A few days ago I blogged about a Rolling Stone cover story by Sean Wilentz which asserted that Bush is the worst president in American history. I predicted that the MSM would pick up on this story and discuss it as if it had importance and truth.
Friday night, Keith Olbermann of MSNBC’s Countdown did just that by having Sean Wilentz on his show. Newsbusters has the story:
While introducing the segment, Olbermann listed several of Wilentz’s attacks against Bush without challenging their validity, including accusations of “fabricated evidence” of WMD, a “retro fiscal policy” of “massive tax cuts” for the wealthy that “racked up monstrous deficits,” and a criticism citing an unnamed Republican strategist who claimed that the Republican Party is “the first religious party in U.S. history.” Olbermann, who perennially makes comparisons between George Orwell’s novel 1984 and the Bush administration, managed to work in yet another reference to Orwell as he ended the interview mocking the administration’s use of the term “pre-9/11 thinking,” charging that Bush would accuse Wilentz and the other historians of being “guilty of pre-9/11 thinking, as George Orwell might have said.” (Transcript follows)
Olbermann previewed the segment in the show’s teaser: “Worst President ever: As Mr. Bush contemplates his page in history, a covey of historians predict that could easily be the chapter title.”
After interviewing former Nixon White House counsel John Dean about the recent firing of the CIA agent who leaked classified information about secret prisons in Europe, during which Olbermann drew comparisons between leaks in the Nixon and Bush administrations, he could not resist making further comparisons between Nixon and Bush. Olbermann read a brief item about student protesters at Stanford University who blocked President Bush’s helicopter from landing, which he compared to Nixon’s problems with student protesters, and then gave a plug for the Wilentz interview by relaying that some historians say Bush “might have passed the James Buchanans and the Richard Nixons to become the worst President ever.”
Olbermann continued his introduction by sympathetically calling the recently fired CIA employee a “whistleblower,” as if she had exposed some great wrong: “Our fourth story in the Countdown, President Bush, whose administration is now firing, perhaps prosecuting whistleblowers, is he simply the worst?”
Olbermann then read a list of Wilentz’s criticisms of the Bush administration, all from a left-wing point-of-view, without any analysis of their validity: “This is some of what he considers: That the 43rd President of the United States and his administration strained or even fabricated evidence of weapons of mass destruction not only to justify the war in Iraq, but to promote a Bush Doctrine of preemptive warfare; claimed an unprecedented expansion of presidential power under the guise of war, many of the administration’s scandals having flowed from that; rammed retro fiscal policies through Congress, massive tax cuts that may have benefitted only the wealthy, racked up monstrous deficits borrowing more money between 2001 and 2005 than all of the previous 42 presidents combined; and other domestic policies so strident and so dismissive of scientific knowledge that one former Republican strategist calls today’s Republicans, quote, ‘the first religious party in U.S. history.'”
Read the rest of the article. Let’s see if other MSM outlets also report on Sean’s article in the same fashion.