people realize that the "put up or shut up" argument is stupid sometimes in middle school.

Yeah, I don't know why we would need to choose between speaking up and doing something. That's why I've been continually suggesting doing something in addition to speaking up. I don't know how anyone could reasonably interpret "Olberman is good" as "shut up."

Maybe the reason he's not coming up with solutions, or you, or me is that there aren't really any good ones.

Maybe, but if you really believe that there's no hope, why bother talking about it?
posted by scottreynen at 1:53 PM on September 26, 2006


Olbermann is articulate, passionate, and has some very good points that need attention. However, it is difficult to respect someone who calls his fellow journalist a monkey, whatever Chris Wallace's simian status may in fact be. Name-calling distracts from Olbermann's message by opening him up to character attacks, and being that he is quite the wordsmith, he need not wake that particular dragon. But that's the extent of my critique. He also quotes Voltaire and Jefferson, and makes sense! Bring it, my friend.
posted by zennie at 2:08 PM on September 26, 2006


Only talking head I can watch without spitting up into my mouth.

I confess. I watch Paula Zahn with absolute delight. Not because of what or how she reports, but because she's a gorgeous woman with legs that go all the way up to her neck.

No, that's not quite right. She's clearly intelligent too. But that's just gilding the lily.
posted by illiad at 2:17 PM on September 26, 2006


“I don't think there are many who are in opposition to Bush as a result of his popularity.” - posted by Kid Charlemagne

S’what I meant. Hastily written, sorry it wasn’t more clear.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:21 PM on September 26, 2006


As an outsider to American politics, isn't this guy just Bill O'Reilly in a better suit, better hairdo, and standing on the other side of the line? The quality and level of his argument seems much the same - admittedly, without the hate-filled bile and bluster.

For everybody saying "listen to the message, not the messenger": isn't that basically how O'Reilly (& Bush) play it? "I may not be as (sophisticated as those educated lib'ruls | folksy as those redneck conservatives), but what I'm saying is right"?

I guess I just don't get the American political or media scene, though, because I saw nothing special in the Clinton interview. Isn't the sort of reasoned deconstruction of assertions seen in that normal in a decent long-format political interview?
posted by Pinback at 3:42 PM on September 26, 2006


The quality and level of his argument seems much the same - admittedly, without the hate-filled bile and bluster.

More importantly, without the copious, bald-faced, provable lies.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:00 PM on September 26, 2006


More importantly, without the copious, bald-faced, provable lies.

Yup. Didn't O'Reilly make up a French publication on the spot to back up his flimsy assertion that the pouring down the drain of French wine was hurting France's economy?

I laughed hard at that news report. U.S. restaurants pour out many $200 to $2800 bottles of French wine to "hurt the French." You'd think restauranteurs would know better.
posted by illiad at 4:57 PM on September 26, 2006


Pinback, in the U.S. politics is like sports. Only us latte-drinking liberals will vote for someone who is intelligent and has a plan. Calling someone a coward, that's something the rednecks understand.

The reason why the Democrats have been trampled the past six years is that the Republicans have a better playbook and know how to execute. Olberman, however, just ran one back for a touchdown. If the Dems can get more media play like this, well, maybe we're at a turning point in the game.

Though it's probably too late to prevent the collapse of the American empire and they *still* seem to lack a cohesive message...
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 5:26 PM on September 26, 2006


He might be moved to CNBC, and MSNBC becomes even more all Dateline repeats all the time.
posted by amberglow at 5:42 PM on September 26, 2006


i thought i'd upload it to youtube, since some people had problems viewing it on the msnbc website.

it worked for me though, using a mac and all. perhaps you should put some codecs in your quicktime library folder, or try flip4mac. it's a universal binary by now!
posted by kolophon at 6:28 PM on September 26, 2006


What part of the Lewinsky reference did you not understand?

Um, you might want to reduce your snot factor when you miss the point, Benny. No one *made* the networks ignore national security issues in favor of the Lewinsky mess. They *chose* to do so. Again, since you missed it the first time:

Coming in the middle of a furious rant about the President shifting blame and failing to take responsibility for his own failures, that was a hilarious, colossal boner from Olberman.
posted by mediareport at 6:43 PM on September 26, 2006


Um, you might want to reduce your snot factor when you miss the point, Benny.

I didn't miss the point. I said the neocon asshats were obsessed and were very adept at making their obsession the national obsession.

We all (most of us) got played for fools, and those of us who were not fooled by the misdirection had very few other outlets. Now that we (both voters and reporters) have seen their playbook ad nauseum, we are much better at calling them on it.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:59 PM on September 26, 2006


Um, you might want to reduce your snot factor when you miss the point, Benny.

I didn't miss the point. I said the neocon asshats were obsessed and were very adept at making their obsession the national obsession.

We all (most of us) got played for fools, and those of us who were not fooled by the misdirection had very few other outlets. Now that we (both voters and reporters) have seen their playbook ad nauseum, we are much better at calling them on it.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:05 PM on September 26, 2006


And sorry for being snotty. Our "leaders" just get my goat these days.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:07 PM on September 26, 2006


/Thread derail

From the original Clinton thread:

ZachsMind: Whatever happens to this country, to this planet, in the next ten years, it has absolutely nothing to do with any of us average powerless people voting or speaking our minds or exercising our inalienable rights. We have been subverted. The revolution was televised. We all thought we were watching something else. Everything is going to happen depending on what big business wants, various foreign countries, and whatever the 'have-mores' of this world want it to do. You can throw all the protests you want and camp out with Cindy Sheehan or listen to liberal radio stations like Air America, you can be a conservative tool and support all those guys whatever you wanna do. You have no more effect on the outcome of the destiny of this planet than a sports fan watching cable has control over whether or not the Pirates beat the Red Sox, or whatever.

Nightline last night aired another segment on global warming. While it seems too soon to throw in the towel, the sports metaphor leads to an interesting point. Doesn't this partisan politics seem trivial compared to the fact that we are all going to be absolutely fucked in 10-50 years due to global climate change? Leaving aside the defense industry takeover of the executive branch, and the complicity of congress... Isn't it at all possible that, in the face of the coming adversity that is soon going to afflict us all, we can come together as a nation to focus our anger and indignation on finding solutions for this impending crisis? It's been said that our grandchildren will look back on Iraq much like we look back on Vietnam, and wonder how the American people could have been blindly led down the path towards an endless war. I'd like to submit that our grandchildren will look out their windows at the famine, drought, and mass migration of hundreds of millions of coastal dwelling people and wonder how we could have been so distracted by terrorism to begin with...

/Apocalyptic rant off
posted by Nquire at 7:11 PM on September 26, 2006


The reason why the Democrats have been trampled the past six years is that the Republicans have a better playbook and know how to execute.

Indeed, but as the middle class shrank, many were voting in denial because it subconsciously disturbed them to think about their lack of progress and retirement needs. Some blamed liberalism for losing their exported job to regulations, as management claimed. Some were angry, convinced that their fantasy marriage was threatened by political correctness. Conservatives couldn't lose because they exploited a fear of failure, replacing job and family security with religion and gun worship; expertly confusing all economic issues with taxing the wealthy, then outspending Democrats 2 to 1.
posted by Brian B. at 7:36 PM on September 26, 2006


Now that we (both voters and reporters) have seen their playbook ad nauseum, we are much better at calling them on it.

Like Olberman and his fellow TV journos didn't know at the time that the Lewinsky story was a distraction? Whatever. Olberman used to sneer at the story even as he was "forced" to cover it. That was a decision by his bosses, not the neocons.
posted by mediareport at 7:59 PM on September 26, 2006


Quote: [After leaving ESPN], he then moved to MSNBC to work on a news show that often focused on Monica Lewinsky.

The job, as Olbermann noted in a 1998 commencement address at his alma mater Cornell, wasn't fulfilling: It gave him "dry heaves," and it would "make me ashamed, make me depressed, make me cry."


All I'm saying is that the press deserves some measure of blame there. Are you really denying that, while simultaneously praising a member of that press for calling out blame-shifters? Puh-lease.
posted by mediareport at 8:05 PM on September 26, 2006



Anyway, that was one strange editorial, who brings up Tokyo Rose when talking about contemporary politics in 2006?


Someone who ought to fire his researchers. Tokyo Rose is an American patriot.

(So is Keith Olbermann. Even if he's wrong about Iva.)
posted by bugmuncher at 8:14 PM on September 26, 2006


That was a decision by his bosses, not the neocons.

Half agreed - who do you think the bosses were, or catered to?

All I'm saying is that the press deserves some measure of blame there.Are you really denying that, while simultaneously praising a member of that press for calling out blame-shifters?

I take your point. The monolithic press deserves some blame for letting itself get played. But I still lay most of the blame at the feet of the cynical pols that orchestrated the thing from the start- if the scandal hadn't been trumpeted by them, the networks couldn't have distracted everyone with it. That's probably why I was more willing to cut KO more rhetorical slack than you were.

Maybe the fact that KO's original job gave him the heaves has given him a push to atone for his original sins. He sure seems to be stirring the pot, which could only be a good thing.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:33 PM on September 26, 2006


isn't this guy just Bill O'Reilly in a better suit

K.O. is generally 90% right and 10% wrong. BOR is 10% right and 90% wrong. But other than that, they're the same, yes.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:38 PM on September 26, 2006


Thank for the link, fourcheesemacs.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:52 PM on September 26, 2006


Wow, what a relief it was to see that video. As long as talking heads are allowed to directly and harshly rag on the President, things are... well, perhaps not OK, but certainly not as bleak as I've lately thought.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:08 PM on September 26, 2006


As usual, mefites focus on the wrong part of the story. It's easy to rag on politicians and administrations, especially with the kind of half assed disinformation campaigns and organized looting this one seems to be all about. But who has really failed the american people? Not the politicians, no sir. It's a politician's job to line his or her pockets and make power grabs. That's why we get to give them the boot, if we so desire, at regular intervals. Quit swinging your Bush hating clubs. They are useless.

Blame journalists. All of em. It's their job to protect us from the red and blue "terrorists of capitol hill". They're our first line of defense against the everyday attacks on our collective American intellect. They are the failures. They are the ones who deserve your attention. So I say, pick a journalist in your own city and start stalking them. See how they spend their day. See how hard they work for a story. See if they drive a nicer car than you. And don't you dare stop until the restraining order.

Oh and if you guys need a concept to wrap your "I'm gonna protest" thread around, how about burning Alan Colmes in effigy. Just a thought.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 9:41 PM on September 26, 2006


So download this, email to friends, etc., if you like what it says and wish there were more voices like this. The more buzz KO generates, the more others will feel emboldened to speak up.

Celebrity podcast would be an effective medium. I'm surprised the more active Hollywood types haven't started doing precisely this sort of thing: a polished five-minute weekly overview of the how bad the government has been this week.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:54 PM on September 26, 2006


Bush responds.

What an asswipe.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:04 AM on September 27, 2006


Condi's Role.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:06 AM on September 27, 2006


But who has really failed the american people? Not the politicians, no sir. It's a politician's job to line his or her pockets and make power grabs.

Assuming you're one of them, and that politicians are as well, I'd have to guess that the American people have failed the American people.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:27 AM on September 27, 2006


Why stop at journalists?

Upset about global warming? Blame scientists. Obviously, it's the job of the oil companies to keep their stockholders happy, and politicians to keep their biggest campaign contributors feeling like they have a voice in national policy. But the scientists -- they should have spoken up about this problem sooner, louder, and on television. Their laziness is despicable.

Mad about the war in Iraq? Blame the troops. Who would sign up to fight in an all-volunteer war except someone who cared more about wearing a fancy uniform and not having to work at McDonald's than about their own integrity? Better yet -- stalk the guys who have just come home, as they wheel out of the VA hospital. Give them a piece of your mind. Put your Rumsfeld-bashing clubs away -- they're useless. Obviously, it's the job of the Secretary of Defense to take firm stands and defend the viability of his policies.

Concerned about terrorist attacks at home? Blame those monkeys in the security suits at the airport, poking through the luggage of little old ladies when they could be targeting more likely perpetrators. Enough of this "profiling" nonsense.

Does the hackability of e-voting machines worry you? Blame any voter stupid enough to walk into a Diebold voting machine. Let's stop being naive. Obviously, it's the job of Diebold to keep its stockholders happy by expanding markets for the company's product, while delivering paybacks to people like Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell, who has aided the company's success. But those voters -- don't they read the blogs?

Think the US Constitution and the humane part of this country's legacy isn't adequately reflected in US domestic and foreign policy? Blame the ACLU. Stalk them -- defending perverts and Klanners while they should have been, uhm... Well, wait a sec. Whose job is it to defend the Constitution again? Oh right, politicians. But let's stop being naive. Put your clubs away -- or better yet, beat yourself up.
posted by digaman at 8:32 AM on September 27, 2006


Digaman:

I agree with you, but SinisterPurposes's stance also resonates pretty strongly with me.

When it comes right down to it, participation in an activity is complicity. There are many extenuating circumstances, of course - people need to pay the bills, employment opportunities are finite, etc. - but rationalization only goes so far. If waterboarding is legal, but everyone declines to participate in waterboarding, then waterboarding is no longer a dilemma. At some point the line has to be drawn. That's why we (supposedly) recognize that "following orders" is not an acceptable defense for wrongdoing.

I certainly don't have any answers. I can't help but feel, however, that we have seriously lost our way. We really need to figure out how to hold our government, and ourselves, responsible.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:30 AM on September 27, 2006


I couldn't agree with you more, Benny. And as a journalist myself, the complicity of most of the American press in spreading the GOPs lies angers me possibly even more than it does Sinister.

The problem is that "blame journalists, all of them," is another standard-issue GOP lie. Bush, Rove and company have tried to discredit the press in precisely the same calculated way they have smeared and slagged and character-assassinated anyone who might criticize or expose them: NASA scientists, military men speaking out against their conduct of the war, congressmen like John Murtha who dare to oppose their policies, the French... You could make up a 100-page list.

Precisely because so much of the press did a terrible job of examining the administration's motives for going to war, I praise those journalists who were still on the job; people like Seymour Hersh, Murray Waas, Keith Olbermann, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau (NSA wiretapping) -- as well as a handful of other journalists who never dropped the ball. They need our support, they need our reading of their investigative reports, they need our links here on MeFi -- and they need our defense from broad-brush GOP smears about their profession. They don't need a bunch of people who are angry about people like Judith Miller stalking them, as Sinister suggested.
posted by digaman at 10:27 AM on September 27, 2006


Is Keith Olberman actually on TV? He seems to only show up on little snippets Metafilter links to.
posted by b_thinky at 11:33 AM on September 27, 2006


“When it comes right down to it, participation in an activity is complicity.”

Like in the Cube
Gotta go with digaman tho’ there are exceptions and you can’t paint all the particulars with the same general brush or indeed overreacting and putting them in a giant maze of shifting cubes randomly (or based on fiendishly difficult mathematics) set with exotic death traps. However, y’know, cool that might be.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:49 AM on September 27, 2006


Olberman, however, just ran one back for a touchdown.

And that, my friends, is what the American people understand.

The public admires strength, but strength comes not just from being "tough on terrorism"; strength comes from standing up for what you believe in, refusing to be steamrolled, being passionate rather than poll-driven.

Clinton stands up, lashes out - and the Republicans describe him as "crazed." Make no mistake, they do that because they're afraid. Same with Olberman. He's bending over, dropping his drawers and pointing his ass cheeks at this administration, and telling them to kiss it.

That's where it's at. The public doesn't respect the, "Um, Mr. Bush, we think you're going a little too far" routine.

A great big American "F*CK YOU?" Now that, we all understand.
posted by kgasmart at 12:16 PM on September 27, 2006


Olbermann Death Threat = teh funnay!

If you're Rupert Murdoch.
posted by digaman at 12:37 PM on September 27, 2006


Speaking of Tokyo Rose, Iva Toguri D'Aquino passed away yesterday.
posted by foonie at 4:21 PM on September 27, 2006


Keith Olbermann takes a ”look back” at Bush’s first months in office leading up till 9/11
posted by homunculus at 7:34 PM on September 27, 2006


It's brilliant, homunculus, thanks.
posted by digaman at 8:37 PM on September 27, 2006


Some jerkwad sent "anthrax" to KO.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:48 PM on September 27, 2006


Gah, looks like C&L changed the url. This should work.
posted by homunculus at 10:02 PM on September 27, 2006


This gallup poll tells us exactly what is wrong with America: the twenty percent core of idiots are voting Republican.1 It's their vote that makes or breaks the election.

More smart people need to vote.

1 They just can't get it into their heads that Bush must bear at least some culpability!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:16 PM on September 27, 2006


I've got a full-on man crush! Way to go KO!!
posted by black8 at 11:35 PM on September 27, 2006


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