Thursday, August 31, 2006

Olberman Channels Edward R. Murrow


Anonymous said...

Amazing work by Keith Olberman. Perhaps he should've been handed the reigns at CBS instead of Katie Couric.

Doug said...

Powerful stuff. Thank you, Darrin.

Paul said...

Yeah, then CBS's ratings would've sunk lower than MSNBC's. Not that I'm equating popularity with what's right. But this is more of the same old same old attack the messenger and add absolutely no new thought to the debate that's been to the detriment of political discourse the past few years. To state that the battery's in backwards, the Bush Administration is really the Neville Chamberlain administration, that the news readers and Democratic Party are really the Winston Churchills of our day is pathetic. Name one member of the opposition who has consistently identified jihadists as an enemy and offered a vision of how to defeat them.

A valid criticism of the Administration is it's taken them so long to label the "War on Terror" for what it is - an ideological war against Islamic jihadists. Earlier hints of that brought howls of objections from opponents, and the Administration backed off.

I'll agree the Administration has mucked things up with the Iraq situation - but I go back to an earlier question - remove Iraq entirely from the equation. The invasion never happened. Other events pretty much transpired as we've seen - bin Laden and Al Qeda hierarchy holed up in Pakistan, Iran going forward with efforts to develop nuclear weapons (aided by the Russians, and to a lesser extent, the Chinese) with a leader who is the Islamic equivalent of a far-right, fundamentalist Christian wacko who takes allegorical works literally and thinks it's his divine mission to cause the events depicted in Daniel and Revelation to happen and who has the means to make it so.

So a few years go by, there's continuing low-level conflict punctuated by a few spectacular terrorist events, Administration opponents oppose all intercept/surveillance/monitoring (I'm not stating if the programs "followed the law" - just observing that no matter what happened, there was a knee-jerk objection aka Pelosi's recent comments to "never cooperate"). Short-attention span theater sets in and the Administration says - jihadists are still there, they're cooperating with certain states, they want to obtain and use weapons that will bring incalculable suffering to humanity, which they think is righteous because Allah commands it - and what would we have? About the same situation we now have. An opposition who's only contribution is to attack the Administration on all fronts, create diversionary stories that later turn out to be bogus (Plame-Armitage-Fitzgerald, anyone?) and offer absolutely no strategic vision of what to do, let alone admit there is a threat.

Mohito said...

Paul, your whole characterization of events reeks of partisan blindness. I'm a Libertarian, so I don't have any horse in this race. It's obvious the opposition party has been LOCKED OUT of doing anything but criticizing and opposing. When the GOP stops shooting down Democratic amendments left and right and stops locking Dems out of conference meetings, then you can whine about Democrats not offering an alternative.

I don't like the alternatives they do offer, but I'm sick to death of this incredibly stupid canard that keeps going around about their not offering anything, perpetuated by the same people who do everything they can to make sure Democrats don't have a voice.

Olberman was right on the money, and my only disagreement with him is that he ignored the Democratic party's complicity in all this.

Paul said...

Never said my party affiliation - but as if it matters (my party is xyz therefore the views expressed have n weight) I registered Libertarian when the party was first organized, left when they became more ideological than far-right Republicans or far-left Democrats.

No person gets "locked out" of offering ideas - unless your name is Lieberman and you go against that party's radicals. As the topic was the war against Muslim fundamentalism, just what were the amendmenents Democratic Congresspersons introduced that were "shot down"? What conference meetings (Democrat or Republican) had anything substantive to offer as an alternative to the war with the fundamentalists? Just what alternatives have been offered? Seriously, I'd like to hear one. Heard one Congressman, just last week, who when pressed said "go after bin Laden." The interviewer said, "Oh, so you want US forces to invade Pakistan?" and he replied, "No, what I meant was blah blah blah." Please don't fall back on "withdraw from Iraq" - that's all I hear from the opposition party, no matter what aspect of the war is discussed.

I do agree with the last part of the last sentence - both parties are rather inadequate.

I must disagree with one point - Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Independent, American, British, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Turk, Christian, Buddhist, Jew, Mystic, Hindu, Wiccan, Moslem (certain African Moslems - examine Darfur) - all have a horse in this race. If you do not subscribe to their vision of Allah's rule on earth you deserve (according to their ideology) to die.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Paul sure is upset. I guess the truth hurts. And what's that nonsense about Lieberman? "Radicals" didn't marginalize Lieberman. The Democratic Party supported Lieberman, but the VOTERS rejected him for being out of touch about the war and about issues that matter to people in Connecticut. Ned Lamont happens to believe what MOST Americans believe. Anyone who can describe MOST Americans as "radical" isn't exactly thinking straight.

Paul said...

Upset? There people go again, ascribing emotions as a guiding force in a policy discussion.

Truth? In many of these areas, truth is only what one believes it to be. One side thinks "truth" is Keynsian economics - another side holds to the monetarist school. One side thinks the US is basically a decent society, another side thinks it's the primary cause of trouble around the world. One side thinks "truth" is embodied in Christian or Buddhist philosophies, another side thinks "truth" is embodied in Islamic philosophy as described by such writers as Sayyid Qutb (whose "truth" includes killing all nonbelievers).

I wondered what response I'd hear about the Lieberman reference. Much of what I've read, including Democrat-affiliated web sites and newsletters, castigated Lieberman for one thing - his support for the Iraq war - and disregarded his decades of support for progressive positions. The "VOTERS" were primary voters ("Ned Lamont happens to believe what MOST Americans believe" - uh, no, not according to most reputable polls) and best indications are, running as an Independent with the support of moderate Democrats and Republicans that he has a good chance of winning reelection.

My earlier point was both main American parties have a radical wing (left for the Democrats, right for the Republicans) that exercise control on party positions and nominations of national candidates. And who will politicize any issue for gain and if proven wrong, will never address their earlier inaccuracies with any sort of a mea culpa (the Valerie Plame reference).

Anonymous said...

About 283,000 people turned out to vote in the CT primary, and tens of thousands of them were newly-registered Democrats, who switched from IND or Republican so they could vote against Lieberman.

What "reputable polls" are you pointing to to suggest Lamont ISN'T in step with the majority of Americans or Connecticans?

Lieberman wasn't castigated for his support of the war. That's a simple-minded way to look at it that's belied by the fact that most Democrats who still support the war have NOT been castigated for it to the point where they've been marginalized. Clinton, for example, is coasting to re-election. Feinstein and Biden have nothing to worry about. Lieberman was given the boot because his BLIND support for BUSH's conduct of the war trumps his other positions. To say that he should've been kept around as some sort of reward for years of progressive votes is just dumb. The Iraq War is the most important issue of our generation. The enormous cost of the war affects every other aspect of our society, and it makes perfect sense for voters to make their decisions based on it.

Most Americans agree with Ned Lamont that this war is wrong and has to end. Lieberman seems as if he wants us to stay there forever and conduct the war the same way we've been doing for the past few years. Hence Lieberman's defeat. What "reputable polls" can you cite that dispute that?

And again, there's nothing "radical" about what the MAJORITY of Americans believe. The "radical" position these days is Lieberman's.

What's Valerie Plame have to do with this? The only thing Democrats were wrong about was the name of the original leaker. The central issue is that the White House used this info to try and discredit someone who pointed out their lies about uranium tubes that helped sell this war to the American people. Whether Rove or Armitage were the first person to leak that info is irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and to say polls show Lieberman has a "good chance" of winning in a three-way race is laughable. A veteran senator like him should be COASTING to re-election, yet he's barely treading water and he's sinking in the polls. By election time, if the trend continues, Lamont will be the winner.

If Lieberman were truly in-step with what MOST people actually think, the power of the incumbency and his personal likeability ratings would have him winning in a LANDSLIDE.

Tiffany said...

What do you want to bet Keith Olberman will be shown the door in the next few months? MSNBC's always been afraid of conservatives, so much so that they cancelled Donahue when it was their highest rated show (nothing, not even Countdown, has come close to Donahue's ratings). They're a Fox News clone, and there isn't much room for the kind of integrity Olberman always displays on a station like that (or any station these days).

And Paul, I don't know how old you are, but I imagine you'd have said the same thing about Murrow a half century ago when he finally called McCarthy on the carpet.

Chuck said...

Come on... don't put the Terrorists who are Muslim in the same category as your everyday Muslim! They aren't the same.
Terrorists can come from anywhere. The only ones that we hear about today are Muslim. But they aren't the only ones.

A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist. Don't try to tell me otherwise. And don't try to sell me oceanfront property in Las Vegas. I won't buy that, either.

Mohito said...

Right on, Chuck.

Paul said...

(Sigh) – such a pattern, toss out opinions without factual backup and ask the other party to do the research to respond to your own questions.

Really, I don’t much care what happens in Connecticut – doesn’t have much impact on my life – with the exception of influence Congressional reps have in policymaking. To say any one state is “in step” with the country is amusing. Disregards the diversity of issues that are important to people. But on a national level, the country is quite partisan at both ends of the spectrum, with, according to the past few years, only 7-8 percent truly undecided. It is persuading that vote, plus motivating the hardcore base, that’s worked for Republicans in recent elections. They took an example from Democrats and went one better.

All right, for the benefit of others I’ll do your research regarding “show me a poll” - citing a generally reputable polling firm regarding recent data on Lieberman’s chances (a race I follow simply because it’s interesting).

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday (Aug 17) indicates Lieberman leads in a three-way race for the U.S. Senate. "As long as Lieberman maintains this kind of support among Republicans, while holding onto a significant number of Democratic votes, the veteran Senator will be hard to beat," Quinnipiac University poll director Douglas Schwartz said.
Lieberman leads Democratic candidate Ned Lamont among registered voters 49 percent to 38 percent. Republican Alan Schlesinger gets support from 4 percent of poll respondents.
Lamont had trailed Lieberman 51 percent to 27 percent in a three-way race in a July 20 Quinnipiac poll.
"I consider myself to be behind in this race. I'm going to run as if I'm behind," Lieberman said. "I am a challenger in the most direct sense, which is I'm challenging the conventional political way."
"Ned Lamont's Democratic primary win was based on a very small percentage of voters statewide. He must expand beyond this base if he is going to beat Lieberman," Schwartz said.

An August 26 poll showed essentially the same. Illustrated my point of party partisans achieving a short-term victory (party) which will cost a long-term victory (electing party’s candidate). My earlier references were to the effect the Republicans will likely do the same with the next Presidential candidate, opposing candidates such as McCain or Giuliani because of their views on abortion, gun control, etc. or because of Giuliani’s marriage history (they didn’t like what they saw with Pres Clinton and don’t like it in Giuliani, either). Moralizing trumps politics.

Can’t really tell from your writing if by “the war” you mean the Iraq war or the War on Islamic fundamentalists (“Terror”). A five-minute search engine search will show many Americans oppose the Iraq war but support the war on terror, with a great subsplit between Democrats and Republicans. How we extricate ourselves from the Iraq debacle is indeed important, but so far all the administration has said is “stay until Iraq is stable” and opponents have said “leave soon” – with no subsequent strategy enunciated. By either side.

Re: senators coasting to reelection: 98 percent of them do. Incumbents with money rule. No one’s been able to explain to me the difference between a campaign contribution and a bribe. Maybe size does count.

Lieberman’s support of Iraq war wasn’t a central issue? Do a simple search – most responses come up with a variation of:
Lieberman Challenged Over Support for Iraq War, by David Welna National Public Radio Morning Edition, March 29, 2006 · Joseph Lieberman, a popular three-term Democratic senator from Connecticut, is seeking re-election this year. He is so popular that even a key House Republican has endorsed him. But Lieberman's support for the war in Iraq has angered many Democrats. Democrat Ned Lamont is challenging Lieberman, making the war in Iraq a top issue.

I really shouldn’t do a point-by-point when people toss out so many disparate thoughts… but regarding “what’s the Plame point?”

The topic was partisanship obfuscating rational discussion of policy. Then when events prove the earlier charges were inaccurate, there’s only silence by most attackers. Likely because the entire charade was politics, not a search for truth.

Nearly anyone could have read the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, S. Report 108-301, “US Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq.” Published two years ago, received very little press attention, pointed out contradictions, inaccuracies and omissions from Mr. Wilson’s report compard to his public statements, including his initial Washington Post article on July 12, 2003 (and the story he gave to the New York Times on May 6, 2003). Wilson got the ball rolling on a partisan attack, attributed revealing his wife’s name as part of an administration conspiracy to punish him, which is a major foundation of his lawsuit. Showing Armitage (critic of the Iraq invasion) as the source cuts the legs out from the suit (but it will likely continue – publicity and money). Fitzgerald knew this early on – but he must have taken a lesson from Ken Starr with Pres Clinton.

Of course, those who read the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, section 426 subsection 4 pretty well knew the entire issue as portrayed was partisan politics and watched with some amazement as the story continued, with conjecture portrayed as fact.

So the Washington Post said, essentially, we were wrong, the New York Times pretty much said here’s what’s happening now (let's not look to the past) and all the people who went on with speculation as fact have remained silent.

Same happened with Clinton and his investigations.

So at the risk of sounding pedagogical, the suggestion here is to read source material, form conclusions and compare that to what's reported.

And no, Tiffany, I wasn’t around when Murrow called McCarthy on the carpet, but if I remember my readings correctly – McCarthy dealt in power, ego and speculation unsupported by facts, he resorted to labeling and namecalling his political opponents, he shouted down and attempted to intimidate those who disagreed with him – just like partisans on both sides today. And I don’t give much serious credence to Olberman – when he tried out his somewhat comedic, satirical style as an ESPN sportscaster to now, with a demeanor that strikes me as the left’s version of Sean Hannity.

Whew - thanks for the indulgence, Mr. Bell. Perhaps you can glean some material for Lemont.

Mohito said...

"My earlier references were to the effect the Republicans will likely do the same with the next Presidential candidate, opposing candidates such as McCain or Giuliani because of their views on abortion, gun control, etc. or because of Giuliani’s marriage history (they didn’t like what they saw with Pres Clinton and don’t like it in Giuliani, either). Moralizing trumps politics."

The difference being that abortion, gun control and Giuliani's marriage history are not the biggest issue of our times. The Iraq War is.

"Showing Armitage (critic of the Iraq invasion) as the source cuts the legs out from the suit (but it will likely continue – publicity and money)."

And why would that be? Rove also spoke with reporters confirming Valerie Plame's identity, didn't he? And last I checked, Armitage wasn't some outsider, he worked at State, which is in the executive branch and answers to the President. If anything, this simply adds another name that can be added to the lawsuit.

"I wasn’t around when Murrow called McCarthy on the carpet, but if I remember my readings correctly – McCarthy dealt in power, ego and speculation unsupported by facts, he resorted to labeling and namecalling his political opponents, he shouted down and attempted to intimidate those who disagreed with him – just like partisans on both sides today. "

And JUST like the White House. Besides, at the time, most people thought his accusations WERE supported by facts, and I'm sure some said the same stuff about Murrow that you're saying about Olberman.

Paul said...

"The difference being that abortion, gun control and Giuliani's marriage history are not the biggest issue of our times. The Iraq War is."

Point was, they're single issues that many will use to determine how they vote. Happens with Democrats and Republicans - voters as well as Senators (witness two recent Supreme Court nomination hearings). You may want to consider the earlier question of - if the Iraq War had never happened, or if all US forces are now gone from the country - what should have been/should now be the US stragegy in conducting the war agains Muslim extremists?

Armitage: was a quasi-career senior government service official, Deputy Secretary of State, position required Senate confirmation. Not about to go into Federal service personnel rules, etc. but in this case Armitage/Powell were cautious critics of Iraq policy - but they expressed views within the political system, not on news/entertainment shows (except for Armitage with his off-the-record comments). Please check the filing for the suit and the elements of "conspiracy" to answer your question.

Don't want to rehash the Plame issue - but wishing don't make it so. "Non Official Cover" "Covert" "Classified" have specific legal meanings which must be proven to "make" a legal case. As I said, read the Intelligence Identies Protection Act, keeping in mind the "if this AND that" definitions. Again, point was not to rehash but to illustrate how people/institutions level accusations and if proven incorrect rarely come forth with a "events have proven my earlier accusations or statements of fact as incorrect."

Yes, "JUST like the White House" re. McCarthy. Although I'd say "just like some in the Administration." And just like some (Howard Dean, head of DNC, given to fits of hyperbole) on the opposition party.

Olberman? Just don't much care for what I see as a rather lazy style of "news analysis." Strikes me as playing to an audience, as I see Sean Hannity doing with his audience (although I must say Mr. Hannity does more of the "I think THIS because of X-Y-Z" - but he then tends to cut off his questioners or make statement in the form of a question and ask for agreement in the mannner of Chris Mathews of Hardball).

Paul said...

Dick Morris (Pres Clinton's chief political strategist) has some good comments about who deserves to get elected in the coming election(s):

I'm 'bout ready to vote for ABI (Anybody But an Incumbent)