FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
How Does Keith Olbermann Have A Job?
I realize you are all very busy cashing enormous checks from health care lobbyists and engaging in mob activity at town halls (with your old people and your sandals and whatnot), but please allow me to interrupt briefly with a story far too delightful to allow its passing unremarked.
This is a tale of Keith Olbermann: sportscaster, eye-glasses wearer, living comedy routine and, according to multiple left wing sources of late, a blatant liar. Actually, I believe Keith’s favorite way of saying it is ‘bald-faced’ liar. Just what is it (this time) this bald face is lying about? Oh, this is so where it gets fun. It’s not even one of those, ‘get the popcorn’ moments. This is like, you write in to popcorn forum … “Dear Orville, I never thought these stories were true until it happened to me.”
Wait, before we go on, I just want to throw this out there. Clark Kent was the worst secret identity ever. Right? He looked just like Superman, they were never in the same place at the same time, and just like Supe, Clark was a goody-two-shoes boyscout. But with glasses. Right? Obvious. See, if I were a super-hero, I would make my secret identity like, the biggest douche in the world. Like, the hugest. So no one would EVER think to suspect him. Plus he’d wear glasses. See where I’m going? Hey, I’m just trying to find some kind of balance in the universe, you know what I mean?
Anyway, back to the story. It all starts with an article that ran in the New York Times a few weeks ago. In it, a supposed truce between MSNBC and Fox News, and in particular between O’Reilly and Olbermann, was said to have been arranged by the network bigwigs. You see, Keith had been accusing Bill of being responsible for the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller, a sentiment cheered by the 23 people in Keith’s audience. In return, Bill led an effective campaign of boycotts and letter-writing against MSNBC parent, GE. I would say things got ugly, but considering the participants in this fiasco it should go without saying. Ergo, at last, the truce.
Not so fast, said Keith to three different cameras. No doubt out of fear of being seen as a “sell-out” by his kostituency, Olbermann went on the air with a worst persons in the world segment blasting the article, Bill O, and Fox News. He declared his independence, presumably from MSNBC not Kos, and then posted about it at, yes, DailyKos. Keith blogged that “there is no ‘deal’ between MSNBC and Fox over what we can and cannot cover. This is part of a continuing strategy of blackmail by Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes, that reaches back to 2004, and has as its goal the cancellation of ‘Countdown.’”
So. Definitive? Yes. Problem Solved? Not so much.
Keith Olbermann is in the crosshairs over a recent New York Times article, which reported that bagmen for General Electric and News Corp. engineered a “truce” between the two networks, muzzling Olbermann and Fox’s Bill O’Reilly for the mutual benefit of each corporation’s concerns.
Much of the blogospheric discussion has centered around Olbermann’s response to the furor, post-NYT article, which has been ridiculous and implausible. But it’s also worth spending a little time thinking about Olbermann’s initial response — to the order from on high. As I see it, at that moment in time, Olbermann had four clear choices:
1. Resign his position in protest.
2. Refuse to go along with the edict, and risk his firing.
3. Publicly disclose what he had been told to do.
4. Lie to his viewers.
What he clearly decided to do was #4.
You see, back in June, Keith announced on his show that he would no longer be mentioning Bill O’Reilly because something something harumph miss precious perfect mutter Hitler it got too real, man, too real! Which translates roughly to, “they didn’t TELL me to leave him alone, I was TOTALLY going to anyway! You’re not the boss of me!!”
HuffPo writer Jason Linkins found that explanation to be … lacking. To wit: “As a consumer of journalism, I tend to think that as unfolding matters increase in significance, there should be more journalism, not less. So, this explanation strikes me as deeply, deeply asinine — and utterly incredible.”
Dear Jiffy Pop …
So Linkins has essentially posited that Keith was lying about the truce already. But that’s not all. You see, Stelter was not alone in writing on the subject. Glenn Greenwald also wrote an article on the matter, essentially reiterating the Times. Which Linkins addresses thus:
This reality is borne out by Olbermann’s perplexing reaction to the controversy, which has been to blow hot snot all over New York Times reporter Brian Stelter’s reporting, while simultaneously “honoring” and praising the accuracy of Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald’s response, which was based entirely on Stelter’s reporting. One cannot decry one report, one minute, and then “honor” the same conclusions the next. On Monday’s broadcast he called Brian Stelter one of history’s greatest monsters for a day. But then he declared in a statement that Glenn Greenwald’s account, which deviated not one iota from the facts Stelter presented, contained “nothing materially factually inaccurate.” This is what is known as “total B.S.”
Simply awesome and completely devastating. And Linkins isn’t alone. Jane Hamsher identifies the same problem. After recounting the contradictory statements regarding the Times‘ Stelter and Glenn Greenwald, Hamsher wrote:
This is not possible. Olbermann has now made two contradictory statements about his role in the affair:
1. He confirms what Glenn Greenwald wrote, which is that he stopped covering O’Reilly because he was told to by his bosses at GEO
2. He says that his decision to stop covering O’Reilly was purely a response to O’Reilly’s role in the Tiller incident, and that any assertion to the contrary is a blackmail attempt by Roger Ailes
It is clear that there was a deal between GE and News Corp, because both are confirming it. So Olbermann is, at best, guilty of obfuscation by claiming that he was not “party” to any deal. As Glenn said:
That’s because GE executives didn’t care in the least if he consented and didn’t need his consent. They weren’t requesting that Olbermann agree to anything, and nobody — including the NYT’s Stelter — ever claimed that Olbermann had agreed to any deal. What actually happened is exactly what I wrote: GE executives issued an order that Olbermann must refrain from criticizing O’Reilly, and Olbermann complied with that edict. That is why he stopped mentioning O’Reilly as of June 1.
Either Glenn’s reporting is right, as Olbermann confirms, and he was silenced by GE. Or Glenn’s reporting is wrong, as Olbermann said last night, and the GE-News Corp deal had nothing to do with his actions.
There will be a cloud over Olbermann’s credibility until he clarifies what really happened.
Do you ever wish you smoked? I’m just saying.
That’s not even the whole sordid tale either. While the Kos kids are questioning his journalistic integrity for agreeing to a deal, and HuffPo and Hamsher are questioning his honesty for lying about a deal, one TV newsletter ponders the implications of an apparent defiance of GE’s Immelt by Olbermann, as reprinted at the blog Chicaboomer.
How does Olbermann Keep his Job?
“I’m out talking about this company seven days a week, 24 hours a day, with nothing to hide. We’re a 130-year-old company that has a great record of high-quality leadership and a culture of integrity.”
Jeffrey Immelt, CEO, General Electric
Jeff Immelt the head of GE and the parent company of NBC tried to still the bumpy waters between NBC and Fox News. FTVLive reported how he met with Fox big cheese Rupert Murdoch. It seemed that both sides agreed to try and play nicer in the future.
Then Keith Olbermann goes on the air and makes more attacks against Fox blowhard Bill O’Reilly and Fox News in general.
You might want to give Keith Olbermann credit for blowing off the boss and doing his own thing, but we have to wonder if Jeff Immelt is running the company or is it Keith Olbermann?
It’s been obvious that Jeff Zucker is unable to control Olbermann, but now Jeff Immelt can’t even get this guy to reign it in? And if you ask us, he’s has to be humiliated in the process?
One has to wonder what would happen when a guy in the jet engine division tells Jeff Immelt to “go **** himself”? Which is basically what Olby did to the GE boss. –
It’s not like Olbermann has been a ratings juggernaut. His ratings have been slipping fast.
So we have to ask…How the hell does Keith Olbermann have a job?
He has to have pictures…
Keith likes to ask his audience, frequently, how it can be that Bill O’Reilly has a job. If I were Keith, it wouldn’t be the employment prospects for TV’s highest-rated cable news host I’d be worrying about. How are those numbers looking, Keith?
Dear Planters Peanuts …