Let’s admit the reality–Keith Olbermann stinks. But I am not talking about an appalling lack of personal hygiene. Instead, it is his appalling hypocrisy. After spending most of the last year rebuking Hillary Clinton as a candidate who “would do anything” to win, he is now conspicuously silent as he reports on Barack Obama pandering to special interests and surrendering political positions previously considered immovable and sacrosanct.
Glenn Greenwald offers a clever and devastating analysis of Olbermann’s malady with respect to FISA:
On January 31 of this year, Keith Olbermann donned his most serious face and most indignant voice tone to rail against George Bush for supporting telecom immunity and revisions to FISA. In a 10-minute “Special Comment,”
the MSNBC star condemned Bush for wanting to “retroactively immunize corporate criminals,” and said that telecom immnity is “an ex post facto law, which would clear the phone giants from responsibility for their systematic, aggressive and blatant collaboration with [Bush's] illegal and unjustified spying on Americans under this flimsy guise of looking for any terrorists who are stupid enough to make a collect call or send a mass email.”
Olbermann added that telecom amnesty was a “shameless, breathless, literally textbook example of Fascism — the merged efforts of government and corporations that answer to no government.” Noting the numerous telecom lobbyists connected to the Bush administration, Olbermann said:
This is no longer just a farce in which protecting telecoms is dressed up as protecting us from terrorists conference cells. Now it begins to look like the bureaucrats of the Third Reich, trying to protect the Krupp family, the industrial giants, re-writing the laws of Germany for their benefit.
. . . .Last night, Olbermann invited Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter onto his show to discuss Obama’s support for the FISA and telecom amnesty bill
(video of the segment is here ). There wasn’t a syllable uttered about “immunizing corporate criminals” or “textbook examples of Fascism” or the Third Reich. There wasn’t a word of rational criticism of the bill either. Instead, the two media stars jointly hailed Obama’s bravery and strength — as evidenced by his “standing up to the left” in order to support this important centrist FISA compromise . . . .
Leave aside the fact that Jonathan Alter, desperate to defend Obama, doesn’t have the slightest idea of what he’s talking about. How can a bill which increases the President’s authority to eavesdrop with no warrants over the current FISA law possibly be described as a restoration of the Fourth Amendment? That would be like describing a new law banning anti-war speech as a restoration of the First Amendment.
As Jim Dempsey
and Marty Lederman both note, not even the nation’s most foremost FISA experts really know the full extent to which this bill allows new warrantless spying. Obviously, Jonathan Alter has no idea what he’s saying, but nonetheless decrees that this bill — now that Obama supports it — restores the Fourth Amendment. Those are the Orwellian lengths to which people like Olbermann and Alter are apparently willing to go in order to offer their blind devotion to Barack Obama.
Greenwald’s complete post (click here) is worth your time. And Olbermann? Well, he apparently is two ketchup packets shy of pitching a fit and is under extreme emotional distress as he comes to grip with the reality that he is not in the running to replace Timmy Russert. Poor Keith. Looks like he is auditioning to be the propaganda minister for a Brack Obama reign. If suspending critical thinking and indulging in hyperbole are requisite skills then Olbermann has the job nailed.