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The Empire

Former journo: Olbermann flap is 'about pretending that the media is objective'

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Brooke Gladstone underscores an interesting detail about Keith Olbermann: his donations to three Democratic candidates apparently violates a policy of NBC, the less-partisan parent company of MSNBC, which is decidedly more partisan and outspoken.

Word that a partisan news host played an actively role in politics is, according to journalist-turned-consultant Bob Liff, more about the industry's failings than a transgression of a reporter.

Liff, a former reporter with Newsday and the Daily News, said the flap about Olbermann "is not about the objectivity of the media but about pretending that the media is objective."

"If journalistic means you have to hide your opinion, is that honest to a reader or a viewer?," Liff asked. "Knowing Olbermann's bias is better than not knowing it. And pretending that media folks do not have opinions is dishonest.

"Olbermann and his ilk, including the [Sean] Hannity's of the world, are not reporters but commentators and opinion-spewers at their core. They are supposed to be opinionated. That's why people watch them," Liff said.