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GLENN: I haven't heard this yet. I've heard that this is classic Keith Olbermann.
PAT: Oh, yes, it is.
OLBERMANN: On the 15th of October, 1894, a fervently patriotic, almost jingoistic French man stepped into the office of the Minister of War, in Paris. He had been told he was simply attending a review and he was still not suspicious even as another man slammed a hand on his shoulder and arrested him for treason. Just 82 days later he was convicted, stripped of his military rank, sentenced to life imprisonment, and sent to a fortress in Guiana. He was, of course, utterly and totally innocent. All of the evidence against him had been fabricated, some of it literally stitched together, with the parts that would have exonerated him, edited out. But religious fervor and xenophobia had gripped his country, and his ethnic group was in the minority, at a time when the majority was trying to paint that minority as evil and subversive and bigoted beyond all reason against the majority. Those in government who knew his innocence stayed silent in a foolish and ill‑fated attempt to govern on behalf of all of the people, even the irrational and the hateful and the prejudiced. Those in the press who did not grab at the circulation and the profits, that the hatred and the scapegoating would bring them, were literally chased out of the country.
GLENN: Stop just a second. Is he making the point that that's what's about to happen to people like us, pause he sits and ‑‑ sits quietly? Is that what he's ‑‑
PAT: Please. That might be valid.
GLENN: Keith, Keith, as anyone who is speaking out is rounded up or is shot in the head or mysteriously has an accident or is chased out of the country or is just driven out of business, whatever the ends are, you should remind yourself of this cute little story. Go ahead.
OLBERMANN: ‑‑ before the man was pardoned, nearly 11 before he was fully exonerated and restored to active service. His name, of course, was Captain Alfred Dreyfus.
PAT: Of course.
GLENN: Of course it was. His name ‑‑ his name, of course, is Richard Alfred Dreyfus. Oh. Why didn't you just say Dick? His name, of course, Dick. Oh, and then your wife would say, who's Dick? Richard Allen Dreyfus. You simpleton. I got my degree at an agriculture school, you simpleton! Now, plow that field! What a dope. Is there more?
OLBERMANN: Devil's island.
GLENN: Oh, boy.
OLBERMANN: Well we need to congratulate ourselves. How far we have come! We can pull a Dreyfus faster than the French could in 1894. 82 days until they sent him to Devil's Island? We did it to Shirley Sherrod in 48 hours. We, the howling fools of the far right, the stand‑aside pathetic bureaucrats of the Department of Agriculture, the whole of the cowering media, this network included, the whole of the government, this self‑defeatingly above‑it‑all president, included.
It is a merciful by‑product of the swiftness with which we can ruin somebody's life, that the real truth will also emerge at nearly the same lightning‑speed. But, no matter how much of a stretch it is to compare Shirley Sherrod ‑‑
PAT: Oh, it is, it is.
GLENN: It is quite a stretch. Shirley, Shirley, tell me about devil's island. Tell me about that. Seriously.
PAT: The hell of talking to CNN for two straight days, tell us about that.
GLENN: Wait a second. Shirley, I take that back. You have been to devil's island. I've been there. I know.
OLBERMANN: Shirley Sherrod has been to her own Devil's Island, and thanks to the perpetual fraud machine that is Fox News, and the scum that is this assassin Breitbart.
GLENN: Stop. Breitbart, tell me about this scoundrel, Arg! He is such a joke.
OLBERMANN: To whom she is forever convicted and ever imprisoned.
I have sat behind this desk for seven years and pushed back at these counterfeit journalists, as a man might stand at the shore and try to push back the tide.
GLENN: Stop, stop, stop.
PAT: Push back the tide.
GLENN: I have sat at this desk for seven years and my ratings tell me that I'm not going to be sitting here for very much longer. They've taken one of the worst guys on television and had him fill in for me and they're already starting to hire a staff and make graphics for his show. They could take me off the air and ‑‑ (Laughter.) And it will all be thanks to Breitbart when I'm finished. Thank you, Breitbart, you scoundrel! You scallywag! (Laughter.)
PAT: He is one of the best of all time.
GLENN: Even Dennis Miller was at home going, who the hell is he talking about?
PAT: Dreyfus, what?
GLENN: My stomach hurts. Of course, I speak of Dreyfus.
GLENN: And only Keith Olbermann, only Keith Olbermann, would expect that you knew French history. (Laughter.) I've got to give my stomach a rest. Thank you for that history lesson, Keith. You are so far from a joke, you really are.
[NOTE: Transcript may have been edited to enhance readability - audio archive includes full segment as it was originally aired]