On Tuesday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used his Countdown show to attack President Bush's speech in which the President had compared modern day terrorists to Nazis and talked about Osama bin Laden's stated plan to launch a "media campaign to create a wedge between the American people and their government." Reminiscent of his recent "Special Comment" attacking Donald Rumsfeld and comparing the activities of the Bush administration to those of fascists, Olbermann again used a "Special Comment" segment to attack Bush for "linking" al-Qaeda to the media, "that familiar bogeyman of the far right," and branded Bush's words as "un-American."
The Countdown host accused President Bush and Vice President Cheney of "often attacking freedom of speech, and freedom of dissent, and freedom of the press." Olbermann also bizarrely took exception with Bush comparing terrorists to Nazis, arguing that terrorists would be "emboldened" by the comparison. Olbermann concluded by his own historical comparison, asking Bush: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" an echo of remarks made by Joseph Welch made to 50s senator Joseph McCarthy. (Transcript follows)
Below is a complete transcript of Olbermann's "Special Comment," which is also posted on his Bloggermann Web site, from the September 5 Countdown show:
Keith Olbermann: "And now a special comment about the President's speech today. It is to our deep national shame, and ultimately it will be to the President’s deep public regret, that he has followed his Secretary of Defense down the path of trying to tie those loyal Americans who disagree with his policies, or even question their effectiveness or execution, to the Nazis of the past, and the al-Qaeda of the present.
Olbermann: "Today, in the same subtle terms in which Mr. Bush and his colleagues muddied the clear line separating Iraq and 9/11, without ever actually saying so, the President quoted a purported Osama Bin Laden letter that spoke of launching, quote, 'a media campaign to create a wedge between the American people and their government.'
Olbermann: "Make no mistake here, the intent of that is to get us to confuse the psychotic scheming of an international terrorist, with that familiar bogeyman of the far right, the, quote, 'media,' unquote. The President and the Vice President and others have often attacked freedom of speech, and freedom of dissent, and freedom of the press.
Olbermann: "Now, Mr. Bush has signaled that his unparalleled and unprincipled attack on reporting has a new and venomous side angle: The attempt to link, by the simple expediency of one word, 'media,' the honest, patriotic, indeed vital questions and questioning from American reporters, with the evil of al-Qaeda propaganda. That linkage is more than just indefensible. It is un-American. Mr. Bush and his colleagues have led us before to such waters. We will not drink again.
Olbermann: "And the President’s re-writing and sanitizing of history so it fits the expediencies of domestic politics today, is just as false, and just as scurrilous."
George W. Bush from speech: "A failed Austrian painter published a book in which he explained his intention to build an Aryan super state in Germany and take revenge on Europe and eradicate the Jews. The world ignored Hitler's words and paid a terrible price."
Olbermann: "Whatever the true nature of al-Qaeda and other international terrorist threats, to ceaselessly compare them to the Nazi state of Germany serves only to embolden them. Moreover, Mr. Bush, you are accomplishing in part what Osama bin Laden and others seek, a fearful American populace, easily manipulated, and willing to throw away any measure of restraint, any loyalty to our own ideals and freedoms, for the comforting illusion of safety.
Olbermann: "It thus becomes necessary to remind the President that his administration's recent Nazi 'kick' is an awful and a cynical thing. And it becomes necessary to reach back into our history, for yet another quote, from yet another time and to ask it of Mr. Bush: 'Have you no sense of decency, sir?'"