MSNBC is Not the Enemy

What a surprise for me to log on this morning and see all the venom directed at MSNBC and Keith Olbermann. And, for the second time in a week, liberals at odds with liberals in the blogosphere.

I will make one attempt to redirect the conversation and then I'm going back to work.

I do not think Keith Olbermann is a "hack," partisan or otherwise. I do not think MSNBC relieved him and Chris Matthews of anchoring duties at upcoming debates and election night due to pressure from conservatives or politicians.

I think the removal action was the result of pressure from journalists, other media professionals and quite possibly advertisers who convinced MSNBC that the partisan coverage of live news events was tarnishing not just MSNBC's, but also NBC's reputation as a credible news organization. The issue, as I said in my earlier post, is the distinction between anchoring of live news events and talk shows. [More...]

If MSNBC's decision was a repudiation of Olbermann or Matthews, it would have relieved them of all hosting duties, including at their own shows. They didn't.

Cable news, like all television is first about ratings. Olbermann's show has been a huge ratings boon to MSNBC. They won't kill their golden apple. Nor should they.

But cable news is also about image and branding. MSNBC is an arm of NBC News. NBC News is far bigger than MSNBC and NBC News cannot afford to have its image and brand diminished by blatant partisanship of anchors during news events.

MSNBC will continue to back Olbermann in his role as a talk show host. He's profitable for them. But it can't afford mutiny among NBC journalists which is what started to happen as a result of Olbermann and Matthew's anchoring the debates and primary night coverage.

Putting Olbermann and Matthews in anchoring positions was a logical experiment given Olbermann's increased ratings this year. It didn't work. (And Olbermann, to his credit, initiated the discussions with Phil Griffin about the blurring of his roles as anchor and partisan commentator).

The only thing as or more important to MSNBC than ratings is its parent company NBC's reputation as a news organization. That began going down the tubes with Olbermann and Matthews in anchoring positions of live news events. So, they stopped it.

Olbermann and Matthews may not be my cup of tea as talk show hosts as I wrote in my earlier post, but one million viewers a night disagree with me and like to watch him. Obviously, he's been MSNBC's biggest talk show host success to date. They will and should keep him in that role, despite the fact that millions more of us will choose to watch another channel or get our news from the Internet.

This is turning out to be a tempest in a teapot. The issue is only who should anchor live news events like debates and election night, when viewers are tuning in for news, not just commentary. The format has always been journalists as anchors with commentators as analysts. MSNBC broke that tradition this year by putting Olbermann and Matthews in journalist/anchor roles and it backfired big time, not just with viewers but with their own journalists who felt their objective role was being compromised.

Keith Olbermann is a professional, he is not a hack. It's that he's a professional talk show host, not journalist and he shouldn't be put in an anchor chair at a live news event that demands objectivity. That chair deserves a Wolf Blitzer or a Tom Brokaw, not a Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Geraldo, Greta, Olbermann or Matthews. (Although I can see Greta growing into that role as she can do both.)

MSNBC has realized its mistake and moved to rectify it. Belatedly, yes. The correct move? Yes. It's the correct move because it's necessary to restore both NBC and MSNBC's image as a credible news organization.

[Disclosure: I was an MSNBC legal analyst from 1996 - 1998, have provided commentary on the network hundreds of times over the past 12 years and Phil Griffin was the one who hired me.]

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  • Display: Sort:
    Of course Olbermann is a hack (5.00 / 20) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:50:59 AM EST
    You mar your piece with that line.

    BTD- your posts have shown (2.66 / 3) (#11)
    by scribe on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:57:50 AM EST
    that for you, it is irrelevant that the perfect is the enemy of the good, because all you want is the perfect.

    I for one am quite willing to go to any bound (colorably) within the law to fight for an Obama victory.  You're being entirely too dainty and, in the event of an Obama loss, will doubtless be one of those trying to sell how "it wasn't all that important, anyway" and "we can make do under a Palin dictatorship", and all the other Bob Shrum loser crap.

    The one, central important thing is this:  winning the Presidency.  All other considerations are, and at this point should be, subordinate to that goal.

    We can clean up the rest of the issues after we win.  If there is no win, the rest of the issues won't matter, because we'll have a theocrat with a mean streak in charge and probably have to run for our lives.  Assuming she doesn't decide that tossing a few nukes to start Armageddon is mandated by her god.


    I am a friend of the truth (5.00 / 8) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:08:14 PM EST
    The truth is Olbermann is "the word that shall not be used at TL."

    Heh (none / 0) (#32)
    by barryluda on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:10:57 PM EST
    you can call him a "hack" (none / 0) (#34)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:12:24 PM EST
    it's not that horrible a word but it does, in my view, reduce the level of discourse and diminish your argument, as all name-calling does.

    I think the truth (5.00 / 6) (#46)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:16:29 PM EST
    never diminishes the speaker of it.

    KO would say,,, (5.00 / 2) (#165)
    by Exeter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 04:52:37 PM EST
    that as long it is the truth, it is OK and journalistically sound to call someone a hack in a news report(as he has done many times).  The problem, though, is that only KO is omniscient and knows all truth in the universe.

    i don't think anyone is arguing (5.00 / 3) (#68)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:35:52 PM EST
    that Olberman shouldn't be provided a forum on MSNBC to have his "talk/opinion" show and give whatever he wants as his opinion.  No one is even arguing that MSNBC shouldn't have him on the legit news programming as an analyst, which is what they plan to do.

    the argument is only that MSNBC should not have ever used him as an anchor for legitimate news coverage.

    I don't see how anyone can argue with that.  IT was never a good idea.  And, just because Fox gets away with it by claiming Brit Hume is a real journalist, doesn't mean MSNBC needs to lower itself.


    wow (none / 0) (#120)
    by connecticut yankee on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:15:52 PM EST
    Do they really call Brit Hume a journalist? I never realized.

    this is off topic (none / 0) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:59:53 AM EST
    Name calling is not allowed (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:58:09 AM EST
    hack is a personal insult and name-calling. We are better than that. Please use another word.

    No I will not (5.00 / 7) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:07:38 PM EST
    Olbermann is what he is. You want to pretend he is not. Then I will call him "the word that shall not be used at Talk Left."

    "flack" would be more appropriate -nt- (none / 0) (#169)
    by Exeter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:00:40 PM EST
    Can you honestly say ... (5.00 / 5) (#35)
    by Inky on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:12:56 PM EST
    that this and this are not the products of a hack?

    What word would you use in its place? Yellow journalist? Shill? Tool? What's the polite word that we should use for this brand of "journalism"?


    Hack. (5.00 / 1) (#187)
    by snstara on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:05:03 PM EST
    How is either one of these sanctimonious harangues in any way journalism? Tell me: when he read Hillary Clinton's mind about what she really meant when she referred to RFK and June, did he verify this reading with any other psychics before he went on the air?

    No.  What he did do was tease the Special Comment on DKos, like a man throwing chum to sharks.

    You know, somehow, I can't imagine Seymour Hersh pulling a stunt like that.  That would be because he is a journalist -  and not a hack.


    You're breaking me up. (none / 0) (#167)
    by WillBFair on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 04:53:33 PM EST
    OT, but wanted to (5.00 / 0) (#49)
    by tree on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:18:55 PM EST
    let you know that commenters are name calling other commenters as trolls, and illiterates on the Palin Leadership thread. And someone else posted a false list of books banned in Wasilla when no books have been banned there.

    I think you just describe what I consider a hack. (5.00 / 8) (#6)
    by Teresa on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:54:01 AM EST

    Integrity, not objecitivity. (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:44:55 PM EST
    I expect a bias.  It is possible to have both bias and integrity.  There are pundits who are both biased and have integrity.  Then there are pundits that contradict themselves on a regular basis.  Those are hacks.  

    absolutely (4.00 / 1) (#95)
    by Nasarius on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:28:30 PM EST
    I'm extremely skeptical of the supposed superiority of neutral-seeming news readers to blowhard pundits. The former hide their biases, and ideally attempt to report in a neutral, truth-oriented fashion. Is one species better than the other? It's debatable, though I'd agree that the typical anchor (with the notable exception of Wolf Blitzer, who I can't stand) is less annoying to watch.

    Someone like Paul Krugman represents the best of the pundits: an unabashed partisan, with plenty of expertise and integrity. Olbermann isn't in Krugman's league, but I don't think he quite deserves comparison with O'Reilly either.


    I have to (none / 0) (#78)
    by Makarov on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:47:38 PM EST
    agree with Jeralyn to a degree. To be a "hack", one would first have to be a journalist, which KO is decidedly not.

    I have to agree (5.00 / 7) (#7)
    by rooge04 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:54:16 AM EST
    with Somersby and his opinion on Olbermann calling him "the greatest propagandist of our time." I agree with your post, Jeralyn. Just not that Olbermann is not a hack. I believe him to most certainly be exactly that.

    1.    a person involved in producing or spreading propaganda.
    2.    a member or agent of a propaganda.

    Keith thinks he is the second coming of (5.00 / 13) (#8)
    by tigercourse on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:54:35 AM EST
    Edward R. Murrow. For the second coming of Edward R. Murrow to compare the Clinton campaign to David Duke and say that Democratic leaders should take her in a back room and make sure she doesn't come out is pretty darn hackish.

    I remember that comment (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:30:39 PM EST
    That is why it's funny to see so many recognizable screen names from other blogs now praising the decision to take KO from the anchor chair.

    They had no problem with his behavior earlier in the year.

    I say, just be consistent.


    It was hard not to see how much KO (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:55:14 AM EST
    reeked of disdain for Hillary...exactly what is his job?

    I don't know (5.00 / 0) (#92)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:21:25 PM EST
    but I know his ratings have been horrible in comparison to Fox and CNN. He has only himself to thank, due to his behavior during the primaries.  

    Exactly! (5.00 / 2) (#108)
    by Jackson Hunter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:48:42 PM EST
    KO, love him or not, rather foolishly split his base by being so aggressively one-sided in his opinions during the Primaries.  I can't watch him merely because I don't get that channel, but I used to love his Special Comments on Bush that I would watch on the Web, because they were grounded in reality, not pure boosterism of one candidate over another within the same Party using, to be generous, unprovable rhetoric based on his personal feelings instead of reality.  That whole RFK kerfuffle was the final nail in the coffin.

    But Jeralyn, can we please call Tweety a "H*ck", it sends a tingle up my leg everytime I do so.  ;)  But seriously, that guy really deserves that title, he's been an enemy much longer than he has been a friend.



    ha (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by connecticut yankee on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:06:49 PM EST
    Yeah, he's funny sometimes when I catch him but he's more daily show than Matthews is.  As a Hillary voter I don't really get the lingering resentment.  I didnt like the Obama supporters zeal either but I didnt think it was so bad..  But then, I remember what the republicans said about her in the 90s. (lesbian, murderess, serial cheater, thief, traitor)

    so you have no problem (5.00 / 4) (#122)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:17:14 PM EST
    with other dems. throwing baseless racism accusations, and sexist comments at Hillary and Bill?

    KO was their mouthpiece during the primary.

    MSNBC has a credibility problem. It is difficult to pretend those things didn't happen, especially when you are trying to get your audience back.  


    ya (1.33 / 3) (#127)
    by connecticut yankee on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:23:10 PM EST
    I certainly did have some problems with it but it wasnt coming from Obama himself. I'd also like to win an election for once so I'm more than happy to forgive and forget the enthusiasm of his supporters.

    There are larger issues at stake than your hurt feelings.  


    The larger issue is winning the election. (5.00 / 9) (#140)
    by tree on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:44:55 PM EST
    You don't win an election by insulting the people that you want to vote for you or your candidate. This should be elementary logic, but for some reason, this year its rocket science to some.

    some ofthe 90s charges you list (5.00 / 4) (#123)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:21:21 PM EST
    were used again this cycle by dems in blogland.  I recall reading the charges of thief, murderess and lesbian at Huffpo and AmericaBlog on an almost daily basis.

    ha (2.00 / 1) (#128)
    by connecticut yankee on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:24:27 PM EST
    They didnt even come close to the vitriol of the 90s. How many books did the right-wing write about her?  How many lies for how many years?

    Don't pretend its even comperable.


    what I am saying is (5.00 / 5) (#130)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:29:52 PM EST
    that they referenced the same charges.  The Left blogs brought up these again:

    stolen furniture from the white house

    the same murder charges again about Vince Foster

    the same rumors of lesbianism

    Please don;t pretend they didn't do it.  They did.


    ha (2.00 / 1) (#133)
    by connecticut yankee on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:35:25 PM EST
    If you really feel a few comments on a message board are comperable to the right-wing campaigns of the 90s then you obviously werent around for it.

    News organizations covered every little hillary smear and charge back in those days.  These blog and comment blips didnt even register, let alone spawn a glut of books.  

    The fact is that Hillary went into this thing with high negatives for one reason: Almost 20 years of right-wing propaganda and political jihad waged against her.  If the thinking infected a few Obama supporters on the internet it's because the right wing slipped it into the culture over the past few decades.


    i don't think i said they (5.00 / 4) (#135)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:37:44 PM EST
    were comparable.  But, I was saddened to see those charges made by democrats this time around instead of republicans.

    yeah (2.00 / 0) (#136)
    by connecticut yankee on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:40:33 PM EST

    But if she were in it now you'd hear that and worse.  I wanted her on the ticket but I wont pretend it wouldnt have been a bloodbath.


    They weren't comparable because the msm (5.00 / 2) (#158)
    by WillBFair on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 04:34:14 PM EST
    has infinitely greater resources, But they were every bit as vitriolic. My feeling throughout was that they had brought republican smear tactics into the party, which I had never seen. And your excuses and evasions are part of the routine. Where I come from, we call people one their abuses. If we give them a pass, they only get worse. So I assume a sleaze fest democratic party is what you prefer.

    The point is.... (none / 0) (#194)
    by denise on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:23:53 PM EST
    this time it was coming from the Democrats. So stupid.

    It wasn't the "zeal" for me. (5.00 / 4) (#138)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:43:53 PM EST
    It was forgetting they were supposed to be Democrats, not Obamacrats.  Big tent, not the New Coalition.  Inclusive, not exclusive.

    I think people can vote on KO's show (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by bjorn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:56:21 AM EST
    and CM's show by watching or not watching.  I don't watch them any more because I think KO is a hack and CM is wildly inconsistent.  I do like to watch MSNBC anchors in the morning and was just watching and saw Clinton speaking in FL.  When I watch her I know we will win in November.

    MSNBC's problem (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:03:40 PM EST
    is that they don't have an actual journalist in their employ.

    At least for the debate coverage NBC would have to keep Williams and Brokaw at the parent NBC for coverage and couldn't have them anchor for MSNBC.  And the same would be true for the
    porion of election night coverage that is aired on NBC.

    MSNBC has no legitimate news program and therefore has no legitimate journalist to anchor for them.

    I disagree (none / 0) (#20)
    by magesuew on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:05:04 PM EST
    Tom Browkaw could come out of retirement and anchor the debate coverage. He is surely respected as a journalist.

    Isn't Brokaw conducting one of the (none / 0) (#58)
    by IndiDemGirl on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:27:15 PM EST
    debates himself?

    Go to Bloomberg News "McCain sours on his (none / 0) (#185)
    by Christy1947 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:53:26 PM EST
    media base as election nears". (I still can't do links but you can find the article this way)

    In that article Bloomberg News indicates that unless the critics from NBC/MSNBC let up, they were considering specifically pulling McCain out of the Presidential debate to be moderated by Tom Brokaw. What the quid pro quo for getting him not to do that is not mentioned. However, to have floated it this publicly means it was probably discussed in the executive suites at 30 Rock. This is straightforward and shameless and public blackmail, and I am not surprised that NBC may have folded to it. We may have forgotten who we were dealing with.

    It wouldn't surprise me in the least if NBC made these changes happen in order not to be humiliated by having McCain pull out of 'their' debate, and I am certain in my heart that Brokaw would pull out every stop known to newsman to do whatever had to be done so he didn't lose his star turn. All of our speculations may have been off the point.


    What is a hack? (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by barryluda on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:05:16 PM EST
    I think it's fun to listen to pundits that I agree with and also that I don't agree with.  BTD chooses to call some of them hacks, including KO.  What makes a pundit a hack?  I think when they pretend to be "fair & balanced" journalists when they are analysts they become hacks.  So, there are quite a few hacks -- or people who sometimes act like hacks -- on both the left and the right.  If they stick to doing opinions, and don't pretend to be journalists, then they're not hacks.

    I'm glad KO is no longer going to be put into a role of "journalist" by being anchor.  As for him being a hack, he sure acts like one at least some of the time (pretending to be "fair & balanced" when he's clearly biased).

    you're conflating the word "hack" (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by magesuew on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:08:58 PM EST
    With an editorialist with an agenda. A "hack" would be someone who just supports someone blindly with no facts, or with lies and distortions. Olberman is not a hack, he's an editorialist with an agenda. He's shown himself unable to distance himself from that agenda and be impartial.

    This definition I found fits well (5.00 / 4) (#45)
    by Teresa on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:15:52 PM EST
    A sportswriter who provides extraordinary loyalty to a particular team or sport in order to maintain his access and sources.

    Not just an editorialist with an agenda (none / 0) (#47)
    by barryluda on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:16:44 PM EST
    but one who isn't honest about their agenda.  J, for example, is clear even in this post with her Disclaimer at the end.  So J is clearly not a ha-- I mean, she's unlike a person who is not "the word that shall not be used at TL."

    well I don't think you can accuse (none / 0) (#52)
    by magesuew on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:21:10 PM EST
    Olberman of hiding his agenda, he's pretty up front about it. The problem is, he is incapable of dispassionate analysis. That makes him worthless as an "anchor". He is more correctly and usefully used as an agenda based analyst. Although really, it seems unprofessional and ridiculous for a journalist to be so personally invested in any political figure. Even Rush Limbaugh is not ga-ga over McCain, over whom he has been quite critical.

    Hey Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Faust on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:23:44 PM EST
    You have a big problem with the word hack. What do you think of the word "propogandist?" Do consider that to also be name calling, or a more accurate description of what people like Olberman and O'Rieley do?

    they are partisan commentators (none / 0) (#60)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:28:23 PM EST
    in my view.

    Well the defenition of (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Faust on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:36:38 PM EST
    Popoganda is (from dictionary.com):

    information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.

    Isn't a partisan commentator someone who spreads information, ideas and rumors that favor their partisan viewpoints (and harm the positions and standing of their opponents)? In other words, what is the difference between a propogandist and a partisan commentator?


    If I may (5.00 / 4) (#72)
    by JAB on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:40:15 PM EST
    The view that needs to be looked as should be familiar to the lawyers on the board.

    How does the average reasonable person see what Olbermann and Matthews are?  I bet if you asked most people across the country, they would say Olbmermann and Matthews are reporters on MSNBC.

    That's why they are dangerous - they influence people's views because people are still seeing them as "journalists"


    I had this same exact (none / 0) (#106)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:47:11 PM EST
    argument here two years ago regarding many of fox commentators. People look at that as news and reporting not entertainment....

    heh (none / 0) (#118)
    by connecticut yankee on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:10:36 PM EST
    Yeah but everyone knows FOX news is crazy.  They get a pass in the same way you don't judge special needs kids with the same metrics.

    Lay off the special needs kids (5.00 / 3) (#132)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:33:36 PM EST
    who, BTW, are subjected to the same NCLB tests as the rest of their classmates.  In fact, my kid's teachers love him partly because he is both Special Needs and tests well.

    I agree that they (none / 0) (#178)
    by Jjc2008 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:35:46 PM EST
    are partisan.....but liberal???  Not so much.  The hatchet job on Hillary by KO and Matthews could never be done by truly open minded people.  Liberals are open minded.  They can disagree without using sexism and mean spirited ugliness.

    If KO or Matthews had used racism the way they used sexism, they would have been fired.  

    Sorry Jeralyn, I have no respect for these so called pundits whose insecurity and personal biases (not on issues but on the person)were flowing freely so they could get their way.


    Olbermann disagrees: "I'm a journalist!" (5.00 / 8) (#81)
    by Exeter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:53:23 PM EST
    He doesn't maintain that he is talk show host and certainly not an opinion-based talk show host. His view is that if he comes off as partisan it is because he is "telling the truth" and it just happens to be benefitting the Democrats more often right now.  In fact, he likens himself to Edward R. Murrow, who he felt had his same philosophy on news presentation.

    MW Dictionary describes a journalist as one that gives a "direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation." I would say that is the exact opposite of Olberman.

    Looks like someone's been drinking the Kool aid (5.00 / 4) (#83)
    by Joebasic on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:56:23 PM EST
    With all due respect Jeralyn..(and I do have the utmost respect for you), but I feel you are just wrong on this.
    I do not know what you would call anyone like Olberman but a hack.
    His mysogynistic attacks on Hillary..his overbown special comments attacking her...his "Someone should bring her n a room..." comment.
    The man is a hack and  buffoon. Olberman is an embarrasmentto all true journalists and had no more right to covering the election than Dick Cheney has.
    I can understanding jumping on the Obama bandwagon, if you feel you must, but Dear Lord..whats next, defending Jeremiah Wright as a poor misunderstood preacher.

    Ooh, ooh (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:06:19 PM EST
    Olbermann whines to dkos that he is too a journalist!


    The comment he was responding to.... (5.00 / 6) (#139)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:44:37 PM EST
    ...sure hit a sore spot. Should he even be on KOS responding to criticism? Is that professional? Honestly I don't even know anymore. Where I come from it would be considered inappropriate.

    No he didn't (none / 0) (#91)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:19:08 PM EST
    Read Keith's comment. He said he was "acting in the role of journalist at the convention."

    That's the problem in my view. He was put in that role when he shouldn't have been. That's not his correct hat. He should wear the hat of analyst and commentator.

    Add to that, by convention night, he had lost the ability to be perceived as a journalist due to his partisan primary coverage.

    It's not Olbermann doesn't have journalist credentials. It's that his failure to use them during this election season obliterated them, resulting in a a casting mistake that has now been remedied.


    The point is that he has nothing (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:28:35 PM EST
    to complain about. It does not matter that he thinks he was acting as a journalist: he will never again really be one.

    I disagree. In my view, a commentator is not (5.00 / 2) (#161)
    by WillBFair on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 04:44:31 PM EST
    allowed to use name calling, false accusations, and disgusting childish insults. This KO did nonstop. He doesn't deserve to be called a commentator. He is a smear meister of GE.

    On the other hand, as another commenter (none / 0) (#94)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:26:36 PM EST
    here points out above, on the Bill Moyers show, he described himself in journalism terms:

    But, what I've done on the air in the last 4 1/2 years, and particularly in the last year and a half since the special comments began, is really journalism. It's saying here's what you're being told. Here's the identifiable objective fact to the situation. This statement from the government may be a lie. ....

    Well, it's opinion journalism not news journalism. Like columnists in the newspapers, like Frank Rich or Bob Herbert or Bob Novak.  Kind of like many bloggers I guess.


    The distinction, though, is (none / 0) (#159)
    by Exeter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 04:43:49 PM EST
    that Bob Novak clearly admits and discloses that he is a conservative republican, agrees with republicans to win, and disagrees with dems.

    Olbermann, on the other hand does not hold himself out as a Novak equivelent. He believes he is a by-the-book newsman journalist of the highest ethical order. Watch the whole Moyers thing.


    So why does he get a pass? (none / 0) (#179)
    by Jjc2008 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:38:02 PM EST
    People out here in the work world don't get a pass because we were given a job and then failed at doing it, so it's not our fault??

    I stand corrected. I missed his ... (none / 0) (#191)
    by Meteor Blades on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:36:49 PM EST

    Is it not enough (5.00 / 3) (#89)
    by jb64 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:12:15 PM EST
    to say that MSNBC's coverage of the conventions was horrible, fraught with tension and sniping, totally unprofessional? That's my view of it. I don't watch KO anymore because of his attacks on Senator Clinton. and I've never cared for Chris Matthews, but they have their place in the discussion.

    Pushing the narrative that the GOP made them do it is just stupid in my opinion. They replaced an anchor team whose antics in many cases obscured the event they were covering, which aside from being unprofessional is embarrassing.

    The issue (5.00 / 2) (#101)
    by OldCity on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:32:33 PM EST
    for me is that MSNBC really made their own bed, because the network allowed free-form sparring to supplant actual coverage.  It was a pretty disgraceful example of "journalism".

    The larger concern should be that commentators and journalists alike refuse to vet the taking points of various candidates and their surrogates.  I don't want to hear what McCain is saying unless it's true...I don't wan to hear what Obama is saying unless it is true.  If either one is misrepresenting, I want to know.

    That's what we don't get from any station or outlet, really.  I come here for partisanship.  In a way, we construct our own realities, here.  But, with basic issues of truthfulness. I think the press should be taking a harder line.  They no longer are, because somehow they've come to think that their function is not to inform, but to report.  

    Not every issue is colored by shades of grey.  Sometimes there's a bright line separating fact and fiction.  

    Exposing the Falsities... (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by santarita on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 03:07:26 PM EST
    It's not so much that I don't want to hear what McCain has to say.  What I want to hear from the news is not only what he said but whether or not what he said is correct.  The same goes for Obama.  

    CNN has been doing some of this kind of factchecking.  It is a start in the right direction.  


    If MSNBC is not the enemy, (5.00 / 9) (#124)
    by Anne on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:21:48 PM EST
    what are they?  Are they a friend?  And how would that be better?

    I don't want a network to be my friend - or my enemy; I want it to just tell me what's going on.  I want to be able to identify who is reporting and who is delivering opinion, and I want a clear dividing line between the two.  

    Where MSNBC and other networks have failed is in not establishing standards for what is journalism and what is opinion, thereby allowing those on the "news" side to get away with sloppy reporting that is little more than straight-from-the-campaign talking points on the one hand and relying too heavily and too quickly on anonymous and therefore dubious sources on the other.  

    There is too much meshing between the news and entertainment/opinion side, such that what we hear on the news is picked up on the opinion side as if it were fact, when, in many cases, it is not.  Back and forth it goes, and no one knows who's on first.

    Taking Olbermann and Matthews off the Election Night anchor desk is a sop, not a solution, and it is certainly not going to change their product.  

    Kudos to MSNBC?  I don't think so.  The more praise they get for this move, the more likely they will think that's all they have to do - and given the entrenched bias that pervades the network, it's not even really a start.

    I think you are being unfair to the many (none / 0) (#142)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:52:15 PM EST
    credible and professional NBC news reporters who appear on MSNBC.

    Another issue, however, is that Olbermann brought the print reporters from the Washington Post, Newsweek, etc to his show and interviews them one on one. These reporters don't maintain their impartial, journalistic role on his show and fall into partisan punditry. Since Keith doesn't host debates and instead interviews these reporters one on one, the show is presenting double partisanship without even a reference to the other side. And because of the journalist label attached to the reporters, it's falsely interpreted as being news when it's spin.

    This only applies to Olberman's talk show, though, and doesn't address not the issue that is most relevant here, whether talk show hosts should be anchoring live news events like debates and election night.


    I'm not saying there are no credible (5.00 / 4) (#150)
    by Anne on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 03:25:57 PM EST
    journalists on the network, but when the general perception of the network is that it is partisan and biased, the credibility of those who are holding themselves to a higher standard suffers.  How is the average viewer to know who is and isn't credible?

    From that point, it's either a leap of faith that what you are hearing is true, or it's having to get as much information from as many sources as possible in order to get somewhere close to the truth.  Most people don't have time for that, and the networks know it.

    But when, for example, Andrea Mitchell gives reports that have her saying things like "the McCain campaign claimed that..." versus "the Obama campaign said that..." she is not being a journalist; she is subtly framing these candidates in a partisan and biased way.  And while she may be considered in some parts as a journalist, and she no doubt considers herself one, I don't have to.


    He doesn't hold himself out as as a (5.00 / 2) (#163)
    by Exeter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 04:47:20 PM EST
    "talk show host" though.  I can give you hundreds of quotes where he refers to his show as a hard-hitting news program of the same ilk as Edward R. Murrow's show.

    Proper Categoriztion is ... (none / 0) (#148)
    by santarita on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 03:22:36 PM EST
    a fundamental issue.  To think that Olbermann or Matthews or others are reporting the whole picture without bias (which is a journalistic standard, I hope) gives them much more credibility and, hence, influence influence than they should have.  At best they  provide their well-informed opinion.  Unfortunately, their opinions are not necessarily always well-informed.  

    Whether they anchor or not, their loyal fans need to understand what it is they provide - opinions.  


    The problem was that the (5.00 / 2) (#152)
    by tree on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 03:27:28 PM EST
    very divisiveness that his campaign promoted was what has severely hampered him during the general. They ran a bad primary because they didn't anticipate that how they ran their primary would negatively impact how they could run in the general. And winning the battle of the primary means NOTHING if in winning you've  made it impossible to win the general. And Olbermann, as an entity outside of the campaign but  badly shilling for the campaign, was a large part of that horrendous strategy in the primary.

     If more news outlets and bloggers played it straight instead of pulling out all the old Republican dirt and rebranding it as their own then either the Obama campaign would have lost the primary, or they would have won it without  the acrimonious division of the party. Olbermann has his share of responsibility for where the campaign sits today. Play with fire and you can get burned.

    This is by far the best piece ... (4.33 / 3) (#14)
    by Meteor Blades on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:58:46 AM EST
    ...I've seen on the subject.

    I don't like Olbermann in the journalism role because he isn't a journalist. He's very good as the snarky, opinionated, talk-show host as you say, and he has shown some guts in some of his Special Comments, although those have also shown him (and his researchers) to be a little thin on some history as well as the history of politics.

    So, I welcome this change on MSNBC. We'll still get KO doing what he does best.

    I wouldn't have been the least bit disturbed, however, if they had fired Matthews altogether. That's purely a personal bias, however, one I hold for the likes of Alan Colmes, too, for different reasons.

    What do you call someone (5.00 / 5) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:08:49 PM EST
    who pretends to be a journalist?

    Impersonator? Zelig? (5.00 / 5) (#30)
    by oculus on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:10:43 PM EST
    Obvious answer to question. (5.00 / 5) (#37)
    by tree on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:13:34 PM EST
    A hack.

    That's my definition (5.00 / 4) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:15:40 PM EST
    A Murrow Impersonator. (5.00 / 4) (#42)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:15:22 PM EST
    A CIA agent? Some 400 had ... (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Meteor Blades on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:20:22 PM EST
    ...that role at one time.

    I'm not sure that KO has ever called himself a journalist. Maybe I am mistaken. He is, as he was years ago, a sportscaster. Just one who handles politics as sport. And because he understands sports far better than he understands politics, he blunders repeatedly (some would, of course, call many of these blunders sexist attacks when it comes to Clinton, and I don't disagree in several instances).

    I still enjoy listening to him when he's ranking on Mister Bush or O'Reilly or others of such ilk. But his "analysis." pffffffft. A thousand bloggers, including you, do a far better job on your worst days.


    He was anchoring the political coverage (5.00 / 4) (#57)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:26:09 PM EST
    for MSNBC. Unless we are pretending that that is not pretending to be a journalist, then what are we talking about?

    Frankly, I do not understand the defense being presented here.


    Isn't he really a blogger who speaks (5.00 / 3) (#62)
    by oculus on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:29:06 PM EST
    instead of writes?  No claim to neutrality, apparently, and no independent investigative reporting.  

    He was trying to do both (none / 0) (#151)
    by MKS on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 03:26:57 PM EST
    But he has gone too far to even pretend to be objective....

    Hugh Hewitt has argued for a long time that all reporters are biased and the thing to do is for all of them to just come clean with their preferences....Olbermann shows why this doesn't work....all efforts by the reporter to keep in check his or her prejjudices are thrown out the door.


    As an LA Sportscaster (none / 0) (#149)
    by MKS on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 03:24:11 PM EST
    Olbermann years ago made a big stink when the SF/Oakland World Series was not postponed after the big earthquake....So he began mixing opinion and reporting a long time ago.

    Last night, when doing the NFL highlights with Dan Patrick on the Sunday Night game on NBC, he got in a little political dig---very subtle....He said that Tampa Bay was Bushhhhed--by Reggie Bush of course, but he was alluding to his running segment of Bush Admistration scandals on his own show.


    What? KO has never NOT called (none / 0) (#168)
    by Exeter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 04:55:03 PM EST
    himself a journalist!  

    That's exactly the point (5.00 / 3) (#86)
    by Exeter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:01:19 PM EST
    Olbermann not only pretends that he is journalist, he PROMOTES that he is a journalist.  In fact, he attacks O'Reilly and Fox for NOT being journalists.  

    I disagree with Jerelyn: Olbermann, MSNBC, Fox and anyone else that attempts to provide news to the public under the guise that they are impartial news provider, IS THE ENEMY -- regardless of their political stripe.


    um (none / 0) (#145)
    by connecticut yankee on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 03:02:01 PM EST
    A FOX news employee?

    As someone who hoped (5.00 / 9) (#50)
    by kredwyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:18:57 PM EST
    that Olbermann would speak truth to power regardless of who that power was, and wound up disillusioned.

    I think he's a hack.


    What exactly does KO do best? (5.00 / 2) (#129)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:26:32 PM EST
    We'll still get KO doing what he does best.

    I ask because I haven't watched him or MSNBC for several months. I hope his show has improved. His special comments about Hillary, and biased coverage during the primary turned me away from that channel.


    Would you have been disturbed (5.00 / 1) (#181)
    by Jjc2008 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:47:23 PM EST
    if Olberman or Matthews or anyone on MSNBC had used racism in the same way they used sexism????
    Would you have accused them of bias if they repeated and pushed unfounded, unproven stories (that turned out to be totally false) accusing someone from the Obama campaign or a surrogate from his campaign was using sexism?

    Why is it that they get a pass?  Progressives never give a pass to FOX for their racism or sexism...and we all acknowledge their bias.   But MSNBC pulls it against a progressive and it's fine?  
    Olberman blasts Clinton for going on Fox and says nada about Obama doing the same thing.

    Then again dkos trashed Clinton for daring to meet with the likes of Murdoch or Ailes and praises Obama for "reaching out" to the same people.
    So I guess I should not be surprised at how some continue to defend the hate mongers of MSNBC.


    Well, I don't watch much TV .... (none / 0) (#192)
    by Meteor Blades on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:43:21 PM EST
    ...and only catch Olbermann occasionally. Didn't see his Ferraro Special Comment, so I can't speak to that. I did see sexist bashing going on, as I noted. It was widespread on most channels. As far as Obama "reaching out," I speak only for myself, but I have consistently opposed ANY Democrat's appearance on Fox, Obama's included, his most recent interview, too.

    Thank you (none / 0) (#193)
    by Jjc2008 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 09:59:48 PM EST
    for answering.

    Sadly for me, too many progressives not only saw the sexism, they defended it....excused it, rationalized it.  Just cause everyone does it, does not make it acceptable.


    Said exactly right -- thanks J for a great piece (none / 0) (#27)
    by barryluda on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:08:16 PM EST
    Thanks, Meteor Blades (none / 0) (#134)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:37:04 PM EST
    Much appreciated.

    Jeralyn...might want to change the word (none / 0) (#2)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:51:30 AM EST
    "adds" in the third line of your first paragraph...

    thanks, done (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:58:41 AM EST
    It's interesting (from the viewpoint (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:53:02 AM EST
    of someone-me-who doesn't watch much TV news coverage) that NBC is worried about it's reputation but noone here talks about NBC's coverage of the campaigns, to my recollection.

    Dang, Jeralyn, you should've just frontpaged... (none / 0) (#5)
    by Southsider on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:53:19 AM EST
    ...my comments!  We agree exactly.

    I keed, I keed.  :-)

    why was my comment deleted? (none / 0) (#16)
    by magesuew on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:01:31 PM EST
    I merely pointed out that the HuffPost cited a study showing that FOX has 39% Republican viewers and 33% Democrat viewers, much more balanced than other networks.

    the long url skews the site (none / 0) (#23)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:07:17 PM EST
    please read the comment rules. URL's must be in html format as long ones skew the site. Use the link button at the top of the comment box or got to tinyurl.com and get a short one.

    I did post the tiny URL jeez (none / 0) (#43)
    by magesuew on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:15:34 PM EST
    The study found that 51% of CNN's regular viewers are Democrats, compared to 18% Republicans. Fox News' audience leans Republican but is more balanced overall, with 39% of regular viewers declaring themselves Republicans compared to 33% declaring themselves Democrats. MSNBC's regular audience is 45% Democrat and 18% Republican.



    New phenomenon (none / 0) (#153)
    by MKS on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 03:29:26 PM EST
    It never used to be that way.....certainly not in 2004.....

    FOX was less critical of Hillary--I think that garnered them new viewers...at least temporarily.    


    87% of Fox News viewers will vote for McCain (none / 0) (#190)
    by Realleft on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 08:39:44 PM EST
    and 9% will vote for Obama, according to a Rasmussen study in August.

    did they ask (none / 0) (#19)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:04:55 PM EST
    the follow-up question of WHY the dems watched?  Was it to be informed or entertained?

    Thank you (2.00 / 0) (#39)
    by glanton on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:13:47 PM EST
    I eatch it a lot.  For entertainment value, as you say, that's partially it.  But also to get the Talking Points undiluted.  Know thine enemy, as the saying goes.

    Wolfson defended FOX (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by magesuew on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:24:46 PM EST
    Clinton's supporter Wolfson called FOX's coverage the fairest of all the networks in the primaries. For what it's worth. I like Harold Wolfson.

    Typo--I "watch it a lot." (none / 0) (#40)
    by glanton on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:14:51 PM EST
    Although kdog and sarcasmo if you're out there, this does not mean that I stay alert or that I stay with Fox.

    That is subjecttive (none / 0) (#22)
    by magesuew on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:05:50 PM EST
    What's it matter "why". The fact is, a lot of Dems watch. That's probably why Obama appeared there last week.

    A large percentage of a small... (none / 0) (#56)
    by Meteor Blades on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:25:03 PM EST
    ...absolute number of Democrats watch ANY of those channels.

    I guess that's why (none / 0) (#88)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:09:05 PM EST
    he's appearing on Olbermann tonight?

    A Sad Surprise (none / 0) (#33)
    by glanton on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:11:30 PM EST
    What a surprise for me to log on this morning and see all the venom directed at MSNBC and Keith Olbermann.

    These last couple of weeks, Keith Olbermann and MSNBC have come under a lot more fire from most on this site--TalkLeft!!!--than has the GOP.  In truth, Obama and those wanting to acknowledge the overness of the Primary and support his run have taken more flak, received more denigration, than have the GOP.  If you want to get down to it.    

    What's wrong with being consistent? (5.00 / 5) (#36)
    by magesuew on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:13:12 PM EST
    Blindly supporting an anchor just because he's partisan for your "side" is not objective and honest.

    What does (5.00 / 7) (#38)
    by rooge04 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:13:46 PM EST
    the primary or skewed coverage or anything else have to do with this?  

    Bad reporting even if you agree with the editorial content therein, is still bad reporting. Simply because they're on OUR side this time doesn't make it excusable. And what Olbermann did during the primaries should never be forgotten. Because it was a disgrace. I'm over the primaries, believe me.  But you should never be over bad media reporting even if you agree with the content.


    The primary has a lot to do with the MSNBC Hatred (2.00 / 0) (#53)
    by glanton on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:23:22 PM EST
    First of all.  Just rtead these comments.  Every other comment, including BTD's, refer back to their treatment of Hill as exhibit A.  You do it as well in the very comment I;m responding to.  And then their treatment of the Clintons at the Convention is Exhibit B.  All of which is understandable, but come on.  To say the Primary is not central to all this Olbermann bashing is specious.  Was there Olbermann bashing to this extent by TL commenters, or even by BTD, before the Primary?  He was swinging away at Bush and the GOP on a nightly basis, and doing it under the auspices of journalistic anchorage.  But back then we were foolish enough to believe that things like war, torture, corporatization, police brutality, women's rights, and gay rights were more important than attacking Keith Freakin' Olbermann.

    As for your coment about Bad Reporting.  They're all bad, first of all.  Some arer ACCESS HACKS, and some are PARTISAN HACKS, that has become the only difference.  Until television and print media are de-consolidated that is how it will stay.  


    I was indeed calling Olbermann a hack (5.00 / 7) (#64)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:31:55 PM EST
    long before the primaries.

    Of course, his hackery during the primaries was stuff of legend


    Even before his (5.00 / 1) (#183)
    by Jjc2008 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:51:46 PM EST
    Hillary trashings, I was finding myself really uncomfortable with Olberman. I felt he and some bloggers from another place and their antics had become embarrassingly juvenile. I thought it was just me.

    I was frustrated with Matthews since the 2000 election.


    I see. As long (5.00 / 4) (#67)
    by rooge04 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:34:21 PM EST
    as they're bad but reporting from the left perspective they're ok. Principles be damned.

    No. Not really. (2.00 / 0) (#73)
    by glanton on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:41:59 PM EST
    What is embarrassing is not that people committed to liberal ideals are pointing out Olbermann's bias or even lack of professionalism.  I have and will continue to join them on that front.

    What is embarrassing is the priorities of it all.  Since the Primary, Olbermann's enemy status, MSNBC's enemy status has exceeded that of the GOP and its agenda.  That is what's embarrassing.


    Since the primary (5.00 / 4) (#79)
    by JAB on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:50:10 PM EST
    MSNBC has acted more despicably towards a certain Democratic candidate for president and her supporters, than even the GOP or FOX News.

    That was the funny thing.  During the primary, since FOX had no dog in the hunt, they were actually more balanced covering the primary. MSNBC was just awful - including Olbermann who advocated on air that a superdelegate should take Hillary in a room and only one of them should come out.  Couple that with the "pimping" of Chelsea Clinton, the nutcracker jokes, and the whole RFK thing - perpetrated and accelerated by MSNBC - and it's easy to see that the network only has itself to blame for being embarrassing.


    To whom? (5.00 / 5) (#80)
    by rooge04 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:51:02 PM EST
    I have never seen BTD or anyone else here that happens to agree that Olbermann is not respectable as a journalist claiming that they hate MSNBC more than anything the GOP has done. What I find sad is that after years of railing against Fox News, we have our very own version in MSNBC and we denounce criticism of their bias and obvious lack of journalistic integrity.  Simply because you agree with Olbermann does not make him any more credible than Bill O'Reilly.

    The title of this thread (2.00 / 0) (#84)
    by glanton on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:56:27 PM EST
    Simply because you agree with Olbermann does not make him any more credible than Bill O'Reilly.

    That is of course right.  But that is not the point of this thread.  See Jeralyn's title. My comments herein are efforts, clearly not successful with readers, to defend that warrant.  It's not Olbermann's journalistic creds tghat I am debating.  It is about Priorities.  

    I'd appreciate it if some of you would at least be honest and acknowledge what my point is, instead of turning it into something it obviously is not.


    The title (5.00 / 5) (#85)
    by rooge04 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:00:13 PM EST
    of the thread is that MSNBC is not the "enemy".  They most certainly are. In that their attempt to skew the election towards Obama only hurts him in the eyes of the public. They are Obama's worst enemy right now. And they are the "enemy" in the way that media, whether biased to fit my view or that of Rush Limbaugh's, should be denounced as the enemy of all thinking voters.

    Obama's Worst Enemy (none / 0) (#90)
    by glanton on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:15:23 PM EST
    That is a Stretch, to say the least.  I could think of seven or eight things off the top of my head that are more detrimental to his chances of winning this election than MSNBC's behavior.  And I bet you could too.

    You wrote this: "media, whether biased to fit my view or that of Rush Limbaugh's, should be denounced as the enemy of all thinking voters."

    Well, I agree that the Media is the enemy of thinking voters, but not because of particular people uccpying editorialships and/or anchorships.  It is the fact that a very small handful of entities own it all.  Thus no real diversity of message, let alone attention to substantive issues.

    But increasing Media Corporatization doesn't seem much of a priority around here these days, either.  It used to be, before, you know, the Democratic Primary waged between two people whose policies were almost identicial but whose personalities (IDENTITIES) were pitted against each other for the sake of Ratings--that, my friend, changed the face of the universe and eclipsed all other matters of political importance.  Apparently.


    Have you seen the (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by rooge04 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:28:56 PM EST
    latest poll? McCain by 1.  The left blogs and MSNBC are Obama's worst enemies. In an attempt to help him win they do nothing but undermine his chances.  It's already working.

    I am not a poll worshipper (none / 0) (#103)
    by glanton on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:41:58 PM EST
    to the extent that some seem to be.  Not saying you are, just saying a lot of people right now seem to be hanging on every poll as though they stood before an Appolonian Oracle.

    We all believe what we believe, cliche but true.  Me, I never labored under the belief that Obama would win in some sort of a walk.  Perhaps that is one of the biggest advantages, from my perspective, of not being an Obama Swooner.  In truth, in my heart I have never believed that he would win at all, though I have done by best to reason my way into hoping he would pull it out.

    Look,  we all know in our gut that his chances of actually winning the whole thing have been overestimated among Democrats.  Much of this is because we want to say wow, the GOP really screwed the country these last eight years, surely the public won't reward them.  But that aint how it works, unfortunately.  And while reminding people that McCain=Bush's Third Term helps, it doesn;t help as much as some seem to think, either.  Speaking for me only.

    There has always been an unfortunately long list of reasons for deep skepticism re an Obama victory, Keith Olbermann being nowhere near the top.  I'm not saying Obama can't win or even that he won't: I'm only saying I have for some time expected McCain to be sworn in by John Roberts, come January.  I still do.

    I just never really factored in a single news entity, or a single week of people revolting against McCain selecting a radical social con, as the reason why.  Corporate Media in general, that's one of the top five things that will really hurt him in the end, because it allows the GOP to basically drain the campaign of issues; but to lay that at the feet on one outlet would be absurd.


    I'm sorry, but I respecfully (5.00 / 2) (#119)
    by NYShooter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:13:04 PM EST
    disagree. You said:
    "There has always been an unfortunately long list of reasons for deep skepticism re an Obama victory, Keith Olbermann being nowhere near the top."
    Prior to this primary/election cycle, Americans were roughly divided 50/50, Dem/Repub. KO was in the vanguard of splitting our 50% in half with his unforgivable love for Obama, and equal hatred for Hillary.
    We could hardly afford that, as A Democratic Presidency now seems extremely dicey.

    ya (none / 0) (#143)
    by connecticut yankee on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:55:05 PM EST
    That's not a fantastic position for McCain though.  Bush blew out Kerry by quite a bit more post-convention and McCain has shown an inability to hold his leads when he gets them.

    McCain has led from time to time, it just didnt get much press.


    I disagree. It was not about ratings, in my view. (none / 0) (#171)
    by WillBFair on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:08:11 PM EST
    It was about slandering the most knowledgeable leaders of our time. It was about defeating the most effective leader. If corporate media can't have a puppet in office, they'll settle for an inexperienced weakling.
    And their policies were identical only because Obama swiped the entire Clinton policy agenda from day one.

    please stop insulting (none / 0) (#174)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:18:47 PM EST
    the Democrats. Claiming Obama "swiped the entire Clinton policy agenda from day one" is hijacking this thread, false and inconsistent with this site's goals.

    The answer is simple (5.00 / 6) (#112)
    by blogtopus on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:56:36 PM EST
    They did more damage to the Dem brand than the GOP during the primary. The GOP just sat back and laughed their assets off.

    Who is more reprehensible: The mugger who you don't know, or the mugger who was your friend?

    Betrayal of any kind just adds to the crime.


    Well.... (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by MichaelGale on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:55:32 PM EST
    If you do not have a balanced press, you get another ... George Bush.

    We lose the press and constantly hear hacks sermonizing and demonizing candidates, we get the garbage. Olbermann will have helped lose this election for Obama.


    Come now (5.00 / 4) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:14:56 PM EST
    Attacking Palin is the past time of most of this blog and your comment is dishonest.

    For my part, I write the words McCain = Bush' Third Time at least twice a day in my posts. I think that is the winning attack.


    Really? (2.00 / 0) (#61)
    by glanton on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:28:34 PM EST
    It is true that Jeralyn has gone after Palin with a vengeance, and that a chunk of commenters, including myself, have stayed on the attack re both McCain and Palin.

    And yes, you say McCain=Bush as well as anyone, and I love you for it, however much we may be hostiley positioned of late.  But your vitriol regarding Olbermann and MSNBC and liberal blogs and perceived instances of sexism re Palin have been far more pointed than has your contempt for the GOP ticket.  By far.  Because that's what you're thinking about right now, I guess.  

    But can we at least agree with reality and acknowledge that regarding comments, these threads for a long time now have been absolutely freighted with Obama slighting, Primary rehashing, MSNBC bashinng.  Going after the GOP is a side issue compared to all of this.  


    Interestingly (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:31:01 PM EST
    You do not point to anything I write as being untrue.

    I take that as a compliment.

    Olbermann is what he is. He was demoted yesterday. The Left blogs reacted to that demotion last night and today.

    I write about topics of the moment.


    You are right (1.00 / 0) (#69)
    by glanton on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:36:27 PM EST
    for the most part, and there is much about your posting that I find top-notch.  I've been linking and forwarding the bejeezus out of your writings for the last year.

    Still, I hope you noticed the word "perceived" nestled in there somewhere.  It is a word I put in there with some conviction.  

    But that isn't the point I am trying to make.  My point is about priorities.  

    And BTW.  Your "topics of the moment" comment is on the laughable side.  Please tell me you're not asserting that your attacks on Olbermann began last night, or even last week, or even the week before.  Please don't go there.


    I noticed your perceived even though your (5.00 / 4) (#74)
    by Teresa on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:42:37 PM EST
    comment wasn't directed to me. That's what I reacted to. Perceived? Bullsh*t. Even the posters on DK see it. MILF? VPILF? The fake picture of her in a swimsuit with a gun? Should I go on?

    There is NEVER a wrong time to speak up (5.00 / 8) (#65)
    by Teresa on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:32:14 PM EST
    about sexism. Never.

    Of course (none / 0) (#75)
    by glanton on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:44:15 PM EST
    Just as sexism exist, so does "perceived sexism."  I say it again, those who called Bill Clinton a racist were seeking to rob the term of all meaning.  Same re Palin's critics.  

    Yet Olbermann (5.00 / 6) (#114)
    by Inky on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:02:55 PM EST
    was one who ascribed racism, or at the very least, race-baiting and racial insensitivity, to both Bill and Hillary Clinton. But that doesn't seem to bother you in the least.

    And are you actually trying to suggest that there aren't very real sexists among Palin's critics? You don't think that Bill Maher was being genuinely sexist when he called Sarah Palin a MILF and a stewardess?


    "Doesn't seem to bother" (1.00 / 1) (#126)
    by glanton on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:22:06 PM EST
    Well, I was pretty da&%ed bothered by it during the Primary, and it is stuff like that, that is why I am no big fan of Olbermann today, however much I may agree with him politically, on the issues.  

    Call me crazy, however, but my priorities right now re political discussion is not to keep carping on Olbermann and MSNBC's favoritism during the Primary.  Bad as it was, that favoritism was never as offensive to me as the dead certainty that the next GOP President will start a war with Iran, among many other things.  

    As for Palin.  Sure, there were sexist jibes, including Maher's, and they are to be condemned.  But first on this blog and everywhere else, you also have an arseload of people responding to any and every strong statement against Palin, on issue grounds, as sexist too.  Which is stoopid.


    I'm sorry you want to skip (5.00 / 2) (#184)
    by NYShooter on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:52:33 PM EST
    past the points some of us are making and assume the moral high ground, "the issue is now the GOP, McCain, and the potential destruction of our country." It reminds me of a skit Steve martin did, "I can make you two million dollars. How? First, get yourself a million dollars, then........." KO is as responsible for the mess we're facing now as anyone in a position of authority can be. Go to any of the other Left Blogs, especially the ones like HuffPo, or Kos, dominated by schooled, yet uneducated, functionally illiterate groupies, and besides Obama, their God is Oldermann. They couldn't get enough swapping barbs, "Hey did you see how KO shoved it up Hillary's $#&%# last night? HaHaHa. He whipped up enough hysteria, just loved basking in the glory as the darling of the dimwits, and in that extremely close race, peeled off enough worshippers to eliminate Clinton.
    Now that the General is so close, McCain surprised everyone and is managing his campaign much better than we thought he could, and we're scared. So we turn from McCain, and look at our guy. But instead of inspiration, the reality begins to set in, and a horrible feeling in the pit of our stomachs grows. We picked the wrong guy.
    And you want everyone to just say, tsk, tsk, let bygones be bygones, stop carping, both sides were bad, let's look to the future. Well good luck, you're a better man than I am. I look at Hillary, then I look at Oldermann, and ..........never mind.

    Excuse me. I'm late to the argument. (none / 0) (#173)
    by WillBFair on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:15:20 PM EST
    But the article here was about Olberman being fired. And that's what we're talking about.
    I guess you would prefer people to ignore current topics and discuss what you want discussed. Please just give us 24 hours notice of what tomorrow's topic will be so we can get ready.

    who are you responding to? (none / 0) (#175)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:21:09 PM EST
    I agree the topic is Olbermann and media coverage of the campaign. It is not Palin or democratic strategy or the conduct of Democratic candidates.

    Actually the Thread (none / 0) (#189)
    by glanton on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 08:08:57 PM EST
    Is entitled "MSNBC Is Not The Enemy."  Which I second in my comment.  And then proceed to point out who the enemy is.

    Sorry if you missed that.


    My guess is that the network hoped (none / 0) (#77)
    by esmense on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:45:31 PM EST
    Olbermann would attract the desirable but hard to reach younger, male demographic, that he has been more successful than most at attracting to his own show, to its broader political coverage. But, it didn't happen. If so, Olbermann offers a lot of disadvantages in terms of network image and audience -- as Jeralyn points out -- without any compensating advantage.

    I don't generally (none / 0) (#93)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:23:09 PM EST
    watch a lot of TV news.  

    Olbermann is a partisan commenter.  

    He is not the most insightful guy.  But he is willing to say things that others clearly are not.   When he was rightly denouncing this administration I would imagine most here thought he was doing a service.  When he was attacking Hillary many of you got offended.  

    That's your right, certainly.  But I really don't see the problem with having someone speak their mind.  I don't mind it when O'Reilly does it and I don't mind when Olbermann does it and I don't mind it when the doofus Glen Beck does it, although his rank stupidity bothers me a bit.

    If you are looking for objective news coverage, TV network news is probably not your best bet.  

    Yes, he is. (5.00 / 5) (#98)
    by rooge04 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:30:09 PM EST
    Like claiming that a Democratic nominee for President invoked the assassination of another.  Clearly, not everyone is willing to say something so utterly ridiculous.

    Fine (none / 0) (#102)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:37:13 PM EST
    He bothers you.  That's ok.

    I just don't see what the big deal is about Olbermann and why so many here are so focused on him.  Certainly there are other people in media that are bigger idiots that are NEVER right.  Donna Brazile for instance.

    Heck Steve Ducy still somehow manages to keep his job, along with the other idiots of Fox and Friends.


    I think he is a h**k (5.00 / 2) (#110)
    by TheRizzo on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:52:42 PM EST
    And refuse to watch him go on his egoticiall driven rants, but I certainly don't care if he keeps his show Countdown.  If the network likes it and they got viewers then fire away.  

    My issue was them having him and Matthew anchor the primaries and conventions and glad they finally wised up and yanked the two.  And I don't mind them being on the coverage and analysts.  As long as they keep Joe and Pat around to offer some counter-balance.

    In fact if Joe and Pat or even Harold Ford are not on the screen when I switch to MSNBC I usually go right back to CNN.  


    Yes, he bothers me. (5.00 / 2) (#116)
    by rooge04 on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:06:50 PM EST
    And he should bother any Obama supporter that's concerned for our Dem candidate's chances come November.

    This post is another example (none / 0) (#99)
    by Lil on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:30:37 PM EST
    of why this is one of, if not the best liberal blogs out there.

    McCain=Bush (none / 0) (#104)
    by Jack Okie on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:42:31 PM EST
    is a loser.  Take it from this conservative Republican (and no I'm not trying some political jiu jitsu).  And hi, Jeralyn - you still run the best blog on the left, bar none.

    I've been spending time at the Puma blog, and I notice the same thing as I see here (constructive criticism alert!)

    You guys get bogged down in what is ultimately trivia, and ignore the big stuff.  There is a lot of discussion of tactics, but I don't see much appreciation for the strategic.  Not to reopen old wounds, but Kerry was a goner in 2004 once the swifties shared their story.  Almost all of it was accurate (I checked), and Kerry left himself open to ridicule with the story of the "magic hat" published by the swooning reporter in the Boston Globe.  And had I been a Democrat, I would have made the same criticisms.  Obama is toast, because he is ultimately unelectable, as was Kerry.  All the talk about we shoulda done this, they unfairly did that - piffle.  If you want to win elections, nominate electable candidates (like Hillary).

    Obama has so many negatives (Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Rezko, Wright, Fr. Fleiger, etc) and is so inept (you'd think he of all people would be extra careful around the word "Muslim") he will be destroyed once the 527's get rolling.  And please note, the ads will virtually write themselves (He says "China is way ahead of us in infrastructure", right after shoddily constructed schools collapse during the earthquake killing hundreds of children?).  The down ticket candidates must be sweating bullets.  My governor here in Oklahoma is a Democrat, and a great guy.  He is a fine man and a fine politician, with whom I don't agree on everything.  But I voted to re-elect him because he deserved it.  He would make 100 times the candidate that Obama is.  And Democrats and Republicans alike all over the country would vote for him.

    And here you guys are navel gazing about MSNBC!  Did you see the convention ratings for Fox vs MSNBC?  Do you think it possible that there is a correlation between MSNBC's perennially poor ratings and your political philosophy?  America will NOT elect leftists / socialists as president, ever!  The last two Democrat presidents were positioned pretty much in the center.

    And BTW, what was the delegate count for Hillary vs Obama?  The PUMAs have been trying to dig that out of the DNC, so far with no luck.  You might have noticed that at the Republican convention we actually called the role (in public, in prime time no less!).

    Lest you think I'm piling on:  The 2006 election was lost by the Republicans because so many of the base (me included) were flat out disgusted by the Republican Washington crowd talking out of both sides of their mouths.  So we stayed home or voted Democrat.  Nothing riles us up more than someone campaigning as one thing and governing as another.  Good riddance to Denny Hastert, etc.  If you think my comments to you are pointed, you should have seen the rockets I and many other Republicans sent to the national party!

    So my intention is not to disrespect you folks or try to stir up trouble, but to hold up a mirror (just reminded of an old commercial - "Even your best friend won't tell you").  Most of you seem descent and sincere, like the PUMAs.  My prediction:  the Republicans win the Presidency and at least one house of Congress.  And this in a year that was supposed to be a lock for the Democrats.  When you lose yet another election, will you start to challenge your own assumptions?

    What saves the Dems this time around... (none / 0) (#146)
    by santarita on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 03:03:10 PM EST
    is that the Republicans cannot hide from their record over the past 7 years and that while McCain may be able to put some daylight between the Republican record and himself, he can't completely hide his concurrence with many of the failures.  In addition, the McCain-Palin ticket is not the strongest ticket the Republicans could come up with.

    As far as navel-gazing, the influence that the media has on the electorate is enormous.  So some discussion about the media is in order.   Media bias is substantial and the best antidote for bias is to bring it out in the open.  


    please don't redirect the conversation here (none / 0) (#170)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:03:32 PM EST
    attempts to hijack threads will be deleted. If you posted a comment in reply to this, copy it now to put it on an appropriate thread for for your own use as they will be removed.

    Hijacking the thread (none / 0) (#176)
    by Jack Okie on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:52:30 PM EST
    is the last thing I am trying to do.  "Navel gazing" was too harsh, but my point is you are discussing a cable channel that is generally on your side of the divide, but that has the lowest viewership of all.  How does that cable channel help you, no matter how well they report what you think should be reported?  The only ones they reach are the true believers.  Compare MSNBC's ratings to Fox's ratings for the Palin speech.  Whether Fox is good or bad, they had at least five times more viewers than MSNBC (and the most viewers of all the networks).  The changes at MSNBC are inside baseball.  The vast majority of Americans do not care.  However, the attacks on Sarah Palin by Olberman et al have aroused a very large part of the country that will have a major effect on Nov. 4th.  So my point is that the changes at MSNBC are inconsequential to all but a few political junkies like us, but the behavior of Olberman and other media types has vastly outweighed any positives they might have delivered for your side.

    I don't think I was replying to you (none / 0) (#180)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:43:20 PM EST
    your comment, at least immediately above, talks about media. I was referring to someone who changed the topic to Obama vs. McCain.

    OK, good. (none / 0) (#182)
    by Jack Okie on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:49:34 PM EST
    I thought you had a pretty fair approach.  Thanks for confirming it.

    Jeralyn, since you deleted my comment... (none / 0) (#188)
    by Pol C on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:33:47 PM EST
    ...I think it's only fair to ask that you take a second look at MyLeftMind's comment at #155. The only reason my comment was off-topic is because it was in reply to that post, which is entirely off-topic--there's nothing about Olbermann or media issues in it. I have no problem with you deleting my comment for the reasons that you did, but in this instance the parent comment is the principal offender, and I don't see why my comment rates deletion when it doesn't.

    you are right (none / 0) (#197)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:46:19 PM EST
    I missed that one. It's gone now. Thanks.

    Jeralyn, you deleted my comment # 196 (none / 0) (#198)
    by bridget on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 01:22:05 AM EST

    What was wrong with it?


    Seriously? (none / 0) (#105)
    by DA in LA on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:43:02 PM EST
    The posts on this site have had more hate directed towards MSNBC than any site I've seen on the internet.  You can't attack, then become confused when all the comments follow suit.  Take responsibility for your actions.

    Seriously? (none / 0) (#164)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 04:51:10 PM EST
    Jeralyn was responding to my posts and I do not take back a thing.

    Olbermann is a hack and any honest person would admit it.

    As for why Olbermann is detested by many commenters here, clearly a lot of it results from his despicable behavior during the primaries.

    As I said, cheer for your team if you like, but do not expect honest observers to not point out that you are in fact cheering for your team.


    no I wasn't (none / 0) (#172)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 05:10:36 PM EST
    my post was not in response to Big Tent Democrat's posts but to coverage I saw all over this morning attributing the removal to political pressure from Republicans.

    My comments on this thread are in reply to the comments he left here. They concern only phraseology.

    There is no need for BTD to take back anything. His views are always honestly expressed. There is no need for us to parrot each other or always be in lockstep.


    There's a huge difference (none / 0) (#107)
    by gentlyweepingguitar on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 01:47:28 PM EST
    between KO and Fox news show hosts. IMO. Fox hosts present their opinions with a straight face as though they're fact. They've mananged to convince millions that the only place to go for truth is Fox News.

    KO's broadcasts are laced with sarchasm. Not that I don't agree with him, but he's not going to draw in any Republicans to his way of thinking. He treats them all like they're stupid.

    Greenwald's take is different (none / 0) (#117)
    by McKinless on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:08:09 PM EST
    His blog entry today (9/8) attributes the "demotion" of Olbermann and Matthews to pressure from Republicans. Greenwald compares that Republican pressure to MSNBC's very different reaction--dismissiveness--to complaints from Hillary supporters about Olbermann/Matthews' hostility toward HRC. Glenn's blog is at http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/

    Jeralyn, do you think Glenn's overreacting? I was ready to man the barricades after reading his comment. After reading yours,I'm not so sure.

    Glenn's wrong on the pressure. (5.00 / 2) (#125)
    by tree on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:22:00 PM EST
    There have been reports floating around about troubles at MSNBC for weeks now, way before the Republican convention and they ended up culminating in the dreadful coverage of the DEMOCRATIC convention, complete with on-air bickering. NBC's action is the result months of internal dissension, much of it revolving around MSNBC's hackish coverage of Democrats. Don't give the Republicans power they don't have. This had little to nothing to do with their complaints, except as they MAY have been the straw that broke the camel's back.

    yes I disagree with Glenn's take on this one (none / 0) (#137)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:42:21 PM EST
    From what I've read (none / 0) (#177)
    by Jack Okie on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:15:04 PM EST
    the pressure came from the parent NBC, with Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw being part of the pressure.

    Any Republican that tried to get Olberman off the air would immediately be drummed out of the party.  Republicans would like to see Keith on all the networks doing Palin! Palin! Palin! 24/7.


    Wonder if MSNBC (none / 0) (#121)
    by onlyme on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:16:07 PM EST
    will do a report on the story? It's a news story about themselves so I'm guessing they won't report on it. Reminds me of a line in the movie, Broadcast News (if you haven't seen it, be sure to--was made in the 80's and is very prescient)--anyway, when the news network was doing layoffs, a character remarked, "We won't be reporting on it so I guess it isn't news." (I'm paraphrasing from memory.)

    It's on the Web site (5.00 / 1) (#162)
    by Pol C on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 04:44:44 PM EST
    They're running the AP wire report, which is appropriate, and they didn't cut it to make anyone look good. The on-air cattiness that Jon Stewart mocked is recounted in all its glory. If anyone at that netwrok had a decent sense of humor, they'd have had Olbermann come out and give Joe Scarborough a shovel with a bow tied around it.

    DAMN RIGHT (none / 0) (#186)
    by IKE on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:56:30 PM EST
    They got what they deserve, Hillary's chickens are coming home to roost. They bashed her unmercilessly, and were drastically unfair to her. How stupid were they to divide their viewers and pitting them against each other.