Still Speaking of MSNBC …

Bush Administration

If you missed last night’s special comment by Keith Olbermann, here it is …

The special comment was followed immediately by Dan Abrams’s show. I want to call attention to what Abrams said, because it was a nice follow-up to Olbermann.

DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Today the thin-skinned U.S. Senate managed to muster the political courage to finally speak for our troops. Timeline for withdrawal? Not quite. No, they are defending our troops by taking the time to vote to condemn a newspaper ad. Yes, the same Senate that could not pass legislation to provide our troops with the proper rest in between tours of duty managed to rally behind a toothless resolution condemning an advertisement from the liberal group The ad referred to the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General Petraeus, as “General Betray Us” and accused him of cooking the books for the White House.

Twenty-two Democrats, apparently fearing being tagged as anti-military, voted with all the Republicans. And today, the president, wisely seeing an opportunity to change the subject away from the substantive discussion about the war, hit this softball out of the park.


GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I thought the ad was disgusting. And I felt like the ad was an attack not only on General Petraeus but on the U.S. military. And I was disappointed that not more leaders in the Democrat party spoke out strongly against that kind of ad. And that leads me to come to this conclusion, that most Democrats are afraid of irritating a left-wing group like—or more afraid of irritating them than they are of irritating the United States military. That was a sorry deal. And one thing to attack me, another thing to attack somebody like General Petraeus.


ABRAMS: My take. Please. What a sideshow. This is the same president who told a group of conservative columnists, People listen to Petraeus, not to me. And yet now the only one of the duo who people can criticize is the one who the president says people don’t listen to? By saying that Petraeus would essentially determine our Iraq policy, he made Petraeus more than just a military man.

But politicizing minutia is nothing new. It’s the Senate that’s even more disappointing here. Look, I, too, found the headline outrageous, certainly don’t agree with much of the ad. So what? It’s a political ad from a group with an agenda. Does this mean the Senate Republicans will now be called on to criticize every one of Anne Coulter’s books? Why shouldn’t a group, any group, be able to speak their minds about the most important issue facing our nation, even if it involves mocking someone who many revere? How perverse. While we’re fighting for democracy and freedom in the Middle East, back at home, our Senate is condemning political speech.

The first part of this clip shows the Abrams commentary, followed by Olbermann.

Abrams tends to focus on celebrity trials and missing white girls, but when he gets into real issues he can be surprisingly level headed. During the Terri Schiavo flap he was one of the few talking heads who actually challenged the wingnuts on their legal and medical “facts.” He may have a little of his father in him, after all.

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  1. Swami  •  Sep 22, 2007 @1:07 am

    General Betray-us doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going down in history as a loser..another Westmoreland. You’d think with a PhD under his belt he’d have enough smarts to go for the legacy and fore go the gratification of immediate praise from somebody as unstable as Bush, or a bunch of derelict Congressmen.
    It doesn’t make sense to me. Why spend a lifetime building toward something honorable just to toss it away for a little fluff of the ego, or the perverse desire to please his master?

  2. R. R.  •  Sep 24, 2007 @8:56 am

    No matter where you fall ideologically on the ad, its pretty sad that MSNBC is abandoning its journalistic credentials. When I watch the news I want nonbiased reporting because the pendulum can swing both ways on this and guys like Olbermann giving his opinions all the time falls short of my definition of journalism, and good reporting.

  3. maha  •  Sep 24, 2007 @9:02 am

    R.R. — reporting and opinion are two different things, and both are useful. But if you want just the facts, as much as is journalistically possible, don’t watch television at all. Read. A lot.