Friday, October 13, 2006

Changing Cable Companies

The other day, I checked out Crooks and Liars, where I found a link to a video from Keith Olbermann's Countdown on MSNBC. Yesterday, I went over to a friend's house to watch the show, since my current cable company doesn't carry MSNBC. Olbermann closes each show by saying, "Good night, and good luck." For anyone who missed the wonderful movie by that title, it was the close for each broadcast by journalist Edward R. Murrow, the man who turned the tide against Senator Joe McCarthy, mostly just by showing footage of McCarthy's outrageous red-baiting performances in Senate hearings. Murrow had already made a name for himself in broadcast journalism history by his live radio reports from London during World War II, but it was his report on McCarthy that put him up with George Washington Carver (the inventor of peanut butter) in my childhood pantheon of heroes.

Today, Olbermann uses the same tag line, and it's no coincidence. Olbermann is playing Murrow to George W. Bush's "Tailgunner Joe." It's an overused phrase lately, but Olbermann is speaking truth to power. Back on 2006-10-05, Olbermann had a "Special Comment" section in the broadcast, with things like this to say:


The President doesn't just hear what he wants. He hears things, that only he can hear. It defies belief that this President and his administration could continue to find new unexplored political gutters into which they could wallow. Yet they do.

. . .

You have dishonored your party, sir — you have dishonored your supporters — you have dishonored yourself. But tonight the stark question we must face is, Why?

Why has the ferocity of your venom against the Democrats, now exceeded the ferocity of your venom against the terrorists? Why have you chosen to go down in history as the President who made things up? In less than one month you have gone from a flawed call to unity, to this clarion call to hatred of Americans, by Americans. If this is not simply the most shameless example of the rhetoric of political hackery, then it would have to be the cry of a leader crumbling under the weight of his own lies.

. . .

This President — in his bullying of the Senate last month and in his slandering of the Democrats this month — has shown us that he believes whoever the enemies are — they are hiding themselves inside a dangerous cloak, called the Constitution of the United States of America.

. . .

Mr. President, these new lies go to the heart of what it is that you truly wish to preserve. It is not our freedom, nor our country — your actions against the Constitution give irrefutable proof of that. You want to preserve a political party's power. And obviously you'll sell this country out, to do it.

These are lies about the Democrats piled atop lies about Iraq which were piled atop lies about your preparations for Al-Qaeda.

I think that's stuff worth the trouble to change cable companies. To quote Edward R. Murrow, "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men."

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