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In advance of the AFL-CIO debate, the Mainstream Media is down on their knees in their adoration of the Olbermonster. The LA Times, Chicago Sun-Times, and TV Guide are breathless in their worship and devotion to the notorious Keith Olbermann. And Olby is only too happy to talk about his favorite subject, himself.
To TV Guide, Olbermann insists he's a newsguy.
It's a little different from my experiences with news coverage, but you can't miss an opportunity like this. I think it's also the price--and I mean this in a positive light--of putting myself in the political arena with my commentaries. The authenticity of those commentaries is, in some respects, achieved by doing things like this, and involving myself in the political process in a way that's hands-on.
News coverage? Keith covers the news? Hmmm. I thought his fans insisted he wasn't really a news anchor despite Olbermann's insistence and the networks, that he is. And yes Keith, you've certainly involved yourself in the political process with those commentaries but is that something that real journalists are supposed to do? No, of course not. But does the interviewer from TV Guide follow up and ask about that? Of course not. But Olby goes on to interject himself once again in the "political process" at least in so far as it involves the Democrats in the following exchange:
TVGuide.com: Thanks to some differences in how they'd approach foreign policy, things have started to get heated between Clinton and Obama. Do you believe the verbal jabs will continue to fly during the forum? Olbermann: I think cooler heads will prevail. The irony to all this is that the quotes that the Obama people put out to point out that Senator Clinton had said the same things regarding dealing with unfriendly nations that he did during the debate was from an interview I did with Senator Clinton. So I've already gotten involved in this. I think that helps in terms of cutting through the name calling and getting back to the substance. You want illumination. The natural inclination of television is to go for heat. I'm much more interested in light.
He's joking right? Keith "Special Education Komment" Olbermann is interested in the light? Keith "I never have an opposing view on my show" Olbermann's only interest is in shedding light on the political process? Yeah, right, sure. Again, no follow up from TV Guide which lets Olby get away with his own back-patting. So let's move on to the Chicago Sun-Times. Surely they'll ask Olby the tough questions right? Wrong.
Doug Elfman, the paper's television writer insists that the Olby factor has "boosted" MSNBC. To what? Third place in the oh-so-important, coveted demo? And that's on a good night? Again, no actual proof that Olby is a ratings-success, just the usual MSM tactic, repeat and rinse and maybe it will come true. Olby repeats the usual tripe, including how O'Reilly writes half his material for him. Well that part is certainly true as Olbermann insists on working the much more successful O'Reilly into as many nightly broadcasts as he can. But there's no follow up or questions about why Olbermann is so obsessed with O'Reilly or mention that O'Reilly's 3 a.m. repeat gets higher ratings than Countdown's first broadcast. Oh no, Olby is up 72% in viewers says Elfman! Yeah well, when you start with 0 viewers and you gain a few hundred, yeah, that's a ratings increase. But it's not a win. Just saying.
And Elfman's own biases are clearly revealed in the following in which he interjects his own liberal bias with choice quotes from Olby:
Conservatives tend to say the media is liberal, but Olbermann heads the only lefty show on broadcast or cable news. (Olbermann once described himself not as a liberal, but as an American.) "I'm surprised that nobody has tried to come in and snake my turf," he says, especially since "Countdown" earns "a good deal of money." He disagrees with the theory corporate leaders are too conservative to air more lefties. "If tomorrow Rupert Murdoch woke up ... and it had come to him in a dream he could make twice as much money by turning Fox News Channel into a liberal operation, he would do it." (I agree.)
It's so nice to know you agree Mr. Elfman. I'm sure America was breathlessly awaiting your opinion on Fox News vs. Olbermann. But at least you got one thing right, Olby's show is a lefty love fest, but is there any questioning of why such bias in a news anchor is wrong? No, of course not. And Keith? Perhaps no one has come in to "snake" your "turf" because your little stunts haven't exactly generated the ratings that you and your Mainstream Media buddies want the public to believe it has.
But let's let Olby have the last word in the interview with Elfman.
"A certain amount of suspended logic goes into being an enthusiast for anything."
No kidding Keith. I guess that's why Elfman couldn't tell the real story about your biases or your ratings.
So now it's on to the LA Times and another adoring profile by Paul Brownfield, that wins the award for the most adoring profile of Olbermann of the day, complete with a headline which proclaims that Countdown is growing (growing in what we have no idea) and churns out the opening paragraph:
More than any other news show on cable, MSNBC's "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" is us.
Speak for yourself Mister Brownfield. At least Brownfield gets this part right but in typical MSM style, sees nothing wrong with Olbermann's approach:
In the process, Olbermann has developed a new brand -- the leftist firebrand of cable news, taking on O'Reilly (in rhetoric if not ratings) and the Bush administration in verbose, breathlessly written editorials that get passed around like munchies on various TV news websites. If Jon Stewart's withering, foxhole buffoonery is by popular conception a primary news source, then "Countdown" is Stewart's "Daily Show" done with a straight face. To Stewart's "correspondents" Olbermann has a coterie of reporters, columnists and bloggers under contract to play themselves, but nonconfrontationally and un-ironically. They're his salon of Beltway observers, and they typically confirm what Olbermann, you can tell, has already been thinking. The effect is of an interested observer getting his perspective honed by better-connected observer-friends like the Washington Post's Dana Milbank and Newsweek's Richard Wolffe. On "Countdown," there is no back and forth -- just forth.
There's so much that is so wrong with what Brownfield wrote above, completely without any accompanying analysis or actual questioning of Olbermann that I don't even know where to begin. But it's just another example of the inherent biases of the MSM when it comes to Olby. No questioning, no analysis, just love, praise, adoration, and worship as they continue to try and peddle the ridiculous notion that Olby is somehow a "ratings success".
But the LA Times does contain a startling claim from Olbermann.
"I had a conversation with the large people at CBS before they went and decided to go to Katie Couric," he said. "We sat at length talking about this. They had a mixture of greedy appreciation and suspicion about whether or not anything like this, you know, how could you do a 'Countdown' show on the 'CBS Evening News.' Well, of course you couldn't. Now." He described the meeting -- how he'd told CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves and then-CBS News President Andrew Hayward all that ailed the nightly news. "Everybody does two or three minutes of a dimwitted feature" at the end of the broadcast, Olbermann recounted telling them. "There's some feature I can live without. . . . Give me two of those minutes and on the way in and out of each commercial break, we can customize the stuff, it will look to people like a revolutionary new version. It will look like an SUV with three wheels somehow supporting the weight, but burning only half the gas, and moving at 90 mph effortlessly, you know, spewing lilacs out the exhaust pipe.. . . "And Mr. Moonves and Mr. Hayward left and that was the last of it," he added.
CBS may be crazy, after all they put up with Dan Rather's craziness for years but at least they weren't crazy enough to hire Olby and let him Countdownize their news broadcast. But Olby really wants us to believe he was seriously in the running for the CBS news anchor job? But does Brownfield fact-check this claim? Of course not. Instead, he lets Olby push this ridiculous notion:
You're not gonna get much of an argument out of me in suggesting that this is the sort of thing that should be on a national broadcast," Olbermann said, when I noted, as others have in print, that "Countdown" is the hybrid future of broadcast network news.
So if Olby can't even make a success out of his third (and sometimes fourth) rated cable newscast, how the heck does he think he's going to make it a broadcast network success? Ah, but Olby's ego knows no bounds and the media, as apparent from the three fawning articles above, doesn't know how to ask the hard questions when it comes to the infamous, deplorable, Keith Olbermann.