Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Olbermann and the Truth

I got a comment on the last piece I wrote about Olbermann saying that he speaks the truth, unlike Fox and others. Well, there is the truth, there is "truthiness", and there are half-truths. Since Olbermann just posted a new special report calling on John McCain to concede the election, let's see just how close to the truth Olbermann is.

Olbermann begins by recounting how someone at a McCain rally that Sarah Palin was speaking at called out "kill Obamma" during the warm-up. While Olbermann admits that Palin probably didn't hear the cry, he is incensed that she didn't denounce it anyway. Apparantly McCain and Palin are now expected to start each rally by denouncing any negative comments that their supporters may have said.

I am not excusing anyone for advocating violence against Obama. This should be unacceptable behaviour but it has been tolerated by the left for so long that it was inevitable that it would spread to the right. Prominent people have been calling for and fantasizing about the assassination of President Bush for years. They have written movies, TV shows, plays, and songs about it. They have prayed for it. For some reason this never upset Olbermann or the rest of the left. He never did a special report on this. He never even named them the Worst Person in the World. I guess that calls for violence are ok sometimes.

Then there is Congressman Lewis who compared McCain to George Wallace. McCain called on Obama to repudiate these remarks. Olbermann responds,
Obviously, Senator, you haven't heard your own speeches, and Gov. Palin's, and what people shout during them.

I would love for Olbermann to point to a McCain of Palin speech that advocates violence.

Olbermann continues
And you haven't heard your state GOP Chair in Virginia, Jeffrey Frederick, giving talking points to 30 of your field-operatives heading out to canvass voters in Gainesville, Virginia. With a reporter present, telling them to try to forge a connection between Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden to emphasize bombings and terrorism. And you haven't heard those volunteers, your volunteers Sen. McCain, shout back "and he won't salute the flag" and "we don't even know where Sen. Obama was really born."

McCain has already repudiated Jeff Frederick just as he has any of his supporters who crossed the line (real or not) but he doesn't get credit for this. Also, Frederick's statement ("What do Osama and Obama have in common? Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon.") is more firmly rooted in fact than Lewis's rhetoric.

Something else that Olbermann fails to acknowledge, the origin of most of the rumors about Obama. Most of those came from a whisper campaign dating back to when McCain was running 4th in the Republican primary. Hillary Clinton's staff is usually assumed to be the ones who started many of the false Obama stories.

So McCain is supposed to suspend his campaign because his supporters are repeating rumors started by the one-time Democrat front-runner.

Olbermann adds:
Sen. McCain, these people are speaking for you! And how dare you try to claim Congressman Lewis was linking you to Gov. George Wallace's segregation. He was linking you, aptly, to Gov. George Wallace's lynch-mob mentality.

If you read Lewis's remarks, he was doing both.

Sen. McCain, your supporters, at your events, are calling Obama a terrorist and traitor and are calling for him to be killed. And yet you keep bringing back these same rabid Right Wing nuts to deliberately stir these crowds into frenzies. And then you take offense when somebody who remembers the violence in our political past, calls you on it. You, sir, are responsible for a phalanx of individuals who are shouting fire in a crowded theatre. There are some things to respect and honor about you, Sen. McCain.

This is clever. No one has ever suggested that the scattered shouts for violence from the audience were from anyone connected with the campaign but Olbermann lumps them together with the now-repudiated campaign official and makes it seem that the McCain campaign buses people in to shout these things. Where, sir, is your proof?

Several times during the campaign McCain has apologised for things that campaign members said. Olbermann does not give him any credit for this and refuses to allow McCain to demand the same behaviour from the Obama campaign. Nor does Olbermann notice things like the "Sarah Palin is a c***" T-shirts. In support of Obama, the left has suggested that McCain was not really tortured in North Viet Nam but instead was a well-treated collaborator. They insisted that his story of a Christian guard showing him some mercy actually happened to someone else. They made up a preposterous story about Sarah Palin faking her pregnancy. None of this aroused Olbermann's wrath.

So this is Olbermann's version of the truth. He practices selective outrage. He leaves out important details. He picks and chooses. He distorts. And he presents it as news. This isn't a "special commentary" with a disclaimer after that says that the opinions are his alone. He is not a news anchor, he is a cheerleader for the left, repackaging their talking points and giving them respectability.

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