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One of the readers who commented on my first post questioned whether I considered Keith Olbermann to be a "journalist". I had made a reference to how Olbermann sometimes crosses the line between "journalist and commentator". Is he a "journalist" in the truest sense of the word? Probably not. Perhaps we should adopt the British term "presenter" here in America. I'd be more comfortable with that. But there are bigger issues here than simply the terminology.
Do viewers have ANY sources for truly impartial reporting? Consider that question carefully. Fox News, CNN, the major networks; don't they all, at least occasionally, force the viewer into an active mode and make them search out other versions of a story to help them determine "objectivity"? I'm not certain that's a bad thing. I believe television viewers (especially those who search out news and information telecasts) have become "smarter" over the years and their options have obviously multiplied. Simply put, Americans have gotten smarter.
Think back to Hurricane Katrina. Do you know anybody who didn't hop from channel to channel, just to see how each news entity was covering the disaster? I don't recall a single reporter/anchor/presenter/journalist who didn't make it very obvious that they felt the government's handling of the situation, both before and after the storm hit, was an unmitigated disgrace. Would you have wanted it any other way?
Broadcasting is a game of personality, presentation, style and content. Each network, each person on the air, is striving to stand out and make an impression in the eyes of the viewer. With the huge amount of news and information content on cable (not to mention the Internet ), it's sadly difficult to find a profitable niche by promoting a product that promises "just the facts". Viewers may SAY that's what they want, but that's not what the majority will ultimately watch.
Keith has created a niche. His viewers obviously appreciate what he's doing and that's what it takes; a way to stand out from the crowd. I'm sure there are many passionate viewers who inhale every syllable Keith utters and proclaim him the "ultimate journalist". That's just as wrong as those who believe everything he says and does on the air is tantamount to treason. I watch Countdown because it approaches issues from a different perspective than most of the other news and/or information programs on the air. I watch the other programs, too, to get a "feel" for the way the issues are being reported elsewhere.
I believe there are many, many, others who watch, listen AND think. Americans HAVE gotten smarter.