Oct
04
2011

Whitewashing the Blackout of Occupy Wall Street

I checked out a post from the Web-based publication Capital (9/28/11) about media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protest because CJR (9/29/11) told me it was a "smart post" that "crunched the numbers" and showed "how there really is no media blackout." I have to say I would have thought CJR would have higher standards when it came to crunching media numbers. Capital's Joe Pompeo states his thesis early on: The idea that there is a media blackout has gained appeal on the left with support from Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann, who said on the September 21 edition […]

Jul
14
2011

Olbermann: O'Reilly's Hacking Hypocrisy

On Tuesday FAIR documented that Fox host Bill O'Reilly called for the prosecution of media outlets that published Sarah Palin's hacked emails in 2008– which might mean, if he were at all consistent, that O'Reilly wants to see his boss Rupert Murdoch do some hard time over the far more serious News Corp. hacking scandal. FAIR's research showed up on Keith Olbermann's Countdown program on Current last night– where O'Reilly was named The Worst Person in the World. Watch it (starts at around the 2:15 mark):

May
26
2011

MSNBC Misogyny

MSNBC host Ed Schultz has been suspended without pay for a week for calling right-wing pundit Laura Ingraham a "right-wing slut" on his radio show. Schultz apologized on MSNBC last night, calling his words "terribly vile." This is not a new thing at MSNBC. In 2006, Keith Olbermann did a bit about Paris Hilton being assaulted–joking that she has "had worse things happen to her face." The on-screen graphic was "A Slut and Battery." In 2009 he called right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin a "big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it."

May
19
2011

Why Did Olbermann Really Leave MSNBC?

Keith Olbermann popped up on the David Letterman show and gave one reason–perhaps one big reason–why he left MSNBC. As transcribed by MediaBistro's TVNewser (where you can also watch the video): At some point in the last few years that I have been doing the news in the way that I do, it has occurred to me that the best place to continue doing the news in that way would be to do it at a place that is just in the news business and nothing else. It doesn't also own an amusement park in Orlando, it doesn't have outdoor […]

Nov
16
2010

Olbermann and the Cult of Objectivity

I agree with Keith Olbermann (11/15/10) about the dubious value of "objectivity" as a journalistic value; he makes a telling point about how journalistic icons like Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow are most honored for the moments when they reached conclusions and asserted values. And I think he's right that the U.S. media establishment's failure to see through the lies that sold the Iraq War is a singular failure of our journalistic system–one that does indeed suggest that we need an entirely different system that better serves our democracy. Olbermann's MSNBC forerunner, Phil Donahue, was fired in the run […]

Nov
12
2010

Political Donations Are OK for Executives, Who Don't Influence News…on Some Other Planet

MSNBC host Keith Olbermann's indefinite suspension for violating network policies regarding political donations lasted all of two work days. On his Wednesday show (11/10/10), Olbermannbrought up the point that FAIR made in our alert–the difficulty of squaring such a policy with MSNBC parent General Electric'spolitical giving and multi-million dollar lobbying. Olbermann was joined by Nation blogger Greg Mitchell and Howard Kurtz of CNN/Daily Beast. Olbermann asked Kurtz: Howard, how far up the tree does it go? If you and I and Greg can't donate, can our bosses donate? Can our bosses' boss donate? Can Rupert Murdoch donate? Because surely, no […]

Nov
09
2010

FAIR Out There

–On Democracy Now! (11/8/10): While Keith Olbermann's donations became front-page news, little attention has been paid to the massive amount of political spending by MSNBC's parent company General Electric, one of the nation's largest military contractors. Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting reports GE made over $2 million in political contributions in the 2010 election cycle. The top recipient was Republican Senate candidate Rob Portman from Ohio. The company has also spent $32 million on lobbying this year and contributed over $1 million to campaign against a California ballot initiative aimed at eliminating tax loopholes for major corporations. –George Curry, writing […]

Nov
05
2010

Action Alert: NBC/GE's Double Standards on Political Donations

MSNBC has suspended host Keith Olbermann for making political contributions–even though GE/NBC executives and fellow MSNBC host Joe Scarborough has made similar donations. If you'd like to urge MSNBC to follow a consistent standard, see FAIR's Action Alert (11/5/10). And please post copies of your messages, and/or comments on the alert, to the comments thread here.

Aug
09
2009

Owners 'Call the Tune' in Reported MSNBC-Fox Truce

Former TV Newser Brian Stelter's article (New York Times, 8/7/09) about MSNBC and Fox News having "resumed their long-running feud this week after the New York Times reported that their parent companies, General Electric and the News Corporation, had struck a deal to stop each other's televised personal attacks" states that "the deal extends beyond the prime-time hour that Mr. Olbermann and Mr. O'Reilly occupy," reporting that "employees of daytime programs on MSNBC were specifically told by executives not to mention Fox hosts in segments critical of conservative media figures, according to two staff members." While GE's official line is […]

Apr
28
2009

The 'Important Historical Context' of Torture Punditry

Quoting Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter's strong words on the Keith Olbermann show about how "it's important, historically, to look at the context of" the "effort in these OLC memos to try to dress [torture] up as something else," Hullabaloo blogger digby takes issue (4/24/09) with his statement that "Dick Cheney stands almost alone" in still publicly defending the memos: Yes, Dick Cheney is forlorn and all alone. Many of the people who advocated taking the gloves off are leaving him out there hanging today. And one of them is Jonathan Alter. See, he forgot to mention–and Keith apparently didn't know–that […]

Dec
01
2008

MSNBC's Pentagon Pundit

A recent New York Times article (11/29/08) offers fresh documentation of conflicts of interest involving one of TV's most famous retired generals, Barry McCaffrey, who continues to be employed as an NBC military analyst even as he rakes in profits from military contractors. The story of how McCaffrey and at least 74 other retired generals were receiving briefings through a secret Pentagon propaganda program was broken by the New York Times back in April (4/20/08); however, it received scarcely a mention on the TV news outlets that employed these Pentagon pundits. One exception was Keith Olbermann's Countdown on MNSBC (4/21/08). […]