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This is another Olbermann diary.

I am stunned. I am sad.

I feel like another true progressive voice, has been silenced -- talk about First Amendment Remedies!

You see Keith Olbermann was is still one of my heroes.


It may seem funny for a grown man to have heroes -- but in a Nation that has Fast Food, Fast Imports, and Fast and careless War plans

-- sometimes people like me, need "a hero" -- someone brave enough to speak out against the madness.

Someone to give Voice to the voiceless -- Mr. Keith Olbermann was such a spokesman, to me.


I grew up with the News Habit. Many of my friends thought it was "weird" that I had to get home to watch the Nitely News each night, as many stations as feasible.  But I saw it as my window on the world.  I saw it as my civic duty.

Besides Walter Cronkite, always made me think.  Challenged assumptions. Widened my world view.

Even though he sealed each Broadcast with the iconic tag line "That's the way it was."

I generally took Mr. Cronkite's word for it -- THAT WAS, the way it was today.


Keith had become my Walter Cronkite, in today's world, so often devoid of real news, of real commentary,  ... devoid of real courage.

Over the years, whenever I "lose someone", I try to think of the good things they gave me -- the things they taught me.

The way they made me laugh.  The way they made me think.  


Here's is what I found along those lines, as I contemplate what Keith Olbermann's Commentaries have given to me, to the National Dialogue, over the many, many directionless years.

Here are some excerpts from the last Special Comment from my hero, posted here on DailyKos:  
[Edits and emphasis are mine.]

Ted Koppel And The Real Death Of "Real News"
by Keith Olbermann -- Mon Nov 15, 2010

When Walter Cronkite died sixteen months ago, he was rightly lionized for the quality of his work, and the impact he effected on television news. He was praised for his utter objectivity and impartiality, and implicitly – and in some cases explicitly – there was wailing that this objectivity had died with him.

Yet invariably the same few clips were shown with each obituary: There was the night Cronkite devoted fourteen minutes of the thirty-minute long CBS Evening News to a report on Watergate which devastated the Nixon Administration, one so strong that the Administration pressured CBS just to shorten the next night’s follow-up to eight minutes. There was the extraordinary broadcast on Vietnam from four-and-a-half years earlier in which he insisted that nothing better than stalemate was possible and that America should negotiate its way out, "not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could." All that newscast did was convince the 36th President of the United States to not seek reelection. The deserved and heartfelt sadness at the loss of a great journalist and a great man had been turned into a metaphor for the loss of a style of utterly uninvolved, neutral  "objective" reporting. Yet most of the highlights of the man’s career had been of those moments when he correctly and fearlessly threw off those shackles and said what was true, and not merely what was factual.
[...]

In fact, nothing could be further than the truth, and the very kind of fact-driven journalism Mr. Koppel seems to be claiming he represents and I fail, would not stand for his sloppy assumptions and his false equivalence of "both sides do it."

We do not make up facts at MSNBC and when we make mistakes we correct them.
[...]

To equate this network with Fox, as Mr. Koppel did – to accuse us of having our own facts - is another manifestation of a dangerously simplified understanding of modern news. This guy says the moon is a planetary fragment orbiting the Earth; this other guy says it’s actually the body of the late Vince Foster – have them both on and let them debate. It’s fair and balanced.
[...]

The year after that, I did the first of these Special Comments and I fully expected that I might be fired it. The year after that I had to spend urging my employers to give my guest host her own show. Now there are three shows in primetime in which the content usually lines up with the small "L" liberal point-of-view even as it needles and prods and sometimes pole-axes the Democrats. And that conservative ex-Congressman is still on the air here, every day, and he has as much time as the three of us at night do, put together.
   
If this was a business plan, it wasn’t as good as the one at the nearest kid’s lemonade stand. This network came to this place organically.
[...]

Fourteen consecutive months of nightly half-hours on the travesty and tragedy of 52 hostages in Irahn, but the utter falsehood and dishonesty of the process by which this country was committed to the wrong war, by which this country was committed to dishonesty, by which this country was committed to torture – about that Mr. Koppel, and everybody else in the dead "objective" television news business he so laments, about that Mr. Koppel could not be bothered to speak out.
   
Where were they?
   
Worshiping before the false god of utter objectivity.

The bitter irony that must some day occur to Mr. Koppel and the others of his time was that their choice to not look too deeply into Iraq, before or after it began, was itself just as evaluative, just as analytically-based, just as subjective as anything I say or do on MSNBC each night. I may ultimately be judged to have been wrong in what I am doing. Mr. Koppel does not have to wait. The kind of television journalism he eulogizes, failed this country because when truth was needed, all we got were factsmost of which were lies anyway. The journalism failed, and those who practiced it failed, and Mr. Koppel failed. I don’t know that I’m doing it exactly right here. I’m trying. I have to. Because whatever that television news was before – now we have to fix it.


Well said, Mr. Olbermann.  Fix it indeed.  


The world needs more such "Reporters" -- those with integrity;
those with conviction.

Those with the courage to "fearlessly say what was true -- and not merely what was factual," in the mold of Walter Cronkite.

Those willing to go where the Truth is to be found.

Those willing to speak out and then point out the direction, that others need to go.


The world needs more Cronkites; The world needs more Murrows; The world needs more Olbermanns;

The world needs more Spokespersons for the Voiceless.  

The world needs those willing to pursue the Truth.  ... wherever those pesky Facts may lead.


And now to quote that wonderful tagline, of one of my modern-day heroes:

"Good Nite, and Good Luck."

were gonna need it.


And a Great Many Thanks to you Mr. Olbermann.  You are a true Patriot.

You are a true Journalist.   Always.

You have spoken for us well, over these many, many directionless years.

Many Thanks to you sir.

May your continuing journey -- fare thee well.

Originally posted to Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 09:55 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  No offense, but it is an offense... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frisco, kestrel9000

    to compare Olberman to Cronkite.

  •  Right wing is already dancing on Olberman's (3+ / 0-)

    grave.  I think they may be a bit pre-mature.

  •  I Was Watching A Bunch Of His Special (8+ / 0-)

    Comments this morning. I think to a large extent the turning point of our war in Iraq was his August 30, 2006 show. Olbermann looked directly into the camera and spoke:

    The man who sees absolutes where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning is either a prophet or a quack. Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.

    He then went on to savage Rumsfeld, as he deserved. I will always be eternally proud of him for doing this.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by webranding on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 10:08:20 AM PST

  •  give me a break (0+ / 0-)

    my guess is 90% of the people in this country never heard of Keith Olbermann and a lot that know him do from sports.

  •  Or Keith's First Special Comment About Katrina` (7+ / 0-)

    The full text is here and the video here:

    Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said it all, starting his news briefing Saturday afternoon: "Louisiana is a city that is largely underwater..."

    Well, there's your problem right there.

    If ever a slip-of-the-tongue defined a government's response to a crisis, this was it.

    The seeming definition of our time and our leaders had been their insistence on slashing federal budgets for projects that might have saved New Orleans. The seeming characterization of our government that it was on vacation when the city was lost, and could barely tear itself away from commemorating VJ Day and watching Monty Python's Flying Circus, to at least pretend to get back to work. The seeming identification of these hapless bureaucrats: their pathetic use of the future tense in terms of relief they could have brought last Monday and Tuesday -- like the President, whose statements have looked like they're being transmitted to us by some kind of four-day tape-delay.

    But no. The incompetence and the ludicrous prioritization will forever be symbolized by one gaffe by of the head of what is ironically called "The Department of Homeland Security": "Louisiana is a city..."

    Politician after politician -- Republican and Democrat alike -- has paraded before us, unwilling or unable to shut off the "I/Me" switch in their heads, condescendingly telling us about how moved they were or how devastated they were; congenitally incapable of telling the difference between the destruction of a city and the opening of a supermarket.

    And as that sorry recital of self-absorption dragged on, I have resisted editorial comment.

    The focus needed to be on the efforts to save the stranded -- even the internet's meager powers were correctly devoted to telling the stories of the twin disasters, natural ... and government-made. But now, at least, it is has stopped getting exponentially worse in Mississippi and Alabama and New Orleans and Louisiana (the state, not the city).

    And, having given our leaders what we know now is the week or so they need to get their act together, that period of editorial silence I mentioned, should come to an end.

    No one is suggesting that mayors or governors in the afflicted areas, nor the federal government, should be able to stop hurricanes.

    Lord knows, no one is suggesting that we should ever prioritize levee improvement for a below-sea-level city, ahead of $454 million worth of trophy bridges for the politicians of Alaska.

    But, nationally, these are leaders who won re-election last year largely by portraying their opponents as incapable of keeping the country safe. These are leaders who regularly pressure the news media in this country to report the reopening of a school or a power station in Iraq, and defies its citizens not to stand up and cheer.

    Yet they couldn't even keep one school or power station from being devastated by infrastructure collapse in New Orleans -- even though the government had heard all the "chatter" from the scientists and city planners and hurricane centers and some group whose purposes the government couldn't quite discern ... a group called The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And most chillingly of all, this is the Law and Order and Terror government. It promised protection -- or at least amelioration -- against all threats: conventional, radiological, or biological.

    It has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by webranding on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 10:20:39 AM PST

  •  Slaughtered Voice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Angie in WA State, jamess

    and first they came for our great voices.We have lost a great Progressiv­e hero. Keith Olbermann'­s Countdown provided almost 8 years of sanity, humanity, charity, conscience and humor. Through Countdown I was re-introdu­­ced to the transforme­­d Arianna Huffington­, the Huffington Post, The Daily Kos, Firedoglak­e and countless forums for Progressiv­e thought. Keith provided an invaluable Progressiv­e platform for the exchange of ideas. If not for Countdown I may never have been exposed to so many sources of Progressiv­e thought. This is a horrible day for Freedom of Speech.

  •  another flashbulb moment (2+ / 0-)

    CBS evening news with Walter Cronkite 4-4-68

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    (Cronkite Reports on MLK assassination
    -- I remember that day well, thanks to Walter.)


    I dream of things that never were  -- and ask WHY NOT?
    -- Robert F. Kennedy

    by jamess on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 10:49:19 AM PST

    •  I wonder WHO (0+ / 0-)

      told Walter, to use those clips?


      probably his own conscience.

      probably something he thought,
      that the Nation, HAD to hear.


      I dream of things that never were  -- and ask WHY NOT?
      -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by jamess on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 10:56:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't get your point. (0+ / 0-)

      You seem to be showing just why Olberman is nothing like Crockite.

      •  my point is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Angie in WA State

        Cronkite had to use his own "subjective decisions"

        to decide what to include, and what to exclude,

        from that important "Objective" news report,
        even down to the words, he chose.


        Which is the very point of K.O. special comment,
        the main subject of this Diary.


        I get it, That you assign these Journalists to very different "pedestals", citizen53


        to me, their methods, their goals, were often more the same, than different.

        to me, they both sought the Truth -- behind the story,
        wherever it led.


        thanks for listening to the clip, citizen53

        I guess we should agree to disagree, here.


        I dream of things that never were  -- and ask WHY NOT?
        -- Robert F. Kennedy

        by jamess on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 12:39:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Olberman is a blip, soon forgotten... (0+ / 0-)

          and with no effect on America except as a talking head.

          The point I am making is that their goals were not substantially the same, nor the size of their footprints on the society or in history.

          We will have to disagree.  But I find it a mistake to assign more importance to celebrity than to substance.

  •  KO hasn't changed... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess

    ...and he hasn't been silenced. We have! We progressive Dems have lost our cutting edge. Why? Out of some sense of unqualified, unconditional, misplaced loyalty to whom? Who took whom to the dance, and who got left behind to find our own way back home? Do I really need to remind you? Or does the broken nose on all of our bloodied faces alone serve sufficiently to do it for you?

    If triangulation is the new geometry of fail, then bipartisanship, compromising, capitulating with our determined political enemies, the realization of Karl Rove's strategic goal relegating us to "permanent minority status", turning the page before reading the page on self-confessed war criminals, and looking forward is the loser's calculus of austerity, irrelevance, and extinction.

    I wrote these words in my diary entitled "Keith Olbermann for President" on my 54th birthday on December 19, 2006:

    "OK maybe he can't be President. Why you may ask? He's too damned honest. He has too much integrity. He's un-bought. I just can't imagine Keith Olbermann stomping on our Bill of Rights or shredding our Constitution to bits or wiretapping the American people. In my wildest dreams I cannot see him starting elective wars for personal vendettas or for oil or for world hegemony. And I can't envision him kissing-up to Big Oil and the rich special interests. No. He can't be our President because he's too damn intelligent. He can actually speak with eloquence and without a teleprompter and he even has command of the English language! Fancy that. Four and five syllable words flow off the tip of his tongue with the smoothness of velvet and I bet he even knows how to read a book without pictures! No. He's much too over-qualified and independent to be our President."

    Here's the Top 10 List Of his Special Comments for 2006:
    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    No, we haven't heard the last from KO. And just because there's a few who think he's done, doesn't make it so! MSNBC and the MSM showed their true colors. They don't get it. Some people you just can't reach because they have cinderblocks for brains. Do we, "get it"...yet? How many times will we get our heads handed to us before we see the light? Not everything or everyone that looks good to you is good for you. Great oratory does not necessarily a great leader make, anymore than writing sternly-worded letters or wishing upon a star brings true peace and prosperity.

    "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

    by ImpeachKingBushII on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 10:50:36 AM PST

  •  Liberal News Media Finally Dies! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess

    But the right-wing news media will continue to lie about it and blame the "liberal news media".  

    Right-wing programmable idiots will blindly and unquestioningly trust their right-wing propagandists and continue to believe the misinformation, bullshit, and outright asinine lies that Fox Noise, Rush Limbaugh/Clear Channel, Glenn Beck/Fox Noise and the other right-wing entertainment media outlets shamelessly feed them under the pretense that those idiotic lies are Gospel TRUTH.

  •  Keith Olbermann (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess

    Quite simply, Keith was the best for telling it like it is. I loved his commentaries. He made me think. Quite often he put into words what I was thinking and he did it in public. He could chastise our Democratic president and congresspeople and he could be rational about why he was doing it. Who is going to do that now? This is almost like when Paul Wellstone died. Who is there to take his place? No one! We are out here in the wilderness, again, with no voice!

  •  Koppel destroyed Carter prez, we got Ray-Gun (0+ / 0-)

    Kopple is to bo loathed.  What a worthless life.


    80% of SUCCESS is JUST showing up

    Christina Taylor Green,RIP - Gun Control NOW

    by Churchill on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 01:50:39 PM PST

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