Pittburgh Post-Gazette - KO Counts on Commentary 12-12-06

Keith Olbermann Stuff From 2006 (2005 was accidently deleted)
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Marie
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Pittburgh Post-Gazette - KO Counts on Commentary 12-12-06

Postby Marie » Tue Dec 12, 2006 2:18 am

I consider this a pretty fair and balanced article. With the exception of the
"famously prickly" reference in para 17, there's a refreshing absence of recourse
to media reductionist laziness here in favor of informative detail. And although
OW and Newsbusters are quoted, Keith gets a chance to reply, and the author
does some contextualizing of their comments as well.

- - -
ANCHOR OLBERMANN COUNTS ON COMMENTARY TO BOOST MSNBC'S RATINGS
By Mackenzie Carpenter
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Tuesday, December 12, 2006

MSNBC ANCHOR Keith Olbermann can do sarcasm -- tinged with rage -- very
effectively. He does it, in fact, every night on his cable channel's top-rated show,
"Countdown," where he systematically eviscerates President George W. Bush, his
policies, and assorted members of America's conservative political establishment.

"Apologize, sir!" Mr. Olbermann barked on Sept. 25, after the president said it was
"unacceptable to think" one could compare U.S. behavior in Iraq with that of Islamic
extremists. Such presidential cautions against free thinking take us, Olbermann
thundered, "toward a new and fearful path -- one heretofore the realm of science
fiction authors and apocalyptic visionaries."

Yikes.

Rush Limbaugh, too, gets smacked in the kisser on "Countdown." When the
conservative radio host apologized for mocking actor and liberal activist Michael J.
Fox's symptoms of Parkinson's disease, Olbermann wasn't buying it. "Rush, your
lies used to be slightly entertaining, but no more," and added: "Please, go back on
the drugs!"

While the House and Senate may have gone Democratic last month, giving the 47-
year-old Olbermann fewer GOP figures in authority to rail against, "Countdown's"
ratings just keep going up. And if Democrats don't act quickly to undo some of the
Bush administration's abuses, they'll be targets too, he vows. But during a recent
telephone interview, Olbermann took pains to stress one important point: While
anger has its uses on his newscast, it hasn't consumed him. "I am not Peter Finch
walking around the streets of New York in my pajamas as Howard Beale muttering
to myself and saying, 'I must bear my witness.' It's not like that."

A pungent brew of opinion, straight news, tabloid and celebrity gossip, "Countdown"
is hardly a traditional newscast. And while it may not be "Network," Olbermann's
show is attracting plenty of viewers who are mad as hell at the Bush administration
and don't want to take it anymore. His commentaries, delivered in the stentorian,
staccato style of Edward R. Murrow, along with snarky asides and "Worst Person in
the World" awards to various political foes, have made him a hero to liberals and
anathema to conservatives, and, most important, they have boosted MSNBC's
ratings out of the third-place cellar.

"Countdown's" audience jumped 67 percent this year over last, and the cable
channel's overall numbers are up 6 percent this year compared with last year,
according to Nielsen Media Research. They're also up 10 percent from last year
among 25- to 54-year-olds, a coveted advertising demographic. This comes at a
ime when Fox and CNN, overall, have been posting a decline in ratings.

Still, "Countdown" boasts a relatively puny overall audience of 469,000, compared
to 2.1 million viewers for Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, whose show airs opposite
Olbermann's. But "Countdown" has bested CNN's "Paula Zahn Now" 18 out of 25
nights since the start of November 2006 among viewers age 25-54.

Some, including Olbermann's boss, Dan Abrams, are calling "Countdown" "the
newscast of the future." At least of MSNBC's future. "I think the viewers have found
Keith," Abrams said, noting that ratings were building even before Olbermann began
his special comments. "Countdown has been a fantastic show for a while, but I do
think his special comments have helped. What they do is say to the viewers, 'Here's
where I stand,' and they appreciate his honesty."

Others look back in history to the early 20th century's newspaper wars, whose
publishers openly paraded their biases. Jay Rosen, a media critic and journalism
professor at New York University, believes that Olbermann's show is a fulfillment of
his 2004 prediction of the rise of an "opposition press" in response to a deepening
cultural divide and what he called bland media coverage of the Bush administration
during its first term. CNN's Lou Dobbs, who regularly editorializes about U.S.
immigration and outsourcing policies, may be one example of that, and Olbermann
another -- and that's not necessarily bad. "In the last year, Keith Olbermann has
basically put the idea of "opposition press" into practice," said Rosen. "Did
journalism collapse? No. But his ratings went up, and a lot of things got said that
needed to be said."

Olbermann's critics, however, see him as nothing more than a left-wing blowhard
masquerading as a newscaster. "My concern is that people are mistaking his show
for real news," said Noel Sheppard, a blogger with NewsBusters.Org, a Web site
founded by conservative media watchdog Brent Bozell. "But there's no question he
is indeed Howard Beale. The whole Paddy Chayevsky concept in 'Network' was that
news had to be entertaining. You had the anchorman flip out one day, and the
ratings exploded. The same is going on with Keith Olbermann, who really does get
into a snit like Beale did."

Robert Cox, a New York businessman, has even started his own anti-Olbermann
Web site, OlbermannWatch.com, where he regularly dissects Olbermann's
commentaries and news reports, which he calls sloppily researched. "I happen to
like NBC news," says Cox. "I grew up watching it. My sense is, though, that he's
undermining the brand of NBC news and the integrity of that organization by not
fact-checking stories, lifting material from other Web sites and only putting on
guests he agrees with, which is totally irresponsible."

To be sure, Olbermann originally vowed not to "screw around with the news" when
his show debuted in 2003. Then came that moment in August, when he found
himself stuck on a plane on a runway at Los Angeles International Airport. After
reading that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had compared opponents of the
Iraq War to Nazi sympathizers, he got out his pen and wrote a scorching critique of
Rumsfeld, which began, "The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see
nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet or a quack."

"Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet," he added. That became either his famous
"Murrow moment" or his "Rummy Rant," depending on who's talking. After being
posted on CrooksandLiars.com, the Rumsfeld commentary quickly gained traction,
downloaded more than 300,000 times, and suddenly made Olbermann a player in
he ongoing political and cultural wars. Still, he's "a little mystified by the reaction
because I don't see these [special comments] as being extraordinary. In other
words, these merely are facts and analyses of facts that I think need to be made,
and I haven't seen them done by anybody else."

Born in New York City, Olbermann grew up in affluent Westchester County,
graduating from Hackley School in Tarrytown, a private school, and earning a
Bachelor of Science degree in communications arts from Cornell University in 1979.
He is not married, although his name is frequently linked to one woman or another
in the gossip columns. Some factoids: He can't drive a car because of an injury at
age 21 that affected his depth perception, he's a diehard Yankees fan and he keeps
a collection of 35,000 baseball cards.

He didn't grow up in a particularly political household, he says, and despite his
identity as a kind of therapist for liberals, Olbermann resists being pigeonholed
politically. "I'm not a liberal, I'm an American," he once told Salon.com. Today, he
doesn't vote, although he says he would have voted for Richard Nixon in 1972 if he
had been old enough. "I was surrounded by people in high school who wore
McGovern stickers on their heads," he recalled. "I saw Nixon as a fairly decent
president who should get another term." The following summer, though, he watched
the Watergate hearings, "and that was American history unfolding in front of me. I
understood when Alex Butterfield came in the room and talked about a taping
system, and I remember saying, 'Holy crap.'"

The news and political junkie in him lay dormant for years, however, while he
pursued a career in sports broadcasting, most notably as ESPN "SportsCenter"
co-anchor with Dan Patrick in the early 1990s. There, the two pioneered a mix of
sports scores, strong visuals and funny, biting commentary that remains the
sportscast program's signature style today. But the famously prickly Olbermann
left after a dispute with his bosses and went to MSNBC, where he hosted "The Big
Show" -- which aired during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

After a year, he quit MSNBC, too, claiming Monica-fatigue; covering it "gave me the
dry heaves," he once announced in a speech. But he was back at MSNBC by 2003
and landed on "Countdown," which was originally called "Countdown: Iraq" and was
created to cover the U.S. invasion of Iraq. While Olbermann is still on Dan Patrick's
ESPN radio show for an hour each day, "In my heart of hearts now I think I'm a
newscaster and commentator. That corner has been turned," he says.

Olbermann's finely tuned sense of the absurd sometimes veers into tastelessness.
Some feminists have criticized him for making disparaging remarks about women --
usually tabloid favorites like Paris Hilton. In blasting Fox News for "sandbagging"
former President Bill Clinton in an interview about al-Qaida, Olbermann called
interviewer Chris Wallace "a monkey posing as a newscaster." This summer, while
addressing television critics in California, he gave a Nazi salute while wearing a
ask of conservative Fox commentator Bill O'Reilly, whom he frequently needles on
the air, calling him "Bill-O."

While O'Reilly assiduously avoids uttering Olbermann's name on the air, he
frequently complains about MSNBC and its political coverage. He also once began
a petition drive to force MSNBC to replace Olbermann -- without citing him by
name -- with Phil Donahue. The next night on "Countdown," Olbermann offered to
sign the petition. "We've been in the same room twice," said Olbermann, recalling
the event with almost a lover's command of detail. "It was a charity event last year,
with my friend Joe Torre, manager of the Yankees. [O'Reilly] never got within 25 feet
of me, but he always was just about that far away, and when I'd see him -- I'd look
up and I'd catch him quickly looking away," he laughed.

Their "feud," such as it is, has undoubtedly given Olbermann's show a boost, says
Robert Thompson, director of the Center for Television and Popular Culture at
Syracuse University." They've both got a huge sense of self-importance," said
Thompson, although Olbermann delivers his monologues "with a little bit of a smirk.
He knows it's a game, while Mr. O'Reilly is so sincere about everything." "Still, it's
like the feud between Jack Benny and Fred Allen," he said. "What you've got is
show business that's going on here. Both guys know it's making people pay
attention."

"I have been accused of arrogance for 27 years in this business, and 31 if you
count my college broadcasting career, and so far it has not derailed me,"
countered Olbermann, who seemed somewhat stung by Thompson's remarks. "It's
not self-importance; it's an awareness of the importance of the platform and the
time." If the newscast of the future requires a return to the opinionated journalism of
Edward R. Murrow -- or even William Randolph Hearst -- so be it, Olbermann says.
"'Countdown' was not designed as a political broadcast. It was not even a politically
oriented newscast; it was just an hourlong news [show] with a different kind of
approach to things," he said.

Although he tried to avoid commentary, "there's a point at which you can't sit inside
a burning building without shouting 'fire,'" he said. "And that point has been reached,
and I think it was reached at the point I was sitting on that tarmac at LAX."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/pp/06346/745336.stm
- - -

-Marie-
Btw, I didn't post the cartoon which accompanied the article because I don't particularly
like it.
Last edited by Marie on Wed Dec 13, 2006 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Slfriend79 » Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:05 am

Great Article. [smilie=redcolorz3_pdt_02.gif]

I see that Cox had to put his irrelevant 'Two Cents' in once again. [smilie=pdt_piratz_16.gif]

I just wish that when they take comments from Cox Yellow_Flash_Colorz_PDT_31 , that they also get comments from someone who runs a 'Pro KO' site. Yellow_Flash_Colorz_PDT_02
" I'm not scared of Hell. It's just Heaven for bad people." Peter Capaldi As The Twelfth Doctor - Heaven Sent

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Marie
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Postby Marie » Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:25 am

I'm sure you weren't pushing any site in particular, SL >coughKO.Ocough<

:- )

Here's what I'd like to see the author do every time a quoted Keith detracter alleges
"lack of fact-checking" on Countdown: just ask two simple words -- "Like what?"
Or maybe, "Such as--?"

(They'd probably only be able to come up with that falling parental IQ thing from 2 1/2
years ago, LOL.)

-Marie-

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Postby Kathy » Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:31 am

Thanks, Marie. But I too wish this article had been more "fair and balanced." Again, Cox comes off as some sort of expert when he's nothing of the sort, and his accusations go unquestioned. And what is this thing about Keith's name being linked to one woman or another in the gossip columns? How many NAMES has he been linked to in any gossip column lately? Only one that I know of. The rest is anonymous crap.

Talk about lazy, sloppy sourcing! This article is guilty of it!
...if you don't stick up for the freedom of all opinion, eventually the wheel will turn, you'll be the minority and you'll have written the rules by which you yourself are squashed. -- Keith Olbermann

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Marie
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Postby Marie » Tue Dec 12, 2006 8:01 am

I guess I was happy with the lack of pointedness in the dating part. The author
seems to have no interest in innuendo or sleaze; and as for Cox, et al, the fact that
his site is described as an anti-Olbermann blog and that Brent Bozell is identified as
Newsbusters' backer pretty much takes away their legitimacy. The other side can't
scream that they weren't represented or their views not printed in full, but they can't
take much pleasure in the way they were so thoroughly outed, either.

-Marie-

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Postby Keyser Soze » Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:09 am

I didn't like the "Therapist for Liberals" crack. :p
Simplicity is the key to brilliance - Bruce Lee

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Postby Marie » Tue Dec 12, 2006 2:08 pm

I like the way the author created an opportunity for Keith to refute it.

See, here's the thing: you have to mention media reductionist images in order to
blow them up. You can't just play like they're not there. Gore had to say, "If you
check the record, I never SAID I invented the Internet; it's just fun for some people
to say I said it."

-Marie-

brooklynbilly

Postby brooklynbilly » Tue Dec 12, 2006 2:29 pm

Marie wrote:

the fact that
his site is described as an anti-Olbermann blog and that Brent Bozell is identified as
Newsbusters' backer pretty much takes away their legitimacy.

Why is that so?Are they not entitled to their opinions?

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Postby Marie » Tue Dec 12, 2006 2:40 pm

Billy, haven't you got that punctuation thing down yet? Why insert deliberate visual
annoyances in your writing if you want to discuss stuff? Do yourself a favor: make it
easy for people to read what you've written.

-Marie-

brooklynbilly

Postby brooklynbilly » Tue Dec 12, 2006 2:56 pm

Marie I think you are suffering from a severe case of pedagogism.

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Postby Marie » Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:15 pm

I love it when you talk dirty.

No, really, I have no desire to go crosseyed trying to read another poster's insults.
You have to lure me into reading them by means of attractively-written posts.

-Marie-

brooklynbilly

Postby brooklynbilly » Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:37 pm

Marie complained:


I have no desire to go crosseyed trying to read another poster's insults

According to Merriam-Webster it's cross-eyed

Main Entry: cross-eye
Pronunciation: 'kros-"I
Function: noun
1 : strabismus in which the eye turns inward toward the nose
2 plural : eyes affected with cross-eye
- cross-eyed /-"Id/ adjective

Quanlin

Postby Quanlin » Tue Dec 12, 2006 4:28 pm

It's such a bummer that nice sites who don't employ hate tactics don't ever get mentioned in the articles, but Cox nearly always gets a quote in. That's, what, like ten articles mentioning OW, and how many mentioning O.o or KO.o?
-q

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Postby Shellysdc » Tue Dec 12, 2006 4:49 pm

Michael, there's always something interesting to say at this site! If the haters would take a step back for once in their otherwise lonely and sad lives, they'll realize that we have a lot to express on any topic, whether it's related to Keith or not.

Since I've been at this site, I've seen a vast diverse and wonderful group of people come together and speak their peace on whatever the topic of the day is. We share viewpoints that may or may not be agreed with at times, but at the end of the day, we all come on one accord (and usually the same person of interest-Keith).

As for the "cuban hottie", from what I've been hearing, forgive the bad English but it's the DC side of me coming out here--she ain't all that! If anything, she messed it up for the rest of us sistas! Now all women of color are going to be judged before we even have a chance to show that we're not all golddigging, scheming, lying homewreckers! As for Cox, I hope 2007 will be the year that he goes back into the pit of hell he creeped out from!

Therefore, I say this--let the haters, sockpuppets, and trolls say what they want. That's why you created the Penalty Box and I love that! Keith is gonna keep on doing what he's been doing all this time--speak the truth and expose the lies!!! Rock on, my brother!!! Rock On!!!!
:pat

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Postby Kathy » Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:46 pm

Shellysdc wrote:As for the "cuban hottie", from what I've been hearing, forgive the bad English but it's the DC side of me coming out here--she ain't all that! If anything, she messed it up for the rest of us sistas! Now all women of color are going to be judged before we even have a chance to show that we're not all golddigging, scheming, lying homewreckers!


Shelly...if it's any comfort at all, I doubt the "cuban hottie" did ANYTHING...and I do mean ANYTHING...so I don't think she has "messed it up" for anybody!
...if you don't stick up for the freedom of all opinion, eventually the wheel will turn, you'll be the minority and you'll have written the rules by which you yourself are squashed. -- Keith Olbermann


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