MSNBC Dumps Olbermann and Matthews as Anchors for Debates, Election Night

As Big Tent Democrat noted in his update below, MSNBC has relieved Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews of anchoring duties for the remaining debates and election night coverage. David Gregory will anchor with Matthews and Olbermann appearing as analysts.

The key, I think, is this:

Executives at the channel’s parent company, NBC Universal, had high hopes for MSNBC’s coverage of the political conventions. Instead, the coverage frequently descended into on-air squabbles between the anchors, embarrassing some workers at NBC’s news division, and quite possibly alienating viewers. Although MSNBC nearly doubled its total audience compared with the 2004 conventions, its competitive position did not improve, as it remained in last place among the broadcast and cable news networks.


Keith Olbermann is no different than Bill O'Reilly, they are just on opposite sides. Fox never had (nor would have) Bill O'Reilly anchor a debate or election night coverage. Even the idea of it is laughable. It's no different with Olbermann.

While some critics argued that the assignment was akin to having the Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly anchor on election night — something that has never happened — MSNBC insisted that Mr. Olbermann knew the difference between news and commentary.

I rarely watched Countdown before the primaries. It was all about Olbermann's take on the news rather than the news. It's made worse by his format of interviewing one "expert" guest at a time, also giving an opinionated take. (The roundtable of pundits was better, particularly when they were Rachel Maddow and Pat Buchanan.)

Olbermann and Matthews are talk show hosts and MSNBC should market them as such and give up the pretension they can deliver hard news.

Sure, it was his and Matthews' abysmal coverage of the primaries that ensured millions of viewers wouldn't be back. But it's more than that. Who wants to watch an hour of Keith Olbermann's opinions, backed up by reporters and pundits selected only because they share his view? It's no different than watching Laura Ingraham or Lou Dobbs.

Good for MSNBC for recognizing, however belatedly, that news coverage of live events like debates and election night, should be anchored by journalists with an assist from pundits on both sides. They shouldn't be the main event.

David Gregory will be excellent in this role. He's always been a journalist first and a talk show host second.

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    Hear! Hear! (5.00 / 7) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:31:39 PM EST
    Great post J.

    Well done.

    All of that makes sense. (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by hitchhiker on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:35:31 PM EST
    But I have an imprint on my eyelids of David Gregory doing that idiotic rap thing with Karl Rove at the last correspondents' dinner. Is there no one in the country who has a clear mind and the best interest of the citizens at heart?

    Can't we have a debates moderated by some genuinely neutral & fair person?

    Like the league of women voters? (5.00 / 5) (#65)
    by hairspray on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:42:10 AM EST
    Too bad the parties corrupted the process (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by shoephone on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:41:36 AM EST
    That's why the League pulled out in '88, and haven't been back since.

    I used to be a member (5.00 / 3) (#93)
    by BernieO on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:51:13 AM EST
    The League of Women Voters won't do national debates because the last time they did both parties kept trying to manipulate the process.



    This is about anchoring COVERAGE of the debates (none / 0) (#98)
    by DFLer on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:11:42 AM EST
    not about moderating the debates. (as in asking the questions, yes?)

    you are correct (none / 0) (#100)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:29:36 AM EST
    And, Olberman and Matthews will still appear during the MSNBC coverage of the debates and the election spouting the same kind of nonsense they always do, they will just be there in the roles of analysts, and not be doing the job of anchor.

    Best news I have heard in a while (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by bjorn on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:36:36 PM EST
    although I don't know why Andrea Mitchell is still seen as objective.  I do respect David Gregory.

    I thought Brian Williams was his usual very funny brilliant self when John Stewart asked him about the problems on his show this week.

    I'm still not going back (5.00 / 6) (#10)
    by kenosharick on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:40:15 PM EST
    too late. WAAAAY TOO LATE!!!

    MSNBC (5.00 / 6) (#13)
    by WS on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:48:36 PM EST
    was out of control during the primaries.  

    They've been out of control since about 2001 (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by andgarden on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:49:52 PM EST
    Their format is in constant flux.

    MSNBC looked like Jerry Springer (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by myiq2xu on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:50:18 PM EST
    with a political spin.

    Keith Olbermann: The Opera. (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by oculus on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:58:09 PM EST
    the final acts (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by AlSmith on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:20:04 PM EST

    He will probably eventually have a decent similar to Morton Downeys.

    Madness leading to obscurity which will fuel more madness.

    I think Mathews recovers and is rehabilitated and is no longer a danger to society.


    Isn't Matthews going to run in PA? (none / 0) (#45)
    by nycstray on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:53:16 PM EST
    Howard Wolfson promised, on-air... (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Southsider on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:57:34 PM EST
    ...to devote himself to whomever Chris Matthews' primary opponent was.  It was definitely one of my favorite Youtube-laugh moments of the DNC.

    Heh, props to HW! (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by nycstray on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:09:36 AM EST
    Thankfully, CM is running in PA and I don't think we get crossover advertising here. But I'm mostly hoping I'm on the other coast when he does.

    I will watch for who he's running against though and hopefully be able to support HW in his mission  ;)


    I'll contribute to any PAC against (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by nulee on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:28:17 AM EST

    That is what he (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by BernieO on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:01:22 AM EST
    as much as told Steven Colbert. Unless he has been told he has no chance, I would expect him to do this. On second thought, he would probably run anyway.
    His contract was up for renewal in June or July and there were reports that NBC wanted him to take a lot less money so he was seriously thinking of quitting. I keep hoping that will happen after November. I have not heard if he has gotten a new contract. Does anyone know?

    NBC is really losing it. When Pat Buchanan and Joe Scarborough are making more sense than their prime time guys, you know we are down the rabbit hole.

    NBC freaked out after they got all those complaints about sexism earlier in the year. That was why Tucker was disappeared and Tweety was reined in, but I think they feel like this is over. We should all keep the pressure on by emailing Phil Griffin and Steve Capus, who run NBC News and complaining en masse about these guys. David Gregory may have danced with Karl Rove, but he is a much more balanced journalist than either Tweety or Keith. As a citizen, I do not want propaganda, I want solid information. We should not lose sight of the fact that a strong democracy must have an informed citizenry. Nowadays I often feel like I am living in the old Soviet Union.


    His brother, not Chris, I think... (none / 0) (#115)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:44:32 AM EST
    on the republican ticket.

    Pretty much agree (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by flyerhawk on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:51:54 PM EST
    I don't think there is anything wrong with MSNBC trying to be FoxLeft.  FTR, I have no problem with Fox being a Conservative outlet.  

    Chris Matthews I don't have much use for in general.

    While Olbermann can be occasionally amusing and even less occasionally insightful, he's mostly just another loudmouth.  Again, as with O'Reilly, I think there is nothing wrong with having these sorts of people on the air.

    But they aren't very good moderators.  They pick sides and don't know how to control the situation.

    David Gregory is a good choice, although I would prefer to see him doing interviews.  I still hope he winds up getting Meet the Press.  

    I would love to see Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw doing the debate.  

    Good move by NBC and hopefully it will help the station grow up a little.

    I vehemently disagree with (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by BernieO on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:11:14 AM EST
    you on this. While I think it is good to have shows that present a more conservative case balanced some that are liberal, these shows should be open about having a point of view and not billing themselves as balanced (which Tweety insists he is). And the people who host these shows should only be available for commentary when covering things like the election (which is clearly NBC's goal here)and there should be people from both sides. (Fox cheats by putting a weak spokesperson like Alan Colmes on to represent the other side, although they seem to be moving away from this by hiring people like Wolfson.)

    Journalism has a code of ethics which is all about objectivity. The reason the constitution gives the "press" explicit protection is that citizens have to have solid information in order to make informed choices. If you allow your network to be a deliberately biased propaganda outlet you are hurting democracy. Remember the polls showing that people who got their news from Fox were the most likely to believe the adminstrations proganda that lead us to war like the lie that Saddam was behind 9-11?

    Propaganda destroys democracy.


    Well you should realize (none / 0) (#114)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:23:44 AM EST
    that through most of our history the press was virulently partisan.  

    IMO, the notion of an objective media is a chimera.  


    Whatever you think of KO or Matthews, (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by byteb on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:55:00 PM EST
    I find it distressing the MSNBC bowed to the pressure of the McCain campaign. McCain and company have been working the refs big time since Palin was announced as VP and the networks appear to be getting in line to be good girls and boys.

    David Gregory has a great voice and bearing but he is obtuse to the extreme and gives the impression of trying to act knowledge but falling short of the goal. I still see him dancing like a fool with Rove at the WH Correspondents Dinner a few years back. I don't think he's stopped dancing yet.

    If you think this was just the McCain campaign... (5.00 / 5) (#25)
    by Southsider on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:14:11 PM EST
    ...you're missing a lot.  The REAL pressure came from within - from Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams, who have both been put on the spot in recent weeks for MSNBC's ridiculously partisan coverage (let's be honest: far more than Fox did towards the right) and have resented it.  Brokaw flat-out refused to defend it after a certain point.  Tim Russert may be dead, but Brokaw and Williams still wield big sticks at NBC and I guarantee you their discontent played a major role.

    On the public side, I suspect it WASN'T GOP pressure that really affected MSNBC - in my experience, my GOP friends are intensely amused by MSNBC and tune in to it for laughs the same way we all sometimes flip over to Fox to laugh at their kool-aid - but rather the substantial segment of independents and Democrats who favored Hillary.  Let's not forget our history here: the first real schism was when MSNBC began violating Hillary on-air on a day-to-day basis during the primaries.  

    But ultimately, it's the bottom line: MSNBC's ratings, even with their new-style "FoxLeft" approach, are still in the tank relative to Fox and CNN.  Not only was the Olbermann/Matthews experiment not gaining them any ground relative to the other two networks, it was causing (has caused?) long-term damage to the brand that will be tough to recover in any event.  


    Long term damage? I certainly hope so. (5.00 / 5) (#40)
    by mogal on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:41:27 PM EST
    I agree that there was pressure from (none / 0) (#30)
    by byteb on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:22:48 PM EST
    NBC to put an end to this 'experiment' but the McCain camp did write a letter of complaint to NBC concerning their problems with the coverage. And McCain has been exerting pressure of both print and cable/news coverage using Palin as their 'concern'. I guess the double whammy did the Dynamic Duo in..I still think Gregory offers little as an anchor or in his show.

    Don't forget the apologies etc (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by nycstray on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:30:46 PM EST
    they had to issue to Clinton. It was looking like round 2 featuring Palin was going over the top even harder/faster. Pressure from McCain, perhaps. But you also had the in-fighting hitting other media (not good!), and a couple of anchors that were outta control. I'm guessing breaking point was hit before total implosion :P

    * knowledgeable (none / 0) (#20)
    by byteb on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:58:46 PM EST
    Ratings were good. (none / 0) (#31)
    by byteb on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:23:31 PM EST
    At least, according to the NYT story online now.

    Higher viewership than previous years, but (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by JavaCityPal on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:56:00 PM EST
    at the bottom of the list against all their competition. That justified a need to look for the reasons they were below all the other cable networks.

    The enormous letter writing campaigns going to MSNBC, both directly, and via Media Matters pointed directly at the people who were bringing the network down.

    This has been going on for longer than just the primaries. I remember an article about a year ago that said internal strife was growing at MSNBC as the various anchors were jealous and angry that it looked like David Gregory was being groomed for greatness that would catapult him over the heads of KO and CM. That same article was not complimentary about the way DG treated the people in jobs beneath his, as well.


    Good job Jeralyn (5.00 / 4) (#18)
    by ap in avl on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:55:54 PM EST
    I am a bleeding heart liberal and have been embarrassed by KO's coverage of political news this cycle.

    I used to berate my right-wing parents for watching Bill O'Reilly over the years but found that I was just as embarassed when they would visit me and hear KO go on his rants on my TV.

    It was a humbling experience.  

    I visited them during the Republican convention coverage and we compromised by watching CNN.

    Unfortunately, given the sorry state of television journalism, even that disappointed.  Even more telling......we all knew that we would be unable to find objective journalism on any channel.

    So sad......

    If you get C-SPAN, give that a shot. (5.00 / 4) (#21)
    by skuld1 on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:03:59 PM EST
    You're right (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by ap in avl on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:20:38 PM EST
    and that's my fault.  I have to admit that I listen to what the talking heads on the different networks have to say.  I guess I have a morbid fascination with their take on things....

    It WOULD be better to just listen to what's said (via CSPAN) and form my own opinion.  That's what I end up doing anyway.....except I then allow myself to end up getting aggravated by the talking heads on the "news" shows.

    Part of me wants to know what the rest of the public hears from the news analysis.  

    Maybe there is some benefit to that.  Maybe not.....

    Maybe we would all be better off if we just heard the words of the politicians and formed our own opinions.....

    I'm still not sure.  
    Maybe I'm just hopelessly wishing for some wise old journalist to come along and tell it like it really is.....whatever that means.



    C-span is so relaxing! (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by nycstray on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:42:33 PM EST
    I was trying to do the same thing as far as getting different viewpoints,seeing what other people were seeing, but I couldn't handle it. I watched the Dem convention on CSpan mostly and the Repub one I flipped around. But anytime CSpan is an option and there's a viewing investment, CSpan is it. Primary coverage would be Fox or CSpan. I think I gave up MSNBC around Feb/March and Cnn shortly after. I check in on occasion, but make sure it's when 3 or 4 of the players aren't on air.

    Knowing that the two won't be doing debate or election coverage rocks, imo. Hopefully it will encourage better behavior from the rest of their staff and they'll start acting like adults. I like getting TB's POV, but not if it means I have to deal with CM or KO and friends.


    How about if Carville starts his own (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by oculus on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:52:10 PM EST
    channel?  I watched most of both conventions on C-Span but was quite curious to know what Carville might be saying.

    I was following Carville remarks here (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by nycstray on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:59:46 PM EST
    if there were enough good ones, I'd try and catch a replay or a video online.

    That was one of the things that really bothered me about some of the talking heads. They prevented folks from watching the 'good stuff', lol!~ Couldn't watch hoping for some Carville, TB etc. A Carville channel would be great. I would have had it on through the primaries and conventions.


    Fox News (none / 0) (#72)
    by hbl on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:51:52 AM EST
    I'm always surprised when OReilly is presented as the evil posterboy for FoxNews.

    I watch FoxNews about 75% of the time and do not find Brit Hume, OReilly, or Greta's shows objectionable.  But even as a Conservative, I find Hannity's show offensive -- since I find him to be as predictable a mouthpiece as anyone on MSNBC.

    I also find it surprising that you find CNN as something different from MSNBC, CBS, etc.  If I want neutrality, I go to CSPAN.


    Ummm (5.00 / 6) (#22)
    by Faust on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:08:30 PM EST
    Couldn't disagree more about Gregory but otherwise well said.

    Seriously though...have you listened to Race for the White House? His name should be David "I pump the current dominant narrative regardless of its relationship to reality" Gregory.

    I suppose given the low bar for journalists these days then yeah, he's more of a journalist than Olberamn and Tweety.

    same question here (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:43:19 AM EST
    I don't see how Gregory can continue to be called a "journalist" instead of a pundit like the rest of them since he now hosts a "talk" show just like the other MSNBCers do.

    When Brokaw attempted to defend MSNBC against the attacks they have been getting he made a statement along the lines of saying that Olberman and Matthews were over the top but that they were not the only faces of MSNBC (note he didn't say NBC) and that they are commentators, not straight news persons.

    Did Brokaw ever actually state who the straight news people are on MSNBC?  Are there any?  Does a news show actually exist on MSNBC that isn't a talk/opinion show?  Maybe a talk/opinion show wouldn't even be that bad if the anchor of that show didn't express a personal opinion and just moderated the discussion by different talking heads or experts from ALL sides.  But, I don't think that MSNBC even has that, do they?


    Bravo! (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Radiowalla on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:08:56 PM EST
    Bravo to the head honchos who made this decision.  Olbermann and Matthews are consummate unprofessionals and have no business anchoring a serious newscast.  They are polemicists and provocateurs and should not be in charge of presenting the news.
    Let them offer commentary, of course, but don't let them be the face of a "news" channel.

    Chickens coming home to roost (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by nsw43 on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:28:13 PM EST
    MSNBC has been out of control this whole election cycle, no more so than during the period (most of the primary!) when they tried to drum Hillary out of the race.

    Olbermann was/is the worst, but Matthews comes a close second.

    Gregory is a bore but he's a lot better than those two.

    Nostalgic for Huntley/Brinkley. (5.00 / 4) (#36)
    by oculus on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:33:40 PM EST

    What about Walter?! (5.00 / 4) (#42)
    by nycstray on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:46:09 PM EST
    Here! Here! (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by hbl on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:55:56 AM EST
    "quite possibly alienating viewers" (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by BlueMerlin on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:37:12 PM EST
    ya think?

    Yes and they alienate viewers against.... (none / 0) (#101)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:37:18 AM EST
    ...Democrats when they shill for them with their bullying and arrogance. I think this will not only be good for MSNBC, but it will also be good for Obama and the other Dems running for office.

    I'm not happy w/ Gwen Ifill as moderator (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by shoephone on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:57:05 PM EST
    Unfortunately, the choice of debate moderators this year just shows the depths to which the profession of journalism has sunk.

    trust? (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by S on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:10:15 AM EST
    I do not trust Gwen Ifill to be fair...I listen to her all the time on 'This Week in Washington' and when she is on MTP...and she always goes along with the 'group think' and slants very much towards one candidate...guess who?

    Eh, she's okay. (none / 0) (#54)
    by Southsider on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:00:48 AM EST
    IIRC, she handled the Cheney/Edwards VP debate too.  Did a pretty good job, I think.

    Man, was that one ever painful.  I don't think I've ever been more of a foamy-mouthed partisan than I was back in '04, and even I had to admit that Cheney was like a snake dislodging its jaw and swallowing Edwards whole like a

    Dang, I'm flashing back on bad memories like PTSD victim here.


    *like a hamster (none / 0) (#55)
    by Southsider on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:01:35 AM EST
    Bring back Phil Donahue! (5.00 / 5) (#58)
    by ctrenta on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:08:33 AM EST

    That was probably the biggest mistake MSNBC made. Besides, he was their number one rated program on all the cable news networks.

    Bring Donahue back. NOT David Gregory.

    the objective is (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:45:18 AM EST
    to use a journalist as anchor, rather than a talk show host, during live news events.

    Nah (none / 0) (#62)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:19:23 AM EST
    I wouldn't tune in for Donahue.

    What I would like to see is a well-executed version of Hardball. It would look much more like McLaughlin Group.


    What's wrong with Donahue? (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by ctrenta on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 08:11:51 AM EST
    He's an award winning journalist, had a successful talk show since the late 60s, and was the number one rated show on MSNBC until the jingoists got control over MSNBC executives.

    Donahue covers the issues in depth and let's viewers have their say. Pundits just try to one up each other with mostly inaccurate information and no participation from the people they supposedly inform. Donahue democratized the discourse as much as he could. Pundit shows IMO is noise, ego, and gamesmanship. Not necessarily helpful for those trying to make sense of the issues.    

    Personally, I don't like pundit shows because they lack diversity of views. Go ask FAIR founder Jeff Cohen and he'll tell you all about it, objectively and accurately too.



    I don't find Donahue interesting (none / 0) (#113)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:43:16 AM EST
    McLaughlin Group (none / 0) (#74)
    by hbl on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:11:50 AM EST
    I find McLaughlin Group to be awfully strident, although for 20 years I never missed it when it was nearly the only game in town for a Conservative to hear Conservative thought defended.  Thank God times have changed.

    I almost forgot about Firing Line, but I mostly watched that for the Sport of watching WFB wield his verbal sword.  Favorite victim? Phil Donahue.


    Gwen Ifill (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by S on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:32:48 AM EST
    Moga, I think you are on to something...we need to get the contact info for Ifill and the network contact PBS? and start putting them all on notice that we expect FAIR QUESTIONS...NOT A PILE ON OR A BUNCH OF 'GOTCHA' NONSENSE...

    WE WANT FAIR DEBATES FOR ALL OF THE DEBATES...not the MSNBC BS we got when Russert, Williams and Matthews all tag teamed Hillary...and let Obama just coast on the 'hard' info Hillary supplied beforehand

    MSNBC tag-teaming (1.00 / 1) (#77)
    by hbl on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:52:46 AM EST
    I wonder if Hillary voters who found their candidate "tag-teamed"  have gained any appreciation why Conservatives have been offended for many years and by many news networks?  (Actually, I find MSNBC less objectionable than most because their cards are plainly on the table.)

    The only reason Fox's rating are so high versus the other cable networks is that it is one of the few places for a Conservative to go and not be offended.  

    Regarding the Left's typical blanket demonization of FoxNews (and disregarding the pathetic Hannity show), do you begrudge Conservatives a network that does not offend us?  Contrary to popular opinion, some of us are not Neanderthals.  We actually do seek different opinions and think for ourselves as you do.  We just sometimes reach different conclusions.  


    "Offended"? (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 04:06:48 AM EST
    The problem with news coverage these days isn't any ideological "offense" it's having my intelligence insulted repeatedly.

    Often the narrative is "Let's take a highly complex situation and turn it into a few simple sound bites!".  That's advertising, not informing the public.


    Offended? Yes (none / 0) (#112)
    by hbl on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:23:30 AM EST
    Exactly my point.  I am not ideologically offended.  I appreciate opinions span the political landscape.

    I am intellectually offended at the blatant manipulation and the mindless mouthing of party talking points.


    Terri Gross (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by TomStewart on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:54:47 AM EST
    she's smarter than just about anyone she interviews, and O'Reilly hates her.

    Bonus points (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 04:18:39 AM EST
    for O'Reilly walking out on her!

    And it's not like she went all Jerry Springer on him or anything.

    TG is fair, but she doesn't let anything slide unless she lapses into a fan girl moment.  I listened to TG for years.  Then I started to catch some late night shows, watching the actors/writers/musicians making the talk show circuit stumping for their latest effort.  Boy, was that a shock!  Come out, gossip with the host, roll clip, say goodbye.  I forget which GOP politician went on TG (Dole?) and seemed very uncomfortable that Terry wasn't sticking to the usual "So, let's talk about your book..." script and was asking relevant questions about their life.

    (AFAIK - Guests are always asked ahead of time which topics that are off limits.)


    Poor business strategy (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:55:14 AM EST
    The difference in Fox and MSNBC is that Fox has stays on message. They're a conservative outlet and make no apologies about it. MSNBC could have made inroads as a progressive outlet if they had stayed with progressive principles rather than personalities. By blatantly endorsing Obama during the a very competative primary they alienated half their audience.

    All We Ever Wanted Was Fairness (4.91 / 12) (#26)
    by S on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:15:27 PM EST
    If you were/are a Hillary Clinton supporter you imagined this would happen...MSNBC set out to distort and destroy Hillary Clinton's primary chances from the beginning of the Iowa's caucuses...I was dumbfounded when I actually heard them calling for her to leave the race before she even got to New Hampshire...

    ...they continually manufactured issues - made up and pushed lies and distortions about Hillary and Bill and coordinated the whole thing with Newsweek every day from morning to night nonstop...

    ...all we ever wanted was fairness...and some balance

    ...is that too much to expect from a cable network that supposedly tilts left?

    ...the left has lost its moral compass...

    The final straw for me .... (5.00 / 6) (#48)
    by NYShooter on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:54:34 PM EST
    ----was when Mathews went totally apoplectic watching Hillary coming onto a stage and responding to the clapping by smiling and joining with the clapping as well. If you watch Obama, he also gets into the mood and claps along with the audience. Its just a natural thing to do. But mathews, nose to the ground like an ant eater, would have none of it. "What is she doing? Do you see that? She's clapping herself. Isn't it the audience that's supposed to clap? I've never seen that before. Where does she think she is, China?"

    In case there was any doubt as to bi-partisanship....


    yes, her clapping and cackle (5.00 / 8) (#61)
    by S on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:14:21 AM EST
    Yes, NYShooter, you are so right...remember how Matthews spent three whole segments on Hillary's clapping and then started in with her cackle and 'shrill' voice...(I was in disbelief)

    ...and that was followed by the 'Bradley effect' and the racism meme that got pushed hard...

    ...and then of course, it was Chris, first, and then Keith, that were convinced that Hillary was calling Obama a muslim on '60 Minutes'...it did not matter that she said No, over and over again...

    ...and then of course the segments on the 'Vanity Fair' anonyumous hit piece of Bill Clinton during the heat of the final primaries...where they all chimed in for a few segments of 'analysis'

    ...it was sickening...and Newsweek was right there reinforcing all the BS...they are all culpable...Andrea Mitchell, Eugene Robinson, Maddow, Bob Herbert, Barnacle, Schuster, Tucker Carlson, Fineman, Johnathan Alter, on and on...

    the only voices of reason and any sense of fairness were Craig Crawford and Pat Buchanan and occasionally Joe S.

    deceitful, sexist and UnAmerican...

    MSNBC drove many of us to FOX, and as bad as FOX is, it allowed someone to defend Hillary for balance...instead of the gang-up at MSNBC


    My friends and colleagues..... (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by NYShooter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:55:09 AM EST
    .....have been encouraging me to take steps regarding an idea I've had for a long time regarding the issue we're discussing here....in somewhat broader terms. Aren't most of us bored to tears watching the same two dozen pundits rotating from program to program, giving their "expert analysis" regarding whatever the subject du jour is? I mean, everybody knows each of their views, opinions, and prejudices. What possible value is added to the discussion by any of them?
    Now, in a country of 300 million people there many, many bright, articulate, informed citizens, but have lives outside of the media. If a network could interview and compile a list of several hundred of these ordinary folks, audition them for "camera compatibility," and draw upon them for input on a rotating basis, I think that would create a new, refreshing, and for me anyway, appealing format to replace the current one. I can imagine professionals: doctors, lawyers, bankers, etc. bright, opinionated blue collar workers, and involved and informed homemakers would be great too.
    I'll bet some would become instant "stars," and the Feinmans, Robinsons, and Mitchells of the world wouldn't have to hold their hands to their ears to hear the fat lady singing.
    Just saying........  

    I have had a similar thought (none / 0) (#105)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:52:36 AM EST
    over this election cycle.  Why do we always have to listen to "expert" analysis from a journalist.  Why not a subject matter expert who isn;t a journalist?  When discussing healthcare, why not get some experts in healthcare and insurance to discuss it?

    When you keep using journalists as your experts, the discussion always ends up being about the "political" pros and cons of the issue instead of the actual issue.


    It seems I'm in the minority again. (1.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Don in Seattle on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:26:40 AM EST
    I like and respect KO quite a lot. (Matthews I could live without.)

    For me, KO is one of MSNBC's two major assets, the other one of course being his protege and regular substitute, Maddow, whom everyone does seem to like.

    KO is funny, and smart, and hard-working, and independent, and not at all objective, and sometimes borders on crankish. But his values are basically my values. He is not suited for hosting a presidential debate, but then so is Jon Stewart.

    This site, TalkLeft, is also not at all objective, sometimes borders on crankish, and is even occasionally humorless. But I love you folks, too.

    Olberman = MCP (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by themomcat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:57:42 AM EST
    I will reserve judgment on whether Olbermann is a male chauvinist pig. I have noted elsewhere in this thread what seems like a clear double standard regarding name-calling; this is one more example.

    It would seem pretty ironic, to say the least, that Rachel Maddow would be the protege of a male chauvinist pig. He clearly likes and respects her, and I think it's mutual.


    Maybe you need to review (5.00 / 4) (#81)
    by themomcat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 03:27:12 AM EST
    his comments on HRC? Some of them, including his "left hand" apology of Shuster's comment about Chelsea, were sexist and misogynist. I am not going to provide links. Everyone knows where to find them. As to Maddow, she is just the female version of the same, attacking her own sex in her own way. Maddow is right up there with Randi Rhodes in a more subtle way.

    I recall the flap about Shuster's use of the word (1.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Don in Seattle on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:11:37 AM EST
    'pimping'. As for Olbermann's allegedly "left hand" apology for that incident, I honestly don't  think Olbermann's apology was half-hearted at all.

    Is that really is your best evidence of Olbermann's misogyny? I could come up with more persuasive evidence than that myself, but I won't, as I think the charge is false, very unfair, and lobbed around here altogether too casually for my taste.


    How bout (4.40 / 5) (#88)
    by miguelito on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:32:21 AM EST
    when he said that a superdelegate should take Hillary (remember now a DEMOCRAT running for the nomination) into a room and only one of them should come out?  He's a scumbag. And it's sad to see you defending his misogyny, hackery, and propagandist views.

    Very good. That's the evidence I'd have chosen, (2.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Don in Seattle on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:28:07 AM EST
    if, of course, I wanted to make that particular case, which of course I don't.

    Of course Olbermann's words were poorly chosen. Of course he didn't mean them as a suggestion that anyone should literally beat up Senator Clinton.

    Any more than Senator Clinton meant to suggest that June was the traditional month for front-runner assassinations. I happen to think Olbermann over-reacted to those unfortunately chosen words, just as so many Clinton supporters take perverse enjoyment out of Olbermann's misstatement.

    Of course, Olbermann apologized for his poor phrasing, and so did Senator Clinton. I am satisfied with that. And of course, you are not.

    Do you think by casually slinging around epithets like "scumbag" (and remember now, he's a DEMOCRAT too, if that matters), you can claim some moral high ground here?

    I don't defend misogyny. I do sometimes defend people who are accused of misogyny. There is a big difference between the two -- a difference you really should take the trouble to learn.


    Exactly. She didn't mean to (5.00 / 3) (#103)
    by rooge04 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:46:08 AM EST
    suggest Obama would be assassinated. Thanks for making the case against Olbermann. Since in that instance he ALSO suggested that it's exactly what she meant.  Disgraceful.  Sad that you defend such a worthless hack when there are a few good anchors out there actually worthy of our respect and defense.

    If he's a Democrat (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by rooge04 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:47:14 AM EST
    I want to run away from that party. He's the worst kind of "democrat." One that would trash a highly-respected one with sexism, misogyny, and character assassination.    

    Hmmm... (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by dws3665 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:06:19 AM EST
    You say he has been accused of misogyny. I think portraying using some kind of trial metaphor, as if there is some deliberative process that will make a determination about this, is bogus.

    Olbermann's contempt for HRC during the primary season was clear to anyone paying even a little attention, viz his "Special Comment" about the RFK comment.

    You may choose to still admire him, and that's cool, but many here have already made up their minds about him and his hackish behavior.


    Thanks, dws, for the reasoned reply. (none / 0) (#118)
    by Don in Seattle on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:29:36 PM EST
    You say he has been accused of misogyny.

    Yes, he has; in so many words, by thmomcat (comment #81) and miguelito (#88).

    I think portraying using some kind of trial metaphor, as if there is some deliberative process that will make a determination about this, is bogus.

    Granted, there is no "jury" here that is empowered to formally decide Olbermann's Guilt or Innocence. Still, people on a message board are going to disagree sometimes. When that happens, it seems to me there are two possible sets of rules we could follow.

    One is that everybody makes the best case they can to one another, in a respectful manner. Maybe no one who has already decided changes their mind, but maybe even they can understand that other people can have a different point of view, without it necessarily making them bad people. And people who hadn't considered the issue previously -- and maybe some who had -- may find one set of arguments or the other more persuasive.

    Or, we could agree that there are certain trump words, and the side that calls "Mysogyny" on the other (or "Racism", etc.) wins automatically.

    Olbermann's contempt for HRC during the primary season was clear to anyone paying even a little attention, viz his "Special Comment" about the RFK comment.

    Now we're getting somewhere. That is a specific charge, unlike the unanswerable, generalized charges (e.g. misogyny, scumbag-ism) we have seen before. What's worse, for me as defense counsel, is you're right, there's no question, he did it. What can I say on my client's behalf?

    Righteous Anger (the "Special Comment") has been part of Olbermann's schtick for several years now. Watching him unleash his strongest invective against people who imo truly deserve contempt -- Bush, Cheney, Gonzales -- is something I find I enjoy, a little letting-off-steam holiday from the day-to-day conventions of respectful disagreement.

    But there is a problem inherent in the "Special Comment" form: What if you are angry at your own side? Suppose Obama is elected, and then goes on to do something Keith really disagrees with? Do you turn the "Special Comment" on your own?

    Keith says yes. He did a more-in-sorrow "Special Comment" when Obama voted with the majority on FISA. He did it when HRC made her RFK remark, which was a truly stunning, horrible gaffe, but not quite worthy of "Special Comment" contempt, imo.

    Did he do it when HRC argued that McCain was fitter than Obama to be C-in-C, or when she spoke out of both sides of her mouth about the Michigan primary? I suspect he did, and I'd have no problems if he did in those cases. Imo her behavior there was both deliberate and highly destructive of party unity, and thus truly contemptible.

    Your mileage may vary. You may admire every single action taken by Hillary Clinton during the long primary campaign. You may be outraged at Obama's "likeable enough" remark, which I saw and still see as harmless, even friendly badinage, but genuinely infuriated many women, including the one I love. Was it "Special Comment"-worthy? A clear no in my book, but she'd say yes.

    My career advice to Keith would be to make damn sure of your target, before you decide to unleash another friendly-fire "Special Comment". And then, if you're sure in your own mind, have at it. It's words, not nuclear weapons. What's the point of having the "Special Comment" in your arsenal, if you're never going to use it?


    Stewart vs KO (5.00 / 3) (#79)
    by themomcat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 03:11:39 AM EST
    Stewart is not labeling himself as a "journalist". By using Edward R. Murrow's quote, "Good night and good luck", KO has put himself in that category. He doe not even come close to the objectivity of Murrow.

    I agree that Olbermann is not objective. (none / 0) (#84)
    by Don in Seattle on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 04:34:44 AM EST
    I think Olbermann venerates the memory of Murrow. Although Olbermann has an ego, I don't think he would rate himself as being in the same league with Murrow.

    Murrow was widely admired for his honesty and integrity, but he is not particularly famous for his objectivity. When he took on Senator Joe McCarthy, and later when he pressed in his Harvest of Shame documentary on the invisibility if American poverty, Murrow displayed much more in the way of quiet outrage, and courage, than objectivity per se.


    Are you really going there? (5.00 / 3) (#87)
    by miguelito on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:30:43 AM EST
    please do not denigrate the memory of Murrow by remotely comparing him to that complete and utter hack Olbermann.

    Reread, please. (none / 0) (#90)
    by Don in Seattle on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:52:48 AM EST
    I didn't bring up the subject of Murrow. I believe I said that even Olbermann doesn't think he is in Murrow's league.

    I watch Olbermann regularly; he amyses me, and I like him. He is not objective -- I believe I've granted that once or twice before. If you don't enjoy watching him, fine; come here and say so, and give a reason or two. That's an exchange of ideas, from which a dialog may spring.

    To say, again without citing a scintilla of evidence, that Olbermann is a "complete and utter hack" is name-calling, nothing more. It's a waste of bandwidth.


    So you are an Olbermann fanboy? (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:13:50 AM EST
    That's fine.  

    I'm a Joss Whedon fangirl.  Also Alex Ross and Terry Moore and Glenn Greenwald.  I knew I had at least one media type in there.  (The others are writer/director/producer, artist/writer, writer/artist.)


    Thanks, Fabian. (none / 0) (#119)
    by Don in Seattle on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:46:01 PM EST
    I read Watchmen all the way through, and I'm a fan of Buffy, Angel, and all 14 episodes of Firefly. I will keep my eyes open for Alex Ross and Glenn Greenwald, whose names don't ring a bell.

    I like Jane Austen, the nonfiction of George Orwell, Martin Gardner, Michael Kinsley and David O. Russell.


    I hate when people do this (none / 0) (#96)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:10:04 AM EST
    Don made some good points about Murrow and rather than respond you try to stifle discussion. Murrow was a great journalist but he wasn't exactly a dispassionate observer. Olbermann is in no way Murrow but that wouldn't be a bad person for KO to emulate.

    the last time Rachel Maddow said anything (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:59:01 AM EST
    that I thought was terribly insightful was on the night ofthe NH primary when she reported on-air to everyone that according to what she was seeing on the blogs, Clinton won NH because of the "Tweety Effect".  The voters were in fact pi$$ed off at Matthews treatement of Hillary and came out in droves to support her.  

    She may have said something useful since, but I have to admit, I've stopped watching MSNBC right after Olberman's "Clinton special comment" paired with his kid glove interview of Obama on the Rev Wright issue.


    Maddow's own show debuts today. Awkward. n/t (none / 0) (#76)
    by Don in Seattle on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:43:05 AM EST
    Indeed (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:32:51 PM EST
    One correction:

    (The roundtable of pundits was better, particularly when they were Rachel Maddow and Pat Robertson.)

    I assume you mean Eugene Robinson, right?

    Pat Buchanan I think (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:34:14 PM EST
    whoops, I meant Buchanan (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:41:00 PM EST
    I'll change it now.

    Too funny! (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by robrecht on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:30:11 AM EST
    Pat Buchanen is so far right he's left sometimes, eg, with the war in Iraq.  Even when he's his right wing self, he's sometimes insightful.

    David Gregory isn't all that great, but anybody is better than Keith "Harry Caray" Olbermann.

    MSNBC doesn't have a nightly newscast, like FOX or NBC, so I think they've never really had a sense of the distinction between hard news and commentary.  They have tried to offer some balance with Buchanen and Joe Scarborough, but lately no one has been very professional.  Brian Williams refused to go on MSNBC a week or two ago.  Glad they're at least trying to address their mess.


    Do you think any of the credit for (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:36:46 PM EST
    shake up should go to BTD?  

    Any take on Rachel Maddow? (none / 0) (#9)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:40:06 PM EST
    I am going to give her new show a shot (none / 0) (#12)
    by bjorn on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:41:19 PM EST
    this week and see what she does...

    I might give her a shot (5.00 / 0) (#43)
    by nycstray on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:50:41 PM EST
    I was very disappointed when she joined the boys club. I had liked her and hope she brings some of her independence back. I caught her the other night filling in for KO while flipping the channels. Her delivery even sounded a bit like his. I was wondering if she was doing it because it was his show? Didn't linger long, but I'll give her a check this week.

    ditto. (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by canadian gal on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:32:53 AM EST
    it really is sad about rachel....

    and i think she may have done some additional damage to her reputation since she declared - on camera - that palin would be another an eagleson...


    She sounded pretty much the same (3.00 / 0) (#66)
    by TomStewart on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:51:52 AM EST
    as she does on her radio show. She's smart, insightful, but sarcastic, esp towards stupidity.

    well (none / 0) (#23)
    by connecticut yankee on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:08:38 PM EST
    I only watch panel shows or interviews.  I don't think the top-down information model works for liberals the way it works for conservatives.  There are plenty of lefties in the country to support them but I think we just prefer not to be lectured to or preached at.

    FOX news really isnt even comperable because they don't even pretend.  If embarrassing tickers and partisan commentary from anchors mattered to them they would have already shut themselves down.

    Gregory will need co-pilot (none / 0) (#34)
    by bayville on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:31:25 PM EST
    Maybe Stretch can convince his dance partner, Karl Rove, to come over for a spin or two on the rug prior to the debates.

    I'd rather see (none / 0) (#38)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:38:54 PM EST
    Kelly O'Donnell. She's been a White House correspondent and a Capitol Hill correspondent, is a top notch journalist and would present a good visual with Gregory.

    OMG (5.00 / 4) (#39)
    by andgarden on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:40:52 PM EST
    I dissent 100%.

    Even inside MSNBC, they make fun of her for reading the White House talking points.


    Non sequitur: y'll are slipping. Not (none / 0) (#46)
    by oculus on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:53:29 PM EST
    a word here today about Maureen Dowd and it is almost 10 p.m. on the west coast.  

    *twitch* (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by nycstray on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:03:31 AM EST
    Is that the same as a "twitter"? (none / 0) (#57)
    by oculus on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:04:52 AM EST
    Haven't a clue what that is.

    no. involuntary reaction ;) (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by nycstray on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:14:08 AM EST
    In my perfect world (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Moga on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:00:27 AM EST
    it would be Lise Doucette or Clare Balderson of the BBC.

    Sorry, Moga. (1.00 / 1) (#89)
    by Don in Seattle on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:34:54 AM EST
    You're probably wondering what happened to your main Ifill post. I'm afraid I objected to your calling Olbermann and Matthews by a name based on  the hormone primarily associated with masculinity.

    I wasn't particularly offended -- my point was, that sort of casual name-calling goes on all the time here. I certainly didn't ask for your post to be removed, which also had the effect of removing my own tut-tutting reply.

    I wish the moderators would exercise a little more moderation in this area. There is such a thing as offensive, trolling post, but yours was certainly not one of them, and this thread is poorer for its removal.


    Why can't we give good journalism a chance? (none / 0) (#108)
    by barryluda on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 08:13:37 AM EST
    Where do you go today for unbiased and reliable news?  I find it really troubling.

    I've got to think that someone with unbiased credibility would soar quickly to the top of the ratings.  Or maybe our country has just become so polarized that the only way to get ratings is to put on hacks.

    Good for MSNBC, but IMO a lot more needs to happen for any network to become unbiased.  Am I just remembering the past wrong?  Has it always been this bad?

    BBC (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 08:42:41 AM EST
    or maybe cnn, i have been watching CNN sporadically of late and it seems to be rather balanced again.  

    Thanks for the suggestion (none / 0) (#117)
    by barryluda on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:55:52 AM EST
    I've set my DVR to record BBC.  I watch BBC when I travel internationally, but didn't think about finding it on cable at home.  Good idea.

    I will tune in now (none / 0) (#109)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 08:41:28 AM EST
    Funny, Olberman is firmly on the left and nearly every leftie I know cannot stand him.  The shameful tactics of O'Reilly work to the right base and the shameful tactics of Olberman embarass the left.  

    We are a bunch of elitists that expect more from the talking heads.  I guess the pandering only works on the right.  How are we going to reach the audience that likes that sort of thing, ie Limbaugh, Hannity, O'reilly?  

    Great analysis Jeralyn! (none / 0) (#116)
    by proudliberaldem on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:47:09 AM EST