Baghdad Bob Murray

Baghdad Bob Murray


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First, I want to say that I in no way want to imply that Murray is leading a disinformation campaign or outright lying like Baghdad Bob did, but is every bit as entertaining and captivating, even after seeing him day after day.

For those of you who don't remember, in 2003, when American forces were still in the all-out assault phase of the war in Iraq, Baghdad Bob was sent by Saddam's government to deliver daily news conferences denouncing the American "lies" that were being reported world wide. Bob denied that Iraqi forces were in retreat, that defenses were crumbling, and even that Americans had begun to enter Baghdad. He was outlandish, hilarious, and absolutely gripping every moment of every news conference he held.

Flash forward to Tuesday morning, after the first full day of rescue operations. We carry news conferences all the time on KSL Newsradio. We were not expecting Bob Murray. Immediately, right out of the gate, he delivered stinging rebukes to Congress, mining critics and even journalists who, during the past 24 hours, had done a variety of angles on mine safety and rescue practices.

The reason Murray's delivery behind the podium was so jarring was because it is so rare. Some would even say refreshing. In the world of polished political candidates, focus groups and professional image consultants, here was a guy who had none of that and basically channeled his consciousness in to the microphones in front of him. He ran through the gamut of emotions and expressions- he was melodramatic, southern baptist preacher dramatic, emotional, reserved, angry, sad and philosophic.

When was the last time somebody from any corporation, let alone a CEO, showed this kind of range day in and day out? It's captivating radio. We were expecting a dry, polished delivery from a spokesperson trained to answer questions positively with spin and smile, not a battle-hardened miner with a bone to pick.

Some say he's dishonest for his back and forth on the earthquake issue. Some say he's self-absorbed for talking for minutes on end about himself before getting to the status of the rescue. Some say he's a pompous buffoon. Some love him for his brutal honesty and direct delivery. I think we can all agree that no matter what, it's hard to stop listening to him once he starts speaking.

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Adam Thomas

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