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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Fundraising day 6

"Support bloggers or else"-God

Want an example of how blogs have changed the national dialogue?

Here's the transcript of Thursday's Countdown.

OLBERMANN: Abraham Lincoln did not shoot John Wilkes Booth. Titanic did not sink a north Atlantic iceberg. And FOX News is neither fair nor balanced. These are facts intelligible to all adults, most children, and some of your more discerning domesticated animals. But not, as the third story on the COUNTDOWN prove yet again, not to Bill-O.


STEWIE GRIFFIN, BABY, FAMILY GUY: COUNTDOWN presents “Factor Fiction,” wherein we catch that bastard Bill O‘Reilly lying again. Oh wait, no hold still. Allow me to soil myself on you. Victory is mine!


OLBERMANN: The guilty pleasure offered by the existence of Bill O‘Reilly is simple but understandable, 99 times out of 100, when we belly up to the Bill-O bar of bluster, nearly every time we partake of the movable falafel feast he serves us nothing but comedy, farce, slapstick, unconscious self-mutilation, the Sideshow Bob of commentators forever stepping on the same rake, forever muttering the same grunted, inarticulate surrender, forever resuming the circle that will take him back to the same rake. The Sisyphus of morons, if you will. But this is the 100th time out of 100. It is not funny at all. Bill O‘Reilly has, for the second time in under eight months, slandered at least 84 dead American servicemen. He has turned them again from victims of the kind of atrocity our country has always fought against into perpetrators of that kind of atrocity. He has made these Americans into war criminals. They are dead and have been dead for 61 years. They cannot defend themselves against O‘Reilly. We will have to do it for them.

Last October Bill O‘Reilly railed against a ruling that more photos from the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq might be released. His guest on his program was Wesley Clark. Clark is a retired four-star general, was for four years supreme allied commander of NATO in Europe. First in his class at West Point, wounded in Vietnam, earned the Bronze star, the Silver Star and has streets named for him in Alabama and in Kosovo. Therefore, naturally O‘Reilly knows much more about the military than General Clark does. Clark defended the release of the additional Abu Ghraib photos saying we need to know what happened and to correct it. O‘Reilly lectured him and concluded that there had always been atrocities, even by Americans in war.


BILL O‘REILLY, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”: General, you need to look at the Malmady Massacre in World War II in the 82nd airborne.


OLBERMANN: It was a remarkable mistake. The Belgian town of Malmady did lend its name to one of the most appalling battlefield war crimes of the 20th century. But O‘Reilly‘s implication that the Americans committed it was entirely backwards. Americans, most of them, members of the Battery B of the 285th Fuel Artillery Observation Battalion, surrendered to German Panzer troops and were then shot by their captures by the S.S. Yet O‘Reilly had implied that the Americans had massacred these Germans in this one stark moment of the Battler of the Bulge. And he used this Alice through the looking glass view of history to somehow rationalize Abu Ghraib while trying to dress down a four-star American general.

Still it could have been a mistake, we make them. Even historians do. O‘Reilly had not explicitly called the Americans the war criminals of Malmady. Our war troops, too, were accused of crimes against prisoners in the Second World War. It was assumed last year that he had simply made a foolish error and though he got beaten up appropriately in some places, it was all largely dismissed as merely that, a mistake.

Then came this Tuesday night, again O‘Reilly‘s guest was General Wes Clark. This time the topic was the apparent murder of Iraqi civilians at Haditha. That O‘Reilly was dismissive of that event should be no surprise, that he should have described as the real crime of Iraq the events of Abu Ghraib, should be no surprise of those who know of his willingness to jettison his most important beliefs of yesterday for the expediencies and the ratings of today, but that he should have brought up Malmady again, that was a surprise.


O‘REILLY: In Malmady, as you know, U.S. forces captured S.S. forces who had their hands in the air and they were unarmed and they shot them down. You know that. That‘s on the record. Been documented.


OLBERMANN: Thus was the full depth of Bill O‘Reilly‘s insult to the American debt of World War II made clear. The mistake of last October was not some innocent slip nor misrembered history. This was the way O‘Reilly understood and thus, this way it had to be. No errors corrected, no apologies offered, no stopping the relentless tide of bull even briefly enough to check one fact.

The facts of Malmady are terrifying as described by Michael Reynolds in his painstakingly detailed article from a 2003 issue of “World War II” magazine. One week before Christmas, 1944, 139 U.S. soldiers, most of them from the 285th Field Artillery, encountered the German comf (ph) group, Piper, the leading formation of the German first S.S. Panzer Division, one of only two German units in the entire war which actually carried Adolf Hitler‘s name. The American were overrun. The 11 of the 139 soldiers were killed in the very short battle of Malmady, two more were killed as they tried to flee, seven escaped, six became prisoners of war. The other 113 Americans, nearly all of whom had surrendered outright, were ordered to assemble in an open field next to a restaurant, the Cafe Bodarue (ph). What happened next has been attributed to many things, a cold-blooded decision by that unit Panzer commander, Colonel Joachim Piper, that he could not handle the prisoners, or an unjustifiable overreaction to some kind of escape attempt or simply horrible mass murder.

Within 15 minutes the S.S. Colonel or someone directly under him had ordered his men to shoot the unarmed American POWs. The bodies at Malmedy were not found until a month later. There were 84 of them, all American soldiers, more than half shotgun wounds to their heads. Six had received fatal blows to the head, nine were found with their arms still raised above their heads. The fact that O‘Reilly got these horrible facts completely backwards twice offended even his usually compliant viewers. From his program Wednesday night:


O‘REILLY: Don Caldwell, Fort Worth, TX. Bill, you mentioned that Malmady as the site of an American massacre during World War II. It was the other way around, the S.S. shot down U.S. prisoners.”

In the heat of the debate with General Clark, my statement wasn‘t clear enough, Mr. Caldwell. After Malmady, some were executed by American troops.


OLBERMANN: Wrong answer. When you are that wrong, when you are defending Nazi war criminals and pinning their crimes on Americans and you get caught doing so twice, you‘re supposed to say I‘m sorry, I was wrong, and then you‘re supposed to shut up for a long time. Instead, FOX washed its transcript of O‘Reilly‘s remarks Tuesday. Its Web site claims O‘Reilly said in Normandy, when, as you heard, in fact, he said in Malmedy.

The rewriting of past reporting worthy of George Orwell has now carried over into such online transcription services as Burell‘s and Factiva. Whatever did or did not happen later in supposed or actual retribution, the victims at Malmedy were Americans, gunned down while surrendering by Nazis in 1944 and again Tuesday night and Wednesday night by a false patriot who would rather be loud than right.

In Malmedy, as you know, Bill O‘Reilly said on the air Tuesday night in some indecipherable attempt to defend the events of Haditha, “U.S. forces captured S.S. forces who had their hands in the air and were unarmed and they shot them dead. You know that, that‘s on the record and documented.” The victims in Malmedy in December 1944 were Americans, Americans with their hands in the air, Americans who were unarmed. That‘s on the record and documented, and their memory deserves better than Bill O‘Reilly. We all do.

Tonight, he expanded on this, and drew the connection between the allegations of American abuse at Malmedy to a campaign by Senator Joe McCarthy to serve his German American paymasters by limiting the effects of Nuremberg.

That is not commonly known history, but it's been mentioned here and by Atrios. But without blogs now making challenging the media acceptable, this would be written off as a vendetta. It is anything but. We're helping to bring accountablilty to an abusive, indifferent media. Can I take sole credit for the truth of this story being aired? No. But I know, even in a small way, we're changing the way that people see the world and the news, and you're helping to do it.

Stephen Gilliard
217 E 86th St,
NMB 112
NewYork, NY 10028

posted by Steve @ 10:51:00 PM

10:51:00 PM

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