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After Olbermannwatch exclusively revealed that Playboy magazine had solicited a favorable fan letter when deluged with anti-Olbermann letters, the story drew big attention from a number of media sites. A flood of websites TVNewser, MediaBistroFishbowl NYC, Inside Cable News, Gawker, Jossip, Huffington Post, Newsbusters, and finally, the NY Daily News (Page Six). picked up on the story-they too were shocked that a major magazine would attempt to prop up the decidely unpopular opinionator who disguses himself as a journalist and his biased tv program as a "news show". While ">Playboy and the post">fanatical fan tried to justify their actions, they were chided by Inside Cable News which had this to say about the whole debacle:
Playboy solicits opposing feedback to balance negative reaction to Olbermann interview - Eyebrows were raised this week by the news Playboy openly solicited feedback in opposition to the negative feedback that came in to its Keith Olbermann interview. The feedback you get is the feedback you get. To then look for different feedback because the feedback you got isn't what you expected or wanted smacks of activism to me.
But who else responded to the whole Playboy debacle? Why none other than the infamous, deplorable, clearly biased, Democratic waterboy, Keith Olbermann. Using his new mouthpiece, as a Daily Kos Blogger, Olbermann decided the entire thing was the fault of Olbermannwatch!
Normally I let this stuff go, but if you read said letters, you'll note they each hit one of the five or six talking points of an obscure website devoted to trying to annoy me it's actually so bad it's good).Playboy got played.
Many thanks Keith! But since it is Olbermannwatch's mission to shed light on the deplorable biases and lies of Keith Olbermann, we have to correct a few things he said in his statement. First off, Olbermannwatch gets far more daily hits (traffic) than ANY of Olbermann's fan sites. Secondly, we have more posters than ANY of Olbermann's pathetic fan sites. And thirdly, I defy you to find a single "campaign" that encouraged anyone to send letters into Playboy to protest the interview he gave with the magazine. It doesn't exist. The points raised in the letters to the editor were all true. Note that Olbermann doesn't argue with the veracity of anything that was said about him in those letters to the editor. He can't. They were all true. People raise those "talking points" about you Keith because you keep making the same stupid mistakes over and over. But leave it to Olbermann to explain all of that awa by falling back on that old, all-purpose liberal excuse, "It's a conspiracy against me". On the contrary Keith, no one solicited anyone to write anything. Except of course, Playboy soliciting your little fan to write a suitably fawning letter propping you up. A question still remains however. How in the world did Playboy find that particular, truly obscure fansite to solicit a letter from? Hmmm. Could they have received a tip say from. . . Keith Olbermann? Oh Playboy got played alright, but it wasn't by this website or any of Keith's "enemies". And enemies to Mr. Olbermann of course means anyone who doesn't fall down at his feet and worship him as a God like the Kos Kids do.
But when it comes to playing someone, the Olbermannwatch readers know all about Olbermann's history when it comes to tipping off writers and bloggers when he wants to spin a story his way. Why take his latest interview with Men's Journal. TVNewser, a longtime Olbermann mouthpiece, carried this snipped of the Olbermann interview:
(Men's Journal) cites a senior executive at MSNBC, who says, "Keith runs MSNBC. It's been an amazing turnaround, because two years ago they were going to cancel him. Because of his success, he's in charge. Chris Matthews is infuriated by it."
Well that didn't sit too well with Olby who fired back that night on Countdown with this remark, ". . based on an anonymous, inaccurate quote by somebody at MSNBC who claimed I run this network. A guy who was fired not long after he said that. Coincidence! Coincidence!"
Or was it?
To its credit, TVNewser did try to figure out who the anonymous executive was who gave that particular quote to Men's Journal. And curiously, TVN got a tip that said this about the identity of the person that gave the quote to Men's Journal:
An anonymous emailer wrote: "The anon source in Men's Journal was Davidson Goldin."
Hmmm. An Anonymous tipster huh? Well, that "anonymous" tip resulted in this response from Goldin himself who told TVN,
I've heard Men's Journal is a great magazine, but I've never read the magazine, nor have I spoken to a reporter from Men's Journal. Nor have I ever spoken to any reporter about Keith Olbermann. The item you posted is completely false, and it was irresponsible to post that item without contacting me first.
Now that's a denial! But that denial resulted in yet another tip from a network "insider".
It's clear that somebody currently working at MSNBC talked out of school to Men's Journal and is now trying to pin this on people who aren't there anymore
Somebody working at MSNBC trying to set the record straight? How unlike them! But Spud at Inside Cable News noticed something odd with all of these quotes and "anonymous sources".
I don't think many people picked up on this from reading TVNewser's entry, what may have gotten lost in all this is, according to the TVN timeline as it's written, that anonymous tip came before Olbermann's on the air swipe (at Fox News for reporting the bit about Olbermann's running the network). And that detail is one that suggests an interesting pattern. A very interesting pattern
Well that resulted in a few posts on ICN asking Spud what exactly was he talking about. And this is what he posted as further clarification.
I've gotten a few emails on this asking me what exactly I'm refering to. I thought it was rather evident but apparently it wasn't.I was referring to the timing (anonymous quote first going to TVN and then later on Olbermann's on-air spiel). Nothing definitive can be concluded from this but it's coincidental enough to raise a flag for me.
Olbermann giving an anonymous tip to TVN--why who would have thunk? Well Olbermannwatch readers now the score on Olbermann's tips to the likes of TVN and his constant attempts to cozy up to certain websites and media types to spin stories his way. After all, Olbermann IS his own best publicist and media tipster when it comes to trying to pin the blame on others and spin news HIS way! Yep, that's just how Edward R. Murrow did it, isn't it?
"COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN" (8:00 P.M.-9:00 P.M. ET)
Last word from Keith is that his Big Return is tenatively set for tomorrow. That comes to us from TVNewser. Speaking of TVNewser, they did a bit of a hasty flip-flop today...
It's only a matter of time before TVN tumbles to the fact that they left the old version on the server for everyone to see. So when that link goes dead, we'll still have the screengrabs:
On September 8th here at Olbermannwatch, we documented how the "new" TVNewser was a lot like the old TVNewer, but even worse and less reputable if that was humanly possible. Chris continues in the great tradition of the now departed Brian Setzer in pimping MSNBC in general and Keith Olbermann in particular every chance he gets. Today's edition has this breathless PR release from MSNBC:
Olbermann's Win A Surprise Even Inside MSNBC: Phil Griffin knew it would happen, he just didn't think it would happen this quickly. On Friday night, MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann was the top-rated cable news show in the 25-54 demo. That means Olbermann beat his cable rival, FNC's The O'Reilly Factor and its host Bill O'Reilly. That's a first. O'Reilly and all the FNC primetime programs still dominate the total viewer numbers. So why is the demo win such a big deal? "It's everything, the demo is everything. It's where we make our money," said Griffin. And the Olbermann bump helps. "For years MSNBC struggled to find someone to be the tent pole and lead the way," Griffin says. "In 11+ years, I don't think there has been a better moment."Griffin should know, he helped start MSNBC and watched as FNC shot past CNN to #1 where it remains today. And he says Bill O'Reilly rightly gets a lot of the credit. "O'Reilly did it for Fox in 1999, and helped take it to where it is today." But, he adds, "It's clear now, it's a two-person race."
There's just so much wrong with this post that we're going to break it down piece-by-piece for you.
UPDATED with feedback from Inside Cable News!
Phil Griffin knew it would happen, he just didn't think it would happen this quickly. "The real insight I had was over the summer," said Griffin, the NBC News senior VP who manages the Today show as well as MSNBC. Griffin tells TVNewser, Olbermann "maintained his core audience, so when the mass viewers came back after Labor Day...it's just surprising it happened so quickly."
Phil Griffin for those of you who don't know is an old buddy of Olbermann's. The pair worked together at CNN during Olbermann's first stint there. He's also the "genius" who was responsible for firing Don Imus. Hey Phil, ratings guru, programming genius--how's that working out for you over there at MSNBC? Yeah that "Morning Joe" is really bringing in the viewers isn't it?
Now let's go to this next bit of fiction shall we?
On Friday night, MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann was the top-rated cable news show in the 25-54 demo. That means Olbermann beat his cable rival, FNC's The O'Reilly Factor and its host Bill O'Reilly. That's a first.That certainly sounds impressive, only it's not true. You see, TVNewser and MSNBC are using "Live Plus" ratings meaning the count includes both those who watched the program live as it aired and those who recorded it on a DVR or TIVO device. Of course there is no proof whatsoever that anyone actually bothers to go back and watch what they recorded on a DVR or TIVO. I know I've got movies sitting on my TIVO that I recorded over a year ago. But here's the difference those Live Plus Numbers can make and the misleading impressions they can lead to, impressions that the MSNBC PR machine which includes their willing flack, TVNewser don't bother to explain:
On Friday, September 7th, using the Live Nielsen data (available at Inside Cable News), Bill O'Reilly scored 1,861,000 total viewers; Olbermann? 702,000. That means that in all age groups, O'Reilly had a total of 1,159,000 more viewers than Olbermann did. Using "Live Plus", O'Reilly scored 1,885,000 total viewers; Olbermann? 856,000. A difference of 1,029,000. So in what bizarro world do you have a million more viewers, on average, than your nearest competitor and still be considered a loser? Oh yeah, right. The MSNBC PR department and TV Newser.
So let's go look at those coveted demos too shall we? On Friday night, September 7th, using the Live data, The Factor had 311,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo. Olbermann? 269,000. Victory? It belonged to Bill O'Reilly. But using those "Live Plus"? Bill had 324,000; Olbermann had 365,000. Keep in mind there is absolutely no proof whatsoever anyone who recorded Olbermann's opinion-fest actually bothered to watch the show later, they just recorded it.
Now we don't fault MSNBC for trying to use the best possible set of numbers to spin Olbermann's program as a "hit". That's why Public Relations departments exist after all. And we all know that Olbermann has one huge, King-Kong Style ego. But TVNewser really should rebrand himself as MSNBC/NBC/CNBC Newser if he's going to continue to post these articles without any analysis. He's even being called out for his pitiful efforts by other television industry websites for lifting items without attribution and for buying into such PR releases without providing the needed and necessary analysis that real journalists use. But perhaps Chris doesn't really understand what true journalism is. After all, his last job was at, you guessed it, MSNBC. Which is rather suprising that he chose to post the following comment on his blog from the Fox PR flack:
When asked to comment for this story, Fox News spokesperson Irena Briganti wrote, "Does Mediabistro know you're on two payrolls â€” MSNBC's and theirs?(of course, I haven't been on MSNBC's payroll since I left the company in January.)"
Inside Cable News continues to do a fine job questioning TVN on the "facts": This is a bit overdramatic. Can we please have some perspective here? It was one win in the Demo (based on Live+SD ratings and not Live ratingsâ€¦more on that later in another post). Just one win. But the positive PR eminating out of Secaucus is disproportionately high... . at the same time this is hardly the time to be doing cartwheels and cracking open the champagne either. Not over one dayâ€™s ratings to be sure. Iâ€™ve said it before and Iâ€™ll say it again. For a trend you need long term data.
We had some hope there for TVNewser for awhile. After young Brian departed to become a toady at the NY Times, there was an opportunity for TVNewser to stop the shilling for NBC/MSNBC/CNBC and actually become a first-rate blog devoted to reporting news within the television industry. Alas, all hopes have now been dashed. Not only did TVN decide to hire a former MSNBCer for the job, they also decided to bring on hacks like Gail Shister, who has a certain history of altering stories especially where Keith Olbermann is concerned.
The latest adventure in TVN "journalism" is their swiping of a story from another industry website, FTVLive.com. FTV is a subscription only site so we'll leave it to Inside Cable News to explain what went down:
FTVLive rips TVNewser for ripping it off without attribution. . .Yesterday FTVLive reported FIRST that CNBC lawyers were planning on filing papers with New York Supreme Court Today (Yesterday) to try an obtain an emergency injunction in order to keep Eric Bolling from appearing on Fox News Channel. Six hours after FTVLive posted that story, TVNewser writes " We hear the case of former CNBC Fast Money contributor Eric Bolling is back in court today." Gee Chris. . . Where did you hear that from? FTVLive maybe? Tisk tisk. . .
If that weren't bad enough, TVN insists that Keith Olbermann is a ratings success! On August 31, TVN posted this item:
Close Call in the Demo for Olbermann If you kept an eye on the cable ratings charts from this week, you may have noticed a narrower gap between Countdown with Keith Olbermmann and The O'Reilly Factor in the 25-54 demo. On Monday there was a 15,000 viewer gap; on Wednesday just 6,000. Many emailers have opined that the closeness is based on viewer sampling from Olbermann's NBC network appearance Sunday night. Others have written that it's because O'Reilly was off this week. An MSNBC insider tells TVNewser "Countdown has been gaining steam for months, it gets better and better creatively and viewers recognize that." We still have Thursday's and Friday's numbers yet to come to determine if there's any trend.
But did TVN analyze the numbers to see if there was a trend? Nope! Did TVN mention that O'Reilly was on vacation that week? Again, the answer is no! Journalism at its finest Ladies and Gents! But wait. . . . there's more! On Friday, September 7th, TVN breathlessly posted the following:
The 8pm Cable Picture Comes Into Focus Last night, Countdown with Keith Olbermann came within 19,000 viewers of The O'Reilly Factor in the 25-54 demo. Countdown beat The Factor in the first two quarter hours. Countdown had 408,000 demo viewers from 8-8:30, The Factor had 373,000 (live+ same-day DVR). In total viewers last night, O'Reilly still more than doubled Olbermann's audience.
That little claim is being challenged by Spud at Inside Cable News: September 7, 2007
Premature prognostications. . . TVNewser writes that Countdown came close to beating The O'Reilly Factor last night and broke out quarter hour numbers as evidence. I'm not convinced of the persuasiveness of this entry. Using quarter hours as a benchmark seems like shaky methodology to me at best. O'Reilly still won the hour so it really doesn't matter what Countdown did for select 15 minute segments, does it? And this really doesn't change anything. The Factor continues to regularly beat Countdown in The Demo. TVNewser paints the Demo battle as getting closer, but the data is inconclusive at best. Countdown may be having a good week but it's still just one week. Ratings trends need to be measured in the long term. Only time will tell whether Countdown is on the upswing vs. The Factor or this is just a temporary blip on the ratings radar. I would be interested in seeing a chart with long term Live+SD data (TVN uses Live+SD so that's why I refer to it) for the two programs to accurately gauge what's going on with the Live+SD ratings for the two programs.
See TVN? That's how it's done. You post numbers, you analyze the numbers, and you consider what other factors may be contributing to a bump in the ratings. Is that really so hard to do? Or is it just easier to post the press releases that MSNBC sends you and the "anonymous" emails from the PR types and no doubt Olbermann himself trumpeting his "ratings success".
They really should rebrand TVNewser and just call it CNBC/NBC/MSNBCNewer.
Wow, it's a first for TVNewser! TVN actually decided to print some honesty about Keith Olbermann's ratings-but not before running a glowing press release straight from the MSNBC PR department first:
MSNBC Delivers Strongest Growth of Any Cable News Net in Total Day and Primetime. Countdown with Keith Olbermann Maintains Momentum, Beating CNN at 8 PM in Total Viewers and A25-54; NBC's ratings growth continued this summer, as the network delivered the strongest growth of any cable news net in August in total day (M-Sun), weekday primetime (8-11 pm) and in sales primetime (M-Sun 7pm-2am) in both total viewers and the Adult 25-54 demographic, compared to August 06. "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" continued its success for the network, finishing #2 ahead of CNN at 8pm in both A25-54 and total viewers and up an astonishing 55 percent in the A25-54 demo and 67 percent in total viewers compared to last year. Countdown with Keith Olbermann (M-F 8pm) continues to gain traction, up an amazing 67 percent in total viewers versus last year (721,000 vs. 431,000) and up 55 percent in the A25-54 demo (259,000 vs. 167,000). "Countdown" beat CNN by a comfortable 17 percent in A25-54, and also enjoyed a three percent advantage in total viewers. Both CNN and FNC saw declines in the A25-54 demo at 8 p.m.
Something, God knows what, got into TVNewser however and they later decided to take a closer look at MSNBC's ratings claims. Here is the REAL story about the "success" of Keith Olbermann:
August Ratings: The 8pm Picture Keith Olbermann's year-to-year growth may be the story at MSNBC, but Countdown was still #3 at 8pmET. Even with CNN's hodge-podge of a schedule at 8 (Paula Zahn's last days, Out in the Open, CNN Special Reports, and an airing of Larry King) Olbermann trailed CNN in total viewers and the 25-54 demo.
But but but. . . didn't TVN run that first piece claiming what a "ratings success" Keith Olbermann was? That would be because MSNBC is using the numbers that are most flattering to their ego-inflated "star" which would be the Live Plus ratings, which are the same ratings that TVN posts on a near-daily basis, not the Live numbers which clearly do NOT favor Olbermann. How do we know this? Read on as TVN scrambles to explain:
These are Nielsen LIVE numbers only, so they do not include DVR data, which Countdown generally benefits from.
Here for the record are the REAL ratings for the 8pm hour in August.
FNC (O'Reilly): 2,096,000
CNN (Various): 727,000
MSNBC (Countdown): 638,000
And in oh-so-coveted "demo"?
FNC (O'Reilly): 420,000
CNN (Various): 242,000
MSNBC (Countdown): 218,000
But the question remains, why did TVN post the initial press release from MSNBC without bothering to clarify what ratings data set that MSNBC was using in calculating their misleading ratings claims? All networks use data that is most flattering to them of course but as a website that purports to cover TV News isn't it an obligation of TVN to do a little more than just run press releases? But we have to give them credit, this may well be the first time ever that TVN has decided to look beyond the press releases and more closely examine the true ratings story regarding the 8pm hour.
By the way, interesting discussion over at Inside Cable News, who has a fine breakdown chart of the Top 25 programs in the "key demo" in the month of August which illustrates just how greatly breaking news stories (mine disaster, bridge disaster) boosted and skewered the ratings for August. Only 2 programs out of the Top 25 were regularly scheduled programs (and both were O'Reilly), the rest of the top 25 programs were all breaking news events. Did MSNBC calculate their ratings using these breaking news events? Who knows--it's not like anyone is going to actually question them, it's just easier to post their press releases. But one thing is for sure, MSNBC is clearly not the "go-to" network when breaking news happens. That honor belongs to Fox and CNN.
Keith Olbermann may well be MSNBC's choice as their "news" anchor but one thing is very certain, he's not the viewer's choice!
You know, there for awhile we had hope for TVNewser after the announced departure of one Brian Setzer to the New York Times. We here at Olbermannwatch had long documented how that particular website has a long, undistinguished history of playing fast and loose with the facts, manipulating ratings data and otherwise misrepresenting the truth. Yesterday proved that the more things change, the more they remain the same, unless you are talking about articles posted at TVNewser which in case, one in particular was edited not once, not twice, but three times.
Said article was written by one Gail Shister, of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Now Ms. Shister and Mr. Olbermann have a certain, how shall we say, history? Back in March, Shister wrote the typical fawning MSM Olbermann whitewash but we here at Owatch noted that it had some glaring errors. Namely, Shister insisted that Olbermann was an only child. He's not. He has a sister. The Olbyloons were first to note the error. And they took it upon themselves to notify Shister of her error. The following exchange occured between said Olbyloon and Shister:
How odd. I wrote to Ms. Shister, and just now got back a response: "Dear Ms. Shister: Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the article about Keith Olbermann and COUNTDOWN in Sunday's Inquirer. I'm sure the faithful have already written in droves to let you know that he does in fact have a younger sister. Otherwise I thought it was a great piece. Thanks again!
Gail Shister's Reply?
"Hi: A younger sister? He told me to my face that he's an only child. Please xplain... Best gs "
Now Olbermann has mentioned existence of said sister in the Big Show book he co-authored with Dan Patrick, on Countdown, in an interview on C-Span, and on the now defunct ESPN Radio Show numerous times. But Shister insisted that Olbermann had told her he was an only child. Now naturally the Olbyloons were waiting, ready, and able to provide excuses as to why Olbermann lied straight-faced to Shister. And Shister was forced to issue a retraction a few days later. Recently it was announced that Shister had lost her plum assignment as TV/Radio writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer and had been busted down to mere reporter. Shister has since been moonlighting on the side, contributing articles to TVNewser. And yesterday, she published an interview with Olbermann. Now you'd think that history would have taught Shister to check and recheck anything Olbermann told her right? Wrong.
Amazingly, the article underwent THREE rewrites after it was first posted at TVN. The first version, posted at 4:05 p.m. contained the following passages:
Olbermann, on vacation this week while he moves to a new apartment, has no plans to tone down anything in Sunday's Countdown, he says. Back to the moving thing. Despite Countdown's skyrocketing numbers and a daily gig on ESPN Radio, Olbermann says he left his current apartment because it was too expensive to buy when the building went condo. "I'm not a hedge fund trader or a meth dealer. I can't possibly afford to buy around here."
The article was edited yet again, as noted by our own Johnny Dollar.
"Olbermann says he left his Central Park South apartment because it was too expensive to buy when the building went condo."That bit was deleted and altered sometime between 4:30 and 5:00. The FINAL (?) version of the TVNewer piece was altered yet again to remove all mention of the move and of his fancy new East Side apartment.
Olbermann, on vacation this week, has no plans to tone down anything in Sunday's Countdown, he says.By the time the final version (?) of this much-altered TVNewer piece appeared, it's context had been stripped completely away, leaving some astute readers quite puzzled at competing tv news website, Inside Cable News, much confused. Noted one poster:
There was a lot of news a few months ago when he PURCHASED a $4Million apartment on the Upper East Side of NYC, in a Trump building no less. So what's this business about "renting" and "can't afford to buy"?In essence, the triple-editing at TVNewser left an article which didn't make much sense, and left the distinct impression that poor Olby was just barely getting by these days. Astute Olbermannwatch readers however know the real score on Olbermann's new digs at the Trump Palace, at 200 East 69th Street. His $4.2 million dollar, 40th floor apartment has been described as having a 31 and a half-foot-long living room, master bedroom and den, each with balconies, 360 degree views, plus a chef's kitchen, twin walk-in closets and two and a half marble bathrooms. Yeah, that poor Keith, couldn't afford to buy a decent apartment on the Upper West Side so he was forced to move to the "poor" side of the UES and live in what has been called one of Donald Trump's finest buildings. Poor thing. Let's take up a collection for him shall we? I bet the Olbyloons have already broken into their piggy banks to help out poor Mr. Olbermann.
But back to the fact-checking on the mysteriously triple-edited article. Let's ignore the whole "soaring ratings" bit, we all know that's a lie. Let's go back to Olbermann's rented apartment at 220 Central Park South which he insisted had gone condo and he couldn't "afford to buy there". The apartment didn't go condo. It's tenants were evicted, and the plans include demolishing the building and redeveloping the site! according to the NY Times.
What? KEITH OLBERMANN LIE????? Imagine that dear Olbermannwatch readers! But why one wonders, was all mention of Olbermann's move and the fancy new UES digs removed from the posting at TVNewser? We all know that TVNewser has a new "face" but is Keith Olbermann moonlighting in his spare time as an editor over at TVN?
Brian Stelter, newly graduated from Towson University, is going to work for The New York Times. As of 11 AM this morning, Stelter was still posting at MediaBistro where he write the TVNewser blog which he founded in 2004 as "CableNewser". The newspaper of Jayson Blair, Rick Bragg and Maureen Dowd appears to be the perfect fit for the fact-challenged, far-left blogger.
Brian Stelter, the TVNewser blogger, is joining the Times next month as an 8i reporter to cover the media world for NYTimes.com and for the paper. He will report to media editor Bruce Headlam, and will work closely with Business Day reporters and with our friends in Culture, including television editor Steve Reddicliffe and reporters Bill Carter, Jacques Steinberg and Ed Wyatt.
For new readers, here are links to past installments of our long-running series on Stelter entitled "TVN: Journalism at its finest" which documents a few examples in his long history of playing fast and loose with the facts, manipulating ratings data and otherwise misrepresenting the truth.
TVN: Journalism at its finest - Part I
TVN: Journalism at its finest - Part II
TVN: Journalism at its finest - Part III
TVN: Journalism at its finest - Part IV
TVN: Journalism at its finest - Part V
TVN: Journalism at its finest - Part VI
TVN: Journalism at its finest - Part VII
TVN: Journalism at its finest - Part VIII
TVN: Journalism at its finest - Part IX
TVN: Journalism at its finest - Part X
TVN: Journalism at its finest - Part XI
TVN: Journalism at its finest - Part XII
TVN: Journalism at its finest - Part XIII
TVNewser had studiously avoided any mention of Colonel Ken Allard's smackdown of Keith Olbermann and NBC. We wondered why, and today the answer became apparent.
An hour ago Brian Stelter finally broke his silence--now that he has been armed with some quotes from NBC he could use to spin the story. His brief posting includes a few lines from Col Allard's column, while carefully omitting the part where Allard criticizes Keith Olbermann. (Could he be any more transparent?) An unnamed NBC source is cited as saying: "Mister" Allard was never under contract to us. ("Mister" Allard? Does that sound familiar? Any guesses on who this NBC source really is?) "Mister" Allard was only paid per appearance. (But he was paid.)
Then Brian quotes his NBC source saying that Allard "hasn't appeared on our air in nearly a year", with no further explanation. What is he leaving out? That Col Allard had a stroke and has been recovering for most of this past year. That's why he hasn't been on the air during that time.
Spinning the news to favor one side? Leaving out key details to hookwink the gullible? Completely ignoring the central controversy (incendiary anti-military remarks by an NBC analyst)? TVNewser doesn't just flack for Olbermann; now he's adopting his tactics.