Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Journaletics and Journos: Keith Olbermann: F+ring a matter of payola

Here's an ensemble of nooz items I found on the Net over the peak-week of this story:

NBC suspends Keith Olbermann indefinitely for contributing to Democratic campaigns

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann suspended for contributing to 3 Democratic candidates">MNSBC's Keith Olbermann suspended for contributing to 3 Democratic candidates

Keith Olbermann suspended by MSNBC:  Flashback to July Feud with Tucler Carlson

Keith Olbermann suspension criticized by reporters, conservative pudits

Olbermann doesn't answer to 'NBC standards

Biden asked Olbermann for anger advice: NYT

200,000 sign petiton for Olbermann

Keith, how we knew ye

Time to stop hiding

This last item raises some of the moral issues in the Olbermann case.  However, the formulation of the moral problem here is decidedly rather non-analytic as to what goes on in some venues when hosts/journos donate to persons or cawzes that benefit the journo directly and remuneratively in the long run.  This is rather different from the way FoxNooz hosts operate.  They try consistently to be "fair and balanced" in regard to the interviewees they inv+t to their studios and their cameras.  Then, when they give to their favourite cawzes, their personal contributions are made a matter of public record.  And there's not much room for the purchase of interviewees holding public office.

But liberal (yes, liberal) news organizations -- MSNBC and NPR, not to mention the New York Times and others -- have gotten this all bolloxed up lately, continuing to separate their journalists and commentators -- Juan Williams and now everyone at NPR else out of fear -- from their communities. They all refused to let their journalists attend the Rally to Restore Sanity, which turned out not to be a political event at all but a repudiation of media -- including most of Fox News plus Olbermann himself... a lesson all their journalists should have heard.

They do this because they want to stand above Fox News as objective. What they do instead is stand apart from their communities as -- what? -- sterile, gutless, distant. Fox News comes off as caring to its audience ("Fox News speaks for us," say the tea drinkers. "Fox News understands"). MSNBC comes off as... what? Don't we liberals deserve our Fox News, but with intelligence, sanity, openness? That was its promise. But like NPR, it is now a place where opinions and action are verboten.
M+ theory is that MSNBC realized that Keith Olbermann's political donations of money to the Democrats was actuarally a poyal program to grease the supply from Dems of prominents on KO's TV show, on a minute's notice when needed.


-- Reformatikos

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