Olbermann and Other Matters
Rachel Sklar at Huffington Post has a good roundup on the latest atrocity from Hillary-hater Keith Olbermann (he has since 'apologized' for the atrocity, as Sklar notes). Sklar says:
Do I really think Olbermann thinks Hillary Clinton should really be violently beaten to the point of physical incapacitation, or worse? No, though some have taken that statement to its logical conclusion. [Eriposte note: Anglachel has posted an update here] But it is an unmistakably violent image — and that point seems to be undisputed by those who have written about it so far (Google "Olbermann" and "take her into a room" and you'll see results like "Keith Olbermann Advocates Violence Against Hillary" "Olbermann: Misogyny 101" "Calls To End Race Turn Violent""Olbermann: How To Snuff Out Hillary Clinton"). Even Fineman seemed taken aback by the statement - there is a distinct pause after, and it's an eternity in TV time. He's not facing the camera but you can tell that the statement was jarring. (Even so he agreed, saying, "Yes, yes exactly.")
There really seems to be only one interpretation here, and the only point of debate is on whether it's okay or not. I'm going to cut that one short: It's not. To the fellow (male) journo I wrote to about this yesterday, who waved it off as just some colorful film-noir imagery, I say: can you IMAGINE if someone had said that about Obama? That he should be taken somewhere and dealt with, so that he wouldn't come back? Can you imagine if some right-winger had talked about getting Obama out of the race "the old-fashioned way?" If that last one makes you cringe, it should, because it evokes a history of violence against black people in this country that is raw and real. Well, frankly, the same goes for women — many of whom have been taken somewhere private, and never returned.
Like some people in the "progressive" blogosphere, Keith Olbermann has become exactly the kind of person he claimed to detest and be revolted by. Bob Somerby has a good summary (bold text is my emphasis):
For ourselves, we didn’t think there was anything wrong with that Clinton ad. Omigod! A brief image of bin Laden! We thought this eek-a-mouse approach made little sense last year, when it was aimed at Giuliani; we think it’s even sillier now. But this is standard liberal thinking. It really isn’t the type of thinking this site was invented to challenge.
Was Clinton’s ad like the famous ad which said that Senator Cleland lacked “the courage to lead?” Not really, no—it just wasn’t. In fairness, the New York Times didn’t go that far in its eek-a-mouse editorial—but that’s the comparison Keith Olbermann made on Monday evening’s Countdown. But then, Countdown has almost surely become the most propagandized show in cable “news” history. Yes, you can still find pure crap in the mainstream press. But pure crap abounds now on Countdown.
When we started this site, the mainstream press corps took the cake (see item above). Now, our “liberal” cable show does—and that has our analysts bollixed.
How silly does it get on Countdown? Just watch any part of the show, any night! The propaganda flow starts right away, and it rarely stops.
What follows is a minor example. But just check out how sad—and familiar—this particular reasoning was.
Last night, Olbermann brought out Rachel Maddow, one of the perfectly-scripted players he presents every night...
In her presentation, Maddow argued an irrelevant point; she “proved” that the person who wins a Dem primary may not win the general election in that state. Of course, no one would ever be so dumb as to challenge that obvious fact—and that isn’t the claim she described before she began her refutation. But on Countdown, this sort of thing is standard fare. On Countdown, every fact—every argument—supports the preference of the host. As noted, this presentation was considerably less dumb than a good deal of what Olbermann shovels.
Would Clinton do better in Pennsylvania this fall? We would guess that she might, but we don’t really know. (It’s still hard to picture her winning nomination.) For the record, there are states where Obama might well do better than Clinton. For a discussion which isn’t completetotalcrap, click here and read Josh Marshall.
Maddow’s presentation is very familiar—familiar because it typifies the work of the mainstream press corps over these past many years. Maddow seems to know all the key moves: Mock a Big Dem. Then, Misstate your facts. In the process, Refute an argument nobody made. Garbage like this is pushed at young liberals night after night on this horrible show. Olbermann feeds on their gullibility like a thing which crawled out of a swamp.
On Monday, poor Olbermann, crying real tears, compared Clinton’s ad to the ad which was run against Cleland. We thought the Times editorial on that subject was daft. But the Times was displaying standard liberal thought, not the type of “Mainstream Press Think” which this site was created to challenge. In our view, the MSM has been less daft in the past week or so—the liberal world much more so.
We’re stunned each night by Olbermann’s show (when we can force ourselves to watch him). It points the way to a troubling future. We’ve never seen such pure propaganda, even on any particular Fox News Channel show. Is this how news orgs of the future will work? If so, Keith will be a hog in slop. It seems he was born to play liberals.
CHASING THE BIRDS: Keith has been a good boy in recent weeks; he has basically dropped his nightly feature of ridiculing young blonde women. We’ll guess: With all the complaints about MSNBC’s endless gender-trashing of Clinton, someone decided to cut this out too. If Obama becomes the Dem nominee, thereby ending the network’s problem with Clinton, will Keith return to beating on girls? His show is aimed at young liberal men. Presumably, Keith knows that tickling their latent distaste for girls is one more way he can please them.
At any rate, Wednesday evening saw Keith enjoying a rare bit of personal pleasure. [...]
You can click through to read the ugly "pleasure" that the revolting KO and his guest "enjoyed".
P.S. By the way, don't miss the "fun" at TPM's Election Central from Greg Sargent. Remember when Sen. Clinton agreed to an interview by Fox News and it was like, um, the nth time some "liberals" felt they've finally, finally "had it" with the Dastardly Eeeevil Sen. Clinton? Now of course Sen. Obama is doing an interview on Fox News and here's Greg Sargent (emphasis mine):
It's also been met with some dismay in the blogosphere, where folks had worked hard to push Dems to boycott Fox as a way of snuffing out whatever is left of the network's credibility.
But how do Obama and his advisers view this? What do they have to say about it?
The senior Obama adviser insists that Obama is under no illusions about Fox and what it represents, and that this isn't about courtship at all, and vows a confrontational approach on Sunday.
The Obama adviser declined to detail how he'd be taking on Fox. But if Obama does this, it could end up playing to his advantage. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.
Yay! Time for an update to The Clinton Rules and The Obama Rules! If Sen. Clinton does something unapproved by the "netroots", it reflects badly on her and it's bad news, period (especially if it ends up playing to her advantage). If Sen. Obama does it, it may actually be good for him!
P.P.S. As a bonus, just imagine how we could have enfranchised Michigan and Florida if Sen. Clinton had lost and Sen. Obama had won there. The Clinton Rules and The Obama Rules would have kicked in right away and a famous blogger would have not just written this in early January but actually followed through consistently:
Winning is important. The last thing we can afford as a country is another 4-8 years of continued Republican rule. If nothing else, Justice Stevens is not long on the bench, and losing his vote in the Supreme Court would inflict the nation with a solid conservative majority for generations. So who is doing everything possible to win?
Hillary Clinton, by far. She's not limiting her campaign's ability to raise money (nor her supporters' to give it) by accepting public financing. Obama has opted out for the primary, but has said he'd accept it for the general if the Republican did so as well. Why give Republicans veto power over what the Democrats do? Given our better ability to raise money this cycle, why would Obama willingly surrender that advantage to the Republicans? That's not playing to win. Edwards is the opposite, saying he could opt out of public financing for the general, but already opted in for the primary. That means that unless he's opposite a similarly limited Republican (i.e. McCain), he'll be at a gross disadvantage all summer as he has less than $20 million left to spend until September.
What's more, Clinton was the only top-tier candidate to refuse the ultimate Iowa and New Hampshire pander by removing her name from the Michigan ballot. That makes her essentially the de facto winner since Edwards and Obama, caving to the cry babies in Iowa and New Hampshire, took their name off Michigan's ballot. Sure, the DNC has stripped Michigan of its delegates, but that won't last through the convention. The last thing Democrats can afford is to alienate swing states like Michigan and Florida by refusing to seat their delegates. [Eriposte emphasis]
So while Obama and Edwards kneecap their chances of winning, Clinton is single-mindedly focused on the goal.
Now if I can just find some time to update the rulebook - there's just so much backlog.