Just a few moments ago - in response to my question about the "defining moments" that made him decide to assume the Edward R. Murrow mantle, to become a "more Edward R. Murrow type on air" - this is how MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann responded:
There were a couple that escalated how far I should commit myself. The first was mission accomplished day. I remember Chris [Matthews] and I were on the air and I remember saying to him, "are we sure that mission’s accomplish? It seems to me that all the troops are still there in harms way and it’s a great dramatic moment but what exactly was the mission?"
That was the first one. At that point it was almost heresy to question what that was.
The second one would have been Katrina. I can still see myself sitting in my old home office in my old apartment just about to leave to go to a ball game, and hearing Michael Chertoff saying that Louisiana was a city that is largely underwater. And my reaction was, when I put it on the air, was "there’s your problem right there."
Louisiana is not a city! And that set off what was a primordial special comment.
And the last one was sitting on a delayed plane at LAX reading Mr. Rumsfeld’s speech to - maybe it was the American Legion in August of 2006 - in which he compared anyone who was critical of the Bush administration policy to Nazi appeasers, particularly the Neville Chamberlain types of England in the 1930’s.
Knowing a lot about British history before the war I was offended by the analogy because if anybody was Neville Chamberlain it was this administration - not because of how it acted in the world, but how it believed it had all the information and everybody else who criticized it, or disagreed with it, needed to be marginalized or, perhaps, destroyed.
That was the last break on my willingness to say this is what we need to do.
ETA: I just removed a rather obscene remark. Comments on this post are now closed, which is a first for this blog.