Applauding That We Once Despised

Bob Somerby has been documenting how we on the Democratic side have come to applaud that we once claimed to despise - unthinking stupidity in the Media. While my feeling on what Keith Olbermann has become (in essence an O'Reilly for the Left), Somerby discussed a few days ago one of the most outrageous pieces of offensive nonsense seen in some time from persons not named Rush or Bill O:

This may have been the dumbest two weeks we’ve seen in eleven years at this post. It’s also the week in which the pseudo-liberal world made an important announcement. Officially, we’re just as dumb as the other tribe has always been! . . .

. . . Olbermann had already spent his entire third segment with another comedian, Janeane Garofalo. Garofalo had been asked to discuss Rush Limbaugh’s 37 percent approval rate among women. . . . We wouldn’t know how to edit this mess—but this is the pseudo-liberal brain on reptile-grade dumb. Bright blue scrotums to follow:

OLBERMANN: Joining me now to revel in the fun is comedienne, actress and activist Janeane Garofalo. . . . So then, I’m going to see if I can do this with a straight face. What must Rush Limbaugh do to attract women?

GAROFALO: I want to say a couple things first. 37 percent is a shockingly high percentage of—I’m shocked by that. Secondly, this transcends gender. He is an unappealing person. The problems with Rush Limbaugh, as we were discussing during the break, it would take a neuro-scientist and a behavioral psychologist to sort that out. But failing that, let’s you and I discuss.

He is a narcissist who also struggles with self-loathing. That’s clear. That’s his prime mover. That’s the issue. He pretends it is politics. But there is something very, very wrong with Rush Limbaugh.


GAROFALO: He knows this. Most other, quote/unquote, “Republicans or conservatives” don’t have self-awareness. I think he does. He really dislikes himself. And the type of people that respond to his message have a whole bunch of other problems, too. But he’s—I think he’s trying to get women, I think he is trying to meet somebody right now. This whole charade that we are going through—and we are even giving it too much credit discussing it. But I think he would like to meet a nice lady right now.

OLBERMANN: Your 24 and formerly Larry Sanders Show colleague is no longer in the picture?

GAROFALO: Mary Lynn Rajskub. I think she actually just thought it would be funny to learn more about him. She said that he did suffer from low self-esteem. That was her impression of him.

OLBERMANN: It seems like that’s a long way to go to find that information out.

[BTD - and so on . . .]

You can watch the tape of this cosmic inanity at the Countdown site (just click here). But there you see, in a way we could never invent, the essence of tribal, reptilian thinking. We’ll only say this: Quite plainly, Garofalo wasn’t joking. It’s fairly clear that she really believes the various things she said . . .

To the extent that we think that way, we are Olbermann’s “target audience.” He is paid $5 million per year to attract our eyes to a screen. But then, Olbermann is now running the rubes in truly remarkable ways. . . . We’ll only say this: This is what the other side did, all throughout the 1990s. They invented endless tales about the ways the deeply vile Clinton and Gore had lied. If the facts weren’t there, they invented some facts. When required to fake it, they did. Like Pogo, we’ve now met the enemy. . . .

Somerby yesterday made some good points on the silliness surrounding Bobby Jindal:

Yesterday, we said we’d respond to one part of Frank Rich’s Sunday column. And so, away we sail. As usual, Columnist Rich was grandly posed as the world’s Most Racially High-Minded Man. With his standard clairvoyance, he just knew why Jindal was being promoted by his party:

RICH (3/1/09): If you’re baffled why the G.O.P. would thrust Jindal into prime time, the answer is desperation. Eager to update its image without changing its antediluvian (or antebellum) substance, the party is trying to lock down its white country-club blowhards. The only other nonwhite face on tap, alas, is the unguided missile Michael Steele, its new national chairman. Steele has of late been busy promising to revive his party with an “off-the-hook” hip-hop PR campaign, presumably with the perennially tan House leader John Boehner leading the posse.

. . . [A]ccording to Rich, Jindal was being thrust forward for one reason only—because he has a “nonwhite face.” . . . Of course, the Republican Party has a lot of bad racial history. But then, Rich has some brain-damaged history too. For example, he spent the entire year of 2000 insisting that Bush and Gore were two indistinguishable peas in a pod. Our question: Given his proven, world-class bad judgment, could there be currents within the GOP that have escaped his ken?

Let’s consider the path by which Jindal first achieved political prominence. It happened in January 1996, when Jindal was just 24. At that time, Louisiana Governor Mike Foster appointed Jindal secretary of the state’s Department of Health and Hospitals; the post gave Jindal control over 40 percent of the state budget. Years later, when Jindal was elected governor, the New York Times’ Adam Nossiter recalled this remarkable episode. . . .

. . . As far as we can tell, we’d never vote for Jindal ourselves. But his appointment and subsequent elections are part of a great American story, a great unfolding American story which also includes the recent success of the current American presdient. It’s just like Rich to insist that this story has to be built around racial bad faith. In fact, the evidence suggests that Republicans have always liked Jindal for what they see as his giant competence.

. . . Jindal gave a very poor speech in response to Obama last week. But the story of his appointment and subsequent election is a tale of American progress—and it involves the conduct of a lot of southern white Republicans, starting with [LA] Governor Foster. People like Rich will always insist that you should feed on the most bitter gruel. You see, Frank Rich is one of the world’s worst persons. Readers tend to get dumber, and more ugly, by reading his crab-hearted work.

These are good points I think from Somerby. And here's an important additional point I think, besides making Olbermann (and Limbaugh) a lot of money, is there a political point to this? Do we really think in these times, with the economic crisis we are facing, this is helping Democrats do anything? I do not think so.

Speaking for me only

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    Keith The Plumber (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by GOPmurderedconscience on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:20:02 AM EST

    you missed the best part of the article from a couple of days ago:

    KEITH AND JANEANE'S TRIBAL VENTURE! Keith the Plumber helps us enter the world of the pseudo-lib tribe:

    I can't stop laughing about "Keith The Plumber".

    Bob Somerby is the greatest.

    Check his tax records! (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:21:18 AM EST
    Wouldn't that be delicious - if Olbermann didn't pay taxes??  I would DIE laughing!

    You snipped one line (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Steve M on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:38:08 AM EST
    that I consider important:

    But then, inside the world of this fat, stupid man, a certain narrative will always obtain: By rule of law, every move by the GOP must reflect racial bad faith. No other possibility will be allowed--and that crabbed interpretation will be jammed into every story.

    The standard liberal narrative about the Republican Party and race has gotten so dumbed down that it pains me just to hear it.  Yes, there's a lot of stuff about Nixon's and Reagan's political history that is documented and indisputable.  No, we don't get any closer to understanding when we simply label them as a party of racists, period, end of story!  I'd like to think we could be a little sharper than that, but as Somerby regularly documents, no, it seems we can't be.

    This is important (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by Pacific John on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:44:29 AM EST
    ...because this is the same lens used in the primary. If you weren't with liberal elites, it was self-evident you were racist. I transcribed an interview with Evan Thomas in which he lets his hair down:

    Caller: I have a question. Earlier, when you were discussing the Pennsylvania primary, and the Clinton campaign in the Midwest, and Appalachia, what I noticed in your description was there was this bizarre, let's just say, exchange, between facts and interpretation, whereby interpretation became fact, and facts became interpretation. More specifically, I'm referring to how you claim she engaged in a form of demagoguery that pandered to white voters in those states, and is there any evidence for that claim?

    Thomas: Just her rhetoric, and her language...

    Caller: ... could you be specific?

    Thomas: Uh, no.

    Caller: Okay, see, I do not recall any advertisements from the campaign in which she was engaging in any form of, let's just say, racializing rhetoric. I don't recall any mailers from the campaign in which she was trying to render Barack Obama into an exotic, "other." And, so it was interpretation propounded by the media that is now become so reified into [crosstalk] we no longer have any evidence to sustain it, because interpretation has supplanted any empirical evidence.

    Abeles: Okay caller, give him an opportunity to answer, okay...

    Thomas: I do remember she did make a statement about goin' after white voters, that was considered to be a little impolitic. And I think the general tenor of her campaign was that Obama was the "other," he wasn't you, or me. Uh, I don't remember specific rhetoric that she uses- a long time ago - but I think there was a general consensus in her own campaign that they were doin' this. And I don't think that she went over some terrible line, I don't it was... certainly not overtly racist.  But, I think she was in subtle ways, playing on the fears of particularly less well of, less well educated voters who regarded Obama as "the other." I think if you talk to Obama's own campaign people, they tell you that that's what they were doin', excuse, me, to talk to Clinton's campaign people they would tell you that that's what they were doin'.

    One year ago, Democrats were "Archie Bunkers," just a shade better than Limbaugh himself.


    Losing our religion (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:05:10 AM EST
    Someone wrote a song about that :)

    Is that you in the corner? (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by ruffian on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:02:22 AM EST
    I need to be in the corner more often :) (none / 0) (#71)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:13:15 PM EST
    The Left and Right are not (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Think Before You Type on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:29:53 AM EST
    really, in essence, that different from each other (after all, we're all human beings).  It will take enormous vigilance for progressives to avoid falling into the same traps that conservatives have often fallen into in recent decades.

    The problem is magnified by perverse incentives: media outlets (and blogs, for that matter) often draw viewers not based on the intelligence of what they say, but based on factors such as outrageousness, provocativeness, and sheer loudness.

    Any progress made by progressives will ultimately not be based on the premise that "we're better than they are". Rather, progress will come from the premise that we (and they) are flawed people who are working hard to make the world a better place, and by forthrightly making the case that our policies will work better than theirs.

    Maybe the activists, but not your average liberals (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by beachmom on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:26:11 PM EST
    who have told me point blank they would never, ever watch Keith Olbermann.  And this was not some primary battle thing -- they supported Obama in the primaries, but they prefer high quality news and information, not, as you aptly put it "gasbags".

    I disagree (none / 0) (#55)
    by ai002h on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:06:45 AM EST
    I think the differences are inherent in their philisophy, especially when you're talking about the far left vs the far right. Maybe you meant their politics and tactics aren't that different, which I somewhat agree with.

    Certainly the politics and tactics (none / 0) (#67)
    by Think Before You Type on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:53:56 AM EST
    of left and right are similar, but I wouldn't even limit it to that.  The far left and far right also have a lot in common in their philosophies, including (but not limited to) their desire to force others to accept their principles outside the democratic process, as well as the prevalence of anti-semitism in both far-left and far-right movements.

    KO/Rush/Billo (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Pat Johnson on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:58:01 AM EST
    Most of us are still searching for some form of objectivity in these newscasts.   It does not exist.   Listening to the gasbags deliver talking points for either side is an exercise in futility.

    None of them make very much sense, they are strangers to the facts, they are merely being provocative in their approach in order to ensure ratings along with oversized paychecks, and in the end they do more harm than good.   Anyone taking any of them seriously as "broadcasters" need to be educated on what that word actually represents.

    A lazy public is far more interested in gaining their information the easy way by taking sound bites for indepth analysis then insisting they have been informed.  

    Olbermann Guests (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by misterwonderful on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:43:00 AM EST
    O'Reilly takes on all comers and delights in having adversaries. Olbermann has pathetic, buttsucking, teabagging sycophants to wash his feet and laugh at his jokes. He is pathetic.

    Unless and until (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by KeysDan on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:19:50 PM EST
    the commercial underpinnings of  "news and commentary" shows all changed, it seems off to deride Olbermann and Maddow and to   equate them as analogs of hate-spewing  O'Reilly,  Limbaugh and others of their ilk. If KO's exchange with Ms. Garofalo was embarrassing (maybe, it was her tattoos that turned some off), it seems relatively harmless and easily evaluated by the viewers.  Her comments are unlikely to be adopted as Democratic talking points.  

    Liberals don't rely on MSNBC, et al the way (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by beachmom on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:21:47 PM EST
    the Right rely on talk radio and Fox News to get their news.  Give me BBC America over the fluff on ANY of the 3 cable networks any day of the week.  The fact is the left doesn't operate like the right.  Most liberals I encounter like NPR, BBC, Jim Lehrer, etc.  Olbermann, last I heard does not have the ratings in total that O'Reilly and friends do.  Liberals like to hear all sides to an argument.  The liberals I do know who view Olbermann regularly acknowledge that they need to watch another high quality news program in addition to him to get the REAL NEWS of the day.

    I guess posts like this attract attention (heck you got me here), but just because there is now a "left media" doesn't mean it is what liberals like best.  Our brains are less reptilian.  Thank God for that.

    Just want to say THANKS! (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by nycvoter on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:57:02 PM EST
    BTD, I came to this site via my involvement with HRC's campaign and appreciated your thought's every step of the way.  I appreciate your clarity on issues and that you highlight other people who have similar insights.  

    I agree on the Rush thing, how stupid to waste our energy on this political garbage... that ain't change we can believe in.

    So are olbermann, rush... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Thanin on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:05:18 AM EST
    and all those people really the media media, or just political entertainment?  If they are just entertainment, do they need to be anything more than what they are?

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:20:11 AM EST
    They are entertainment, except that many people take them as serious journalists and take what they spout as "news".  Same with Chris Matthews.

    I agree... (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Thanin on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:21:38 AM EST
    but what Im interested in is, whats the solution?

    The KO problem is easier to solve (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by ruffian on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:29:26 AM EST
    since he is not as entrenched and MSNBC is responsive to ratings. We on the left just have to stop watching him, even if he seems to be on our side. As Somerby points out daily, he does not help our cause by being idiotic at best and lying at worst. I believe also that there are bloggers who point to him with praise, and they need to wise up.

    I think the current White House strategy on Rush is a good one. Time to make the Republicans either own him or disown him. Either way, we win.


    He considers himself the reincarnation (none / 0) (#13)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:37:10 AM EST
    of Murrow.

    Murrow (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:39:57 AM EST
    is spinning in his grave at the thought.

    My solution was really easy (5.00 / 8) (#12)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:35:32 AM EST
    I stopped watching all MSNBC programming a year ago and have never given in for even just one show. Won't click links to the clips, either.

    It is only entertainment to people who feel better when they see someone being beaten down with the most ridiculous sarcastic mouths in the business.

    As long as people continue to tune in, those guys will be there doing what they do, the advertisers will support them, and the network will pay them millions of dollars a year for it.


    Yeah... (none / 0) (#17)
    by Thanin on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:45:23 AM EST
    I guess Im still of the mindset where it didnt matter how many people didnt watch something, just as long as some nielson goober was, the show would go on.

    I hope you apply that to (none / 0) (#24)
    by ai002h on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:13:42 AM EST
    all cable news shows. Because CNN isn't much better than MSNBC and FOX, as we all know, is worse.

    Yes (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:46:10 AM EST
    Now and then I will watch Larry King when he has Bill Clinton on as a guest for the entire hour.

    Other than that, no cable so-called-news networks get my attention.

    C-Span is great for some political happenings, and, if I really feel the need to watch news, I'll see what ABC Nightly news has to say. I listen with a careful ear to that because these once respected journalists are being pulled toward the petty and ridiculous, as well.


    So well said. (none / 0) (#26)
    by Shainzona on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:19:54 AM EST
    Thank you for putting it into words.

    Now if people will only heed your words....


    here, here (none / 0) (#76)
    by nycvoter on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 01:03:14 PM EST
    I stopped all MSNBC and won't go back.  I only watch Meet the Press again because it's David Gregory and not Tim Russert (RIP)

    When my conservative friends (5.00 / 5) (#4)
    by ruffian on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:21:00 AM EST
    parrot Rush as part of their arguments, they are not trying to entertain me. He is taken seriously by his listeners.

    I assume the same is true of people that like and quote KO, but I can't speak from personal experience on that.


    Absolutely (none / 0) (#11)
    by DFLer on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:29:56 AM EST
    last election, some local was saying he wouldn't vote for Obama because Obama was going to confiscate everyone's 401 k plans and (I forget the rest)

    turns out that was one of Rush's talking points

    Listeners/fans believe him.

    (anecdotal info only...no links...hey! can I get a talk show now?))


    I think Rush knows what he is (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by Fabian on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:24:15 AM EST
    and what he needs to do to keep his audience happy, or if not happy, then coming back for more.  I have no idea if he believes any of what comes out of his mouth - so just going by that, I'd have to say Rush is an entertainer, an actor.

    Colbert and Jon Stewart are also actors and entertainers, although the information they present is probably more accurate than Limbaugh's truthiness.

    Olbermann?  Bringing on an actor to play Dr. Phil/Frist to Rush Limbaugh?  Good grief.  It makes me relieved to no longer be a fan.  Now I can just shake my head and smirk instead of pick my jaw up off the floor.  If that's the Left's answer to anything, it's television talk shows, not Rush Limbaugh.


    Olbermann is a partisan hack (none / 0) (#7)
    by ai002h on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:24:04 AM EST
    in many ways. HOWEVER, imo its unfair to label him our version of O'Reilly. For one thing, when Olbermann attacks the other side he, for the most part, uses factual information to backup what he says. O'Reilly has basically ZERO research or journalism attached to his show and much of what he says basically isn't factual. Usually his show consists of him pontificating and saying declrative statements that aren't true like "the american people are starting to get tired of Obama and are beginning to blame him for the economy", which is what he said yesterday. Just think about that statement. You would expect with a statement like that he would follow it up with a poll, or an article elaborating on the subject, but no..it was just his observation. Olbermann, for all his pompous behavior, does a pretty decent job thrown facts and numbers our way, he may twist some of the evidence to further legitimize his point, but there's usually a basis of fact to what he says.

    However, I do agree that Olbermann basically creates an echo chamber where he only brings people who agree with him and you get the feeling he couldn't handle it being challenged.

    Olbermann doesn't trouble his pretty (5.00 / 9) (#23)
    by Radiowalla on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:13:16 AM EST
    little head with facts when he speaks about Hillary Clinton.  

    His egregious "Special Comment" about her pushed me over the edge and I won't be back.  I was sorry to see Keith implode because in the early days his show was the only show I bothered to tape everyday.

    He's a polemicist and a provocateur, just like O'Reilly.  And they both hate women.


    Wow - you nailed this one! (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by Shainzona on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:23:15 AM EST
    "He's a polemicist and a provocateur, just like O'Reilly.  And they both hate women."

    Both "men" spew such filth - that's all I can call it - toward women that it is stunning to me that more sane people don't see it.


    Olbermann is not even close (5.00 / 0) (#51)
    by ai002h on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:58:48 AM EST
    to the sexist O'Reilly is. Watch O'reillys show, literally EVERY day he has some segment on naked women and he keeps on re-running the clips. He has segments where he has two blonds on just to compliment him. All this without having to mention the sexual harassment lawsuit he had to settle out of court cause the woman had him on tape. O'reilly is an extreme sexist and really a pervert. Olbermann is a blowhard, who transferred his blowhardism over to Hillary Clinton, there is a difference.

    Listen, I know many here hate Olbermann dating back to the primaries. Personally I'm not a huge fan of his, mainly cause he doesn't allow dissenting opinion on his show. But comparing him to guys like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly is a tad unfair, those guys don't distort, as Olbermann may do, they flatout lie, insult, and routinely play the fear card on their audience. The incite hate, period.


    how much of a sexist (5.00 / 5) (#62)
    by cpinva on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:39:50 AM EST
    Olbermann is not even close to the sexist O'Reilly is.

    do you have to be, in order to be a "bad" sexist, vs a "good" sexist?

    sexist is sexist, much as racist is racist, etc. there are no degrees.

    olberman has always struck me as being just a wee bit self-righteous, he just used to do a better job of not being quite as flagrant about it. in his (i suspect) competition to be the "liberal" o'reilly, he's becoming just as obnoxious and ridiculous as mr. bill. hardly what we need right now, or ever.

    at least he made no pretense of ms. garafalo being anything other than an entertainer with an opinion.


    how much of a sexist (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by todayslies on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 02:17:49 PM EST
    sexist is sexist, much as racist is racist, etc. there are no degrees.

    I have to disagree with you there.  Is Olbermann's sexism the same as Chris Brown's, or Ike Turner's?  Or, for that matter, Rush Limbaugh's?


    So, (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 03:00:12 PM EST
    it's ok for Olbermann to spew sexism because those are, after all, "just words", and hey, it's not like her physically beat a woman, right?

    I guess I see Olbermann as the sexist and Chris Brown and Ike Turner as batterers (aka "criminals")


    no one said (none / 0) (#86)
    by CST on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 03:07:53 PM EST
    it's ok.  But it's also not the same.

    They both hurt women (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 03:55:58 PM EST
    And in cases of sexism, it's more prolonged because it's usually more subtle.

    Olbermann and Matthews are just as big a$$es and blowhards as Rush or O'Reilly.  They are all the same.

    And BTD's point is spot on - we hate it when the "other side" (whatever that is anymore)does these things, but make excuses when it happens on "our side".

    That's one thing this election has taught me - just because someone has a "D" next to their name, or supports someone with a "D" does not mean they are always right, and conversely, everyone with an "R" is not always evil, and occassionally makes a good point now and then.


    Thank You (none / 0) (#88)
    by todayslies on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 03:41:09 PM EST
    Notice how quickly this discussion of degrees moves to the accusation that anyone who picks apart the obvious nuances must be "ok" with sexism.

    Unless You are A Freak (none / 0) (#87)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 03:09:00 PM EST
    Everyone is sexist or racist to some degree, because we live in a sexist and racist society. No relatively normal person can escape it in our society, imo.

    For me the arbiter is that when offensive behavior is pointed out the offender realizes it and shows remorse.


    The more I think about this (5.00 / 3) (#85)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 03:02:13 PM EST
    the worse it gets.

    So, if Olbermann was "just a racist" it would be ok, because, hey - it's not like he's David Duke or anything.


    Shorter answer (none / 0) (#91)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 03:58:15 PM EST
    Yes - they both hurt women.

    All things in life have degrees. (none / 0) (#82)
    by Think Before You Type on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 02:35:02 PM EST
    If we don't recognize this, progressives will never be able to try to make the world a better place, since there is a little bit of bad in every one of us.  (In the Bible, even Moses sinned a couple of times.)  The Allies could not have fought the Nazis in WWII, since surely there was some evil in the Allies.  The North couldn't have fought the South in the Civil War, since surely there was some level of racism in the North.  The US couldn't fight al Qaeda - you get the point.

    It is by recognizing and distinguishing degrees of evil that we progressives will be able to help make the world a better place.


    Excellent point (none / 0) (#83)
    by todayslies on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 02:40:42 PM EST
    It is by recognizing and distinguishing degrees of evil that we progressives will be able to help make the world a better place.

    I couldn't agree more.


    Well.... (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:56:37 AM EST
    Watch O'reillys show, literally EVERY day he has some segment on naked women and he keeps on re-running the clips.

    No, thanks, not interested in giving him an audience. I'm doubting your "literally EVERY day" statement, though.

    But comparing him to guys like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly is a tad unfair, those guys don't distort, as Olbermann may do, they flatout lie, insult, and routinely play the fear card on their audience. The incite hate, period.

    You are comfortable giving him an audience. OK. But, he lies, too. See if you can find the archived story on his relationships at HuffPo. It was published there sometime last year. You may have a different opinion of his sexist attitudes after you read it.


    I guess I feel all sexist crap is.... (none / 0) (#92)
    by Shainzona on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 06:29:33 PM EST
    ...well, crap.  They're both two sides of the same coin.  One is - perhaps - more obvious and overt.  The Olber, er, I mean, the other is sneaky and angry and still achieves the same thing.  They hate women.

    And so neither should be allowed on the public airwaves.


    Really (none / 0) (#9)
    by maddog on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:26:21 AM EST
    Olberman has been doing this since he went on the air and you just think he has changed.  I guess it would be because he is criticizing the left now and not George Bush.  His act was okay then, but not now.  I don't get it.

    What are you even talking about? (none / 0) (#16)
    by Steve M on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:39:58 AM EST
    Rush Limbaugh is part of the left now?

    I assure you that you will find very few KO fans at this site.  And I'm fairly certain that Bob Somerby disliked him from the start.


    Really (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by maddog on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:14:04 AM EST
    The post was about how left leaning commentators are acting like the right leaning commentators that are/were despised.  Olberman has always been the same as Limbaugh.  There was never any centrist in him, nor any objectivity.  The post makes it sound like he has changed all of a sudden.

    Glad to hear that there aren't many KO fans here.


    No, there was a definitive date that (none / 0) (#59)
    by tigercourse on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:24:11 AM EST
    Olbermann started to change. And that was when he began doing special comments. He went from funny/smart/strident to a self satisfied, obsessive preacher pretty quickly. They should have never given him 10 minute blocks to rant and rave like Howard Beale.

    It helps the people who are paid to do it (none / 0) (#18)
    by lambert on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:49:19 AM EST

    So what's your point?

    I had not watched Olbermann since the primary, (none / 0) (#19)
    by Joelarama on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:52:12 AM EST
    and it just so happened that when I turned him on briefly, that Garofolo segment was on.  Talk about wingnut loony toons.

    I have been pleasantly surprised on the several occasions I have caught Rachel Maddow, however.  

    I like Maddow on the radio anyway (none / 0) (#21)
    by ruffian on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:01:18 AM EST
    I haven't watched her show yet - can't make myself watch MSNBC. I know Somerby takes her to task sometimes, but I think all in all she is better than most.

    Points in Maddow's favor: (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by DFLer on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:25:07 AM EST
    All points to be suffixed with "for the most part"  

    1. She does her research. I read in an interview that she reads for four hours daily, in preparation for her teevee show.

    2. She's smart and well-educated

    3. She does long, in-depth, non-sound-bite-length, interviews with her featured guests.

    4. She avoids filling her show completely with the echo chamber, ala Keith

    Points not in her favor:

    As Somerby points out, she does stray into group idiocy. Her show can also be often snarky and entertainment-value only - "not just a news/opinion program"


    She reads ... (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:37:01 AM EST
    four hours a day?


    Does she eat all her vegetables too?


    I read that she indeed DOES eat all of her (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by DFLer on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:47:01 AM EST
    vegetables as well!

    And makes her bed neatly every morning.

    Hell...she's young.


    Sorry, forgot to add (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by DFLer on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:47:53 AM EST
    "for the most part"

    Heh (none / 0) (#35)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:50:55 AM EST
    Meps Robot...I found the interview quote, fyi (none / 0) (#37)
    by DFLer on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:55:15 AM EST
    and I sit corrected! It's SIX HOURS!
    [neatness counts!]
    A typical weekday starts at 8 a.m. when she wakes up in her cozy New York apartment ("It's about the size of a van") that she shares with her partner, artist Susan Miklua, and works on her upcoming book on military issues. By 11 a.m., she's at Air America's studios, where she dedicates six hours to reading and downloading stories on the Internet for her two shows, both of which are almost entirely scripted.

    (from interview by media writer Neal Justin for Strib while Maddow was in the Cities for GOP convention)

    "reading and downloading" ... (none / 0) (#38)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:58:58 AM EST
    So it's probably only six minutes reading, five hours and 59 minutes downloading.



    heh back at ya... (none / 0) (#40)
    by DFLer on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:03:49 AM EST
    you thinks folks just download and don't read what they are downloading? I'm shocked!

    Shocked ... (none / 0) (#42)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:06:29 AM EST
    I'm a Maddow regular (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by brodie on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:34:54 AM EST
    viewer.  Early online booster of hers to get her own teevee show.  For the most part, she hasn't disappointed.

    As for some of dfler's points above:

    #3:  Her interviews (mostly of friendly guests), and KO's too, differ from the usual standard cable fare in that she allows the interviewee to complete the sentence and the thought; everywhere else, Tweety particularly, the interruption comes about 3 seconds in and never stops.  

    But as to length, one complaint I have is that both she and Keith largely stick to the standard 4-minute cable norm.  4 questions, 4 minute interview segments.  Like clockwork and a little too predictably circumscribed in the rigid format than I would prefer.

    #4:  My take on the slightly more diverse guest list for Rachel is that she has a far less confrontational and more welcoming approach than Keith and thus will tend to get more RW takers than Keith.  KO may well want to have contrary views on his show (or not, I don't know), but many conservative types may not want to have their rigid and extremist views challenged by the very smart and quick Cornell grad, who's also pretty well steeped in the facts.

    As for the "infotainment" quality of both shows, infotainer Keith sort of showed the way to success for Rachel -- 80% news/politics, 20% fluff.  The major difference between them is that she is not nearly as quick with a witty quip as Keith and her attempts at humor often seem corny and forced.

    No biggie though.  As Keith himself would have to acknowledge, even the Late Great Ed Murrow was a part-time entertainer ...  


    Sometimes... (none / 0) (#27)
    by Thanin on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:21:21 AM EST
    her interviews are pretty good.  She can be very insightful and shrewd, though like most in the media, she can suffer from CDS.

    You really think Maddow suffers from CDS?? (5.00 / 0) (#54)
    by ai002h on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:02:43 AM EST
    During the primaries she almost made it a point to not critique either Clinton or Obama, she basically focused on the republicans. I actually don't even know who she voted for in the primaries, no idea.

    Oh no, she clearly had it out for (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by tigercourse on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:11:29 AM EST
    Clinton. I'm sure she backed Obama. But she was nowhere near as bad as Olbermann.

    I don't know (5.00 / 3) (#60)
    by brodie on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:26:13 AM EST
    about RM suffering from CDS in the primaries, or quite as much as KO did, but back then I seem to recall from sampling her radio show that she did offer her fair share of anti-Clinton sentiments.  Some of this attitude spilled over into her teevee show as well, though to a lesser extent.

    For instance, she felt strongly in the pre-June 08 period that Hillary would not be dropping out but instead would make a fight for the nom all the way to the convention thus badly splitting the party for her own selfish reasons.  

    Overall though she was hardly much different from most of the AAR-affiliated librul talk show hosts on some stations we listen to where it was virtually wall-to-wall anti-Hillary from dawn to dusk.  Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz, Randi Rhodes, Rachel, all lined up against HRC and all or most also came out for Obama.  


    A necessary evil (none / 0) (#22)
    by samtaylor2 on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:06:17 AM EST
    We need highly entertaining people to combat there highly entertaining people- that too many people take seriously.  Otherwise, we will find even more "journalists" parroting the right even more then they already do.  

    The problem is that just balancing idiocy will not right this country, but it will slow its decline.  

    Idiocy does not cancel out (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by ruffian on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:23:37 AM EST
    It accumulates.

    We don't need more of it, we need less.


    Yes, but (5.00 / 0) (#34)
    by samtaylor2 on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:48:44 AM EST
    The conservative echo chamber ate away the Clinton's attempts to better this country.  I really believe that if we had Olberman, John Stewart (who sadly does some of the better "reporting") and others, Clinton could have done many more of the things he wanted to do.  

    Of course the other side of this argument is that this country wouldn't need this balance if journalists did their job and ignored the echo chamber.


    During the primaries (none / 0) (#36)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:52:23 AM EST
    Olbermann wasn't any better to "the Clintons" than any right-winger.  Hey may have been worse, because he is perceived as a leftie.  And you know if a Leftie says something bad about the Clintons, it must be true.

    Go back and search on "Clinton" and "special comment"


    Believe it or not (5.00 / 0) (#39)
    by samtaylor2 on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:00:08 AM EST
    Stuff happened before the primaries that we can look at.

    It sounds like the reason you don't like Olbermann is not because he is a gas bag, but because he is a gas bag that called the secretary of state the worst person in the world?  If he had called Obama the worst person in the world, would that make him a better gas bag?

    I just happen to think that the sad fact is that we need entertaining gas bags to combat there entertaining gas bags.   Maybe someday, we can get all of them in a room and light a match.


    A gas bag is a gas bag. (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Fabian on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:14:43 AM EST
    Olbermann seems to have found his audience and he'll pander to it just as blatantly as Limbaugh does.  

    Those various audiences will think that the words that drop from their heroes' lips are either pure genius and the Truth(tm)!  We can keep real Journalism alive so they will have an alternative to stumble upon.


    How? (none / 0) (#45)
    by samtaylor2 on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:28:42 AM EST
    Outside of watching PBS- the News Hour (which is great), reading The Times and the Post, how?  (serious question)

    I want to be clear- I despise this type of journalism.  I don't watch Olberman, I sometimes watch Maddow- I really do like her.  She seems the most intellectually "honest" of the lot.


    Both Rachel and Keith are flawed (none / 0) (#49)
    by brodie on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:47:39 AM EST
    broadcasters, but they still have the two best news/politics shows on teevee.

    PBS?  Sorry, but Lehrer never seriously challenges his RW/MSM/MIC guests -- not his style he sez -- and the in-house "liberal" Mark Shields is just the Beltway Establishment's idea of an ideal liberal -- i.e., a sort of half a tick to the left version of David Broder who doesn't want to rock the boat.

    Olbermann I've forgiven for his wild CDS -- after 4-5 months of boycotting his show in the primaries and some post-primary sessions with a friendly understanding therapist lady.  Strangely enough though, given his bizarrely emotional on-air behavior in the thick of the primary season, he hasn't turned into a complete dittohead for Obama.  Questions over the pace of the Iraq pullout and Afghanistan potential quagmire, and failure by this admin to be enthusiastic about investigating Bush admin crimes have been areas where he's not been completely in the tank, to his credit.  


    I find that I learn stuff when I watch PBS (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by samtaylor2 on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:37:59 AM EST
    The other networks just offer opinions (that I agree with or disagree with).  

    PBS probably does better (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by brodie on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:02:39 PM EST
    (I would guess, since I'm no longer a viewer) than the cable outlets in terms of consistent foreign coverage.  

    With the evening MSNBC shows, unless it's the occasional war piece about Iraq or Afghanistan or a major Mumbai terror incident, the rest of the world doesn't get covered.

    As for the News Hour, I miss the former co-host Rbt MacNeil who, if dim memory serves, offered slightly more skeptical questioning of droning, spinning guests than the all-too accommodating and sleep-inducing Jim Lehrer. (of course, I've liked MacNeil ever since I read about his worthy reportorial activities in Dallas ...)  


    No (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:55:22 AM EST
    You missed my point altogether.  You were talking about all the horrible criticism of the Clintons by the right.  I'm telling you that it was not just from the right.  The left went after the Clintons for exactly the same issues as the right, and Keith the scum/gas bag Olbermann was front and center in doing it.  And the next time any Clinton runs for office, the vile filthy lefties will spew just like the vile, filthy righties do.

    You were distorting facts.  I was correcting you.  It has nothing to do with Obama.  To you, it was okay for the left to hate the Clintons, spewing vile right wing talking points, but only for the primaries?  The rest of the time, it isn't okay for anyone to do it?  Why is it okay for the left, but not for the right?


    The mistake the Clinton's made in the 90's (none / 0) (#52)
    by ruffian on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:00:13 AM EST
    was to ignore Rush, thinking that not dignifying him with a response was the way to beat him.

    The response has to come from the politicians themselves, not from competing idiotic gasbags on the left that get only a 10th of the attention that Rush gets. That's why I heartily applaud the White House's current Rush strategy. Apparently Rahm learned a thing or two in the 90's.


    I disagree (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 02:05:52 PM EST
    Once a politician gets into it with media personalities by responding to all but the most outrageous comment, they lose the argument.  The media personality has a forum where they can say whatever they want and rebut any attack.  A politician can't keep saying whatever they want, because at some point it will bite them in the a$$.

    You start playing on Rush's turf, you lose.  The Dems are stupid on this one.


    But the point of this diary (none / 0) (#81)
    by DFLer on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 02:26:35 PM EST
    is that in the 90's it was not only Rush and Fox that sought to bring down Clinton, but also Tweety, Down, the NYT  etc. etc.

    Dare I say that Mr. Somerby might agree with me?


    I disagree (none / 0) (#25)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:19:11 AM EST
    "Balancing the idiocy" not slowing the decline - it's helping the decline, since people are listening to these fools on both ends of the spectrum to get "news" and we end up further apart because no one really knows what's going on besides spin and lies.

    KO and Maddow (none / 0) (#44)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:23:13 AM EST
    I don't think Rachel is any better although it would be nice to see KO include himself in his worst person of the world segments.

    Much Sarcasm 'N Behaving Childishly.

    Garafalo is a fool (none / 0) (#48)
    by Spamlet on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:45:20 AM EST
    Again and again, on radio and TV, she has given clear evidence that she's incapable of rational argument, and probably of coherent thought. She and the other Limbaughs of the left have no politics, only hysterically promulgated "positions."

    Making too much of nothing (none / 0) (#58)
    by politicalleft on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:14:39 AM EST
    Without strong media, politics of any party cannot be reached to the target.
    MSNBC is politically critical for liberals.
    Keith tried to make fun of Rush. I did watched it, I did not take anything seriously. They are just rants. Its ok for once in a while.
    Dont try to attempt a sucide here.
    Stop going after Keith/Chris/Rachel trio. They are part exposing Right for last 2 years.

    Guests (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by misterwonderful on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:44:19 AM EST
    Why won't Keith have anyone on who challenges him?

    My Incomparable Hero (none / 0) (#77)
    by oldpro on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 01:52:34 PM EST
    95% of the time:  Bob Somerby

    A first? (none / 0) (#78)
    by elrapido on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 01:52:58 PM EST
    While my feeling on what Keith Olbermann has become (in essence an O'Reilly for the Left)

    You and I don't much agree, BTD, but I am 100% with you here.  I haven't been able to stomach O'Reilly for some time, but I still get some laughs from Olbermann.  We'll see how long it lasts.  I do think that I see one difference in them: Olbermann strikes me as a true believer, while O'Reilly is a fraud.

    Olberman was pure,unadulterated gold (1.00 / 3) (#89)
    by jondee on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 03:45:18 PM EST
    around these environs until the treacherous usurper turned on Our Lady in the primaries. Ditto, Im guessing for Jeneane.

    Here's a thought: how abour making an adult command decision to get the eff over it?


    You are lying (none / 0) (#93)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:47:39 PM EST
    More Likely (none / 0) (#95)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:54:10 PM EST
    Mistaken, imo.

    Then I'm mistaken too (none / 0) (#96)
    by 1980Ford on Fri Mar 06, 2009 at 12:09:56 AM EST
    and will watch KO if and when I want to.

    Lying (none / 0) (#99)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 11:23:30 AM EST
    I have had this discussion on THIS point with jondee before.

    I did not use the word lightly.


    You are authoritarian (none / 0) (#97)
    by jondee on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 11:20:50 AM EST
    and apparently congenitally incapable of tolerating dissenting views or even gracefully criticizing them.

    I was responding to fearless leader (none / 0) (#98)
    by jondee on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 11:21:52 AM EST
    You were lying about (none / 0) (#101)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 11:24:53 AM EST
    me, not responding to me.

    You lied (none / 0) (#100)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 07, 2009 at 11:24:27 AM EST
    I said so.

    What's your beef? you want to lie with impunity?

    BTW, authoritarian? Please do not cheapen the meaning of words.


    I forgot: (none / 0) (#102)
    by jondee on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:32:53 PM EST
    you weren't here for the Olberman-Bonaroo Love Fest of '06 and '07. You missed a helluva a show, man.

    And you'll excuse me if I could give a rats as* who you think is "lying". A liar is anyone who strenuously disagrees with you.


    No (none / 0) (#103)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 12:34:25 PM EST
    A liar is anyone who tells deliberate untruths. As you have yet again.

    Somerby's comparison (none / 0) (#94)
    by daphne on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:28:17 PM EST
    Admittedly, and for disclosure purposes, I don't like the man. Reading his quotes on this blog entry reminds me why. His statement that Olbermann is the liberal O'Reilly, or Limbaugh, is backed up by the assertion that both (or all3) invent lies to push. No, O'Reilly and Limbaugh invent lies. Olbermann neither does nor does he need to.