Steven D posted an appreciation of Keith Olbermann’s latest screed against the administration in his piece Free Republic’s response to Olbermann this morning.
In it, he said “At this hour the only major right wing site that had a story up about Olbermann’s commentary was at Free Republic.”
And that got me to thinking. I saw that speech. (Explanation below.) And while I listened to it I thought “Nice. And almost totally without any effect whatsoever. Preaching ENTIRELY to the choir. Nobody’s going to pay attention. Nobody mainstream enough to have much effect on the mass mind, anyway. “
I wrote a reply to Steven D’s post, and it grew large enough to become a post of its own.
So…here it is.
I actually saw that little speech on TV.
I suppose I have made it clear here that I do not watch much TV, and that when I do it is usually a total surf through the wreckage of what was once the culture of the United States, at least as far as the Corpse Corps would like us to have it. I pull a mental and spiritual condom over each foot of my being and then jump from polluted puddle to polluted puddle, with quick stops to ponder a certain piece of particularly nasty shit or perhaps to admire the rare flower of sanity and beauty that has so far escaped the Grim Corporate Raper’s violent attentions.
So here I am up in Maine visiting my family…what is left of it after the tender ministrations of this sick society in general and Dr. Big Brother in particular have had their way with it…surfing around through the egregiously bad basic cable that is provided by the (convicted in a court of law) felonious Adelphia cable system, and here is Keith Olbermann, just launching into his spiel.
Now make no mistake…I think that Mr. Olbermann is serious, attentive, and honest in his efforts. And overall, pretty near correct in his positions as well. As correct (as far as I am concerned, anyway) as he can possibly be and still manage to regularly appear in any mass media capacity on the public mediaspace.
Towards the end of this speech, he gave the patented owlish Olbermann look and said:
But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew everything, and branded those who disagreed: “confused” or “immoral.”
Thus, forgive me, for reading Murrow, in full:
“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty,” he said, in 1954. “We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.
“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular.”
And so good night, and good luck.
And it struck me that he was telling the absolute truth when he said “Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute, I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow.”
“But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us…”
We have NO journalists on TV who can match the sheer gravitas of Mr. Murrow.
Including Mr. Olbermann.
This is not his fault…Lord knows he has been consistent in his efforts.
He is just not heavy enough…and/or he is not in a “heavy” enough position. In this case, the chicken and the egg are mutually dependent. You cannot GAIN that kind of weight while stuck in a dependent, marginalized position, and you know damned well that Mr. Olbermann is not presently in the running to overthrow Baby Doll Couric or any of the other Barbie/Ken doll blathering heads and most likely never WILL be in that position. Not so long as the PermaGov runs things. The Corpserate Media simply will not ALLOW someone like Murrow to gain commanding position over a career. Not today they won’t. And the balkanization of TV…5000 stations instead of 7, innumerable networks instead of 3…makes that sort of commanding position almost impossible to attain anyway.
Just thought I’d mention this…
Go here far a transcript of Olbermann’s statement. But do not expect it to have the same sort of effect as Edward R. Murrow’s attempts to shine a light on the dark underbelly of Joe McCathy’s machinations.
Murrows had a searchlight at his disposal. One of 3 dominant networks.
MSNBC is a little penlight in comparison.
Bet on it.
And WE need some kind of laser weapon.
Rumsfeld’s ramping up of McCarthyite rhetoric?
They are getting ready for the most serious October Surprise of them all. I can feel it in my bones. And they are going to try to brand any and all who disagree as traitors.
You can bet on THAT as well.