Monday, September 08, 2008

Olberman and Mathews yanked

Let me first say that I love Chris Mathews and have a love/hate relationship with Keith Olberman. I think Mathews is a great attack dog; an old school East Coast Catholic liberal who earned his stripes working for Tip O'Neil. Olberman is the Bill O'Reiley of the left, which is why I both love and hate his act. MSNBC was right to pull them as anchors of election coverage, both because they were too biased and because Olberman couldn't control his mouth.

Let's face it: MSNBC is necessary. It offers a clear alternative to Fox News. I got into a debate with one of my students on Thursday who said that MSNBC was no more balanced than Fox (he is a republican and Fox watcher) and I think this proves my point. Fox News's coverage of the conventions was every bit as skewed to the right as MSNBC's has been to the left--in fact more so, since MSNBC has two powerful conservatives in high-profile commentary slots--Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan, whereas Fox has none. But I can't imagine Fox pulling its anchors because they were being too partisan. Just the opposite in fact: Fox would like give them bonuses. MSNBC, bowing to pressure from their overlords at NBC headquarters, pulled Olberman and Mathews and relegated them to commentary status, giving the anchor job to David Gregory for the rest of the elections.

And good for them. Speaking as a progressive democrat who agrees with about 90% of what Mathews says and about 75% of what Olberman says (even if I do hate the way he says it), I think they were way too biased. Gregory will offer a much more balanced approach to the election coverage from here on in. The real problem was Olberman, who as the convention coverage went on injected more and more of his personal, very liberal opinions into his coverage, and who in a couple of open mic incidents disparaged Buchanan, Scarborough, and even Mathews. Olberman is, of course, the network's cash cow: his anti-O'Reiley act has boosted the Networks ratings considerably, especially among younger voters who were looking for an antidote to the republican propoganda that comes out of Fox. but his act went too far what what should have been objective reporting of the conventions.

So the next time you hear the Republicans whine about liberal media bias, softly point out that even MSNBC has toned it down. Fox, not so much.

Ok, a solid Gonzo lover like myself probably shouldn't have written this post.....


Post a Comment

<< Home