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Keith Olbermann sees a right wing attack machine in the town halls

Posted on August 7 2009 12:05 am
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The execrable Keith Olbermann had a segment on health care last night—well, no, not really on health care per se, since that is a subject requiring basic cognition and a capacity for linear thought, but on the “organized right wing” protests springing up around the country against  Obama’s planned takeover of our medical system. Olbermann presented video snippets from town hall meetings where grass roots protests (actually, such authentic greenery can only be a left wing growth, so make that “astroturf” protests) have made life unpleasant for Congresspeople trying to defend the possible legislation on this issue now being considered in Washington. Making sure that the people pictured always spoke with Southern accents, Olbermann faithfully, if not always coherently, echoed administration talking points:  These were hired provocateurs; they were updated versions of Harry and Louise with the same dire and destructive purpose; their alleged fear of the bad medicine of Obamacare was actually a cover for the fear they were trying to create about Obama himself.

It was the same old script: right wing conspirators spreading paranoia in an effort to torpedo humanitarian social policies. Olbermann was joined in reciting it by Newsweek columnist and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Alter, who happily adopted the role of Sancho Panza in this dialogue by agreeing that the town hall protestors were “right on the edge of advocating violence,” and that they represented a “crack in the common sense of America” with opinions that were “not to be confused with public opinion.”

Olbermann contemptuously showed a few seconds of a woman from one of these meetings who wondered why the 85% who have health coverage should see this coverage drastically changed so that the 15% of Americans without insurance could be covered.  This is question that many well-intended Americans have probably asked themselves, silently if not out loud. Why not craft a plan that would cover the uninsured and let it go at that, rather than producing an apocalyptic health care upheaval simply to attain this more modest end?  Yet for Olbermann, this woman represented the false consciousness so characteristic of conservatives which he elegantly characterized as “I’ve-got-mine-so-screw-the-rest-of-you.”

Alter timorously tried to offer some practical insights as Olbermann’s discussion kept lurching to the left.  “Some progressives are a little too wed[ded] to the public option,” he said, and they shouldn’t be so wedded to socialized medicine that they “go down with that ship.”  But Olbermann wasn’t buying it.  We would have the promised land of a single payer system in sight, he huffed, if not for “the right wing attack machine” that had hired the bogus protestors at the town hall meetings.

The loopy pas de deux ended with certain questions left behind.  Even if they were “mobilized,” which is far from clear, did the protestors at the town hall meetings not have birth certificates as good as Obama’s own, and were they not thereby guaranteed free speech and other prerogatives of citizenship?  Is it only Move On’s synthesized “Fired Up and Ready To Go” gatherings or the rent-a-mobs of ACORN that can legitimately mount a protest in this country?  And what about the White House’s dark innuendoes that there is something “fishy” about protests against Obama’s national health care takeover, something potentially so sinister that it requires people to report suspicious activities against this legislation to the government?  Wouldn’t such a plan normally rate a mention from individuals such as Olbermann and Alter who are otherwise so vigilant about inauthenticity and intimations of fascism?

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