Must Avoid TV: When Olbermann Became Owned

He used to put on a decent show. He would rave and rant at the right times. He made it “acceptable” to accuse the President of his shenanigans and evil-doing. He helped many Americans realize that the Right has taken over, by brute force, the airways and mindset of the American people, even though many Americans knew these things to be against their core values and beliefs.

Keith used to help me to feel like we had hope that the political movement “could” be changed. That maybe, just maybe, someone from the progressive side of the political spectrum could actually become a voice again. But, slowly and surely, he has become owned by “them” and I feel he has either been told something that changed his mind or he is a flip-flopper on one of the most crucial things happening today in Washigton.

I have found myself becoming less attentive to his show and over the last week or so have not really watched at all. Why? Because he has fallen for the Obama rhetoric and has totally capitulated on a Special Comment regarding the telecom immunity deal that Obama now flip-floppingly supports (his flip-flops are becoming quite regular now).

So Keith has decided that it isn’t so bad now that Obama has capitulated to Big Telecom’s influence and has decided that Mr Obama simply knows something the rest doesn’t and that stopping the civil court process will enable a super-secret Criminal attack when Obama wins. Its all planned and we should believe that they will be held accountable in the future. Just elect him to get it done, I suppose (the carrot dangles before the Progressives, again).

Keith, who still holds some of my admiration, has become just another TV personality. You know, the kind that you can’t trust for anything truthful, but will be controlled by other rationale. They all seem to do it. I still hold out hope for Bill Moyers.

Glenn Greenwald took Keith to task about this and Olbermann replied… thing is, with Glenn, you better have your shit together, for he will proverbially spank you if you bullshit him. I recommend everyone subscribing to his blog.

In his Kos reply, Olbermann pronounces that my piece yesterday was “simplistic and childish” but then adds the standard dismissive Journalist defense: “I don’t know much about Mr. Greenwald and I didn’t read his full piece.” He says that he refrained from criticizing Obama’s support for the FISA bill in reliance on John Dean’s comments, and “John Dean is the smartest person I’ve ever met” and “John Dean is worth 25 Glenn Greenwalds” — so that settles that (for what it’s worth, I also have a high opinion of Dean’s legal acumen; hosted his appearance at FDL’s Book Salon; don’t disagree with him about this bill at all; have communicated with him about many issues; and he has said many complimentary things about my work in the past, so waving the flag of Dean’s Unassailable Authority establishes nothing).

Olbermman then denies that he was justifying Obama’s support for the FISA bill but then goes on to do exactly that:

Seriously, there is little in the polls to suggest McCain has anything to run with other than terror . . . . So why hand them a brick to hit him with — Obama Voted Against FISA — if voting Aye enhances his chances of getting himself his own Attorney General to prosecute FISA.

How can Olbermann accuse me of distorting his commentary and deny that he’s rationalizing Obama’s support for the bill and then write the above — which does nothing but justify Obama’s support for the bill? That’s exactly the mentality I was criticizing yesterday — that Obama should be excused for supporting this assault on core Constitutional liberties and the rule of law because doing so is necessary to avoid appearing Weak on Terrorism. That’s the behavior which Obama has repeatedly vowed to reject, and it’s that precise mentality that has to be extinguished, not perpetuated.

Isn’t it amazing how Keith finds himself in such a mixed up conundrum? I call it hypocrisy.

to give Obama a pass on his support for such a heinous bill — one which Dean himself describes as a grave assault on the Constitution — based on this imagined secret plan for the Good that Obama is harboring is to illustrate exactly the sort of blind faith in political leaders that is so dangerous. That’s been the Right’s mentality to excuse every last thing Bush does:

It may look to you like Bush is breaking the law or doing something wrong, but he’s a Good person and so we can trust in him that he’s doing it for our own Good, even when he doesn’t tell us why he’s doing it and even when he keeps his real motives a secret. He probably has a good reason for doing these things and we don’t need to know what that is. Besides, we’re facing such an extreme crisis that it’s more important to support him than criticize him even when we don’t understand why he’s doing something and even when we don’t know what it is that he’s doing.

No political leader deserves that sort of blind faith — not Bush and not Obama.

There is so much more in Glenn’s article, but let me finish with the following observation that I totally agree with. I am sick and tired of hearing about chnage in how leadership operates. I want to SEE IT IN ACTION!

As he mentions in his Kos diary, Olbermann had the vocally pro-Obama Markos Moulitsas on his show on Monday night and tried to get Markos to embrace this excuse for Obama. Markos rejected it emphatically:

OLBERMANN: But to the point of the Constitution, John Dean made a fascinating point on this news hour on Friday. He read this bill and he knows a little something about the Constitution, too. He says it’s so sloppily written that nothing in there would rule out later criminal liabilities for the telecom companies.Could that be, actually, what Obama is counting on, just sort of cede this civil action stuff which is basically in lieu of sending these people to jail and just concentrate on, you know, closing up whatever perceived weakness there is of the Democrats being soft on counterterror and, in fact, just hold a bigger punch back until after the election?

MOULITSAS: Well, if that’s the strategy, he has said nothing to indicate that and this is not the sort of thing that I think you have to keep quiet and secretive. I mean, if that’s his strategy, he can say, “This is a bill that’s flawed,” but, really at the end of the day he has a chance to stand for the Constitution and to show that he will protect it against forces that seek to undermine it and he will show that he has, like I said before, that he is a leader and will take the mantle of leadership on this issue and take control of the Democratic Party.

Markos — who observed: “I don’t think he’s going to lose any support, I mean, let’s be honest. I mean, it’s either Obama or John McCain” — nonetheless added:

I think what’s at stake, though, is a lot of the intensity of support for Barack Obama. And he spent the last two years telling us how he’s going to be the leader of the free world, not to mention the Democratic Party and this nation . . . . I don’t want to hear him talk about leadership. I don’t want to hear him talk about defending the Constitution; I want to see him do it.

That is precisely the point, and of course those who believe in defending core constitutional liberties shouldn’t remain quiet when any politician — including Obama — takes actions to erode them.

3 thoughts on “Must Avoid TV: When Olbermann Became Owned

  1. Pingback: B’Man’s Hypocrite Watch: Keith Olbermann « BuelahMan’s Redstate Revolt

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