My latest is up at Pajamas Media and I address the Keith Olbermann suspension from the point of view of MSNBC’s hypocrisy:
This makes the NBC News policy against “journalists” giving money to their favorite candidates inexplicable. Who are they kidding? According to Politico, NBC isn’t alone in this exercise in serio-comic absurdity:
NBC has a rule against employees contributing to political campaigns, and a wide range of news organizations prohibit political contributions — considering it a breach of journalistic independence to contribute to the candidates they cover.
How can you “breach” something that exists only in the minds of arrogant popinjays who think that journalism is a “calling”? One assumes the humanity of reporters — normally — and therefore they cannot be immune from the biases shared by everyone else. Editors, whose job description includes removing as much bias as possible from a story, generally share the point of view of their reporters and are either too lazy or too blinded to their own prejudices to recognize bias when it pops up in someone else’s work. In the end, journalists are about as “independent” as Eastern Europe was during the Cold War. You don’t have to scratch very far below the surface to reveal the nauseating hypocrisy that is contributing to the end of journalism as we know it.
Olbermann’s punishment does not fit the crime. He violated company policy — a policy rooted in fantasy and outmoded notions of journalists as ink-stained cavaliers of fairness and justice. It may be elevating to believe in “independence,” but it isn’t practical.
And this is just cause to kick Olbermann off the air? And why now? William Kristol wonders if NBC’s parent company, General Electric. isn’t trying to curry favor with the new GOP majority in the House. More likely, as Bryan Preston points out, since Olbermann’s ratings have been tanking, his prickly presence in the newsroom has caused enormous friction with both on-air and behind-the-camera staff. MSNBC President Phil Griffin may have taken the opportunity afforded by Olbermann’s transgression to send the Kos-darling packing, ridding himself of this meddlesome high priest of hyperbole.