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Keith Olbermann, MSNBC news anchor and co-host of the news channels recent coverage of the Democrat and Republican presidential debates, said in a speech Thursday "the people who are defending us" against the threat of terrorist attack are misguided or overzealous or suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder". Olbermann drew nervous laughter for his remarks mocking law enforcement officials. Olbermann was speaking at the annual AAN Awards luncheon hosted by the Association of Alternative Weeklies in Manhattan. Olbermann received an award named for the late Molly Ivins.
This is the second time in three days that Olbermann has mocked efforts of law enforcement officials who arrested six men for allegedly plotting to carry out a terrorist attack at a military base in New Jersey. On the Wednesday telecast of Countdown with Keith Olbermann, he derided the efforts of law enforcement official in rounding up suspects dubbed the "Fort Dix Six", saying "the FBI arrested six 'morons'".
In his speech to the newspaper trade group, Olbermann said,
I sit there with no doubt that there's a threat. I have no doubt that there are terrorists. I have no doubt that many of the motivations of the people who are defending us against these things are absolutely sincere and many of them are at worst misguided or overzealous or suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder
NOTE: We could have just as easily commented on Keith comparing himself to a firefighter rushing in to rescue people from a burning building, whining about being "attacked in every almost every imaginable way personally" or that he is "still waiting for somebody to come back with a rebuttal to the facts that I have tried to elucidate" but calling our troops "misguided, overzealous" and mentally ill was so obviously the low point in an otherwise shameful speech we had to lede with Keith disparaging the troops.
A full transcript follows.
TRANSCRIPT OF "IVINS AWARD" ACCEPTANCE SPEECH BY KEITH OLBERMANN
While most people in broadcast and mainstream print media, I think, suspended their disbelief for a period of time after 9/11 for the most patriotic and important of reasons there was a danger of some sort facing the country, there was a government in power, we'll give them the benefit of the doubt. It became very evident, very shortly that this was not supposed to be a temporary arrangement but a permanent one and it is probably the only way out of the maze that we all find ourselves in to follow the bread crumbs left by alternate weeklies, monthlies, the blogs, the people who had some anger and some doubt and whereas they suspended their disbelief to some degree the same way we did, did not have to do so so publicly I guess is the best way to phrase it. I didn't plan to do this work or become eligible for the first Molly Ivins Award and it is overwhelming to me that I received it. It really was one of those circumstances I've used this analogy before I'll use it again. You're at a firefighters convention the building next door catches fire and everybody around you says you know I would go in there to the third floor and I'd bring seventeen trucks in for... well... no, no, no... you bring in fourteen trucks from over here go in through the fourth floor and you're standing there and you say are you going to go in and get the people out of the building and as they continue their technical discussion...you wind up saying "ahhhoom...I get it, I'm going into the building. I hope I'm good at it." Fortunately, my grandfather was a firefighter so the analogy is kind of apt and I just went in to see what would happen knowing that I might not get out, that there's enough power to the behind the people to whom we're trying to speak truth to know that it is very distinctly possible that you might not get out of that building but I thought "what the hell" to quote Archibald Cox if it worked great if not well at least I went down for a good reason so the only thing I can say this is testimony to is the necessity for everybody at every level of the media to think. Now this would seem to be a fairly evident, self-evident concept to sit there and think when you have a news story in front of you but apparently it isn't. I use to. I will use as an example for you this latest story about the current "terror plot" unquote to attack Fort Dix in New Jersey, posed as pizza delivery men, were going to shut off power and who decided to train and take videos of themselves in the Poconos and then have the video transfered to DVD at Circuit City. Anybody in the room see anything less than terrorizing (laughter), terrible in the plot or the individuals mentioned therein, anybody else but me see that and literally that's it, that's the whole thread, if it doesn't add up it's incumbent on all of us to just say you know the math just doesn't work here. I sit there with no doubt that there's a threat. I have no doubt that there are terrorists. I have no doubt that many of the motivations of the people who are defending us against these things are absolutely sincere and many of them are at worst misguided or overzealous or suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder perhaps but still when we look at it we need to set aside the fear we might have, any anxiety, just look to see if there isn't something that doesn't add up. So several times last year these things came out in the form of "special comments" and I think it was prudent to show a short clip because I believe that one is nine minutes long. (laughter) I have to go find out if I have a broken foot or not at about one o'clock so I have to begin to wrap this up already...if we had shown the whole special comment here I don't think either you or I would have been able to say anything here. But as I said it's an extraordinary honor. Molly Ivins is a cross-over icon I would say would be the best description did all forms of media, the sort of person...another way I'd like to emulate her I think if I have...I don't recall her facts ever being attacked. I recall her being attacked which is something I got to experience in the last eight to ten months which i I have been attacked in every almost every imaginable way personally and I'm still waiting for somebody to come back with a rebuttal to the facts that I have tried to elucidate so I thank you greatly for the recognition and greatly for your work. It is, it may seem to some degree that you are hitting your head against the wall at sometimes when it comes to the mainstream media but as I've heard from so many of my colleagues jeez I wish I wish I could say what you said or something like it and I say well then you'll get an opportunity at some point to say something like it go out and do it maybe one second out of your year or one paragraph out of what you write but the opportunity will arise so that the those of us who've had that sense of banging our reads against the wall members of your organization included remember each time you do it you knock another brick out of place and make it easier for the next guy to get through so thank you kindly. I will treasure this. (applause)