Friday, November 5, 2010

Sign the Petition to get Keith Olbermann back

Go sign the petition ASAP.

His voice is an important weapon in the continuing wars against the absolute toxic and silly shit the deranged so-called conservative media is spewing.

Heard the latest about the $2oo million and entire fleet the Obama's are using to make a state visit to India?

Whether or not you favor his style of news and commentary, his is a valuable source of trustworthy information about our world. I challenge anyone to attack his honesty in reporting the news.

It's time we get his back, after he's had ours for so long.

Go sign the thing.

"Olbermann has admitted that he gave $2,400, the maximum individual donation, to KY-Sen candidate Jack Conway, and Reps. Raul Grijalva (AZ-07) and Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-08). Conway ended up losing to Rand Paul; Grijalva won his unexpectedly tight race, and Giffords looks to be holding on, though the race has not been called. Olbermann said in a statement, “I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns, nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level.”

NBC News has an ethics policy in place that bars its personnel from making political contributions without the approval of Steve Capus, the president of the news division. “Anyone working for NBC News who takes part in civic or other outside activities may find that these activities jeopardize his or her standing as an impartial journalist because they may create the appearance of a conflict of interest.”

However, this policy doesn’t look to have been broadly applied. Atrios finds a number of contributions to Republican candidates made by Pat Buchanan, who is a paid political analyst for MSNBC. They have a right to make such a policy, but it ought to be carried out on anyone who violates it.

For his part, as recently as 2008, Olbermann explained that he doesn’t vote as a symbolic gesture to maintain his objectivity as a journalist. He elaborated on this to Portfolio Magazine, saying, “I know it’s very idiosyncratic, but I would feel just a little hesitation, just a little drag on the airflow, if I went to criticize somebody, especially a president, for whom I had voted. It is driven by the same thing that used to make me keep my distance from the athletes I covered. I don’t want anything, even that tiny bit of symbolic connection, to stand in between me and my responsibility to be analytical and critical.”


  1. "Heard the latest about the $2oo million and entire fleet the Obama's are using to make a state visit to India?"

  2. Sven you misread it, as the article states the story going around is a myth.

  3. Well, guess what? I saw AC's report as video and are well aware. I dropped the link because the blog post's reference to the topic might have mislead readers.

  4. I think that at some point we're going to have to stop pretending that the news conglomerates are in the "unbiased news" business; the times, they are a-changin' back to where every faction has a press organ and uses it to megaphone its talking points to the base.

    Olbermann is entertaining enough, but he's just another jester at the circus that is MSNBC. If I wanted "news" I'd be watching...well, actually, nothing, since the TV news has become a ridiculous menage of infotainment and conservative-oriented bloviating. Hopefully he'll catch on somewhere he isn't breathing the same air as Pat Buchanan; it has to be killing brain cells only slightly less than drinking sterno.

    MSNBC wants to be Fox. That means Olbermann had to go some way or another. I doubt that petitioning or begging will make them change their minds. What us lefties need is our own "Fox", one that will propagandize the rubes from the left the way the Murdochites do from the right. Maybe we can find a place for Olbermann somewhere...

  5. I don't get why he was fired unless MSNBC is still operating on the fiction that he is a "journalist" and not an opinionator. As far as I'm concerned he hasn't operated as a journalist for years - he's rather like the liberal version of Shaun Hannity.

    Although I think media companies have the right to set these kinds of rules and fire people for violating them, I think such rules are kind of dumb. The only real issue I see is that Olbermann wrote the check the same day he interviewed one of the candidates, but even that isn't a huge deal.

    Who knows maybe MSNBC was just looking for an excuse....

    Basil, sorry but I'm not signing any petitions. A rich, influential firebrand needs no assistance from the likes of me.

  6. Can people in the USA easily watch Al-Jazeera English?

    It is a surprisingly good news channel (as such things go).

  7. Rachel Maddow used the last few minutes of her show last night to explain company policy.

    She broadened her comments not to excuse "her friend and colleague", but to delineate the difference between MSNBC and Fox and to put to rest ( or death ) the false equivalence claims as recently put by Jon Stewart.

    I know how news of these donations got out. Every time I plunk down a 20 or less for a campaign online I need to disclose, and that is public information.

    The question arises, does an American citizen lose his/her civil rights when they are public figures in the news business? If so, is that right?

    I think small individual donations like what KO did ought to be private business. My opinion, of course, and do weigh in on that.

    Bless your li'l heart, Andy, I am well aware of your feelings about my boy KO. Good luck comparing Hannity with KO, Buckaroo.



  8. Olbermann isn't a journo by any definition. He's an entertainer and an editoral writer, if anything and I have no real vested interest in him as a purveyor of "news"; what he does he can do as well at Spike or Comedy Central as MSNBC. So, sorry, basil, no petition for me.

    But Sean Hannity, on the other hand, is to journalism what Julius Streicher was to journalism. I would gladly sign a petition to hang him up by his lying tongue as a warning to others who attempt to con the public by presenting their lies as news.

    So the one takes facts and makes entertainment out of them, the second takes lies and makes facts out of them.

    Apple. Orange.

  9. "If I wanted "news" I'd be watching...well, actually, nothing ..."

    Check out BBC World.

  10. Chief,

    Point taken. I guess I should be careful with my comparisons since I haven't actually watched/listened to any of these guys for a few years now except the occasional excess I catch on youtube.

    I'm with you though, I don't watch TV news anymore either. I had CNN and Fox on on election night and I was trying to remember how long it was since that happened.


    It's been several years since I've had the opportunity to watch Al Jazeera english but I remember liking it. Unfortunately I haven't seen if where I live for quite some time now.


    Maybe it is or maybe it isn't false equivalence, but a choice between Hannity vs Olberman for me is like choosing whether I'd rather have syphilis or gonorrhea. None of the above please! ;)

    As for Jon Stewart, he's a better critic (and a lot funnier to boot) than all those guys put together and someone I'd actually consider signing a petition for.

  11. You have to admit that Olbermann kicks ass vs. Hannity, Beck, et al when it comes to class. While there's no arguing that any of them are truly journalists, the fact is that they influence public opinion. This is the main reason I signed the petition. There is a need to offset the classless, couthless, war-mongering, right-wing, etc. etc. sewage coming from Fox. Olbermann is one of the few heavyweights in that arena.

  12. While I agree with most of what you wrote, wourm, thank you very much, I still would argue that KO does have journalistic credibility. We've had this argument here before, no one here will convince me otherwise, as I suppose the other direction as well.

    As long as our corporate media overlords can contribute as much as they wish ( thanks to our less and less credible SCOTUS ) to whoever they wish and their newser lackeys have to toe their supposed standards and heel on the yank of the leash, there is an injustice here.

    Read this for an accounting of corporate media political donations:

    Juan Cole provides some history:

    End part one, see below:


  13. Quoting Dr. Cole:

    Olbermann began his long-running feature, “Worst Person in the World” (which he recently shelved) in reaction to a critic-consultant that NBC hired to advise on shows that needed to be canceled. He complains that NBC cancels shows at the drop of a hat without giving them a chance to build an audience, almost capriciously: “Our network used to change shows every hour and a half. I don`t mean we have a new show because the old one is over. It was just we would cancel everybody and have another new show.” When the consultant urged that a show be canceled after only two weeks, Olbermann thought, that’s it, he’s the worst person in the world.

    So I guess MSNBC’s Phil Griffith, who summarily ‘suspended’ Olbermann is the Worst Person in the World today, in exactly the original sense of the term.


    November 10, 2008 Monday


    WHOOPI GOLDBERG, “THE VIEW”: The feature, the worst person in the world, how did this come about?

    OLBERMANN: It started because, honestly, we had one — it`s an old Bob and Ray sketch, the great comedians. It`s an old — The worst person in the world, there had to be somebody. As George Carlin pointed out, there had to be a worst doctor in the world. Just, there has to be one. And somebody`s got an appointment to see him tomorrow. These two things were rolling around in my head one day. There was a critic came in.

    Our network used to change shows every hour and a half. I don`t mean we have a new show because the old one is over. It was just we would cancel everybody and have another new show. We had a critic in the “New York Times” who came on and criticized, of all people, Tucker Carlson for not doing a good enough job, and after two weeks wanted the show canceled. First, they`re criticizing us for canceling shows too soon. Then, I said, I`m reading you want us to cancel a show after two weeks. This is one of the worst persons in the world. OK, we`re going to start it tonight.

    cont. below


  14. That Olbermann is being treated unfairly is obvious. Joe Scarborough has also donated to a political campaign while at MSNBC. And Sean Hannity at Fox has given far more money to candidates than Olbermann ever did. In fact, Hannity donated to Michele Bachmann, which suggests he is better suited to playing a bit part in a remake of the Night of the Living Dead than to anchoring a major ‘news’ show.

    Hell, most of the main Republican candidates for president are working for Fox Cable News! So it goes beyond giving some campaign a couple thousand dollars, nowadays!

    Fox argues that Hannity is not a news anchor but the equivalent of an op-ed columnist, a purveyor of opinions, and so may also be a political actor.

    But MSNBC has already marked Olbermann also as an opinion person, not a hard news anchor, when it took him off election coverage in 2008. So MSNBC has put Olbermann in the same category as Fox has put Hannity. But one is on the air and the other is not.

    MSNBC has a long history of throwing liberals under the bus, despite its recent strategy of trying to use them to counter-program against Fox.

    In the build-up to the Iraq War, MSNBC had Phil Donahue, whose evening magazine show was the highest-rated thing on the network. As the momentum for war built, the top corporate management became very nervous about having a show starring an anti-war liberal, so they fired Donahue Rick Ellis wrote at the time that General Electric-owned NBC had commissioned a study of its public image, and that the consultants produced a report in which they wrote, that Donahue was a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war……He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration’s motives.” The report worried that the war fever would benefit rival, pro-war, pro-Bush networks and implied that Donahue might succeed in branding NBC in a way that caused viewership and therefore advertising revenues to plummet.

    MSNBC replaced Donahue with far right wing shock jock Michael Savage, Dick Armey and Republican Joe Scarborough (who went on to donate to a Republican politician while on the air).

    Then there was Ashley Banfield, a television reporter who was almost killed on 9/11.. She went off on this quest to understand Pakistan and Afghanistan, about which she had known nothing, and she risked life and limb to get up to Kabul as soon as the Taliban fell, and when the road from Jalalabad was very bad. She was on a steep learning curve and tried to take her MSNBC television audience along on this quest to understand the forces that had nearly snuffed her out. Then on April 24, after the successful Bush invasion of Iraq, she gave a public speech in which she criticized US television news for its rah-rah cheerleading of the war, which was not exactly in the best tradition of sober reporting. She was marginalized and ultimately fired.

    The summary firing of Donahue and the disposal of Banfield may have been in part the situation to which Olbermann was referring when he told Whoopi Goldberg that NBC used to cancel shows frequently and arbitrarily.

    And it was precisely that sort of corporate shooting-from-the-hip decision-making on programming that inspired him to start his ‘Worst Person in the World’ segment. But in the end, the Worst Person got him, too.


    I personally believe we need a more educated, literate citizenry. One that needs to understand George Carlin, Bob & Ray, and other such political commentators.

    Mark Twain started it all, natch!


  15. ael,

    Couldn't agree more, AJ English is pretty good. Contrary to what many people, we didn't have Fox News on in our TOC when we deployed, we much preferred AJ English. It tends to be repetitive, and some times they go way in depth on topics of little interest, but they go in depth and that is nice to see. Always found it funny that you will see more interviews of US soldiers on AJ English in a day than you will see on US media all month.

  16. He's baaaaack.........

  17. Yes he izzzzzz . . .! :)

    bb b hab b.


    Olbermann's suspension drew vocal outcry from, among others, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), National Review columnist Bill Kristol, filmmaker Michael Moore and Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal advocate Lt. Dan Choi. More than 300,000 people signed an online petition by the PCCC asking MSNBC to put him back on the air.

    But the issue remains: Does corporate media have the right to donate millions to causes and political candiates at their capricious whims but yet punish their employees who donate a few thousand privately to those they support?

    And isn't it more than a bit bothersome that the diversity, quality, and availability of our news is dependent upon how much Viagra, Axe, cold pills is sold, when thousands and millions of lives are on the block?

    When a sitting president of the United States, the most "powerful man on Earth", the leader of the most "powerful nation on Earth", can let a bureauocrat, who honestly tries to serve the citizens who come to her for help, lose her job because some treacherous hack edits tape from years ago and a sleazy shitsack on Fox publishes it without honest investigation, what does that tell you about our political leadership and the state of the American press?

    Hell yes, bring in the BBC and the jihadist terror network al Jazeera!

    To their credit, Jon Stewart's favorite whipping boy, CNN, did well by that particular story.


  18. ooops!

    To be perfectly clear about my post above, the TPM part is in italics, the rest is mine.


  19. The plot thickens, as Sen. Bernie Sanders enters the fray.

    From FDL:

    By: David Dayen Monday November 8, 2010 11:45 am

    This is a smart political move by Bernie Sanders to get a lot of liberals interested in what had been a back-bench issue. It’s also the right question to ask substantively.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he would look to block a merger between NBC and Comcast, citing the decision last week by MSNBC to suspend liberal anchor Keith Olbermann.

    Sanders said Comcast’s attempt to acquire NBC from General Electric would result in “another media giant run by a Republican supporter of George W. Bush.” [...]

    The senator pointed to Comcast’s COO Stephen B. Burke’s history as a major fundraiser for former President George W. Bush as a reason why the deal, which has drawn criticism from other lawmakers for different reasons, should be blocked.

    “As Vermont’s senator, I intend to do all that I can do to stop this merger. There already is far too much media concentration in this country,” Sanders said. “We do not need another media giant run by a Republican supporter of George W. Bush. That is the lesson we should learn from the Keith Olbermann suspension."