OK, once again I'll stray from the herd and say something that's likely to piss off my fellow "liberals" (like I give a bleeding shit): Keith Olbermann fucked up. What liberal bloggers seem to forget is the fact that Olbermann didn't get indefinitely suspended without pay because he donated a piddling $7,200 to Democratic candidates but because he didn't clear it with NBC executive management.
At least that's the official story.
And it's hard to feel sorry for Olbermann because he's every bit as much of an egotistical blowhard as the guy he loves to lambaste on his show, Bill O'Reilly. The fact that O'Reilly often strays into Republican La La Land and Olbermann just as often finds himself on the right side of an issue doesn't make him seem any less of a pious, self-important, narciscistic bag o' wind.
That said, there's a subcontext to this whole Olbermann flap that perhaps ought to be elevated to that of a full context. And it's the MSM's role in how they present the news, offer commentary (which, as with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert at the Comedy Channel, is all Olbermann really does and he'd be the first to admit it) and how effectively they separate themselves from one political party or another.
And it doesn't matter that Fox donated $1,000,000 to the Republican Governor's Association and another $1,000,000 to the anti-American US Chamber of Commerce. It doesn't matter that last year Sean Hannity was the keynote speaker at an NRCC fundraiser in Cleveland that raised $7,000,000 for the Republican Party. It has nothing to do with Olbermann or MSNBC.
Phil Griffin, MSNBC's president, was the one who'd clipped Olbermann's wings while clinging to a technicality: Olbermann didn't clear his relatively minor donations with management. In doing so, Phil Griffin made the colossal mistake of trying to play by Marquis de Queensbury rules against the thugs and street fighters of Fox "News" by trying to maintain a higher journalistic standard. Fox News does not require its anchors and hosts to clear with management their unceasing and blatant agenda of promoting Republican candidates.
And Keith Olbermann was used as a sacrificial lamb to that disingenuous end.
Well, fuck you
, Phil Griffin. The Family Guy
's Peter Griffin would make a better network president than you.
Because when you bring a rubber knife to a gunfight where the other guy is Roger Ailes, you're going to get your ass shot off every time. I don't need linkage and sources to back me up when I say that since its start in 1996, Fox "News" had been nothing less than a cheerleading/fundraising arm of the Republican Party that's turned 80% of America into one gigantic Hooverville. MSNBC, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow aside, seems, like all too many of us, to shy away from the Liberal brand as if that big red, Hawthornian "L" stands for "Loser." Just try telling Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck that they're mere ventriloquist dummies for the GOP and you'll be shouted down and probably shot in the back as you leave the sound stage.
And, granted, when networks begin openly and shamelessly endorsing candidates of either party, there's a tremendous potential for abuse and an equally tremendous potential for the long-term corruption of the impartiality of the mainstream media (as if it isn't already corrupted and a huge beneficiary of political largesse every two years).
Yet MSNBC aspiring to be something they're not, which is non-partisan, is, at least in the short term, destructive because it effectively refuses to provide a necessary counterbalance to the blatant rah rah, sis boom bahing of the Republican Party that MSNBC sees every single day, 24/7, from across the street.
Phil Griffin could've used this opportunity to send a shot across Fox's pirate ship bow. When Politico
and the HuffPo
broke the news of Olbermann's contributions to three Democrats, Griffin could have told Fox when they inevitably began pewling about "partisanship", "When you people stop supporting the Republican Party, that's when we'll stop supporting the Democratic Party."
Of course, that wouldn't result in Fox doing the right thing but it would
put those hyper-partisan propagandists on notice that turnabout is fair play.
But Phil Griffin would never do that because the boy's got no heart. Even as Olbermann was told he was for the time being persona non grata
by management, Meredith Viera on that same network had on not the winner of the Delaware Senate race but Christine O'Donnell. Viera looked as if she was going to spontaneously film a lesbian porno movie (minus the masturbation, natch) with the loser.
And the results are immediate: When MSNBC hobbles itself with rules that Fox and who knows how many other networks don't have, that immediately wrenches your network toward one direction. In this case, Griffin's sandbagging has resulted in pushing MSNBC to the right, which is not what its growing viewership tunes in every day to see. In the act of avoiding partisanship by suspending Olbermann, it just leaves more opportunities for the right wing to present its case in addition to Fox "News."
So fuck you, Phil Griffin. And don't think for a minute we've forgotten Phil Donahue.