Monday, May 07, 2007

Olbermann Not a "Democratic Partisan"?!

There's a coffee-spewer at discussing how certain Salon "critics" apparently can't stand any criticism of Keith Olbermann.

The first example was this column by Joan Walsh where she actually tried to say Olbermann isn't "partisan."

What bothered me most was the entire premise of the AP article, which depicted Olbermann as a polarizing partisan television hack equivalent to Fox's Bill O'Reilly...

The ways that Olbermann differs from O'Reilly are too many to count here. First and foremost, he doesn't run jihads against his enemies (well, except maybe Bill O'Reilly); he doesn't invite people he disagrees with onto his show only to shout at and humiliate them; he rarely rants, and when he does, he labels it "commentary." His "Countdown" is an opinionated take on the day's top five stories that owes more to "The Daily Show" and "Best Week Ever" than the Nation. He is indeed a Bush critic, but I haven't found him to be a Democratic partisan. (I edited Olbermann briefly when he wrote for Salon, and knew him to be passionate and hardworking but not ideologically driven; his time here is best remembered for his remarkable "ESPN: Mea Culpa," apologizing for the perfectionism and insecurity that led to clashes with co-workers and ultimately to his departure from the station.) Certainly as an anchor, he's far less partisan than Fox's dark Brit Hume, known for regular slurs against Democrats. To compare Olbermann to Hume would be unfair; to compare him to O'Reilly is disgraceful.

Has this person actually watched Keith Olbermann? Olbermann's made O'Reilly his "Worst Person in the World" for the last 360 days of the year (ok, that's an exaggeration but you get the point).

Olbermann not a partisan liberal hack? Puh-lease. At least O'Reilly's show is all commentary--his. It's not like Olbermann got his bona fides covering politics. He covered sports.

I'm always amazed when liberals try to tell you with a straight face that some journalist or other isn't liberal but is being "objective." In this instance, Walsh tries to whitewash Olbermann's screeds about the president by calling him a "Bush critic." This would be like saying Jeffrey Dahmer was a carnivore.

Olbermann isn't just a "Bush critic." There's a website devoted to his nuttiness. As Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters notes,
Sadly, these articles epitomize the pathetic state of media in our nation. The AP for a change published a very balanced article, in this case about seemingly reasonable concerns expressed by Republicans over the presence of Olbermann at their presidential debate.

As this followed well-publicized boycotts by Democrats of debates sponsored by Fox News, it was quite reasonable for the AP's David Bauder to address FNC in this article, and how it fits in with this discussion. It therefore made sense that Bauder would try to equate some FNC figure to Olbermann to proffer a tenable analogy.

In reality, Bauder may have made a mistake in casting O'Reilly in the role of FNC's Olbermann, as the "Factor" is likely far more balanced than "Countdown." It seems a metaphysical certitude that O'Reilly has significantly more liberal guests on his program than Olbermann interviews conservatives.

In the end, regardless of what Walsh or (Glenn) Greenwald (a.k.a., Mr. Sock Puppet) think, Olbermann is indeed a polarizing and partisan figure in this country, and there was nothing wrong with the AP addressing it. Clearly, they're just unhappy that someone in the mainstream media had the unmitigated audacity to report it.

Of course, the AP does indeed bear some of the responsibility for their disdain. After all, if the wire service did a better job of consistently publishing balanced reports on a regular basis, Walsh and Greenwald wouldn't be so shocked by this article in question.

I think both Walsh and Greenwald would be surprised regardless because their ideology requires it.