NBC Kow Tows To Journalistic Standards

Contra to Jeralyn's excellent take, over at Daily Kos, BarbinMD is upset that NBC dumped Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews as news anchors for MSNBC's political coverage (Olbermann of course will continue his opinion show Countdown, going head to head against his right wing counterpart, Fox's Bill O'Reilly, and will be correctly labelled as a pundit in MSNBC's political coverage.)

This goes to an ongoing tension I see in the so-called Media criticism in the Left blogs, or rather lack thereof. We ALL know Keith Olbermann is a partisan hack. No one in their right mind would deny it. Which is fine as far as it goes. But let's not pretend he is a journalist. He NEVER should have been anchoring MSNBC's political coverage. He should have been in the pundits' slots. As should Chris Matthews (and Matthews was terrible LONG BEFORE this election. He was terrible in the 2000 and 2004 elections as well, but against Democrats then.) These two men are not journalists. It is that simple.

More . . .

Fox News is not a journalistic enterprise and we all know this. No one in their right mind would deny it. But NBC News decided that its MSNBC NEWS operation would not become a Left wing Fox News. I applaud them for that. Clearly it will continue to be a Democratic leaning organization in this election - with a nightly lineup of Tweety, Olbermann and, starting tonight, Rachel Maddow.

But it has done the right thing regarding its news coverage. It will not become Fox News Left. This is a good thing. We need journalists, more and better ones, to coin a phrase. Not more hackery masquerading as journalism. Now David Gregory is no one's idea of a great journalist and calling him out for buying right wing nonsense is an important task but he is certainly more of a journalist than Olbermann and Matthews.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

< Ras Post -Convention Poll: McCain By 1 | More On Olbermann And NBC >
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    Is Helen Thomas available? (5.00 / 8) (#1)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:49:47 AM EST
    Can we play Fantasy Journalists?

    If only MSNBC (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by Lena on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:52:27 AM EST
    had figured this out 9 months ago...

    NBC d*mn well knew this from its own past (5.00 / 8) (#9)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:06:33 AM EST
    as any and every history of that network and of tv in general tells them and us.  NBC's "Today" show caused problems for the news side almost half a century ago, with its anchors doing commercials and entertainment and more.  NBC then made distinctions that it chose to ignore again this year -- and I mean choice, as in having informed options and experience in its own past to guide it.  

    That means NBC d*mned well knew what it was doing in going for ratings at all costs.  This is the cost, the price NBC pays for destroying its reputation.  And it takes a lot longer to rebuild.  Tough.


    What? (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by kredwyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:34:50 AM EST
    I sent them like 15 emails letting them know they'd jumped the shark.

    I see the fine hand of Tom Brokaw (none / 0) (#57)
    by hairspray on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:35:58 PM EST
    in all of this.  The young obamabots may not remember when there was integrity in journalism, but Brokaw spans the bridge from more to less in his lifetime.  At least we have a few oldtimers around who can remember the "good old days."

    I agree -- Sylvester and Tweety had to go (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by Exeter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:52:27 AM EST
    They were much, much worse than Fox in their over-the-top partisan coverage.  The entire msnbc networked needs" to be re-worked.  They can't have a "news reporter" like David Schuster reporting the news once second, and then hosting the Ed Schultz show the next.  The entire network has devolved into nothing more than televised Air America.

    MSNBC is kind of stuck (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:21:36 AM EST
    because they don't really have a "journalist" on staff.  All they have is commentators who host talk/opinion shows.  As you state, they even ruin a journalist they do have by making him a part-time pundit.  They have done the same to David Gregory who hosts his own pundit show every day.

    The only actual journalists that appear on MSNBC are Brokaw and Brian Williams when they come over from NBC.  And lately whenever they appear they have had to verbally discipline the MSNBC regulars.


    The demise of David Schuster (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by ruffian on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:55:33 AM EST
    was sad. He had potential as a real reporter.  I hated to see him sucked into the hack vortex with Olbermann and Matthews. Maybe he is a hack at heart and it was only a matter of time.

    I'm not a big fan of Brokaw and Williams, but they have the anchor cred to anchor the debate and election coverage this time around. I hope NBC goes into a serious journaliam rebuilding phase.


    Oh, and if NBC had done this months ago (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:53:10 AM EST
    when they should have, Barb and friends would not have to complain about kowtowing to the GOP.

    The GOP sure runs against the media better than we do--especially in the years when some of our friends have stupidly decided to try and embrace the media.

    Who was pressuring them then? (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:56:43 AM EST
    Just you and me and three cats.

    I remember a few nastygrams from (5.00 / 7) (#7)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:59:04 AM EST
    the Clinton Campaign. Shouted down by the "progressives" who now bemoan this move, of course.

    I sent them e-mails (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:57:16 AM EST
    at the beginning of the year of their lack of journalism skills and meaness. Yeah, they were meanies.  I got no reply and so I just stopped watching them. Thus, I guess a lot of other people did too. I figured they did not care because they got a lot of new DKos people and such as our replacements. BTW, my 3 cats don't watch them either. Not even for the Tweety bird.

    Who was pressuring them? (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by wasabi on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:55:33 AM EST
    Someone put pressure on them to get them to reprimand Schuster and Matthews.  It wasn't the media themselves who forced the issue.  It wasn't the right wing.

    I wrote letters.  I am not a cat.

    I haven't watched Tweety or Olberman since Phil Griffith said I had no where else to go.


    I cannot believe (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by rooge04 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:02:07 AM EST
    how many liberals are upset that NBC has walked back these hacks.  Because the left should have partisan reporting too. I didn't realize that we were so desperate for someone that regurgitates our talking points.

    It's hugely dissappointing. (5.00 / 8) (#10)
    by suki on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:12:01 AM EST
    I won't give the site hits anymore, but I'm sad to hear Barbra wrote this.
    When I first discovered the left blogs I had great hope that their main function would be as media and political watchdogs. I really believed it could make a difference.
    Hard to see all of this now.

    Everywhere I look (5.00 / 6) (#11)
    by rooge04 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:14:28 AM EST
    I'm seeing Democrats saying, "Good! About time we had our partisans!"  Excuse me? I used to think we held the moral high ground. That's why we were not Republicans.  Terrible.

    Democratic partisans are not the problem (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by BrianJ on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:17:43 AM EST
    Unhinged, misogynist, ineffective partisans are.  I honestly crings at the thought of Keith Olbermann on November 5, or on Sunday Night Football on the 9th, having a psychotic episode.

    Also, I really think it's time for Obama to come out directly against media attacking Palin and bloggers like Big Orange, and publicly ask them to stop "helping" him.


    Obama has (none / 0) (#19)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:26:14 AM EST
    asked publicly for Palin's personal life to be left alone.  He just hasn't named names for who he is talking about and it hasn't been effective anyway.  The people who continue to "help" him are the same types that all through the campaign have thought Obama "can't" logically be held accountable for what bloggers, commenters and supporters say.  Since when have the majority of voters been considered "logical"?

    I think naming names is what it will take (none / 0) (#21)
    by BrianJ on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:29:38 AM EST
    And I think it would be effective in separating him from the unhinged, and attracting independents who have a low opinion of MoveOn et al.  Similarly, attacking specific members of the press who have slandered Palin would get him support from some of the majority who distrust the press.

    I think it is time to name names.


    you think it would help (5.00 / 4) (#33)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:44:43 AM EST
    If Obama came out and publicly said

    "I want Markos, Arianna Huffington, John Aravosis and the commenters on their respective sites to stop trying to help me.  Because in reality all they are doing is hurting my campaign and I don't agree with what they are saying."

    I'll give you that the reaction to that would certainly be entertaining.


    I think it would (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by BrianJ on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:47:40 AM EST
    And I'd say it in just that way.

    Maybe it wouldn't help, but it'd make me smile. (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Southsider on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:12:41 AM EST
    Actually, I just fantasize about Obama b*tch-slapping Andrew Sullivan.  Now that makes me GRIN, son.  Positively BEAM, I tell you.

    He does not want to lose a solid (none / 0) (#40)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:01:17 AM EST
    voting bloc. If he were to name names he is figuring he might alieanate them. But they are so entrenched that they would believe they saw a wink when he was making his plea.

    Cheerleading should be reserved (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:15:13 AM EST
    for those who deserve it, not those who prefer pandering to professionalism.

    It's more than that MSNBC moved "left" (5.00 / 11) (#14)
    by sallywally on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:18:06 AM EST
    They were grossly dreadful during the primaries, vicious, sneering, immature toward Clinton. They should have been looking at the policies of the Dem candidates in the primary.

    Their being in the tank for Obama and utterly shameless about Clinton was not a move to the left, since Clinton was further to the left than Obama on nearly everything. If they had bothered with policy, they'd have had to admit that.

    Their entire demeanor was that of a frat party, not even a left-pundit presentation.

    Would that they were to the left, but in a responsible way. They didn't have to act like teenage boyz getting drunk.

    The primaries might have had an entirely different outcome had they been responsible in their presentation of the Dems policies.

    I wonder if this will affect how Maddow presents things. She was as bad as the rest. I hope all are forced to a less childish, more fact-based liberal approach.

    I won't repost what I said in Jeralyn's thread (5.00 / 7) (#15)
    by Southsider on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:19:19 AM EST
    ...but I will summarize:

    While McCain was surely exerting a modicum of pressure, they were not the reason NBC yanked KO and Matthews off the anchorbeat.  That pressure came primarily from within on the NBC (as opposed to MSNBC) side: Brokaw, Williams, probably Gregory as well.  Additionally, I believe that a venerable news organization like NBC really does have a sense of professional pride, and thus embarrassment at the degradation of the "brand" played a role.  External pressure, if it was exerted at all, was coming not from the right but rather from the Clintonite left.  

    To make a further point that hadn't occurred to me before but seems fairly obvious now, the McCain camp and the right probably wouldn't WANT KO and Matthews off the beat.  They're probably disappointed at this development.  Think about it: the ultra-partisanship of MSNBC wasn't costing them any votes (95% of those viewers are lost to them anyway) and in all likelihood was helping to GAIN them votes.  

    BTD said it well in the previous thread: the GOP loves running against the media because, however broad the base for their socially/economically conservative policies may be, there's a VASTLY larger "f*** the MSM" constituency out there that includes 100% of Republicans and a significant chunk of Independents and even Dems.  The anti-media narrative significantly boosted a sagging Bush in 2004 (thanks for nothing, Dan Rather), and seems to have provided an undeniable boost to the GOP as they rallied around a genuinely-wronged Sarah Palin.  The MSNBC Glimmer Twins were a significant part of this backfiring assault...I'll bet Steve Schmidt is quietly upset that they won't be pouring their buckets of bile out on a regular basis anymore.

    I'm sure they are unhappy (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by suki on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:35:33 AM EST
    about it. They'd be nuts not to be - it helped them tremendously.
    That our leadership and lots of fellow dems sat on their hands and allowed Senator Clinton (and then Palin) to be sliced up by these cretins gave the other side the perfect opportunity to scream media bias (as usual) with the benefit of it being true for once.
    How ironic that the Republicans are using charges of sexism sucessfully against us.
    I'm still so pi$$ed about it I could spit nails.

    Not ironic at all. (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:35:01 PM EST
    Indeed, it was perfectly predictable as anyone studying the primary season could see.

    There's nothing ironic about one group being sexist towards Party A and then turning around and being sexist towards Party B.  That's being consistent.

    The only difference is who benefits from the sexism - and even then, maybe not.  It can be argued that the GOP benefited from the sexism against both Clinton and Palin.


    I was refering to (none / 0) (#59)
    by suki on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:40:49 PM EST
    the Dems being the (supposed) champion of womens rights being skewered by the party who's supposedly not.

    "supposed" champions is right. (none / 0) (#60)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 08:06:44 PM EST
    Plenty of opportunities in the primary to champion women's rights and call out sexism.

    Missed opportunities.


    Waiting (none / 0) (#48)
    by MichaelGale on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:29:17 AM EST
    for Brokaw and Williams to leave.  I just can't see Tom Brokaw associated with those two embarrassments, especially with comments reported that Ohbermann believes HE is MSNBC. The acronym has become a joke, just like some of the left wing blogs.

    In reality, a small percentage of voters read the blogs and the majority who do and who post are anonymous. It's laughable when you think about it.

    What's even more ludicrous is that when Keith O posts at DK, he is treated like a knowledgeable, respected leader of Democratic politics.



    Speaking of kowtowing to journalistic standards (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Christy1947 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:23:15 AM EST
    Gibson of ABC just got the first Palin interview, but only after he posted on his blog a list of things he considers off limits, which includes things which have been in the Repub press releases about Palin. And the Repubs insisted that they would not grant interviews unless and until the press gave proper deference, whatever that means. ABC was also the place that did the hatchet job on Obama during the debates, with George and Charlie doing no similar thing to Clinton - a good indication of their institutional take, I think.  If we are wailing away about journalism instead of simply getting out old Clinton primary frustrations, that Gibson choice after ruling things off limits is as important as anything else. The McCain Old Press Boys club is now expanding to include the ethically and factually challenged Ms. Palin. It is one thing to expect the Repubs to hammer their opponent, but another entirely to watch the MSM fall into line to to it for them, free.

    I hope this is not considered off thread, since what I take from the thread is bias in the media, not just another chop job on Obermann and Matthews.

    Gibson is a hack (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:33:03 AM EST
    No question.

    Does not make Olbermann less of a hack.


    Not pundits, either. . . (5.00 / 4) (#18)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:24:01 AM EST
    Pundits are supposed to be knowledgeable analysts who preserve some degree of objectivity.  They don't report the news, they analyze it.  The term has been diminished by the existence of Fox News, but it ought to mean something.

    But Olbermann and Matthews (and Joe Klein and all of Fox) aren't like that.  They actively involve themselves as advocates within the campaign.  They don't actually work for any campaign (although sometimes you'd be hard-pressed to know it) but then can't seriously claim to be providing analysis either.

    I actually think it's good that the left have some of these clowns -- I don't think the position that we ought not to even in the face of Fox News is politically tenable.  Unfortunately, they all lined up on one side in the Democratic primary which sucked, and although the current crop (at least, Olbermann) generally align with Democrats they don't necessarily line up with liberal values -- especially when it comes to women in politics.

    Women in politics is not (5.00 / 10) (#20)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:29:12 AM EST
    a "liberal value."  That is quite evident now.

    Closest Equivalents (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by The Maven on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:41:47 AM EST
    would be the shouting heads all over right-wing talk radio (still amazingly popular, despite what we might have hoped by now) or the bloviators who made the McLaughlin Group into a self-parody.  Either way, not exactly the kind of company I'd wish to be associated with if I was supposedly running a news organization.

    I don't think an attempt at pure objectivity is necessarily helpful in political reporting, as it has a tendency to lead to the sloppy and lazy "he said, she said" style of giving both "sides" the appearance of equal credibility.  Good political reporting should be intelligent and insightful, hopefully shedding light on some aspect of issues and events that aren't fully obvious (often because they're being deliberately obfuscated).

    But what KO and CM were providing was about as far from intelligent or insightful as possible; one could generally predict with near certainty what they were going to say -- and how they would say it -- even before they came on camera.  That made watching them totally unnecessary for anyone outside their coterie of boosters, and may well have been the biggest contributor to MSNBC's continued lag in the ratings in a year when the political winds ought to have been blowing in the network's favor.  The "demotions" were most likely a business decision, brought about by the invisible hand of the marketplace.


    Good point Larry (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:31:56 AM EST
    They are protaganists. Not commentators.

    I'd call them perhaps. . . (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:26:13 AM EST
    "opinionators".  They're there to express an opinion, not to provide analysis.

    "Protagonists" (none / 0) (#32)
    by Southsider on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:43:52 AM EST
    That is a perfect choice of words.  (Wish I knew French, I'm pretty sure there's a term for this concept.)  They're actors in the campaign, if highly peripheral ones.

    Well, the other way to look at it is (5.00 / 6) (#36)
    by Anne on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:54:28 AM EST
    that their work is done.  Whatever influence they sought to have, whatever damage they wanted to do, however they wanted to manipulate public perception - it's done.  All the way through the primaries and through both conventions.  What else is there to do?

    Why we should thank them for closing the barn door now, when the horses are long gone is beyond me, and frankly, it's a little insulting that they think we should view this as a emblematic of their adherence to good journalistic standards.

    Completely, totally missed the point (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by GlennGreenwald on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:57:39 AM EST
    MSNBC didn't demote Olbermann because he's biased or because he's a hack.  If that had been what bothered them, then -- as I noted in the Update -- they would have demoted him during the primary, when he was very bit as hackish and partisan - more so.  But they ignored (and even mocked) complaints from Clinton supporters.

    They demoted him because the Right demanded that they do so, because they are petrified of angering the Right, while they couldn't care less about complaints from the Left.  You're so drowning in your hatred for Keith Olbermann that you can't see that point, and are just so happy to see him demoted that you don't care about the underlying reasons.  That's shallow and petty.

    Double standards matter.  If the police in a city are giving speeding tickets only to black residents, but not white residents, I suppose you're going to defend that behavior ("hey, the ones being ticketed are speeding") and criticize those who object on the ground that they're "defending speeders."  It may be true that those who are being ticketed deserve it because they're speeding, but selective enforcement is still a huge problem.

    Same here.  Olbermann may be biased and hackish, but the fact that that behavior only merits action when it is the Right that objects, when it works against the Right but not the Left, is still a huge problem.  You're single-minded ("I hate Keith Olbermann and he deserves this") so you're blind to every other issue and point.

    Maybe some higher ups saw McCain's speach. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:07:56 AM EST
    Quite embarassing when you hear the crowd chanting NBC as the midia bias network referenced. It really brought attention to the problem that not everyone was thrilled with their anchors.

    Funny (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:10:16 AM EST
    I just responded to your column in a separate post.

    My point is that they were concerned about their image and when you joined Tom Brokaw and Vrian Williams to disgruntled Clinton supporters with Republicans, they decided to act.

    And whatever the reason, journalism triumphed here.


    Indeed. (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by lilburro on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:30:18 AM EST
    Brokaw and Ed Rendell both saw problems at MSNBC.  This isn't purely appeasement of the Right.

    Journalistic Integrity (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by CoralGables on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:04:29 AM EST
    Journalistic integrity has taken a mighty fall as newspaper columnists look for "on air" time to up their book sales.  The role of the Woodward and Bernstein's of the world never materialize as newspapers cut back on investigative reporting to cut costs, all the while giving more money to their celebrity opinion columnists. Television reporters have become instapundits as they find it more profitable to make the news rather than report the news.

    Any Walter Cronkite's? No, we are stuck with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Nancy Grace and yes, even Keith Olberman. They have cashed in on the nation's intellectual stupidity by shouting an opinion and thereby making the news to make money. In a quest to stay informed, actual news viewers now spend all of their time talking about who is reporting "the news" in an attempt to decide if there might be a shred of truth to it.

    At first, I enjoyed KO. (5.00 / 8) (#51)
    by snstara on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:33:57 AM EST
    I enjoyed Countdown and respected the Special Comments.  Few voices were publicly taking the Bush Administration to task, and I welcomed the fact that someone who seemed intelligent was doing so.  Someone seemed as outraged as I was and was expressing it.  How could that be bad?

    And then, things got ugly.  Whether it was his DKos diaries and the absolute unquestioning fandom there, his Rolling Stone interview, or the Bill Moyers seal of approval, I'm not sure.  But KO was no longer the underdog, and his outrage was ratings gold.  There was no incentive to dial back his outrage: if anything, that outrage could be used to drive the outrage of every single viewer.  He could now feed, enflame, and direct fury.

    I've used the word 'outrage' over and over again so it means nothing - because that illustrates the impact that KO's 'outrage' has on me now.  When you're outraged at everything, you reach a point of ridiculousness.  KO is ridiculous.  He became so the minute he used a Special Comment to attack Hillary Clinton on Geraldine Ferraro's statement.  He did it again when he implied that Clinton was calling for Obama's assassination.  Did these Special Comments really measure up to previous versions, which had to do with the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush Administration?  Since when do misstatements quoted out of context equate to the evils of Abu Ghraib and extraordinary rendition?!

    Oh, but he's taking the left to task, people said in his defense.  Excuse me, but (unprintable at TL)!  He couldn't even face Clinton during an interview!  He was reduced to sniping at her with his sycophants and dissecting her laugh for evil molecules once she was safely off camera.  How is that taking her to task?!  

    I believe some paraphrase of the excellent Lloyd Benson retort comes to mind when the word 'journalism' and the name 'KO' are used in the same sentence...

    Wow! (1.40 / 5) (#28)
    by David in NY on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:40:40 AM EST
    The right wing marginalizes the only guy -- that is the only guy -- on cable TV who criticizes the Republicans with any regularity, and everybody here thinks it's just peachy.  No one should even imagine that "journalistic standards" had anything to do with this change.  It was pure, unadulterated right-wing corporate control (GE --"Ronald Reagan is our most important product") that made this happen.   The corporatists don't give a flying f... about journalism, only power and executive compensation.  

    Christ on a cracker, people, this a return to what got us George Bush for eight years -- a supine press that accepts whatever any Republican talking head says.  And you're right on board when right-wing corporate management scuttles anybody who criticizes McCain, leaving only the yes-men (yes-people?) of the press.

    Time to rename this blog "TalkRight"!

    Your hackishness is showing. (5.00 / 7) (#43)
    by Southsider on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:09:15 AM EST
    None of here are right-wingers.  None of us object to Keith Olbermann's strong, emphatic advocacy for Democratic candidates and opposition to Bush.  What he does on Countdown is his own business and he has every right to be as partisan for our team as he wants, just like O'Reilly and Hannity are for the GOP.

    What we object to is the laughable pose that Olbermann is a news anchor, is somehow fit to serve the role of impartial news reporter presenting the arguments of both sides objectively.  If your response to this is, "why should KO present both sides objectively?  He's standing up for virtuous Democratic values!" then our natural (and irrefutable) counter is that this is fine as far as it goes, and qualifies him as a COMMENTATOR.  But not an anchor.  Not a true journalist.

    That is a moral argument.  A practical argument - because I'm a bottom-line kind of guy - is that the open partisanship that the KO/Matthews MSNBC has descended into actually HINDERS the Democratic message.  Because they make no bones about the fact that they are ONLY presenting one side's arguments, spinning furiously for one side, denigrating and mocking opposing views (to the point where even partisans like me feel disgusted with the intellectual dishonesty on display)...because they do these things, they make their viewers automatically discount them.  The true believers will lap it up, of course - but learn nothing, and continue down the dangerous path of cocooning.  The unconvinced will scoff, come to think that nothing the network says can be trusted to give a fair account of the issues in dispute, and therefore tune out...or switch the channel.

    MSNBC's left turn is not merely morally objectionable, it's self-defeating in a practical sense.  They don't reach MORE people with their brand of Democratic advocacy, they reach LESS.  And they induce such a violent allergic reaction in non-committed viewers that they threaten to turn them into partisans for the GOP side out of pure spite.


    About what I expected (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:10:58 AM EST
    Thanks for making my point.

    "Fox Left" (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:50:38 AM EST
    is one of your better phrases.  It seems obvious, but I've never seen it anywhere else.

    There won't be a Fox Left (none / 0) (#22)
    by Faust on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:31:50 AM EST
    until we have anchors that are avowed communists  that openly discuss their atheism and swinger club lifestyles. (50% snark)

    In other news prepare to be suprised by how irritating David Gregory is in the anchor position.

    I am prepared (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:32:37 AM EST
    I am no Gregory fan. But he is more of a journalist than Olbermann.

    The real outrage should be ... (none / 0) (#27)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:38:30 AM EST
    about what the cable news networks cover.

    Biased punditry-based masquerading as news coverage is bad.  Very bad.

    But what about the rest of the stuff cable news covers?  It's all missing coeds, car chases, explosions, fires, and celebrities.  All featuring their own pundits.

    "Our expert on missing coeds, after these messages."

    All covered with a tone verging on hysteria.  If not downright reaching it.

    You're lucky to see any international news.  Rare to see a documentary.  And so on.

    If progressives want to be outraged about something, they should try this. Rather than what chair Olbermann gets to sit in.

    as politely as possible (none / 0) (#30)
    by tres on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:42:51 AM EST
    Matthews is like a swing he verves from one side to another with no real logic..he just loves whomever he is with at the moment; at least that is how it seems to me. As for Olbermann, I have watched him since his first msnbc show I saw his disregard for the Lewinsky mess and I have seen his disregard for the Bushtocracy. Prior to the 2004 election I clearly remember that in an interview he stated he was independent and didn't usually vote in presidential election so that he would be objective. Post 2004, I believe his anger at the bushtocracy has changed that. Does this make him liberal, maybe but it also makes him honest. I watched MSNBC during the RNC and he bent over backward to not say what he thought..it was painful. Why are there two sides to the truth? Because most of what Olbermann has gone off about is the hijacking by this government of the truth. So has he gotten a bit full of himself, yep most likely, is he still one of the few on TV who stand up for the truth, yep most likely.

    If he is the one we're (5.00 / 5) (#34)
    by suki on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:47:29 AM EST
    looking at to stand up for the truth, then we are in big trouble, IMO.

    "Jeralyn's excellent take" (none / 0) (#58)
    by Demi Moaned on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:22:26 PM EST
    Your link is a link to your own article (this one) not Jeralyn's.