Fired from MSNBC for Anti-War Views, Phil Donahue Speaks Out on Republicans and Journalism, While Campaigning for Norman Solomon in California
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Boy, you can see … a president doesn’t get a statue for fixing health care. The only way you get a statue in a park is winning a war. That’s why we’ve got horses and swords; we have military airplanes in parks that kids play on. We’ve cannons in parks, in parks! We celebrate war. There’s no other way to say this.
And how the American people can stand there and allow this to happen, there is a connection. If we create a culture surrounded by things that go “Boom” we can’t be surprised if we build our foreign policy on that kind of activity.
DB: In conclusion, and Norman and I have gone back and forth on this, I asked him for an article that I did about him for the Progressive, “Why would you give up this role, this very important role as a biting media critic to go into a swamp land called Congress, where nobody, very few people, say what they mean, there are a few of them. But won’t we lose this important media critic if he ends up in the swamp of Congress?”
PD: Here’s what I think about that. We’re very close to cynicism with that observation. What good does it do? By the way, everybody hates Congress. And it doesn’t take a lot of courage to hate Congress. It’s easy to hate 535 people. And I’ve never found that criticism to have much weight. You know, what do you mean? What is it you don’t like about Congress? They won’t answer you. Congress is politicians, we hate politicians.
I think Norman’s decision is exemplary. I’d like to see more people like Norman. It’s an act of courage today to jump into this thing, I agree with you. I don’t know how you have any fun with all the whacko business that’s going on in Washington. … Don’t you miss Donald Trump? I mean seriously this is, this was the greatest reality show. …
What we want is sunshine, as long as it’s out there. As long as your listeners have an opportunity to hear them, don’t let anybody be so protective and paternalistic where they get themselves in a position where “Well, we know what’s good for you.” Now we’ve become the thing we hate. Which by the way, has what’s happened in foreign policy. We are killing innocent people.
When I was on MSNBC I had people on from Peaceful Tomorrows. These were citizens who lost family, loved ones in the towers. And they call us and their message was, “don’t go and kill other innocent people to avenge the death of my innocent father, or grandfather,” whatever it was. I could see the pain in their faces across, and this was another example of moral courage. Imagine these people got up in the middle of the war fever, and made this point.
Of course, they were ignored. But what’s most interesting to me is that these people are not alone. You know, right now most people agree with us. You know, we’re going to have to get used to this. We’re popular. But I guess we weren’t popular enough in 2003 when we invaded, but even then there were millions of Americans who opposed the war but they were never heard, they were never heard. Mainstream media, went along, to go along.
DB: Well, finally so to be clear here Phil Donahue, in your heart of hearts, you really believe that somebody like Norman Solomon can make a difference? Is that what you believe?
PD: You know if I don’t believe that, then I’m a cynic, and my voice has ended, I no longer, if I think, how many times have you heard, “Oh, what does it matter, they’re going to go to war anyway.” I mean I’ve heard that so many times, you know, wars just happen. … I mean that’s a surrender. …