Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Real Argument to Make Against Keith Olbermann: He’s a Flip-Flopping Apologist Obama

Original Link:

Glenn Greenwald, the Salon columnist, is usually scribbling down attacks on the GOP. But not always. Greenwald, who often gets trashed talked in pundit circles and at media parties, has a history of taking a break from Bush mudslinging to go on a tear against one media outlet or another.

Last year he did it to Time columnist Joe Klein (”For the sake of its own credibility, Time Magazine needs immediately to prohibit Joe Klein from uttering another word about the eavesdropping and FISA controversy.”). He’s also spit blood with Politico, criticizing its overly cozy relationship with the Drudge Report (perhaps because he covets it?) and effectively labeled it a “gossip rag masquerading as news organization.” (Us too!)

To be sure, Greenwald’s media crits are often based on his original premise: Playing nice with the right-wing makes you the devil. So anytime a media outlet violates this treatise, they’re fair targets.

And so too, then, is Greenwald’s latest victim: Keith Olbermann. The MSNBC host who was once a liberal hero is now — to Greenwald at least, though also to many others we’ve spoke with inside the industry — a double-talking liar. Worse: a centrist! And Greenwald has some pretty damning evidence.

Keith Olbermann, you might have noticed, has made quite the name for himself blasting George Bush while upholding left-y principles. One of those left-y principles used to be battling against the Bush White House’s warrantless wiretapping and, later, the decision to grant telecom companies blanket immunity under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for working with the government to spy on suspected terrorists.

On Jan. 31, Olbermann so famously delivered that 10-minute “Special Comment,” deriding Bush for, among other things, trying to “retroactively immunize corporate criminals”: “There is not a choice of protecting the telecoms from prosecution or protecting the people from terrorism, Sir. This is a choice of protecting the telecoms from prosecution or pretending to protect the people from terrorists. Sorry, Mr. Bush, the eavesdropping provisions of FISA have obviously had no impact on counter-terrorism, and there is no current or perceived terrorist threat the thwarting of which could hinge on an email or phone call that is going through Room 641 of AT&T in San Francisco.”

A one Barack Obama, currently the Democratic hope for president, but back in January still battling against Hillary Clinton for that honor, was on the same plane as Olbermann. That was then, when he was telling a crowd in South Carolina about FISA, “This administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security he demands.”

But this is now: “The issue of the phone companies per se is not one that overrides the security of the American people,” Obama said Wednesday, indicating he would now support the Bush administration’s immunity for the telecom industry.

Allies like Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, and Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut are pissed — they oppose the bill and thought they had Obama on their side.

So, too, perhaps, they thought Olbermann was on their side.

Remember what Olbermann said back in January, about how FISA was terrible and granting immunity was basically a violation of our Fourth Amendment? Compare that to Wednesday’s Countdown, where he flip-flopped from lambasting the Bush administration for this type of measure to supporting Obama’s own change of heart, and championing the candidate for “refusing to cower even to the left on the subject of warrantless wiretapping” when he switched his view.

Yes, kids, refusing to cower even to the left. You remember the left, don’t you? It’s the same affiliation Olbermann once belonged to, calling bullshit on FISA.

Says Greenwald:

What’s much more notable is Olbermann’s full-scale reversal on how he talks about these measures now that Obama — rather than George Bush — supports them. On an almost nightly basis, Olbermann mocks Congressional Democrats as being weak and complicit for failing to stand up to Bush lawbreaking; now that Obama does it, it’s proof that Obama won’t “cower.” Grave warning on Olbermann’s show that telecom amnesty and FISA revisions were hallmarks of Bush Fascism instantaneously transformed into a celebration that Obama, by supporting the same things, was leading a courageous, centrist crusade in defense of our Constitution.

Is that really what anyone wants — transferring blind devotion from George Bush to Barack Obama? Are we hoping for a Fox News for Obama, that glorifies everything he says and whitewashes everything he does?

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