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    Olbermann Watch, "persecuting" Keith since 2004


    February 6, 2005
    Olby Takes The Bait

    Shirley Regedale writes in the DesMoines Register that she believes James Dobson had somehow tricked NY Times journalist David D. Kirkpatrick into hyping and misrepresenting what Dobson contended about SpongeBob, the pro-gay agenda of the left and all the rest. This, she believes, is the trend: Religious conservatives make intentionally suggestive or vague statements; the liberal media fills in the gaps, claiming to know what the "fundies" meant to say or what they were really thinking. And then the onslaught of indignant people from the red states react.

    Regedale mentions Olby as one such news interpreter/slanter who took the bait and got reeled in:

    To that point, one only need read Dobson's column, "Setting the Record Straight," on the SpongeBob flap online or Family News in Focus editor Gary Schneeberger's column boasting about how Keith Olbermann was bombarded with 30,000 e-mail protests from Dobson supporters after he "mocked Dobson's concerns about the pro-homosexual history of the group behind a music video featuring SpongeBob and a host of other beloved cartoon characters."


    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (23) | | View blog reactions

    23 Comments

    You'd think all these evil Republican geniuses like Dr. Dobson, Karl Rove, and Dick Cheney, would do something worthwhile, such as figuring out how to alter the space-time continuum and make the IRS disappear.

    The GOP has proven itself adroit at ministering propaganda. The repub noise machine is formidable, indeed. The administration continues to orchestrate public events, blacklisting attendees (as seen in W's recent trek into the heartland to "promote Social Security reform," taken by some to be the beginning of the repub push for seats in `06), an infraction they attribute to an over-zealous local GOP official.

    Given all this, it's not INCONCEIVABLE that the GOP has an organized plan of misdirection to divert attention from its contentious reform agenda by creating a series of ulterior controversies to take the MSM and the general public's eyes "off the ball" (as if the MSM is actually paying attention).

    Go ahead and call this a paranoid rant by a lefty loon. I pose it as possibility, not fact.

    BTW Bob, please don't be offended, but it's "DesMoines". I know that spelling/punct isn't your top priority here and that your link shows it correctly, but having been schooled in Iowa, I discovered that many Iowans find it irksome when folks don't get their capitol right. (Similar to when people from Illinois hear folks pronounce the "S" on the end of their state's name.)

    BTW Gary, that is.

    Paul,

    It's so difficult and utterly futile to answer the current of paranoia that flows from people who feel they're adrift from the powers that be.

    I remember the "wag-the-dog" scenarios attributed to the Clinton Administration and the "black helicopter right-wingers" label that was aptly and not so aptly attributed to those who wrote screeds about things like triangulation, 'modified limited hang outs" and tDick Morris/James Carville strategies.

    There's was a kernel of truth in all the talk, then as now, and certainly every politician or celebrity in general, tries to choreograph every photo-op or soundbite... and of course the entire planet spins...

    'Well that's true, of course' we'll hear, BUT there is/was something unique with.... the Clinton Spin Cycle...and... Nixon... Reagan and the politics of symbols...Mission Accomplished Bush...

    But consider what THIS PARTICULAR woman is implying... and no matter how you frame it, it comes out making the media look more biased and lefty than any conservative here has accused them of being. A veritable Pavlov's dog, sure to salivate (and extrapolate as the author, herself suggested) at just the right ring.

    If Karl Rove, Dobson, and company ARE the masterminds of media psychology, able to press their buttons and get predictable knee-jerk responses that are sure to alienate and aggravate red-state masses, then it would have to be that the MSM really is predictable, unthoughtful, stereotyping, ideological, and completely out of touch with the part of the country who did not vote for John Kerry.

    Well..that's a claim to the degree that I'd never make. I'll leave that suggestion to you.

    Very accurate and well done synopsis of this columnist's thesis, Gary!

    Cecelia, no wait let's go ahead and admit it here, we Republicans forced Dean into the DNC chair position, we made Barbra Boxer cry over vote fraud in Ohio, we also forced her to knock around Condi Rice so blacks could get even more progressivly alienated from the Dems, our long term plan.

    We may as well finally admit it, even though it is true Bush is a moron, he is yanking every Democrats string across the country. They are truly victims, my heart goes out to them.

    Napa sez "...let's go ahead and admit it here, we Republicans forced Dean into the DNC chair position, we made Barbra Boxer cry over vote fraud in Ohio, we also forced her to knock around Condi Rice so blacks could get even more progressivly alienated from the Dems, our long term plan."

    -->Let's go ahead and admit it here, Democrats succumbed to Republican pressure allowing the regressives to install Dean as DNC chair (where'd THIS come from??) and there was no reason for concern over the Ohio vote. Protesting it was the diabolical, subversive invention of obstructive, maniacal, anti-American, commie lay-about na'er-do-wells whose sole exception to Condi Rice is based on her race. After all, we all know that there's nothing a card-carrying democrat hates worse than an uppity negro.

    Keep up with the sarcasm,marginalizing, patronizing and ridiculing. Continue your sanctimony. That's what it'll take to gain bipartisan support for repub "reforms."

    C sez:
    "...and certainly every politician or celebrity in general, tries to choreograph every photo-op or soundbite..."

    -->True enough, but White House-sponsored events shouldn't resemble scenes from "Triumph of the Will".

    None of you addressed how the White House is accused of refusing admittance at public speeches to "objectionable" attendees, as alleged in W'S recent visit to Fargo, ND.

    "No one was allowed in the arena with anti-Bush signs. Some people were black-listed from attending the event. There was reportedly a list of names of people who would not be given tickets to the president's event. The North Dakota Republican Party says it knows of no such list. But Fargo City Commissioner Linda Coates says she was on it.

    "That's kind of a chilling list -- being told you're on a Secret Service 'do-not-admit' list," said Coates. "Looking at the list published in the paper, they are simply people who at one time or another had written a letter to the editor critical of Bush policies, or people who were part of a grass roots campaign prior to the election."

    http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2005/02/03_rehab_bushfargo/

    http://www.kxma.com/news/local.asp?ID=4826

    http://www.grandforks.com/mld/grandforks/10812622.htm

    Of course, the official party line is this was the result of over-zealous local officials. Couple this with recurring violations of law regarding repub PR practices: paying pundits for positive coverage of their policies/generating fake news reports, one can easily see why the right is so incensed that the wacky, loony left is suspicious of W. After all, the Bush administration had no prior knowledge of these arrangements either. It seems that "I didn't know" and "I don't remember" are among the most popular operative answeres uttered in and around the White House these days.

    Oh, those crazy, bitter dems. They're SO PARANOID!

    Paul writes, "Oh, those crazy, bitter dems. They're SO PARANOID!"

    Well, I can imagine, Paul. Being over-zealous about who and who cannot attend a presidential public address and making sure the protest signs are outside and well out of view of tv cameras could not possibly "over-zealous" local party members. And it can't at all be the normal everyday "right hand not knowing what the left is doing" shim-sham that goes on. It's utter ruthlessness. And paying some conservative columnists to say what they'd likely say anyway is just utterly menacing.

    It's not at all like the ordinary stuff that can happen in an administration such as the securing and storing of over 300 FBI files with raw data on everyone from Newt Gingrich to William F. Buckley. What did the Clinton WH call that? "A snafu by an over-zealous WH aide".

    The fact that during the 90's there were two law suits brought against the IRS, one by Landmark Legal Foundation and the other by the Heritage Foundation that concerned the number of tax audits initiiated against conservative groups and thinktanks is minor stuff. THese suits revealed that the audits were happening at the request of several same Democratic senators (at the requests of constituents, they said) and WH aide Sidney Blumenthall (at the request of unnamed concerned congressmen, he said.) THAT cannot compare with keeping critics out of a PR pep rally.

    I could go on and mention the delusional accusations made by women who made claims of harassment and scare tactics when they fell afoul of the Clinton administration by talking about good ole Bill. BTW-- They have all been audited by the IRS-- Dolly Kyle Browning, Paula Jones, Jennifer Flowers, Juanita Broderick.

    Though I mentioned in my post that it was pretty standard to be paranoid against an administration you don't like or trust... I see from your alarming tone of your post, Paul, that I'm way off base. Democratic administrations don't do things like that. Democrats are the good guys. The caring guys who want to help others. They are the guys you know. With Democrats it really is just a matter of right hand/left hand, overzealousness staffers, and in some cases legitimate tactics against enemies.

    But it's different for us on the right. Our paranoia is just dark imaging of the black helicopter set.

    So let me make my last summation as profound as I can given the turn the argument has taken:

    like, dude, whatever....

    C,

    Your contention that barring the entry of na'er do wells into public political events is due merely to the "right hand not knowing what the left is doing" is consistent with the party line ("I didn't know," "I don't remember"). I'm not saying I can't accept that, (please don't put words in my mouth,) but rather that I need further convincing, especially in light of other breaches of "PR etiquette" that this administration (or parts of it) have been practicing.

    Kudos on your ability to follow the rightie playbook on "it all goes back to Clinton" (in this case, since Clinton foes/attackers were harrassed by the IRS/government agencies while the GOP harassed Clinton (as if these people/entities shouldn't be able to survive such public scrutiny) it's okay for W to limit dissent at White House-sancioned events (which is clearly NOT the same thing, one being all about politics and the other being all about civil liberties).

    Such covert harrassment predates "Slick Willy," dear, but that doesn't mean either party should condone or encourage it. If the repubs are truly, simply inept rather than sinister in this regard, I'll be the first to acknowlege their ineptitude.

    Oh, and C, It's not just the recent paid pundit/promo capers and attempts to spin public events. There were also the illegal fake VNRs produced by Bush's Office of National Drug Control Policy this time last year along with the ones HHS did to sell the public on the Prescription Drug cards. In both cases, the GAO ordered the Bushies to stop it. How much of this must occur before some of you admit that these MAY be the administration's modus operandi? This onion appears to have a lot of layers.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A54651-2005Jan6.html

    http://americanassembler.com/newsblog/index.php?p=772

    Oh good grief... and you say I act like everything originated under Clinton (after I mentioned Nixon in my first post)...

    I'm going to start calling you 'Mr. Selective Outrage' or something.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-na-pr8jan08,1,617571.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

    Here's an exerpt:

    During the Clinton era, Health and Human Services said it used actors to portray reporters in fake news segments designed to be distributed to television stations.

    "The GAO found that the same principles forbidding covert propaganda would have been applicable to the Clinton-era news packages, which were produced in October 1999. The GAO did not criticize the packages at the time because they "were not brought to our attention," according to the legal opinion."

    "Kudos on your ability to follow the rightie playbook on "it all goes back to Clinton" (in this case, since Clinton foes/attackers were harrassed by the IRS/government agencies while the GOP harassed Clinton (as if these people/entities shouldn't be able to survive such public scrutiny) it's okay for W to limit dissent at White House-sancioned events (which is clearly NOT the same thing, one being all about politics and the other being all about civil liberties)."

    Astounding!

    Where would I start.

    C,

    Your point is well-taken... your first post feels more balanced; you mention Clinton amid a field of repubs to support a valid contention. But in your next post, you devote 3 graphs to the Clinton era and that's what I was reacting to. You go on to say "THAT cannot compare with keeping critics out of a PR pep rally." And I contend that one is a party-politics pissing match and the other is denying civil liberties to those who may be unfortunate enough to disagree with our president. These are PUBLIC government-sponsored events funded by our tax dollars, NOT party-sponsored campaign stumps. Please don't confuse the two. Different rules apply. If you want a starting point, please explain to me why I'm wrong about that?

    Help me here... The point of the the LA Times article, which nearly buries the Clinton reference, is to show that since similar indiscretions allegedly occured on Clinton's watch but weren't reported to or investigated by the GAO, that agency made no similar judgement regarding them. So, we should dismiss their recent decisions regarding the Bush PR efforts? Is that it?

    "I'm going to start calling you 'Mr. Selective Outrage' or something."

    --> Call me what you like, as long as you call me "Mister" ;D

    Paul, its because we don't have union thugs to beat them up, so we have to ask them to leave.

    Paul,

    Who in the world is suggesting that anything be dismissed? I've been commenting on the sort of selective paranoia that people (and certainly you) feel when it comes to the opposition party. And you certainly made my case by talking about a "right-wing playbook" when I pointed out some of some of the selective outrage from people who supported the Clinton Administration.

    The only way the playbook accusation seems at all relevant is if I've gotten the subject wrong, or there's been mission creep... Perhaps we're talking about two separate things-- You-- the Nixonesque Bush Administration... me-- selective paranoia.

    If I had know the topic was confined to your pointing out how bad the Bushies are and demanding that we condemn them... I'd have sat it out. I've already condemned punditgate as you're well aware. So you and Nappa and who ever else also suffers from selective outrage can have at it.

    As for the blacklist at the social security pep rally, I've read the articles and it looks like a mountain out of a mole hill and what the WH said it was-- overzealousness of a local party official or at the worst a WH event coordinator along with local officials. To equate that with a loss of civil liberties is just ridiculous. It's not good, it's petty, it's overkill, but an infringement on civil liberties it ain't. One of the perks of being elected president is that you can spend taxpayer money on pressing forward your agenda. Just as candidates do with the funds they receive from the govt. And you can certainly keep out the folks you don't want around around any unelected or elected politician. The question is ... should you with as little reason as some of the folks alledged were (though the cops said no one was).

    Let me make myself clear IT STINKS but to compare that disfavorably with politically motivated IRS audits is just inexplicable. These audits that cost an entity thousands of dollars and manhours and may well put them out business "a political pissing contest" is again, the sort of selective outrage that just leaves me speechless.

    C,

    Man, you love a good fight. I'll try to curb my "selective outrage" to explain the limitless capacity of my "selective paranoia".

    Apparently my saying that you're digging into the rightie strategy book is as distasteful to you as your bringing up Clinton is to me. I suggest that it's more productive to focus on current events. After all, unless Clinton committed murder while in office, the statutes of limitation on his other alleged high crimes will soon run out.

    Let me see if I get this. Since Clinton allegedly ordered use of public funds to conduct tax audits on his political enemies, it's okay for any sitting president to use government resources to further his or her political agenda. Is that it?

    When citizens are refused entry to a public speech at an event intended to inform the general public about proposed legislation or policy, it denies basic civil liberties. Whether such proscription is due to a vindictive police presence, bureaucratic blunder or over-zealous staff, enforcing a political "blacklist" is still against the law. We're not talking about turning away terrorists or known anarchists. Rather, these are people who openly disagree with the president and are in effect, being refused entry for simply stating their opposition.

    You're convinced this incident was due to local oversight. Given recent events in which the WH executed questionable judgment (being charitable here) I'm less than inclined to agree. If you're willing to direct me to the articles you find convincing, I'll try to become enlightened on this issue.

    You write: "...to compare that disfavorably with politically motivated IRS audits is just inexplicable." This is your camparison, not mine. You also bring up "the Nixonesque Bush Administration." In this context, I find your mention of Nixon curious, given his penchant for generously showering his political enemies, real or imagined, with the unwavering scrutiny of the FBI. Surely no public resources were sqandered there...nor were any lives or careers made more difficult. Nixon knew well that "one of the perks of being elected president is that you can spend taxpayer money on pressing forward your agenda". Compared to the Dickster, W's a mere pup... but give him time. After all, he's got a mandate.

    YSIS (You say I say): "Democratic administrations don't do things like that. Democrats are the good guys. The caring guys who want to help others. They are the guys you know. With Democrats it really is just a matter of right hand/left hand, overzealousness staffers, and in some cases legitimate tactics against enemies." DIST: (Did I say that?) IDTS: (I don't think so). Please argue against what I write, not against what you think I must feel. I'll do my best to repay you the courtesy.

    --Whether such proscription is due to a vindictive police presence, bureaucratic blunder or over-zealous staff, enforcing a political "blacklist" is still against the law.--

    I'm not saying you're wrong, but would like to know: what law does it violate?

    "The right to peacefully gather and parade or demonstrate to make one's views known or to support or oppose a public policy is based upon the twin guarantees of the freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble."

    http://fact.trib.com/1st.assemble.html

    Thanks for the history lesson. Now, what law does the situation you described above violate?

    Thanks for the sarcasm. You're the lawyer. Do I err when I suggest that prohibiting blacklisted citizens from attending a public political speech violates the "twin guarantees of the freedom of speech and the right to peaceable assembly?"

    If there was stupid meter on this whole issue it would be in the red zone.

    There were protesters at that rally but they were peaceably assembled with their placards outside. Just as they were at the Republican and Democratic Conventions.

    No one's freedom of speech rights were curtailed. Suggesting that politicans have to allow protestors rallying in the same meeting hall IS NOT even what the folks who were alledgedly on the alledged blacklist are arguing.

    The Secret Service can most certainly keep away anyone the president wants away from him. They can be kept out on the street assembling together, voicing their opinions and later blogging the hell out of it if they so desire.

    The issue is ... was this perogative used as a political weapon so that it tarnished the privilege and unecessarily smeared the folks that were alledgedly on such a list. And was it knowingly done by the president or his closest aides.

    Again, if it's true, it stinks. It's a poor and petty use of power but a civil rights infringement, it's not. And it would be thrown out of court if charges were brought.

    BTW: Is the source for the blacklist on the record or anonymous?

    C,

    You're right, this has become indeed tedious.

    I excerpted the this quote from an article located at the URL shown below.

    "The whodunit mystery surrounding the do-not-admit list for President Bush's Fargo visit still hasn't been solved, but clues uncovered Friday indicate a worker with the White House advance team may have been the culprit."

    No one's confirming anything. There are some good quotes in the article.

    http://jannelsen.redstate.org/story/2005/2/5/0049/65915

    I went through about 10 pages of links but got sick of searching, and none I explored said if the list was issued on or off the record, but the it allegedly did get published in a Fargo newspaper, according to reports. In the end, there may have been none actually excluded from the speech. Once the list surfaced, workers apparently quickly bypassed it.

    I once lived in a second-story walkup in a mid-sized Ohio town when Nixon came through to campaign for his 2nd term. Our apartment had access to adjacent roofs and we were pretty suspicious looking characters back then. The Secret Service searched and secured our apartment, which would have been a great spot to snipe from. Agents watched our place until the motorcade was well past us. They didn't disturb our anti-Nixon signage or restrict our movement (other than keeping us off the roofs). We actually went downtown to demonstrate and upon our return, found nothing disturbed.

    We don't agree on the gravity of this, if true. I submit that Secret Service activities to protect a president and this are distinctly different and that blacklisting political opponents is inconsistent with our Bill of Rights. If the WH was involved in the Fargo deal, it's no small thing. Whether they were in fact involved, however, isn't apparent. So, academic discussion aside, I'm willing to beg off on this until either more is known or a similar incident occurs elsewhere.