A Blast from the Past

phil_donahues_liberal_oasisI’d forgotten that Phil Donahue was fired from MSNBC in 2003 for his anti-Iraq views.  If you haven’t watched Juan Gonzlez interview Donahue on Democracy Now, you really should.  It’s a good reminder of the complicity of the media in the march to war and that there were a brave few that wouldn’t shut up.

In 2003, the legendary television host Phil Donahue was fired from his prime-time MSNBC talk show during the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The problem was not Donahue’s ratings, but rather his views: An internal MSNBC memo warned Donahue was a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war,” providing “a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity.” Donahue joins us to look back on his firing 10 years later. “They were terrified of the antiwar voice,” Donahue says.

You definitely need to read the transcript at least to catch the exchange between Amy Goodman and Chris Matthews who always acts like his bathroom never smells when he’s in it.  He reminds me a lot of Schultzie in the old TV sitcom Hogan’s Heros.  “I know nothing, nothing!”

AMY GOODMAN: I want to congratulate you, Chris, on 10 years of MSNBC, but I wish standing with you was Phil Donahue. He shouldn’t have been fired for expressing an antiwar point of view on the eve of the election. His point of view and the people brought on were also important.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I don’t know what the reasons were, but I doubt it was that.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, we have the MS—the NBC memo, that was a secret memo—

Just a great reminder of the fake meme of liberal bias in our media.  Also, more hubris by the press who refuses to admit they really could’ve done something other than be mouthpieces of propaganda.

14 Comments on “A Blast from the Past”

  1. ecocatwoman says:

    Thanks Kat for posting this. I’d seen a link earlier today on TGW & planned to check out the interview tonight. I love Phil Donahue & was so pissed when he was summarily fired from the network.

  2. Just last week my mom and I were talking about Donahue, it was when my family was playing whose dead or alive? during dinner. I remembered when this happened, when he was fired at MSNBC….but like you I forgot all about it.

  3. jawbone says:

    Also on Democracy Now! today is coverage of a BBC/ Guardian expose of Rumsfeld’s bringing personnel to Iraq to implement the El Salvador solution: torture and death squads set up, inciting sectarian violence.

    “James Steele: America’s Mystery Man in Iraq,” exposes the role the retired U.S. colonel James Steele, a veteran of American proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, played in training Iraqi police commando units. The BBC and Guardian carefully mined the Bradley Manning leaked memos to follow the trail to Steele, tying it directly to Rumsfeld and, surprise, Gen. Petraeus.

    I caught the tail end, which was fascinating and clearly shows the US committed war crimes. I wonder if the realization that Petraeus would be connected when reporters mined deeper into the Wikileaks trove of memos was a reason from his being placed in a position requiring he resign as CIA chief.

    Heavy news and history coverage day at Democracy Now!.

    And the US MCM is just as craven now as 10 years ago. Fourteen nations have or will show this program, but…nary a word from the US news organizations. Just Democracy Now!.

  4. dakinikat says:

    rachel maddow’s Hubris is playing tonight on MSNBC if you haven’t seen it. Seems an odd thing to post on this thread

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Can someone please tell me how those bastards – particularly Bush & Cheney – can sleep at night? They were responsible for the deaths or injuries of over 4000 American service men & women & untold (hundreds of thousands??) numbers of Iraqis. They’ve permanently damaged the US both internally & externally. Is it just hubris and arrogance? Can it be explained that easily or are they in the league of Adolf Hitler & Josef Stalin? Vile, cruel, unrepentant bastards!

    • RalphB says:

      The after special ‘Talking Hubris” has been pretty good so far. Kicking the media hard.

  5. Fredster says:



    From the teevee it said the family was from Tewksbury Mass. Is that around Boston bb?

  6. HT says:

    Always loved Donahue and Dick Cavett. Two men who told what was, not what the powers that be wanted to be told. Both not respected for their popularity because who wants anything on television that doesn’t tout the corporate vision? Sad that. I’m sure there are other journalists that were shut out because they didn’t tow the corporate and political vision – Dar Jamail, Chris Floyd for another but I’m sure there were others? That “embedded” business ensured that their was little if no objective journalism. I miss Phil – he was a supremely intelligent man and a great interviewer.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    I’m glad Donahue is speaking out. I remember when he was fired. His show had the highest ratings on the network, so that wasn’t the reason. MSNBC was very supportive of the war, and Chris Matthews was not speaking out against it–despite his claims now that he opposed the war. I’ll never forget his disgusting Bush-worship after the Mission Accomplished speech.

    • HT says:

      Yes, the revisionists are out in full force. Those who were for are no proclaiming they were against. Cowards then and cowards now.