Good Night and Good Luck


I’m still stunned and angered by Keith Olbermann’s surprise announcement at the end of his show Friday evening proclaiming that he “had been told” that evening’s edition of “Countdown” would be his last. Although part of me is excited to see what he’ll do next, I’ll miss my nightly 8pm date with the man who speaks truth to power better than just about anyone else.

I do believe January 21 is a date cursed.  On Friday, I bemoaned the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s heinous ruling in Citizens United v. FEC which opened the floodgates for corporate donations to their chosen campaigns; a move that reinforced an egregious opinion that gives corporations rights to a citizen’s protections under the first amendment.

I also grieved for the loss of Air America radio, and my last full-time job, which ended on the same day that awful Supreme Court ruling was handed down: January 21, 2010.

As more details come to light, we hear that the talks to end Olbermann’s tenure at MSNBC were weeks in the making; that Keith himself may have been the instigator behind them. In that case, I can only surmise that he has something bigger and better up his sleeve.. and something that will allow him to be master of his own domain, so to speak.

Selfishly, I hope Keith becomes the force behind a new online venture, giving shows like mine hope that we will become the new media home as we move forward in the 21st century.  Bring it on Keith.  And if you’re looking for a good radio show to add to your new venture, I’m ready for your call!

On today’s show, we’ll discuss Keith’s departure and what it means in the short term.

I’ll be joined by Russ Baker – author of Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years, and founder and editor of the investigative news site www.whowhatwhy.com – to talk about this unique time in history. It’s a quadruple anniversary, of sorts.  The 50th anniversary of Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex, 50th anniversary of JFK’s inauguration, 10th anniversary of Bush’s inauguration, and the holiday celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., a critic of the system who was gunned down.

In hour two – as she does every week – Crooks and LiarsNicole Belle joins me for our Fools on the Hill segment, recapping the Sunday talking head shows.  Here’s what Nicole brings us today:

The Sunday shows are an exercise in divining media narratives.  They aren’t necessarily true but they’re what the media wants the public to believe are true.  Given that most of our media is owned by huge corporations, the message they want to pass on to their viewers: it’s a center-right country, taxes are bad, austerity is good, sacrifices must be asked of citizens, we’re concerned about the national debt more than jobs, we think health care reform is a slippery slope into socialism, which is this vague bad thing of which we are all supposed to fear.  But we’re not supposed to care about corporate tax loopholes, the huge waste of money toward the military industrial complex, net neutrality, balanced coverage, investing in infrastructure and creating jobs, green alternatives to energy, equality for all citizens.

Don’t believe me?  Then watch the framing of the questions.  Watch how many times Republicans are allowed to talk over and interrupt their Democratic “balance”.  Ask yourself why you rarely, if ever see actual unapologetic liberal on to provide another viewpoint.

And in actuality, all those memes are NOT the concerns of most Americans.   Polls show that people care about jobs right now, 3 to 1, over the debt.  People want health care—in fact, they want it strengthened, and don’t want Congress to dismantle Social Security and Medicare any more than they already have done.

For example, Howard Fineman, now the political editor at the supposedly liberal Huffington Post, told Chris Matthews that he thinks President Obama needs to tell seniors to get ready for some tough love on Social Security in his SOTU address.

That’s right, ask those on fixed incomes to suffer some more.  Don’t ask the wealthy to pay their fair share.  Don’t ask corporations to pay taxes at all.  And if the deficit is really the concern that he claims it is, how about dealing with something that will actually mean reducing the deficit?

The corporations love the tea baggers.  Love fear-motivated, low info voters who can swallow soundbytes and get swayed by a couple of well-placed thrusts at their lizard brain.  But to keep them at your disposal, you have to keep them at your side.  So Eric Cantor can’t possibly insult even the most ridiculous, outlandish birther tea baggers, lest he find them going after him too.  So under surprisingly strong questioning from David Gregory, Eric Cantor hemmed and hawed and refused to call the birthers crazy http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/eric-cantor-refuses-call-birthers-crazy.

Let’s be clear: the birthers are absolutely crazy.  Period. Full stop.  The kind of vast conspiracy that would have had to have taken place for Barack Obama to be born anywhere other than the Honolulu hospital he was born in is mind-boggling.

Cantor wasn’t done with the carrying of the corporate narratives.  He told Gregory that we must “embrace Paul Ryan’s Road Map for America” even though most Republicans are distancing themselves away from the openly admitting to Grandma and Grandpa that they want to privatize Social Security.  Paul Ryan reportedly is so enthralled with Ayn Rand that he makes everyone who works for him read it, has taken Objectivism to its natural conclusion—removal of any and all social nets, but having gone down this path in the past with Newt Gingrich in ’94 and GWB in ’04, most smart Republicans (and I guess this leaves Cantor out) have shied away from this “road map”.  As Steve Benen wrote:

Every fair-minded analysis makes clear that Ryan’s roadmap is a right-wing fantasy, slashing taxes on the rich while raising taxes for everyone else. The plan calls for privatizing Social Security and gutting Medicare, and fails miserably in its intended goal — cutting the deficit. As Paul Krugman explained, the Ryan plan “is a fraud that makes no useful contribution to the debate over America’s fiscal future.”

Speaking of Krugman, he tried to make a few cogent left of center points on This Week over the disdainful eye of George Will.   He rejected flatly the fallacious analogy of the country like a corporation.  (It’s an 8:30 clip.  Go to 1:25 to approx. 2:20), which is why he’s saddened by President Obama’s appointment of Jeffrey Immelt of GE to the chairmanship of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.  And it’s absolutely inarguable.  The goal of a country is completely different than the goal of a corporation and it should be that way.

Sen. Mike Lee isn’t buying the new civility after the Tucson shootings.  No sirree.  Lee thinks that if we tone down the rhetoric, that means ‘the shooter wins. ’  Words fail me on how deeply and tragically stupid Lee has to be.

And finally, the biggest Friday news dump we’ve seen in awhile: Keith Olbermann has left MSNBC.  Naturally, Howie Kurtz needs to discuss it.  But look at his choice of panel: David Zurawik, tv critic of the Baltimore Sun, who likened Olbermann’s Special Comment to fascism, earning him a Worst Person in the World mention.   Luckily, Olbermann’s former colleague at MSNBC, David Shuster, outright rejects the false equivalency of saying that MSNBC is the left version of Fox that Zurawik tries to foist on us.  Note that Howard Kurtz at no time tries to prevent Zurawik from interrupting or talking over Shuster.

And just in case you missed it, here’s Keith’s farewell:

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