By Lachlan Markay
Given recent news that Al Gore personally recruited Keith Olbermann to join Current TV as its “Chief News Officer” (I don’t know either), readers may be wondering: what value could the former Vice President have possibly seen in Olbermann?
Though we’re not expecting confirmation from Current TV, here’s one possibility: like Olbermann, Gore is a routine violator of Godwin’s Law. Perhaps the former MSNBC host’s penchant for Nazi comparisons impressed a man who, though he’s an expert at comparing people with whom he disagrees to genocidal fascists, can’t hold a candle to Olbermann’s knee-jerk Nazi references.
Which is not to say that Gore hasn’t tried. Ed Driscoll recalls this description of one of Gore’s books:
In his 1992 book Earth in the Balance, he wrote that “today the evidence of an ecological Kristallnacht is as clear as the sound of glass shattering in Berlin.” He repeatedly refers to the unfolding “ecological holocaust” and invokes Martin Niemoller’s famous quote (“When the Nazis came for the Communists, I remained silent; I was not a Communist. … When they came for the Jews, I did not speak out; I was not a Jew. …”) to label himself and other environmentalists “the new resistance.”In An Inconvenient Truth and in interviews, Gore sticks to his guns. He quotes Churchill’s warning about the gathering storm of fascism and declares: “The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequence.”
“And if you don’t agree with him,” writes Driscoll, “you’re a digital brownshirt.”
[T]oday Al Gore upped the ante. He coined a new term for the Internet critics of his positions: digital brownshirts. Yes, yes, it’s over the top. But it’s not the sentiment that raises eyebrows, it’s the position of the person who’s saying it. We don’t expect presidential candidates past or present to indulge in Usenet flame-war lingo. We don’t expect serious party elders to call the other side Nazis, and for good reason: it’s obscene. The brownshirts were evil. The brownshirts kicked the Jews in the streets and made the little kids put their hands on their heads as they stumbled off to the trains. The brownshirts were not interested in refuting arguments. They were interested in killing the people who dared argue at all.
If Gore thinks his political opponents are like Nazis, he apparently fancies himself a contemporary Winston Churchill:
Mindful of his British audience, Gore said the fight to cut carbon dioxide emissions will require a leader with the fortitude of Winston Churchill, who steered Britain through four years of hardship, bombings and economic deprivations to victory against the Nazis.
“Winston Churchill aroused this nation in heroic fashion to save civilization in World War II,” he said. “We have everything we need except political will, but political will is a renewable resource.”
But regular NewsBusters readers are surely unimpressed. After all, even these three examples can’t compare to the ubiquitous invocations of the Third Reich by Gore’s newest employee to describe, well, lots of people. Recipients of Olbermann’s Nazi treatment have included:
- Fox News,
- George W. Bush (again),
- George W. Bush (once again),
- Glenn Beck,
- George W. Bush (and again),
- George W. Bush (starting to see a pattern?), and
With a resume like that, it’s no wonder Gore wanted him on board. He’ll fit in nicely at Current TV.
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