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Julia’s America

From The Scrapbook

May 14, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 33 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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Now, The Scrapbook has no expectations about the major news networks, and takes some small comfort in the presence of people like George Will and Peggy Noonan on the George Stephanopoulos gabfest. But Keith Olbermann? Even by the standards of opinion journalism, Olbermann, late of MSNBC and Al Gore’s Current TV, is not so much a “broadcast journalist” as a televised rage machine, specializing in cooked numbers, doctored video, relentless name-calling—and a manner and delivery that suggests internal disturbances.

How inappropriate is Keith Olbermann for a seat on George Stephanopoulos’s panel? Well, both MSNBC and Al Gore’s Current TV have divested themselves of Olbermann’s services, not because of his hard-left views or embarrassing obsessions, but because of ethical lapses, petulant on-air behavior, and a habit of picking public fights with his employers. 

Which suggests to The Scrapbook that there may, in fact, be a place in the media universe for Olbermann’s services—and we’re not the only ones to think so. In recently declassified messages between the late Osama bin Laden and his American-born “media adviser,” Adam Gadahn, we find the two speculating about how best to get the al Qaeda message across. CBS is “close to being unbiased,” suggests Osama helpfully, but Gadahn reminds him that the major networks employ “cunning methods” to mislead Muslims, although ABC is “all right.” CNN is too close to the government, Gadahn believes, but potential outlets for al Qaeda’s viewpoint do exist: Robert Fisk of London’s Independent and Al Jazeera, for example. And Keith Olbermann.

“I used to think that [the] MSNBC channel may be good and neutral a bit,” Gadahn complains to Osama, “but it has lately fired .  .  . Keith Olbermann.” 

Indeed, The Scrapbook has no doubt that Adam Gadahn and his patron Osama bin Laden savored the tone and tenor of MSNBC; how could it be otherwise? Nor are we surprised to learn that, among all of MSNBC’s various on-air personalities, Keith Olbermann should strike Osama bin Laden and his sidekick as the fairest and most appealing.

In the end, the two terrorists decided that it was probably best to deliver their message far and wide, distributing material to as many outlets as possible, “so that there will be healthy competition between the channels in broadcasting the material. .  .  . It should be sent .  .  . to ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN and maybe PBS and VOA.”

To which was added an ominous postscript, one which could just as easily have been pronounced by Keith Olbermann: “As for Fox News, let her die in her anger.”

Warren Remembrance

When Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren began running for the Senate in Massachusetts, The Scrapbook surmised it was only a matter of time before she started to get the comeuppance she deserved. Being a liberal darling means a lot of fawning press—the actual headline of her New York Times magazine profile was “Heaven Is a Place Called Elizabeth Warren”—but a candidate who has grown accustomed to fawning reporters will often be caught flat-footed when she first encounters a fusillade of opposition research.

The Boston Herald recently reported that Harvard had publicly touted Warren’s heretofore unknown Native-American heritage in the 1990s, when the school came under fire for not having a minority female professor at the law school. Warren claimed she had no recollection of this, but also countered that “family lore” had it that she was of Cherokee and Delaware Indian descent, and that she had never personally benefited from any claims of minority status. 

It was then pointed out that she had listed herself in academic
directories as being Native American, which would suggest she was at least trying to trade on her alleged ethnicity. Warren asserted that she listed herself as Native American “because I thought I might be invited to meetings where I might meet more people who had grown up like I had grown up.” Warren’s “family lore,” by the way, suggests she’s at most
3.125 percent Cherokee.

And speaking of Elizabeth Warren’s upbringing, this is not the first bit of seemingly fanciful biography. In the New York Post, the Boston Herald’s Howie Carr also noted:

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