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May 30, 2009

Shocking: Olbermann's a Liar

It's hard for me to write, but Gawker does a great job here.

Cornell's Old MacDonald Chicken College must be so proud.

Olbermann... said that "the only actual evidence" that Muller's supposed waterboarding was not, in fact, a waterboarding was "the use of the word 'hoax' in an e-mail." Well, we'd say that's something, considering the e-mail in question was from Muller's publicist, Linda Shafran, who wrote outright that the event was indeed a hoax. Muller explained it away, as he did earlier today, by claiming that he would not have been permitted to do the stunt by his bosses if he let people know that he was actually planning on going through with it. He wasn't clear, but the implication was that Shafran wasn't in the loop—she thought it would be a bullshit stunt: "I didn't think it was a big deal, she didn't think it was a big deal. We were going to prove that it was nothing."

Shafran wrote the e-mail on the afternoon before the stunt, as part of a frantic attempt to find someone to conduct the waterboarding. Here's what she wrote:

It is going to have to look "real" but of course would be simulated with Mancow acting like he is drowning. It will be a hoax but have to look real.

No one disputes that the e-mail is genuine. Note that it contains other words than "hoax"—words like "look real" and "simulated." And—most importantly—"with Mancow acting like he is drowning."

Here's what Olbermann's paranoid rebuttals fail to explain: If Muller was planning on proving that waterboarding was no big deal, and if Shafran thought Muller was planning on proving that waterboarding was no big deal, and if Shafran also thought—wrongly—that it was going to be a hoax: Why would she write that Muller would be "acting like he is drowning"? Wouldn't he act like he wasn't drowning? Like waterboarding isn't a "big deal"? According to Muller's story, when Shafran wrote that e-mail, she was under the mistaken impression that Muller was going to fake a waterboarding to prove that it's no big deal. It makes no sense....

Even if Muller is telling the truth about Shafran being out of the loop, her e-mail makes fairly clear that Muller knew how his waterboarding was going to end before it started.

Read on. Olbermann received these leaked emails, with Mancow's publicist calling the whole thing a "hoax" in which Mancow would "act like" he's drowning, in advance of actually running the story. But ran it anyway.

Also, Mancow's story keeps shifting, and Olbermann doesn't seem to mind. First Mancow says the word "hoax" was used just to get police permission for the stunt; then he says the publicist herself really believed it was a hoax. Olbermann seems untroubled. Either story is fine with him.

Incidentally, having watched the tape, I now see that Mancow was not on a declining board, lungs raised above his mouth. His legs were elevated, but not his chest cavity, which is sort of the main thing.

It's a matter of simple gravity -- if one's lungs are positioned above one's nose and mouth, then water poured into one's mouth can't easily travel upwards, against gravity, to fill the lungs. Sure, small amounts can probably get forced up the windpipe by momentum or coughing, but only small amounts, and they'll come back up as soon as the windpipe opens again.

That's why waterboarding, done correctly, is merely simulated drowning. Water runs over the back of the throat and tickles the windpipe, thus hitting the body's DROWNING panic button, but you can't actually drown because water flows down, not up.

Mancow, on the other hand, had his lungs at the same level as his mouth. The momentum of the huge amount of water poured in -- far more than the drizzle of water that real waterboarding utilizes -- would in fact be enough to carry it down the windpipe and into the lungs. Something like a cup or more of water was being forced into his mouth every second, which is plenty enough pressure to force water down the windpipe and into the lungs.

So whether he planned this from the get-go as a hoax -- and it does actually appear it was a hoax from the get-go -- it was not waterboarding at all, but actual drowning.

As I said, Mancow said it felt like he was drowning because he was, in fact, drowning.

It may be that the moron intended to pretend to drown from the start, but, due to the fact he was using a guy who had no idea how to waterboard, actually did wind up drowning a bit.

Note Christopher Hitchens not only endured this for a while, but after it was over, said "Let's do it some more." (As Little Miss Atilla has noted, it's hard to credit something as being "torture" when not only is it voluntarily undertaken, but the alleged torture victim then demands seconds.)

Mancow lasted for three seconds or so. This can be attributed to the facts that 1) He's a sissy; 2) he was nearly drowned as a child; 3) he seemed to plan on pretending to drown and stopping it quickly from the beginning; and 4) the idiot was actually drowning, unlike Hitchens, who just underwent the uncomfortable feeling of having his drowning-button tickled.

No matter which way you slice it Keith Olbermann is a shabby liar and unhinged partisan carnival-barker who puts on stories without checking even when he's warned in advance that the story is a hoax.

And then he rebuts these proofs and these facts with nothing but sneering self-righteousness.

Oh: Keith Olbermann now says that while he knew of the publicist's emails deeming the whole thing a "hoax," he talked to Mancow and deemed his responses satisfactory to convince him it was real.

Oh really? Note that Olbermann didn't ask Mancow about the hoax emails on the air and let the audience in on that, or let it judge Mancow's response to see if they too were as easily persuaded by the buffoonish cow-insemination major Olbermann. He did not merely fail to disclose this fact, he actively concealed it from the world, and only now -- when exposed as a liar -- does he tell us about all the serious fact-checking he did behind the world's back to "confirm" the stunt as genuine.

Also note that, as Ann Coulter says, more reporters have now been waterboarded than terrorists. So it is apparently not particularly difficult to get a trained guy to waterboard you... safely, and properly. Any former SEAL instructor would know how to do it, as they do it to our own guys in SERE training.

So why did he just send out emails (or whatever) to get a listener to come in and read Wikipedia and stage a fake waterboarding? It would have been easier to just get a real guy.

I don't know the answer to that question. Though the slapdash nature of this does tend to suggest it was a hoax from the get-go. Who cares about conducting a proper experiment when you've decided on the conclusions in advance?

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posted by Ace at 02:17 PM

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