June 29, 2017

The Known (to far too few) and the Unknown (to those with other agendas)

Now that Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld is making the rounds with his revisionism it’s a good time to look back again and understand how he and the other neocons bamboozled the American people.

Remember this golden oldie?

There’s a Q in Al Queda and a Q in Irag,
That’s the cue to attack!!

EITHER YOU’RE CLOSING YOUR EYES TO A SITUATION YOU DO NOT WISH TO ACKNOWLEDGE,
OR YOURE A RED PANTIE WEARING COMMIE WHO IS SUPPORTIVE OF A TERRORIST REGIME IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY!

WELLLLLL, YA GOT TROUBLE MY FRIEND….
RIGHT HERE I SAY, TROUBLE IN THE WORLD COMMUNITY
WHY SURE IM A PEACELOVER, REALLY MIGHTY PROUD TO SAY IT, ALWAYS MIGHTY PROUD TO SAY IT,
I CONSIDER THAT THE TIME I SPEND TALKIN BOUT PEACE IS GOLDEN,
HELPS ME CULTIVATE A SWEET NATURE, A COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATISM AND A FEW VOTES

EVER TRY TO SEND A FLEET OF SHIPS HALFWAY ROUND THE EARTH AND KEEP THE TENSIONS GOING
BUT JUST AS I SAY IT TAKES JUDGEMENT BRAINS AND MATURITY TO BULLY THE WHOLE DAMN WORLD, I SAY THAT ANY BOOB LIKE CLINTON CAN LOB A MISSLE INTO AN ASPIRIN FACTORY,
AND I CALL THAT APPEASEMENT, THE FIRST BIG STEP ON THE ROAD TO THE DEPTHS OF DEMOCRATIC HANDWRINGING FIRST ITS A LITTLE WHINE FROM THE LIBERALS THEN ITS DRINKING BEER WITH SADAAM,

AND THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW YOU GOT AL QUEADA RUNNING ROUND IN A MUSLIM SCARF,
KILLING US ALL WITH WEAPONS OF DESTRUCTION, DONT FORGET ABOUT 9/11,
THEY DONT USE GOOD OL CLUSTER BOMBS NO, BUT A TYPE OF WEAPON OF A DIFFERENT FORCE,
LIKE TO SEE SOME WILD EYED RAGHEAD SCREAMING ALL–AH AKBAR,
MAKE YOUR BLOOD BOIL? WELL, I SHOULD SAY, NOW FRIENDS LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I MEAN,
YOU GOT ONE, TWO THREE FOUR, SIXTEEN RESOLUTIONS AT SECURITY COUNCIL,
THOSE RESOLUTIONS MARK THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ROGUE NATIONS AND THE FREE,
LISTEN TO ME AND YOU WILL SEE THEY GOT WMD,

FOR THE PAST TWELVE YEARS THE UNITED NATIONS HAS BEEN FRITTERIN’,
ALL THE NAYSAYERS BEEN FRITTERIN,
FRITTERIN’ AWAY WITH RESOLUTIONS AND INSPECTIONS TOO,
LISTENIN TO THE FRENCHIES GAB AND THE FRITZIES GAB
NEVER MIND GETTIN’ ALUMINUM TUBES AND THE NUCLEAR BOMB STUFF,
NEVER MIND JOSE PADILLA AND HIS DIRTY BOMB TIL WE’RE ALL INCINERATED IN A MUSHROOM CLOUD
AND THATS TROUBLE, OH YES YA GOT TROUBLE,
I’M THINKIN BOUT AL QUEDA GUYS IN NORTHERN I-RAQ, BOILING UP GAS AND PRAYING TO ALLAH,
YA GOT TROUBLE MY FRIEND,
IN THIS INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY,
THERE’S A Q IN AL QUEDA AND A Q IN IRAQ THATS MY CUE TO ATTACK

NOW I KNOW YOU’RE ALL PEACE LOVING CITIZENS BUT IM GONNA BE PERFECTLY FRANK,
DO YA KNOW WHAT KIND OF STUFF THEY GOT BUBBLING IN TEST TUBES BY THOSE EUPHRATES BANKS….WELL, IM TALKING BOUT ANTHRAX….WELL, IM TALKING ABOUT VX…. BUBBLIN UP SARIN GAS LIKE TERRORIST FIENDS…
….AND BRAGGIN ALL BOUT HOW THEYRE GONNA KICK THE BUTT OF THE MOTHER OF ALL SATANS….
ONE FINE NIGHT, THEY TAKE THE DRONES FROM THE HANGER AND FLY EM TO AMERICA, SUICIDE BOMBERS, EVILDOERS AND ,
GRAB YOUR SON, YOUR DAUGHTER FROM THE EVIL SLAUGHTER OF THE TERRORIST HORDES,
MASSTERIA!!!!
FRIENDS, ITS A NEW COUNTRY SINCE 9/11
TROUBLE
AND ITS A PITY
THERE’S A Q IN AL QUEDA AND A Q IN IRAQ THATS A CUE TO ATTACK,

OH YA GOT TROUBLE
AND IT AINT PRETTY,
GOTTA FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET THOSE OILFIELDS FROM IRAQ!
OUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN GONNA HAVE TROUBLE TROUBLE TROUBLE
OHHHH YOURE IN TERRIBLE TERRIBLE TROUBLE…..
I FORGOT TO MENTION THAT HE GASSED HIS PEOPLE TOO!
YA GOT TROUBLE TROUBLE TROUBLE…
OH YES YOU GOT TROUBLE
LETS MAKE BAGHDAD RUBBLE….
WITH A Q IN AL QUEDA….AND A Q IN IRAQ—ITS MY CUE TO ATTACK!!!!!!!

THE WMD SONG

Olbermann and Bey

I was a guest on “Countdown” a number of years ago and Keith Olbermann was the host. Olbermann was gracious in his introduction, referencing that we had been co-workers for awhile on theABC Network Radio. I was on the show discussing the deceptions and manipulations of television, principally as they were executed in the lead up to the war in Iraq.

I doubt that he recalled that prior to our ABC connection we were also neighbors in the same condo building on West 57th street, sharing the elevator and even the sundeck on occasion. It would be difficult not to notice him. He was a tall man with an ideally proportioned physique, chiseled features and a square jaw as sharp as a letter opener. Outwardly he appeared almost impossibly perfect in real life, like a comic book hero, a Clark Kent or the cinematic equivalent of one, Christopher Reeves. At those more informal occasions he seemed aloof and unapproachable, but that might have been his personal reaction to the attentions of celebrity. I’d felt similarly the first half-dozen times I ran into Al Pacino who also lived in the building. Then one day he actually looked into my face and transformed into the most friendly and engaging of personages.

During the lead up to the Iraq War media pundits who told the truth and disputed media/government assertions were fired and silenced. Phil Donahue, a host on MSNBC was one of them. An internal NBC memo explained Phil Donahue’s firing: “Donahue was a difficult public face for NBC in a time of war” and his show would be “a home for the liberal anti-war agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity.” Lynn Samuels, Rev. Byron Schaefer, Roxanne Walker and Charles Goyette were anti-war radio hosts fired because of their views. I believe I was also one of that group at WABC radio.

And then came ‘Countdown’ and Olbermann.

At first the show was cautious, undistinguished and undistinguishable from other cable talking head shows, but by mid-2006 Olbermann began his ‘special comments’ segment blasting administration figures and it was clear the tide was beginning to turn. His show was a beach head. It offered hope that the days of Dixie Chick demonization were finally over. It was again possible for Americans to criticize their government without being called ‘traitors’, ‘friends of Saddam’ or ‘enablers of terrorists’.

Soon the entire network would follow his progressive on-air lead. Even Chris Mathews who had gushed over George Bush in his flight suit and exclaimed “We are all neo-cons now!” began to drop in line behind Olbermann’s ideological lead. Matthews began asserting that he was always against the war, adopted his own ‘special comments-type segment and unabashedly steered his on air presentation towards the North Star of Liberalism.

Before Phil Donahue was fired at MSNBC Chris Matthews let it be known that he wanted Donahue off the air. At the time Matthews was the biggest star at the network, earning $5 million a year. He always toadied up to CEO Jack Welch, had the ear of NBC CEO Bob Wright, and they all vacationed together at their summer homes on Nantucket Island. In 2002, U.S. News & World Report ran an item that had Matthews opining that if Donahue remained on the air, he would bring down the network. Mathews hates Olbermann and their on-air tiffs made must-see television but also had executives pulling out there hair. I wouldn’t doubt that Mathews could be a contributory element as I suspect he was in Donahue’s firing. Matthews understands corporate and political survival. He knows how to play the game.

All that being said, ‘Hardball’ is the only cable news program I watch every night.

Not infrequently I found Olbermann’s presentation pompous, self-righteous and hyper-emotional but I usually also found him fearless, correct, intelligent and even necessary. And sometimes he was even eloquent, something rarely found on cable TV news. Although I watched infrequently, for all his flaws I will miss his on-air presence.

There is a also a great deal of speculation that Comcast wanted Olbermann out. The merger of Comcast and NBCU occurred the day before Olbermann’s firing:

“Comcast, the nation’s biggest cable and broadband Internet company, on Thursday announced plans to take over NBC Universal, creating a new kind of media colossus that would not only produce some of America’s most popular entertainment but also control viewers’ access to it.” Washington Post.

Comcast denies any involvement but corporate press releases are notoriously obfuscating.

Olberman had the highest ratings on MSNBC and was paid 7 million a year. It is probable he will receive that for the next two years, just as I received payment for a year after The Richard Bey Show was cancelled. (That’s another story!) I’m sure he’s not crying today. After all, he’ll be paid handsomely to don those martyr’s robes. He might be able to do radio…but in general these contracts keep you off the air for the duration.

Short answer for the firing: Olberman was not a corporate darling. He directly and publicly stood up to management. He is difficult and uncompromising to work with. He has had fewer and fewer supporters at the corporate level of NBC. New management comes in and wants to make its own imprint. It doesn’t want to deal with a guy who can make trouble when they try to change things.

And that, as they say, is show biz!