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

Friday, November 05, 2010 - 04:58 PM

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.

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Comments [5]

Toddfboyle

The institutions of mass culture are the only institutions having real power in the long run. The media, the schools, and the churches are run by human beings, and generally work and advocate to the limits of their ability to promote particular values, beliefs and desires in people.

These people shaping the beliefs and desires of the human population, absolutely, have more power than governments. Their power is manifest indirectly, over long periods of time and in the mental sphere. Governments are at the level of effect, not cause. They are the result of peoples' beliefs and desires. It is absurd for NBC or any other organization in media, in religion, or education to pretend neutrality. Their doctrine of neutrality is itself, a bias. It is not only an inherent contradiction but has real political consequences.

Nov. 06 2010 05:15 PM

What is worse is a reporter who covers a race before election day and then goes to work for the winner after election day.

How many reporters are now faxing their resumes to the winners ?

Which NY State reporters will be joining the ranks of the "WINNERS" ?

How can anyone believe want they write or blog ?

They love to "Quote" unnamed sources who feed them stories to tar their opposition and then use the headline, and store in an attack ad or mailing.

Before there was the "Oracle at Delphi" there was Count Vampire J. Machiavelli

VJ Machiavelli
www.VJMachiavelli.blogspot.com
The Legislative Budget is Too Damn High

Nov. 06 2010 05:55 AM
George

...And yet Olbermann still blustered regularly on-air about his impartiality and journalistic integrity. He, more than anyone else in this flap, consistently portrayed himself as an objective and astute daily chronicler of political hypocrisy. Azi, the source of the objective media illusion lies not in the industry's HR policies but in the willingness of on-air talent and their enablers to slant their real motives and mislead their audiences. Fox never claimed its prime time talent expressed anything but commentary. On the other hand, MSNBC sold their line up as exuding a journalistic credibility they never really had. Olbermann"s repeated perfunctory caveat: "As a journalist....," attests to this.

Nov. 06 2010 03:36 AM
George

...And yet Olbermann still blustered regularly on-air about his impartiality and journalistic integrity. He, more than anyone else in this flap, consistently portrayed himself as an objective and astute daily chronicler of political hypocrisy. Azi, the source of the objective media illusion lies not in the industry's HR policies but in the willingness of on-air talent and their enablers to slant their real motives and mislead their audiences. Fox never claimed its prime time talent expressed anything but commentary. On the other hand, MSNBC sold their line up as exuding a journalistic credibility they never really had. Olbermann"s repeated perfunctory caveat: "As a journalist....," attests to this.

Nov. 06 2010 03:33 AM
Masf94

Sad, Keith Olberman was great and I hope MSNBC rethinks their move, shame on them Ms

Nov. 05 2010 10:33 PM

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