Can we count on Keith Olbermann's pinch-ranter, Rachel Maddow, to pick up on the now-updated/discarded ThinkProgress fantasy and describe McHenry's "two-bit security guard" as an American soldier? Yes we can!
April 4: Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., told a local Republican event Saturday about a recent incident when a U.S. soldier guarding a gym denied him entry to a gym. McHenry referred to the soldier as a “two-bit security guard” and failed to mention the gym was in the Green Zone in Baghdad.
Olbermann doesn't criticize his own network, so we doubt he will be criticizing his own show, "Countdown to Clowns".
Background on the foreign contractor mistaken by our friends on the left for a US soldier is here. OK, and here. Here, too - what a pile-on. There is a simple lesson here for journalists as well as Countdown performers - if you are getting your content from lefty blogs, mistrust but verify.
And speaking of working "In the Zone", where does this second bit of the Countdown summary - McHenry "failed to mention the gym was in the Green Zone in Baghdad" - come from? My guess is that it is an independent MSNBC fantasy that is an extrapolation from Ms. Maddow's script, since at one point she leans forward and says, as if revealing an embarrassing secret, that the gym that was blown up was in the Green Zone. Here is the ThinkProgress transcription of McHenry's speech:
We spent the night in the Green Zone, in the poolhouse of one of Saddam’s palaces. A little weird, I got to be honest with you. But I felt safe. And so in the morning, I got up early — not that I make this a great habit — but I went to the gym because I just couldn’t sleep and everything else. Well, sure enough, the guard wouldn’t let me in. Said I didn’t have the correct credentials.
OK, McHenry didn't specifically say that he got up early and remained in the Green Zone for his stroll to the gym, but my goodness - he goes on to describe a rocket attack into the Green Zone that blew up the gym, so I think we can give him a pass on this.
Ms. Maddow closes by noting the the American soldier had to stay behind and fight McHenry's war while McHenry got to go home, and wonders whether McHenry feels an apology coming on. I sort of wonder the same thing.
Now, Countdown airs at 8 Eastern time. I think it is fair to infer that no one at MSNBC contacted the congressman's office for a comment or even checked a few blogs as showtime approached. So how is this apology supposed to work, Rachel - you never call the guy, are you waiting for him to make the first move? So 20th century. Oh, well, maybe you'll read this:
A North Carolina congressman has apologized for calling a contract employee in Baghdad a “two-bit security guard.”
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., used that term when talking about a visit to Iraq where he was denied access to a gymnasium. “It was a poor choice of words to describe a foreign contractor,” McHenry said in a statement.
That was printed prior to your show, BTW.
But let's try to close on an upbeat - Ms. Maddow did get McHenry's name right and she placed the incident in Baghdad. Baby steps.
UPDATE: Allah called it, and now calls the "apology":
questionquotation: “Congressman, you feel a little apology coming on?” Do you, Maddow? Or is Olby going to have to eat crow this time like he did last time, by apologizing perfunctorily and then attacking his victim from 20 different angles just to make sure the wingnuts don’t think they won one?
I can spot a rhetorical question when I see one.
JUST PUT ON A HAPPY FACE: If for some reason you feel obliged to defend Ms. Maddow, let a smile be your umbrella! Here is Nicole Bell of the often useful, sometimes hilarious "Crooks and Liars", describing Ms. Maddow madcap reporting:
And finally, the tale of Rep. Patrick McHenry, who related a little tale during a GOP fundraiser in his native North Carolina about this “two bit security guard” that refused him entry to a gym because he lacked proper credentials for entering.
Just so you know, the gym McHenry wanted to use? It was in the Green Zone, in Baghdad. The “two bit security guard” McHenry derided was an American soldier in harm’s way protecting visiting Americans, like Congressman McHenry. And because this soldier followed proper procedure and refused special treatment to a big shot like Congressman McHenry, his reward? Did he get to go home, like McHenry did? No, this “two bit security guard” stayed behind in Baghdad to fight McHenry’s war for him. Congressman, you feel a little apology coming on?
Carolina Politics (a GOP site) says that the security guard in question was a contractor, not a soldier. However, despite the fatter paycheck, the material point is the same.
Hmm, the material point that this was not a US soldier? That he had no expectation of "going home" as McHenry did, and that when he did, it would not be to the US? That he was staying behind to "fight McHenry's war" as a well-paid volunteer (sorry, libs, "mercenary"), not because he had been ordered to?
Or was it the point that Ms. Maddow had willfully and woefully ignored such basic journalistic practice as calling her subject for a comment? Or doing any follow-up research, which would have revealed that McHenry had an apology on the internet by late Friday afternoon?
Well, if the material point is that we ought to be polite to strangers, fine.