Olbermann Vs. Rumsfeld

In Global War On Terror, Iraq War, Media Criticism, US Politics on September 3, 2006 at 3:13 am

Keith Olbermann, of MSNBC’s Countdown, invoked the spirit of Edward R. Murrow this past Wednesday for an attack on Donald Rumsfeld, who made some controversial comments about “Islamic fascists” and people who oppose the current administration, calling them “morally and intellectually confused.”

If you haven’t seen the video, you need to watch it. This is the type of journalism that has been lacking in this country for quite a while, and hopefully it will inspire more journalists to speak out.

Moments like this in the media are very important because we are often flooded with images and phrases that are created by the conservative right wing to sway public opinion; to convince the public into blindly following their causes; to make people afraid of speaking out. For example, check out an article on some of the recent trends in issue framing by the Inter Press Service. Rumsfeld and Bush didn’t just come up with terms like “Islamic fascists” and “appeasers” out of nowhere. It’s part of a larger effort by conservative media and politicians to frame the issues their way so that they can maintain support by the general public.

Thanks to Olbermann, these efforts aren’t just simply accepted. He is brave enough to make his critique of the administration very public and to name names. This is what media should truly be, something that puts elected officials in their place – modern checks and balances.

I’ll finish the post with some of the statements made by Olbermann. After all, he says it all best.

Dissent and disagreement with government is the life’s blood of human freedom; and not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as “his” troops still fight, this very evening, in Iraq.

It is also essential. Because just every once in awhile it is right and the power to which it speaks, is wrong……

That, about which Mr. Rumsfeld is confused is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely.

And, as such, all voices count — not just his.

Had he or his president perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience — about Osama Bin Laden’s plans five years ago, about Saddam Hussein’s weapons four years ago, about Hurricane Katrina’s impact one year ago — we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their “omniscience” as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego.

But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance, and its own hubris.

Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to the entire “Fog of Fear” which continues to envelop this nation, he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies have — inadvertently or intentionally — profited and benefited, both personally, and politically.

And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer’s New Clothes?

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised? As a child, of whose heroism did he read? On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight? With what country has he confused the United States of America?


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