Twenty Years Later

NBC News is commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall by sending Tom Brokaw back to Berlin and posting his entire broadcast from November 9, 1989, as well as some documentary clips, on its website. Here is the first of twelve clips from and about that astonishing night.

A very interesting Washington Postpiece from USC Prof. Mary Elise Sarotte last month suggested that the whole event was a complete accident. What happened, in short, is that a bureaucrat misinterpreted his notes at the end of a long and boring press conference and unwittingly said the Wall was open; journalists jumped on it and reported the story; and East Germans flooded the checkpoints before Soviet officials had the chance to wake up and correct the situation. By the time the official apparatus was apprised, it was too late to change the flow of society.

At the Bornholmer Street border-crossing station in East Berlin, guard Harald Jäger, on the job since 1964, had watched Schabowski on television. Dumbfounded by the remarks, he told his fellow guards that the official's words were "deranged," and he started calling around. His superiors assured him that travel remained blocked, and he and his colleagues were armed as always.

But soon Jäger and his team were busy waving back some would-be crossers who had heard the western reports... Before long, the guards at Bornholmer Street were outnumbered by thousands of people; the same thing was happening at several other checkpoints. Overwhelmed and worried for their own safety, Jäger and his fellow guards reasoned that the use of violence might quickly escalate and become uncontrollable. They decided instead at around 9 p.m. to let a trickle of people cross the border, hoping to ease the pressure and calm the crowd. The guards would check each person individually, take notes and penalize the rowdiest by refusing them reentry. They managed to do this for a while, but after a couple of hours the enormous crowd was chanting, "Open the gate, open the gate!"

This is where we were just twenty years ago. It is truly amazing how fast politics and life can change.

There's more...

Bernard Goldberg's "bias" against the facts

Hey folks, I wanted to share my latest column with everyone here at MyDD -- a review of Bernard Goldberg's latest book, "A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media". If you like what you see, feel free to recommend this diary and share it with your friends.


That certainly didn't take long. Just shy of a week after Barack Obama took the oath of office, becoming America's 44th president, the nation's foremost right-wing publishing house has released a new tome by Bernard Goldberg that seeks to trash the supposedly liberal "mainstream media" for being in the tank for Obama.

The three-ringed circus of liberal media bias cryptozoology is nothing new for Goldberg. He's been part of this factually challenged freak show for years. This isn't even his first book on the subject -- he wrote 2001's creatively titled, Bias.

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Reality has an Obama Bias

I don't have a lot of time at the moment, but I thought that this article was remarkable as much for where it comes from as for what it says.

The Politico is a right-leaning website.  How right?  I couldn't really tell you (it's not as right as most of the people who fill its comment sections, seemingly), but Bush did an interview for them earlier this year, and Bush barely acknowledges the existance of the internet.  More significantly, though, they're pretty good journalists and I often go there when the sweet, cloying liberal bias of places like this blog or the Huffington Post threaten to override my sense that we need to keep working hard to ensure victory and, perhaps, landslide, for Obama.

That said, when Jonathan Martin on GOP starts to look like Ben Smith on Dems with good news for Obama and bad news for McCain, there's something going on.

Let's have a look at their explanation.

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McCain Dazed and Forgetful on Meet the Press. [Updated]

Oh, please, somebody, tell me we can get this short segment from today's Meet the Press on video!  

On MTP, today, Tom Brokaw brought up the Powell endorsement.  McCain responded by saying he had five great former secretaries of state backing him...  And then he proceeded to try to name them, flubbing it up and starting over again.  Then as the next question began, he suddenly interrupted to name the fifth one.

The trancript just does not do it justice.

MR. BROKAW:  Do you agree with Rush Limbaugh?

SEN. McCAIN:  No.  I'm disappointed in General Powell, but I'm very, very happy to know that five former secretaries of state who I admire enormously--Henry Kissinger, Jim Baker, Larry Eagleburger, Al Hague-- [A visible struggle here.  He starts over again...] Jim Baker, Henry Kissinger, Al Hague, Larry Eagleburger [more frustration...] and one other, and over 200 retired flag general--generals and admirals are supporting my campaign. I'm very proud of their support.

MR. BROKAW:  Senator, we opened today with a--how you're doing in Iowa.  The Des Moines Register has endorsed...

[Interrupting suddenly]
SEN. McCAIN:  George Shultz.  George Shultz is the other one. [He is visibly relieved.]

[Almost patronizing...]
MR. BROKAW:  George Shultz, right.

SEN. McCAIN:  George, I'm sorry I left you out to start with.  George Shultz, the great--one of the great secretaries of state in history.  Anyway, go ahead.  I'm sorry...


Full Transcript and Video is Here at MSNBC. The segment quoted above begins at the 26:00 mark. I would still prefer a direct link to just this segment.

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middle-brow Brokaw never was a GREAT journalist.

A lot of us remember vividly how Brokaw has done his best to humiliate Democratic candidates in the past few years.  He will probably do the same against Obama.

Tom Brokaw never was a great reporter or anchorman.  Capable?  Yes, but not great.  He doesn't hold a candle to Walter Cronkite or David Brinkley (at his best), and he's piss poor compared to Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil.  John Chancellor, for most of his career, was head and shoulders above Brokaw at his crappy best.

Brokaw - has no one ever noticed? - has a bad speech impediment.  He mumbles, doesn't even pronounce his words clearly, and has always sounded like a heavy drinker, almost slurring his words.

Brokaw is no brainiac.  What's much worse - he is a shill for the CEO class that runs GE and NBC.  He's an obsequious semi-moron.

There's more...


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