Tag Archives: Keith Olbermann

ComcastGEMSNBC and Olbermann broke up

About 20 minutes after Comcast bought NBC or NBC bought Comcast or GE bought everything in the entire frackin’ world, Keith Olbermann stepped down from his rich throne at MSNBC. After he branded their network (giving liberals a place to go when Bush made their teeth hurt) they said ‘ahh, just get outta here.’

People who know him (and suddenly everyone in media knows Keith very very well) say it was probably him as much as the network – Olbermann does things his way and famously does not suffer fools. Which would make him a bad fit with corporate overlords.

A surprise for sure. Perhaps time. We’ll see. The guy was often over the top, but his voice resonated.

Good morning to everyone, even cable news

‘Cable news is not literally a broadcast business, but a narrowcast. At any given moment, there are a relative handful of people (in peak hours less than five million and in non-prime hours half that, out of the U.S. population of 320 million) watching all of these networks combined. American Idol, in contrast, routinely draws 30 million. Although cable news is a comparatively small market, it is a small market with a much larger mindshare, mainly because the media are self-reflective, creating a kind of virtual echo chamber. It is also lucrative.’

That’s from the Columbia Journalism Review in a story by Terry McDermott, “Dumb like a Fox“. His story begins as an examination of Fox News. In the process, he examines the universe of cable news network. A brief and interesting read.

He also says this:  ” it is a small market with a much larger mindshare, mainly because the media are self-reflective, creating a kind of virtual echo chamber. “

In case you missed it (and I dearly hope you did), last night Glenn Beck devoted his full hour to an interview with recently-resigned Representative Eric Massa (D-NY). Because Beck is exactly the kind of TV cable news ‘personality’ who is so very impressed with himself that he doesn’t see a need to do a little homework on his guests, the hour was a horror – for Beck anyway. Massa is very strange indeed, but he wasn’t the fire breathing ex-liberal Fox expected when they booked him. He is famously opposed to the Health Care bill that’s once again working its way through the hollow halls of Congress. This made him a desirable catch for a Fox show. But guess what . . . Massa opposes the current bill because he favors a single payer – he favors Medicare For All.  S-u-r-p-r-i-s-e !

And if the Beck show weren’t sufficiently empty of content, Lawrence O’Donnell who’s been sitting in for Keith Olbermann (Before taking a hiatus to attend to his dying father, Olbermann did a 30 minute incomprehensible rant on health care.) spent most of the Countdown hour re-running the video of the odd encounter of Beck/Massa, which had taken place two hours earlier. Entirely circular. Cable news now examines only its own navel.

And while I’m busy watching – and reading about – cable news, it is the 152nd day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.

UPDATE:  I surprise even myself – after pasting a quote – above – I then say “he also says” and paste a portion of the first quote. Perhaps I shouldn’t post till the afternoon.    

Message: we is not them

For well over 20 years, conservative voices have dominated radio. Their message has not been “conservatism is good”. Their message has been “liberalism is bad“; it’s anti-American and will destroy the Republic. I finally lost a brother to this near-seditious drumbeat and that hurt a lot. It still does. Then, FOX News joined the noise machine in 1996,  just in time to leap into the relentless drumbeat against Bill Clinton.

Now conservative media figures claim that the ‘mainstream media’ is liberally biased and that’s why they had to come into being. I guess they see themselves as out of the mainstream of American life, fighting the mainstream,  since most Americans turn to newspapers, magazines, local TV, network news, public radio and TV for their information. In other words, mainstream Americans turn to the mainstream media. And since those media are not liberal bashers (except maybe the Wall St Journal editorial page!),  conservatives say they therefore are liberal. This is nonsense of course. 

Nevertheless, when Keith Olbermann showed up on MSNBC a few years back, it was pretty exciting for this liberal. I hadn’t heard that kind of talk anywhere outside the pages of liberal magazines (and maybe on Bill Moyers – who speaks, however, in soft and even tones). So it was a thrill.

And he brought many of the bright emerging stars from the blogesphere into the conversation. That made his show fresh and dynamic. Worst Person in the World was fun. The very earliest ‘special comments’ were water in the desert. They were ‘yeah, yeah’ moments, especially when he said the things about Bush we all wanted to hear said publicly. For a change. And he made Rachel Maddow a liberal star.

He mocked Fox News relentlessly, especially Bill O’Reilly. And then, he became Fox News.  Now liberals like me aren’t listening anymore. Thehe Fox style is not our style. (I know he’s going after Dems too. It’s the consant outrage that’s wearisome.)

Today, the LA Times tells us (rather jubilantly) that Keith’s number are slipping. He’s losing his audience. I wonder if he knows why. I wonder if he’ll figure out that we is not them.