by D. Cupples | It's just not smart to raise boxing gloves against Salon's Glenn Greenwald when one doesn't have actual facts and events on his or her side. As my co-blogger Damozel put it, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Glenn Greenwald went into a room over Olbermann's handling of the FISA issue, and only one of them came back out -- Greenwald.
Mr. Olbermann has been railing against FISA, Telecom Amnesty and President Bush for months -- complete with intense huffing and puffing and nostril flaring. He even called Telecom Amnesty a fascist plot (video available here). On those points, Greenwald agrees with Olbermann's original stance (which has, apparently, changed).
About 10 days ago, Sen. Barack Obama sort of reversed himself on FISA, when he publicly supported a bill that would 1) expand the executive branch's domestic-spying powers, and 2) grant retroactive immunity to law-breaking telecom companies.
No one can validly doubt that Mr. Olbermann has an Obama cheerleader since January, swishing his pleated blue skirt and shaking his matching pompoms.
When Sen Obama used his popularity not to fight FISA but to publicly support it, Olbermann discussed it on his show with uncharacteristic lack of intensity and passion -- as though discussing a congressional resolution bestowing the title "friend" upon certain species of the insect world.
Mr. Olbermann even went as far as claiming that Sen. Obama had a clever plan to help pass the new FISA bill then to criminally prosecute all those telecom folks who broke the law and whom FISA would give immunity from civil suits. Hmmm.
In response, Mr. Greenwald "tore him a new one," as the vernacular goes.
Apparently embarrassed over been called out for biased "journalism" (or hypocrisy or flip-flopping), Mr. Olbermann wrote a diary at Daily Kos that attempted to defend his bias (or hypocrisy or flip-flopping). In it, Mr. Olbermann did some name calling (against Mr. Greenwald) but didn't effectively explain his own reversed rhetoric against politicians who support FISA and Telecom Amnesty.
In response, Mr. Greenwald tore Olbermann a second new one, which begins as follows:
"Keith Olbermann went to Daily Kos to respond to what I wrote yesterday regarding his and Jonathan Alter's statements on Obama's support for the FISA bill. Despite his having packed his response with substance-free invective, I'm going to keep the reply as dispassionate as possible because I'm not interested in engaging in some personality-driven spat of the type that he seems to enjoy.
"What's more, in the scheme of things, I don't consider Keith Olbermann to be The Enemy or, comparatively speaking, even a particularly bad influence to be targeted. I wrote about his comments yesterday because they reflect a broader trend that I do think matters...."
Mr. Greenwald's second hole-tearing article is systematic, logical and definitely worth reading -- as is his point that uncritically protecting a politician for doing something bad is what inspired in many Americans the post-9/11, blind faith in President Bush that enabled the Bush Administration to create so many immense and long-term problems for our nation.
Note: though he does criticize Sen. Obama for his FISA stance, Mr. Greenwald does continue to support him against Sen. McCain. Mr. Greenwald simply doesn't think that his support should have to be blind or unquestioning.
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