Streams

Olbermann Should Go

Monday, November 08, 2010 - 08:16 AM

Karol Markowicz

Keith Olbermann is a partisan Democrat? Well, my word! Get the couches out because people are fainting from surprise. Not bigger than the surprise that anyone would consider Olbermann a "reporter," of course, but that kind of shocking information is hard to top.

A reporter though he may not be, Keith Olbermann needs to go. Here are the simple reasons why:

1. He's a total hypocrite. His disgusting misogynistic and racist comments weren't enough to get him dropped from MSNBC, but perhaps his blatant hypocrisy on donations by media will. In August, he railed against Fox News for donating money to the Republican party. This was specifically odd because NBC and MSNBC donate heavily to Democrats. Now Olbermann has been caught doing the same thing he decried — mixing the business of news and politics. No one who has ever watched more than four minutes of his show would be surprised to learn his political leanings, but to support those leanings with donations while criticizing others for doing the same, that's just wrong.

2. He broke his station's ethical guidelines. Michelle Malkin notes "Unlike Fox News...NBC ethics guidelines (yes, they do have them) bar their employees from making political contributions." Either NBC has guidelines that must be followed or they don't, there's no two ways to see this.

3. He's a total hypocrite, part 2. Many conservatives who oppose the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law do so because they believe campaign contributions to be the same as speech. Keith Olbermann disagrees with this. In fact, he called the Supreme Court overturning part of the law, "Supreme Court sanctioned murder of what little democracy is left." Too bad for him. If more people believed that contributions were a form of speech, MSNBC probably wouldn't have the guidelines they have against giving money to candidates. After all, Olbermann makes no secret of who he supports, why shouldn't he be able to put his money where his big mouth is?

4. His ratings are in the basement. There's some level of surprise that MSNBC has taken this step. Especially since Olbermann has previously done things like use his blog to fundraise for Democrats. It can't be that MSNBC was unaware of his ethical problems before Friday. More likely, his ethical problems coupled with his poor ratings is what caused them to act. Olbermann's show is in third place during his time slot among the cable news networks. Problem is, that's third of four.

5. He's a joke. He makes MSNBC a joke. His political opponents are always as bad as the Nazis or Al Qaeda. His "worst person in the world" segment elevates people who dare disagree with him to mass murderers. This is not a serious thinker, this is not a serious man. MSNBC needs to decide if it wants to remain unserious, with "reporters" who get a thrill up their leg when their favorite candidate speaks and make unfunny jokes about women being bags of meat with lipstick on. This is their chance to move on from the hateful Olbermann era. They should take it.

Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.

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Comments [21]

Deb

You mention that conservatives believe that money is speech. Do you also believe that a corporation has the same free speech rights as an individual? I do not. The founding fathers were afraid of the power of joint stock companies, the corporations of their era. Read the Federalist Papers. The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision sounds the death knell for our democracy.

Jan. 23 2011 03:22 PM
Persevere

Hey Karol -

I have but four words that describe your weak misinformed lame article the four words are a call for action on your bent mind here they are - G F Y S - PLEASE do asap and thus you will offer some relief from that which you suffer from, neurotic projection - now - G F Y S

Jan. 22 2011 10:47 PM
Robert Stacy McCain from http://theothermccain.com/

I'm OK with NBC paying money to whomever they want to pay, so long as the rest of us are free not to watch. And, last time I checked, about 99.9% of Americans never watch Olbermann. See? The free market works!

Nov. 24 2010 03:44 PM
Pearl from http://www.onlinedegrees.net/blog/

I am no great fan of Olbermann myself, so would welcome something new from MSNBC in his place!

Nov. 18 2010 01:32 AM
Jack Jackson from Central NJ

Repudiation? Not so much. The GOP and Tea Party have done nothing to help average Americans since Obama's inauguration. They've been sharpening their anger for the two years since 130 million of went to vote.

This election was about undisclosed Rove-funded/Citizens United money running attack ads which do nothing but drive turn-out down and the Democrats failing to enthuse enough of the base to get them to the polls. Vote totals were 40 million fewer than in 2008. Part of this is bad timing, $800B in stimulus spending that hit the streets too slowly; $800 per married household in tax cuts that people didn't realize they got; TARP aka bailout that 1) preserved the banking system and 2) has been largely (all but $30B) paid back; Obamacare which largely doesn't take effect until 2014...Far enough out to become a de facto election issues for the three cycles.

2012 will be a marquis year again. Expect those 40M votes to be there...and after 24 months of GOP fumfering, I expect a lot of freshman GOP Reps to be gone.

Nov. 10 2010 11:58 AM
Karol from NYC

I'm open to discussing the serious issues you have with my post, if only you would name them. What did I write that was untrue in the slightest? Or you just don't like reading perspectives with which you disagree?

Nov. 08 2010 03:07 PM
Rita P. from new york

@ge Taylor: Linking WBAI and Faux Noise together is bizarre, and don't know what "point" you're trying to make. Your post is extremely muddled and makes no sense. I don't have a "student membership," whatever that is, nor am I a "student." I only have a serious issue with the author of this blog post, and won't be contributing to WNYC anymore for supporting and publishing her rubbish.

Nov. 08 2010 02:25 PM
geTaylor from Bklyn., NY

Ms. Rita P. from new york :

I'm sure that the Federal Government's financial support will more than make up for the absence of your renewal a year from now; especially since you probably have a discount-price student membership (if you and the rest of the Fox Knews / WBAI troll boycotters have any $$$ skin in this game at all)
[Full disclosure: I am not a "contributing member"]

Do you have any information pertaining to the language in Oberman's employee contract governing this situation?
Or are we going with the "me-and-people-I-agree-with-don't-like-him-so-whatever-bad-thing-happens-to-him-is-O.K.-with-me" rationale?

Nov. 08 2010 02:01 PM
Rita P. from new york

I am also considering boycotting WYNC after reading this repuglican's ridiculous post. At the very least, I will no longer financially donate to this station, since it publishes right-wing garbage like this blog post, which it never would before.

Nov. 08 2010 01:50 PM
geTaylor from Bklyn., NY

Ms. Markowicz:

Do you have any information pertaining to the language in Oberman's employee contract governing this situation?
Or are we going with the "me-and-people-I-agree-with-don't-like-him-so-whatever-bad-thing-happens-to-him-is-O.K.-with-me" rationale?

Nov. 08 2010 01:48 PM
geTaylor from Bklyn., NY

Ms. Markowicz:

Do you have any information pertaining to the language in Oberman's employee contract governing this situation?
Or are we going with the "me-and-people-I-agree-with-don't-like-him-so-whatever-bad-thing-happens-to-him-is-O.K.-with-me" rationale?

Nov. 08 2010 01:46 PM
Karol from NYC

Like Keith Olbermann, I am not a journalist. Which part of what I wrote is a "lie"? Did he not say all the things I quote him as saying? Or is a "lie" anything you with which you disagree?

Nov. 08 2010 01:20 PM
Karol from NYC

Sorry, Jack, but what you say makes no sense. I guess you haven't been following that Karl Rove is not a fan favorite right now among the Hannitys and the O'Reillys. He has dissed Sarah Palin, and that few conservatives can abide.

This election was a repudiation of Obama, and specifically his healthcare boondoggle. Here's a piece I wrote explaining how those who supported Obamacare are in the biggest trouble (written before the election): http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/its-free-blog/2010/oct/28/dems-troubles-all-go-back-health-care/

We're a center-right country, that's just the way it is. In many ways, Obama had to run to the right of McCain to win (which one talked about his faith nonstop and which one didn't?). The country will elect Democrats from time to time, but the consistent pattern is to choose right-leaning candidates.

Nov. 08 2010 01:19 PM
What'sGottenIntoYou from Chicago

Why WNYC would post the right-wing Karol Markowitz's illogical and clearly biased rants & deliberate lies against the Keith Olbermann is a huge disappointment, since I've been a long-time supporter of this station. No more, I'm afraid. I'm among others who are considering boycotting WNYC now for posting thie angry wingnut's illogical words.

Nov. 08 2010 01:15 PM
tern3445 from new york city

Who is this awful writer, Karol Markowitz, and why do we care what such a faux "journalist" has to say? WNYC: I'm surprised you'd even post this.

Nov. 08 2010 12:54 PM
geTaylor from Bklyn., NY

The conversation around the Oberman issues (it could have easily been about Juan Williams) suffers from the same problems most of these “discussion moshes" that WNYC prefers to stage suffers from.

To wit: ? What exactly are we talking about?

Should MSNBC or NBC (any employer) be allowed, as a matter of public policy / law, to limit / control its employees’ "freedom of speech" / ("freedom of association") as a part of its contract with its employees - either as a general HR policy or on a case by case basis?

Does such a public policy / law differentiate between a "Brian Williams" and the person who does Brian William’s on-set makeup?

Does the justification for such a policy rest on the supposed effect the objected-to speech or association will have on the employee’s job performance or does it arise from the effect such behavior might have on the employer’s reputation?

More pointedly for the discussion at hand, "What specifically did Oberman's contract proscribe? What is MSNBC citing as the actual behavior that violated the applicable contract provisions?
(You would expect that the “characterization” of these items would be different from show to show or even between different persons in the same conversation; but isn’t it important to have the actual words of the contract discussed? Are we abandoned to isolated reliance on clever characterizations of reality without any recourse to the reality itself?)

Does Oberman’s contract proscribe all donations to all “political” causes? such donations without notification to MSNBC? such donations without MSNBC permission? such donations that MSNBC determines are detrimental to the reputation and commercial interests of MSNBC? such donations made by reporters / anchors / analysts / commentators / editors (as those terms may be defined by the contracting parties)?

Nov. 08 2010 12:53 PM
Karol from NYC

Sorry, Jack, but what you say makes no sense. I guess you haven't been following that Karl Rove is not a fan favorite right now among the Hannitys and the O'Reillys. He has dissed Sarah Palin, and that few conservatives can abide.

This election was a repudiation of Obama, and specifically his healthcare boondoggle. Here's a piece I wrote explaining how those who supported Obamacare are in the biggest trouble (written before the election): http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/its-free-blog/2010/oct/28/dems-troubles-all-go-back-health-care/

We're a center-right country, that's just the way it is. In many ways, Obama had to run to the right of McCain to win (which one talked about his faith nonstop and which one didn't?). The country will elect Democrats from time to time, but the consistent pattern is to choose right-leaning candidates.

Nov. 08 2010 12:42 PM
Jack Jackson from Central NJ

That's three for three where we disagree, Karol.

The joke is that non-disclosed campaign donations drove down turnout in the 2010 election and FOX News and the GOP would have us believe that it is a repudiation of the Democratic agenda. Hogwash.

Olbermann broke his station's ethics guidelines and deserves some punishment for it. Fox News doesn't have any such guideline. Fox is regarded as a mouthpiece for the Republican Party and can be relied upon to repeat - ad infinitum - whatever the party talking points of the day are. Terry Schiavo has a brain; current tax system is unfair to the rich; Obama's birth in the U.S. is somehow in doubt... The only court case where the 'fair and balanced' claim came before a judge was LOST by FOX.

Anyway, if I have to take my slanted view of the news from a source, I'll take it from one I trust. And I'll trust Keith Olbermann and his view over Hannity, O'Reilly, Hume, Wallace, and their ilk. When Karl Rove wants them to have an opinion, it will give it to them.

If Keith has bad ratings, let the MSNBC execs worry about that. It would be like me telling WNYC not to reprint your gibberish because no one reads it. Clearly some do.

Waiting for the fur fight between Fox, the GOP and Tea Party over Sarah P in 2012.

Nov. 08 2010 12:37 PM
mc from Brooklyn

I really could not care less whether he goes or stays. I am probably closer to him politically than Karol is, but I stopped watching him for precisely the reasons she lays out here. Too many "progressive" talking heads seem to think that their politics excuses their racism and sexism. Ugh!

Nov. 08 2010 11:47 AM
erv koch

Nothing but a PR scam by MSNBC in attempt to increase ratings

Nov. 08 2010 11:42 AM
chance

By all means I think MSNBC should keep Olberman. That way the audience has no chance at growing. This will help keep they're socialism at bay.

Nov. 08 2010 10:19 AM

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