Last night, at 10:45 p.m. or so, I sat and watched as Keith Olbermann eviscerated the sitting president of the United States.
The current media environment is such that there was something shocking about the directness Olbermann showed in responding to several of George W. Bush's assertions made during a Politicico.com interview.
But, and I'm sure I'm not alone, I loved it.
It was gratifying to see a member of the media, even one known for holding liberal views, angrily and articulately espousing what so many Americans (based on Bush's 28 percent approval rating, maybe even most Americans) believe. And I won't lie: I liked seeing a liberal commentator be so fearless and forceful in fighting back against an administration that has successfully bullied the press, Congress, other members of the executive branch and, via the use of fear mongering, the American people for the last seven-plus years.
The mere fact that in 2008 a news commentator had the chops to put together a well-organized, well-written and well-researched 12-minute (yes, the commentary is 12 minutes long) piece is, in and of itself, an accomplishment. I am fully aware that conservatives, many of whom despise Olbermann (probably not in small part for his constant and cutting criticisms of conservative commentators/circus side shows Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh), will dismiss his remarks as being just another liberal rant against Bush. But I challenge anyone to point out any serious logical or factual flaws in the arguments that lie below Olbermann's acidic delivery.
I'm sure critics will also call Olbermann disrespectful for using such coarse language in describing Bush and his administration. Those same critics will criticize Olbermann, a television news commentator, for showing emotion, in this case anger and rage.
But it was Olbermann's unabashed, uncensored calling out of the president and his people, and his unhidden anger, that made the commentary so special. For the last seven-plus years, this administration has run roughshod over the constitution, the government, the American people and everything that makes the United States of America a special country. People should be angry. People should be pointing fingers. It's about time. As Bush took apart this country's ideals and reputation, two bricks at a time, people were too silent and too civil. Olbermann has been one of the few people unafraid to scream from the rafters that an assault on our country's values was under way. And last night's speech was no different.
I think everybody should watch Olbermann's commentary. Some will be appalled, but far more people, I think, will be heartened. They will find Olbermann's assertions true, and his anger justified. Watching will be a validating experience for many, witnessing a public figure give voice to what is inside of their heads and hearts. And for those who hate Olbermann and/or approve of Bush? They should watch anyway to see what so many of us are feeling.
You can watch the first part of Olbermann's commentary here, and the second section here. I will also embed the videos at the bottom of the post.
I am curious to see the reaction to Olbermann's attack. There was a time, I'm sure, when conservatives would have rioted, demanding General Electric remove him from the air. But I will be surprised if last night's tirade even registers a blip on the country's radar now. I think the country has had it with Bush and his antics, and, more importantly, Republicans. When the Republicans can't hold a U.S. House of Representative seat in Mississippi (in a district Bush carried in 2004 by 20 points), even though money was spent linking the Democrat to Barack Obama and Rev. Jeremiah Wright, it shows how angry Americans are. The sound of shoulders shrugging at Olbermann's remarks could be deafening, which would really demonstrate a change in how things are now in these United States.
Which is why I am probably far from the only person with this thought on my mind: Thank you Keith Olbermann. Keep up the good work.
Part 1 of Keith Olbermann's May 14, 2008 Special Commentary on George W. Bush