Olbermann Destroys Drudge

It is a matter of record that I am not a fan of what Keith Olbermann has become. It might interest some to know that I was actually one of the first bloggers (when I FPed at daily kos in 2005) to notice that Olbermann was successfully employing a counter Fox programming idea that many of us, Atrios most prominently, had suggested to the other cable networks (this was when Tweety still saved his tingles for George W. Bush.) The early Olbermann was not Obama's O'Reilly as he is today. Back then, he was more like Rachel Maddow is now.

One fairly predictable result of the success garnered by Olbermann (besides making him a lot of money) is the diminishment of Matt Drudge's influence. Eric Boehlert writes:

Now ask yourself: What role has the Drudge Report played in that burst of campaign movement? The answer, of course, is zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. His trademark flashing red lights have gone missing.

The dynamics of the campaign have irrevocably changed, and the mighty Drudge Report, the news site Beltway journalists trip over themselves to genuflect in front of, has been a complete bystander in the closing weeks of the 2008 campaign. (Not that this is the first time Drudge has choked down the stretch of a nationwide election.)

Eric explain his thinking on why:

The reason is simple. Because of the unprecedented economic turmoil, we're now in serious times. (Fifty thousand home foreclosures this year, in the state of New Jersey alone, is serious business.) And the Drudge Report doesn't do serious. The American public's attention has shifted from the campaign to the economy, and that's why the Drudge Report remains largely irrelevant to that unfolding story.

I think that is part of it. But I think maybe an even more important reason is the success of MSNBC. The Beltway Media loves to go on TV. I mean loves it. If you have any doubts about it, look at the gyrations they have gone through since 2005, when Olbermann could not book the Howard Finemans of the world (they were part of Tweety's crew) and now I imagine they clamor to be on Olbermann. Look at Olbermann's favorite Richard Wolfe of Time. Wolfe spent 2004 and 2005 spouting every GOP talking point. But give Wolfe credit, he had his finger in the air early and saw which way the wind was blowing and quickly became an Olbermann sycophant.

To get on Olbermann, you have to spout the Democratic line (or the Obama line in the primaries.) And the Beltway Media decided they wanted on Olbermann, he became the biggest thing in cable. And that spelled the end of Drudge's influence imo.

Of course now we have created a bunch of liberal Drudges which are just as bad in terms of journalism, but certainly that is much better for Democrats. From the political point of view, I say thanks to Olbermann. From a journalistic point of view, I still give him raspberries.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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  • Display: Sort:
    The danger (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 12:11:57 PM EST
    is the high probability that he becomes a propaganda organ for the Obama administration, no mater what they do.

    yes. that was the downfal of the (none / 0) (#3)
    by coigue on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 12:38:10 PM EST
    Republican party.

    Mixed feelings (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Mike H on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 12:13:47 PM EST
    After so many years of being in the media wilderness, at the beginning I often enjoyed Olbermann's lambasting of the Faux Noise machine and his speaking truth to power when so few others would.  I had been so shocked and saddened by how lame the media became in the face of Bush/Cheney that I'd despaired of anyone in the media "getting it".

    So Olbermann was a breath of fresh air and a rallying cry for the disaffected.

    But... he did go too far, and what I saw him do to the Clinton campaign during the primaries was a shocking wake-up call to me.  It no longer matters that he's doing it "for the good guys"... he's just helping to sink us to their level.

    You're not alone (none / 0) (#4)
    by Pieter B on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 11:04:05 PM EST
    At first I ignored little warning signs, like KO's repeating (several times) the JFK/Berliner/jelly donut urban legend/slam, and the occasional historical clanger in a Special Comment. However, after his completely over-the-top reaction to Hillary's RFK reference, his portrayal of righteous indignation during his Special Comments seems contrived and reminiscent of Comedian Rush Limbaugh.