The Imperfect Messenger

This Editor and Publisher piece about Olbermann calling out the AP for their ridiculous hit piece really is a perfect example of what I consider to be the Olbermann conundrum. While Olbermann is a an obnoxious, overbearing, over-the-top, irritating, pompous, smug and self-referential fathead who is difficult to watch, the reason he gets away with it is because HE IS THE ONLY ONE SAYING THINGS THAT NEED TO BE SAID.

Olbermann and Matthews really disgraced themselves with their schoolgirl gushing last night, but Olbermann was exactly right about the AP piece- it was shit. And just as it was the case with many things over the past few years (torture, the failure of this administration, domestic surveillance), Olbermann is the only one to bluntly and explicitly say so.






31 replies
  1. 1
    timb says:

    Dead on. I like watching KO’s show, because he reports things from a perspective I find rare and because he’s smart. But, dear Lord, I wouldn’t want to be in the same room as him…or same building. Watching him for any length of time just shows he must be a colossal prick.

    could be worse, he could be a colossal prick and be wrong (see Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity)

  2. 2
    timb says:

    By the way, fresh off of Red State announcing Pawlenty will be the VP, Pawlenty has the good sense to deny it. Red State, literally, could not be reached for comment (Error 500: Internal Server Error).

  3. 3
    Marshall says:

    Got a link for the Olbermann smack-down ? I always like seeing those.

  4. 4

    YEP, that’s why we tolerate him. We need our own windbag. I mean shit, we only got ONE.

  5. 5
    Jake says:

    Seems most sources are reporting Sarah Palin for McCain’s VP.

    Looks like a Hail Mary for the PUMAs.

  6. 6
    MJ says:

    Olbermann and Matthews are both awful and it shows in the ratings.

  7. 7
    Face says:

    While Olbermann is a an obnoxious, overbearing, over-the-top, irritating, pompous, smug and self-referential fathead who is difficult to watch,

    Tell us how you really feel.

    He was the uber-anchor at ESPN. That gives him a lifetime pass on the politics scene in my book.

  8. 8
    oh really says:

    timb Says:

    By the way, fresh off of Red State announcing Pawlenty will be the VP, Pawlenty has the good sense to deny it. Red State, literally, could not be reached for comment (Error 500: Internal Server Error).

    Timb, Erick Erickson, RedState’s resident clairvoyant has updated his “prediction” twice. After it appeared that Pawlenty was out, he decided it must be Mittens. That didn’t last long, because Sludge is calling it for Palin.

    I think the RedState site went down because Erickson, a genuine basket case, was probably spilling drinks all over everything in his vain attempt to be “first.”

  9. 9
    PK says:

    I honestly don’t get this. What is in it for an outfit like the AP to put out outright lies? How do they bnefit?

  10. 10
    greynoldsct00 says:

    I read a lengthy article about Olbermann, he’s been canned from a number of jobs because of all traits you mentioned. He just seemed to come along at a time when as you say, things needed to be said and no one else has had the guts to do so. I agree, he’s getting to be a bit too much and if his arrogance consumes him, people might stop listening.

    So far I’ve read that it’s confirmed that it’s not Pawlenty, not Palin and not Romney.

    Bets anyone?

  11. 11
    Montysano says:

    Jeezus, David Brooks has jumped the shark and crashed in flames on the other side. The Arbiters of the Narrative really don’t like it when someone goes off-story, esp. if it’s a skinny black dude with big ears and a funny name. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so much bitterness dripping from a single column.

    Cokie must be positively beside herself, and will likely have to take to her bed for the weekend.

  12. 12
    Mike in MI says:

    I used to have mixed feelings about KO for some of those same reasons. Then I caught his interview with Bill Moyers and this exchange sold me (link):

    BILL MOYERS: Quote, “I have long had mixed feelings about Keith Olbermann. While it’s nice to have a cable anchor how doesn’t obsequiously parrot Republican National Committee talking points, I struggle with the fear that angry histrionics on both sides create more of the ugly polarization that paralyzes our institutions and prevents Americans finding common ground. How does Mr. Olbermann differentiate his ad hominem attacks from those we see on the other side?” What do you say to Jesse?

    KEITH OLBERMANN: Well, they’re better written. The first– no, I hate to– I– it’s the most vulnerable point because it bothers me, too. It do– it’s the one criticism that I think is absolutely fair. We’re doing the same thing. It is– it becomes a nation of screechers. It’s never a good thing. But emergency rules do apply. I would like nothing better than to go back and do maybe a sportscast every night. But I think the stuff that I’m talking about is so obvious and will be viewed in such terms of certainty by history that this era will be looked at the way we look now at the– at the presidents and the– the leaders of this country who rolled back reconstruction // I think it’s that obvious. And I think only under those circumstances would I go this far out on a limb and be this vociferous about it.

    KO sounded 100% sincere. Emergency rules do apply.

  13. 13
    AkaDad says:

    In one speech, Obama did more damage to McCain than the Vietnamese.

  14. 14
    greynoldsct00 says:

    Jeezus, David Brooks has jumped the shark and crashed in flames on the other side. The Arbiters of the Narrative really don’t like it when someone goes off-story, esp. if it’s a skinny black dude with big ears and a funny name. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so much bitterness dripping from a single column

    Cripes, you’re not kidding. What an asshole. So McCain is going to be firmly grounded in our grim reality and that’s more acceptable?

  15. 15
    JL says:

    Chris Matthews also brought up the Time Magazine interview with John McCain. I think calling him prickly is kind. I for one think that John has some serious health issues.

  16. 16
    oh really says:

    John have you seen Dover Bitch’s post-speech analysis? (At Hullabaloo)

  17. 17
    Zifnab says:

    could be worse, he could be a colossal prick and be wrong (see Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity)

    Anyone notice a theme here? Some sort of underlying current that propels Cable News talking heads to success and stardom? Liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, Independent or Third Party Guy With No Chance In Hell, it seems like every major network speaker is required to be a humongous asshole. And people tune in by droves to listen to these ego-inflated gas bags give their opinions on the news.

    I agree. The only reason Olbermann gets on TV is because he’s a liberal voice in the “Liberal Media” media vacuum. Apparently, all the other liberal voices were too civil and polite to get on the air. Except for James Carville and Paul Begala who make up for the lack of assholishness in spades.

  18. 18
    slag says:

    I haven’t seen Olbermann or Matthews from last night, but from my POV, no amount of gushing is too much. Obama kicked fear’s ass yesterday!

  19. 19
    Kathy says:

    Montysano, I was watching PBS last night, Brooks display was unreal. After every head gushed about the speech he was in terror. He was hammering on the ineffectiveness of Obama’s speech but it was clear he was forcing himself to say what he didn’t believe. He thought it was an incredibly effective speech and it scared the shit out of him.

  20. 20
    tBone says:

    I used to like Olbermann, but since his Special Commentaries or whatever they’re called took off, he’s become increasingly insufferable. And he and Tweety were embarrassing to listen to last night; I was waiting for them to break out the telestrator so they could draw “I ♥ Obama” over and over with a pink glitter pen.

    The fact that he’s the closest thing we have to Edward R. Murrow shows just how fucked up broadcast journalism has gotten.

  21. 21
    bigol says:

    I watched the speech and walked away wondering what the big deal was. It was a wonderful safe speech. He has talent. But nothing, nothing, stood out. It was like cotton candy, good at that time, but not standing the test of time.

    I give it a solid B.

    And I happen to agree with the AP reporter. So where exectly was he wrong for saying what many people were thinking, when KO and CM were saying what many others were thinking at the same time! Different view points… big country, all that?

    B

  22. 22
    Svensker says:

    So far I’ve read that it’s confirmed that it’s not Pawlenty, not Palin and not Romney.

    Where’d you hear it’s not Palin?

  23. 23
    oh really says:

    Kathy Says:

    Montysano, I was watching PBS last night, Brooks display was unreal. After every head gushed about the speech he was in terror. He was hammering on the ineffectiveness of Obama’s speech but it was clear he was forcing himself to say what he didn’t believe. He thought it was an incredibly effective speech and it scared the shit out of him.

    It’s interesting that you thought he believed the speech was great, but was forcing himself to deny it.

    I watched him and all I could think was “This guy is completely insane.”

  24. 24
    Lushboi says:

    Fathead > Airhead

  25. 25
    The Pale Scot says:

    Yes, Brooks is ready for the rubber room, and go check out the fox website, not a trace anywhere about the convention, never mind the speech.

  26. 26
    Maximus says:

    Interesting…Olbermann states a viewpoint, and the staid MSM swoons; Fox News does it on a daily basis and gets by with “Fair and Balanced”.

  27. 27
    Mr Furious says:

    And I happen to agree with the AP reporter. So where exectly was he wrong for saying what many people were thinking

    Because it was clearly written without having actually viewed the speech. IT wasn’t a reaction, it was a premeditated hit-piece.

  28. 28
    Michael Brown says:

    …an obnoxious, overbearing, over-the-top, irritating, pompous, smug and self-referential fathead who is difficult to [read], the reason he gets away with it is because HE IS THE ONLY ONE SAYING THINGS THAT NEED TO BE SAID.

    Kinda like our dear old Republican buddy John Cole. Who just said what probably needed to be said about KO.

    The imperfections of the messenger do not invalidate the message. And thanks for giving a somewhat self-referential demonstration of that out once again, JC :-)

  29. 29
    barkleyg says:

    My Timeline for the Democrats to find their BALLS:

    Murtaugh calling out Bush on the Iraq War.

    Steven Colbert and his infamous “unfunny” speech at the Press dinner

    Keith Olberman, nightly telling what no one else will talk about, culminating with the First SPECIAL COMMENT and his work since.

    I like Keith’s on air personality. This is serious stuff, but a little levity and trivia only adds to the story. The story is serious, but lets not make it Boring.

  30. 30
    slightly_peeved says:

    As long as he isn’t sexually harassing his staff or addicted to prescription drugs, he’s not near the asshole that most of the right-wing talking heads are.

    The fact that he’s the closest thing we have to Edward R. Murrow shows just how fucked up broadcast journalism has gotten.

    to an outsider, it seems that they’re so lazy. I mean, you have independent fact-checking websites. I thought that’s what journalists were paid to do. And without doing it, you’re stuck just saying fact-free bullshit about whether you like or dislike what a politican does… much like US journalists have been doing for the last few years, come to think of it.

    For an example of how it should be done, take a look at some of Jeremy Paxman’s work.

  31. 31
    Stephen1947 says:

    I couldn’t agree more about KO and the necessity (for now) of his continued presence – there is little that grates more on my nerves than his “good night and good luck” ripoff after his special comments – so I usually try to click away from the vid when I know he’s finished (I don’t watch TV because it’s such a huge brain drain).

    I would also argue that Michael Moore is in the same category – someone who says what needs saying, but demonstrates himself as a colossal asshole/jerk in the saying. Why can’t we have forceful, hard-hitting commentators who do the right thing and are minimally likable at the same time?

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