Introducing the Edward R. Murrow of the Bush crisis in 2007: Keith Olbermann of MSNBC

Pub date January 12, 2007
SectionBruce Blog

By Bruce B. Brugmann

The mainstream media who helped President Bush march us into war in Iraq have a lot to answer for.

One of the most eloquent answers these days comes from Keith Olbermann, who has become a passionate critic of the war and the Bush administration as the host of MSBNC’s “Countdown.”
He has night after night laid out some of the most scalding commentaries ever made on televsion by a major broadcast figure against a wartime president.

On Thursday night, after the President’s Wednesday night address to the nation on Iraq,
Olbermann rose to the occasion with an editorial titled “Bush’s Legacy: The President Who Cried Wolf,” with the subhead “Bush’s strategy fails because it depends on his credibility.”

For those of us who remember the way Edward R. Murrow started his War II radio broadcasts, “This is London,” Olbermann had the chilling ring of Murrow authority and credibility.

He started in on Bush with a lead that caught the essence of one of the most serious crises in American history: “Only this president, only in this time, only with this dangerous, even messianic certitude, could answer a country demanding an exit strategy from Iraq, by offering an entrance to Iran.”

And he ended with a flourish of trumpets, “You have lost the military. You have lost the Congress to the Democrats. You have lost most of the Iraqis. You have lost many of the Republicans. You have lost our allies.

“You are losing the credibility, not just of your presidency, but more importantly of the office itself.

“And most imperatively, you are guaranteeing that more American troops will be losing their lives, and more families their loved ones. You are guaranteeing it!

“This becomes your legacy, sir: How many of those you addressed last night as your ‘fellow citizens’ you just sent to their deaths.

“And for what, Mr. Bush?

“So the next president has to pull the survivors out of Iraq instead of you?”

Perhaps, as the crisis deepens by the day in Washington, Olbermann should start his evening commentaries by saying, “This is Washington.” Last night he ended his commentary with the trademark Murrow phrase, “Good night and good luck.” Let us wish all the good luck in the world to Olbermann and MSNBC in keeping him and his kind of distinguished commentary on the air. (This is the full text of his commentary, carried by Note also his other commentaries.) B3