by Ian in DC, Thu Aug 31, 2006 at 12:27:05 PM EDT
In March of 1954 the great American journalist, Edward R. Morrow, took on Senator Joe McCarthy in a series of episodes of the weekly "See It Now" program that he hosted on CBS. Murrow's courage in taking on McCarthy's crusade against communism, where enemies everywhere and those in dissent were aiding and abetting the communists who wanted to control the U.S. government, is now well known and accepted as one of the greatest moments in journalism.
Keith Olbermann's show-ending commentary yesterday (8/30/2006) on MSNBC's "Countdown" evoked Murrow both directly and indirectly as the host took on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his speech to the American legion convention on Tuesday, in which he evoked the days before World War II, comparing current critics of the Bush Administration's Iraq actions with how Neville Chamberlain infamously dealt with Hitler and the fascist threat through what is now called appeasement. Olbermann's commentary was not only a beautifully reasoned stinging rebuke to Rumsfeld's attacks, but reminded me how we have lost appreciation for the artful use of the English language in this era of the shouting pundit masses on cable news networks and, yes, even on blogs.
Before getting to Olbermann's insightful and eloquent comments, I want to point out the relevant parts of Rumsfeld's speech. If you want to read it in its entirety it is HERE.
Rumsfeld raises the specter of WWII to draw the parallel between the Nazism of its era to the fundamentalist Islamic fascism of the current era: