The Death of Hyperbole Over 9/11

Of the torrent of words spoken Monday before, during, and after the many ceremonies that marked the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks upon America, the remarks that resonated most with me were spoken by Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. In a scathing critique of the Bush Administration's reaction to the 9/11 attacks, Olbermann said:

"Yet what is happening this very night? A mini-series, created, influenced -- possibly financed by -- the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis, continues to be televised into our homes. The documented truths of the last fifteen years are replaced by bald-faced lies; the talking points of the current regime parroted; the whole sorry story blurred, by spin, to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent, and the party in office, seem like the only option. How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death, after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections? How dare you -- or those around you -- ever 'spin' 9/11?"

A little hyperbolic, I thought last night, but certainly a courageous thing to say at a particularly emotional time in the life of our nation. (Read the entire transcript from if you really want to know the depth of Olbermann's outrage). But then, about 12 hours or so after I watched Olbermann's rant, I see that House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) actually said about the Democrats, aloud and in public: "I wonder if they're more interested in protecting the terrorists than protecting the American people."

In another age, that sort of slanderous insult might have caused Rep. Boehner to be attacked with a cane on the floor of the House. In this age, it just proves again that there is no shame or honor in politics and that the war on terrorism in its various forms indeed has turned American against American the way Olbermann in his most dramatic sense claims. It's no wonder that all of the polls suggest a great desire on the part of the American people to drum the current lot of bums out of office.

By Andrew Cohen |  September 12, 2006; 4:00 PM ET
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I looked...

A certain conservative-biased media watching website (it rhymes with 'loose thrusters') associated Keith Olbermann's words with something that Bill Maher had stated after 9/11 that got him into lots of trouble... insinuating... that Keith O. should get the same treatment, and they threatened a letter to the media.

If Keith Olbermann's ratings ar supposed to be doing so badly... why do they need to act out like this?

Furtherly... Why is ABC airing a docudrama that misrepresents the truth so bluntly? They took a bunch of conservative lies and rumors... and aired them? I would like to think that the spinning conservatives actually feel guilty that their ranting really got them into trouble once somebody actually accepted them as real and got called on it.

Posted by: Oh, to have a Blog... | September 12, 2006 06:09 PM

Bravo Mr. Olbermann,bravo.

Posted by: Jamie Gagnon | September 12, 2006 06:16 PM

I, too, saw Keith Olbermann's commentary last night. I felt his were the only truly rational words in a day that had turned into Bush PR propaganda. Keith can always be counted on for his common sense and intelligence. Thank you for bringing to light one of the most articulate and eloquent newscasters of our time.

Posted by: Susan | September 12, 2006 06:20 PM

"We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of the Republic to abdicate his responsibility." - From the March 9, 1954, "See It Now" television broadcast on Senator Joe McCarthy.

Posted by: Edward R. Murrow | September 12, 2006 06:47 PM

The GOP right-wing is capriciously setting the stage for another war...a civil war, not in Iraq, but in the USA.

If we are not careful, we will have soon eroded beyond salvation the fundamental values that have guided our nation to greatness. These endangered values are no less than:
democracy, constitutionalsim, and secularism

All of these values are now in great jeopardy. They are being victimized daily by greed, denial, and religious zealotry, which are running rampant in our society.

May a higher power help us all.

Posted by: GGoel | September 12, 2006 07:09 PM

At what stage conservatism becomes fascism? and has America reached the tipping point where democracy itself is under threat from captitalism?

Posted by: Indo-Canadian | September 13, 2006 05:28 PM

Olbermann's editorial was right on the money. Bush and Cheney and their minions have been wrong all of the time. NO WMDs, NO link of Iraq to 9/11, NO doin' a great job Brownie, No mobile biological weapons labs, No Niger uranium, No welcoming as heroes, No, The insurgence are not in their last throes; No hunting for Osama (they disbanded the CIA group); No to constitutional protection for wiretaps....with all the mistakes these "chickens" who never fought a war and actually refused to go (5 deferrals for Cheney), and none of their children are there; should not be believed. What is their track record? Would you want to continue medical treatment for an illnes with a physician who made wrong assumptions over and over....and you were getting worse? Would you still stay the course?

Keith Olbermann did America proud!

Posted by: LG | September 13, 2006 06:43 PM

Our forefathers and ancestors are rolling in their graves at such blatent anti-Americanism as is exhibited by this paper and this blog. So sad...
America deserves better.
When Democrats (Bush haters) can come up with legitimate long term policies and programs for our country and to combat terrorism (besides regarding them as equals, or misunderstood) other than simply hating Bush then I'll vote for.
Otherwise, take your SUV and move to France.
In fifty years, Bush will be regarded as visionary, who saw through the political B.S. and saw where the true enemy was, fanatical Islam.

Posted by: reality | September 15, 2006 04:25 PM

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