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On the afternoon before the first GOP debate, White House correspondent Les Kinsolving asked Bush Press Secretary Tony Snow for reaction to MSNBC having Keith Olbermann co-host MSNBC's pre-debate and post-debate coverage of the event. Tony graciously side-stepped the question. The Republican Party, however, must take a closer look at the issue after the utterly deplorable, viciously negative jihad waged against Republicans by Keith Olbermann and his crew. As a site the wallows in the mire that is Keith Olbermann's brand of psuedo-journalism even we found ourselves shocked at Olbermann's behavior and saddened to witness the further debasement of a once proud broadcast news division.
After the debate on Friday, the Associated Press asks Can Keith Olbermann straddle the line between news and opinion?. To AP's credit they are at least asking a question the GOP should have asked BEFORE Thursday. In fact, this is the first MSM story we have seen that has even asked the question whether it is appropriate for Keith Olbermann to be co-hosting MSNBC's election coverage given his strident, anti-GOP credentials. It's about time MSNBC be recognized for what it is - a propaganda outlet for the Democratic Party. I am not recommending that Republicans emulate the Democrats who ran away from a debate sponsored by Fox News Channel with their tails between their legs but its time to start calling a spade a spade. And I sure hope some friend can take Joe Scarborough, Tucker Carlson and Pat Buchanan aside and ask them just how badly they need that check from NBC to willingly be part of the journalistic farce that MSNBC has become.
As the AP article makes clear, the people running MSNBC are PART OF the problem.
Olbermann knows to leave his opinions at home when he anchors events, said Phil Griffin, NBC News senior vice president. "Keith's an adult," Griffin said. "He can tell when it's appropriate to express himself in a commentary and when to be a journalist. That's one of his strengths. He knows exactly the tone and his role when he's doing anything."...For the most part, he introduced interviews and questioned MSNBC analysts on their own opinions of how the debate went.
Really? Take a look at this montage of clips from the pre-debate and post-debate telecast on MSNBC. Keith goes negative from the opening bell, the debate is teased as a chance to watch a "live on stage" meltdown of support for President Bush, Chuck "anti-war war hero" Hagel who has zero support among the Republican base is positioned as a "shadow" looming over the debate, Arnold Schwarzenegger is presented as object lesson for Republicans because he has governed as a "moderate", Andrea Mitchell joins the KO chorus claiming Rudy Guiliani "has very little to commend himself" other than his persona as "America's mayor connected to 9/11", the first question from Keith to the handful of candidates willing to sit still for an interview with Olbermann (Brownback, Huckabee, Tancredo, Hunter) is "were you making a veiled criticism of President Bush's conduct of the war in Iraq" (answer each time was "no"). It's worth noting that none of the major candidates agreed to be interviewed by MSNBC.
The full nature of this absolutely disgraceful performance comes about 4 minutes into this clip when Keith runs a scripted piece called "Redefining Conservatism" which asks "what the heck is conservatism" (as if Keith is the guy to ask) and takes as axiomatic that all Republicans are conservatives (so much for libertarians, moderates, cloth-coat Republicans, Lincoln Republicans, northeast Republicans, or even Reagan Democrats or southern conservative Democrats). Incredibly, Keith actually appears to be pining for the good old days of Barry Goldwater's 1964 campaign and favorably quotes Grover Norquist.
The nadir of the coverage appears about 4 minutes into the video montage below - the insertion of the infamous video of a 100-year old woman being beaten mercilessly by a mugger as Keith reads "today after six years of self-professed conservative leadership violent crime is on the rise". The message from the prepared piece is clear: when he is not busy killing our troops and putting Americans in concentration camps, President Bush is beating up old ladies in the hallway.
Now, what was that Phil Griffin was saying about Keith knowing to "leave his opinions at home when he anchors events". Uh....yeah, right.
Video: 7 min 30 sec
Having Olbermann anchor _ as he will continue, with Matthews, for big political nights throughout the campaign _ is the MSNBC equivalent of Fox News Channel assigning the same duties to O'Reilly. Fox has never done that, perhaps mindful of the immediate controversy that would result. Fox has tried to differentiate between its news operation and its prime-time opinion shows, even as its critics believe strongly that's bunk. In this case, MSNBC doesn't try to separate news and opinion people, even as it tries to separate news and opinion. "We're not hiding from it," Griffin said. "We're saying he can do both."
As Chris Matthews would say..."Ha!"