Olbermann's Embarrassing Sunni-Shia Goof [Video]

Add Keith Olbermann to the list of congressmen, intelligence officials and others to manifest an embarrassing unfamiliarity with the players in the civil strife in Iraq. On tonight's Countdown, Olbermann was trying to make the case that "recent claims from the president that Iran is providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq . . . is proving . . . suspect . . . The Bush administration is providing scant evidence to support the claims."

View video here.

And what evidence did Olbermann provide to support his claim? "The Los Angeles Times [is] reporting that journalists traveling with US troops in Iraq have failed to see these extensive signs of Iranian involvement. A recent sweep through a stronghold of Sunni insurgents uncovering only a single Iranian weapon among dozens of arms caches." [Emphasis added].

Uh, well, wouldn't you expect that, Keith? Or weren't you aware that the Shia government of Iran is supporting the Shia militias, such as that of Moktada al-Sadr, in their fight against the Sunnis? Would you be similarly shocked to learn that during the heyday of the troubles in Northern Ireland, not too much support from IRA backers in the US turned up in the hands of the Unionists? Would you be be stunned to be told that not much weaponry from Hamas supporters turns up in the hands of the Israelis?

Now it's true that the Los Angeles Times article Olbermann cited did speak of Sunnis. But either the Sunni reference was a typo or the LA Times is equally as uninformed as the MNSBC host. How could such a supposedly sophisticated observer as Olbermann have blithely parroted the LA Times' line?

Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at mark@gunhill.net


Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.