by Glenn Greenwald
Thursday June 26, 2008 07:22 EDT
(updated below – Update II)
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.
Keith Olbermann’s reply and Obama’s Secret Plan to Protect the Rule of Law
by Glenn Greenwald
Friday June 27, 2008 08:02 EDT
Keith Olbermann went to Daily Kos to respond to what I wrote yesterday regarding his and Jonathan Alter’s statements on Obama’s support for the FISA bill. Despite his having packed his response with substance-free invective, I’m going to keep the reply as dispassionate as possible because I’m not interested in engaging in some personality-driven spat of the type that he seems to enjoy. What’s more, in the scheme of things, I don’t consider Keith Olbermann to be The Enemy or, comparatively speaking, even a particularly bad influence to be targeted. I wrote about his comments yesterday because they reflect a broader trend that I do think matters.
In his Kos reply, Olbermann pronounces that my piece yesterday was “simplistic and childish” but then adds the standard dismissive Journalist defense: “I don’t know much about Mr. Greenwald and I didn’t read his full piece.” He says that he refrained from criticizing Obama’s support for the FISA bill in reliance on John Dean’s comments, and “John Dean is the smartest person I’ve ever met” and “John Dean is worth 25 Glenn Greenwalds” — so that settles that (for what it’s worth, I also have a high opinion of Dean’s legal acumen; hosted his appearance at FDL’s Book Salon; don’t disagree with him about this bill at all; have communicated with him about many issues; and he has said many complimentary things about my work in the past, so waving the flag of Dean’s Unassailable Authority establishes nothing).
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