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Free Speech for Me, Not Thee (if thee is a Republican)

MSNBC is not even trying to hide their partisan Democrat bias any longer. I used to watch MSNBC from time to time, but rarely do anymore. It is just hard to take seriously any network that tries to pass off Keith (Kos diarist) Olbermann as objective, or as a journalist for that matter. I have been channel surfing during the convention this week though and was surprised to find that the network is even farther in the tank for the Democrats than they were when I last watched. I didn't think it was possible. To call the "coverage" of the convention provided by Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann a lovefest does not quite go far enough to tell the story. They aren't even trying to pretend to be fair or unbiased anymore, now going so far as to openly (or at least on open mic) try to shut out the dissenting voices of Republican guests.

Newsbusters has great coverage of the drama going on at MSNBC for those like me whose gag reflex will only tolerate a minimal amount of viewing. Most recently, Keith Olbermann tried to pull the plug on Republican Mike Murphy. They mock the "fair and balanced" slogan of Fox News, but consistently show just how unfair and unbalanced they are by not providing equal time to those with opposing viewpoints. Recently Matthews and Olbermann branded Hillary Clinton campaign advisor Howard Wolfson a Tokyo Rose traitor for working as an analyst for Fox News, while they limit Republican guests and commentators and then insult the ones they do allow on. Don't believe me though. Take a look at the MSNBC convention coverage yourself. If you don't need convincing on the point of bias, take a look anyway. They have one helluva soap opera going on over there and it looks like it is going to get worse before it gets better.

Update: The Politico has a great rundown of this week's MSNBC drama including the following statement from network president Phil Griffin: "MSNBC does not have an ideology...We hire smart people who are passionate about their love of politics and love of news...Look, when Keith anchors, he plays it straight down the line," Griffin said. "This is our team. They've served us well. We love 'em, and we're going to be at the Republican convention, and it's going to be great. And I don't have any hesitation."

Update II: More MSNBC objectivity.


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Comments (24)

I caught a bit of olbermann... (Below threshold)
Glenn M. Cassel AMH1(AW) USN RET:

I caught a bit of olbermann and matthews. I never thought it possible but grown men leaving snail tracks? Who would have thought it possible but there it was on national TV.
For those of you who do not know the term, think back when the Beatles came to the US. The Old Dogs out there know what I mean.

I only have one question: ... (Below threshold)

I only have one question: You want butter on your popcorn?

Look, when Keith anchors... (Below threshold)

Look, when Keith anchors, he plays it straight down the line," Griffin said.

OK, that made me a little sick to my stomach.

Falze I prefer what I read ... (Below threshold)

Falze I prefer what I read someone else wrote once:

"My brain just threw up a little bit in my skull."

Actually, "Keith" and "anchor" shouldn't be in the same sentence - unless in a different context.

MSNBC is owned by GE, the c... (Below threshold)
Rance:

MSNBC is owned by GE, the country's largest corporation. As such, it is not "free speech" it is commercial programming and it is their right to air whatever they see fit.

Same rules apply to all media owners from Rupert Murcoch to Kevin Aylward.

Rance, please tell me where... (Below threshold)

Rance, please tell me where anyone here challenged their (or even Olberman's) right to free speech. Criticism of one's language does not equal a demand for their silence. Yours is what we refer to as a tangential remark.

"There was reason to fea... (Below threshold)

"There was reason to fear that the Revolution, like Saturn, might devour in turn each one of her children" Pierre Vergniaud, French Revolutionary Girondist leader

And he ended up guillotined!!!

Olbermann is a cancer, Matthews has orgasms for Barry and Shuster is a little neo-Nazi wannabe!!!

In other words, who owns MS... (Below threshold)

In other words, who owns MSNBC is irrelevant. What they say is. And their actions are. News, newspapers, internet sites, radio stations, all of them are owned by someone.

Olberman didn't like what he was hearing on more than one occasion and forcibly tried to interrupt; once openly and another time while unaware his mic was live. He's trying to act as a censor and MSNBC's Phil Griffin has no problem with it.

"MSNBC is owned by GE, t... (Below threshold)
Jess:

"MSNBC is owned by GE, the country's largest corporation"

That's funny right there. No, really. Got any more kneeslappers??

J

Oyster,Maybe I mis... (Below threshold)
Rance:

Oyster,

Maybe I misread the headline of this piece.

oyster: yeah, that's a good... (Below threshold)

oyster: yeah, that's a good one, but I was speaking literally, hearing someone make that statement actually made my stomach twist up a bit.

Lorie, I actually think tha... (Below threshold)

Lorie, I actually think that the anchors are playing to the TV audience for this convention which is probably mostly Democrats. During next week's Republican Convention, I also expect the news coverage to have some very nice things to say about John McCain because the TV demographic will be mostly Republicans, although a political junkie like me enjoys both conventions. If the polls remain nearly tied after both conventions, then the three debates may act as the tie breaker.

Paul,I might buy tha... (Below threshold)

Paul,
I might buy that for the coverage on some of the other networks, but this post is specifically about MSNBC and if Olbermann says anything nice about a Republican next week it will be the first time I have heard him do so EVER -- except when the Republican is dissing other Republicans. He seems to like them okay then.

They mock the "fair and ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

They mock the "fair and balanced" slogan of Fox News, but consistently show just how unfair and unbalanced they are by not providing equal time to those with opposing viewpoints.

Is Lorie advocating for a return to the Fairness Doctrine here? Curious.

I don't watch any of the cable news networks so I can't speak speak to the accuracy of the piece, but since when does a spot on MSNBC = free speech?

Perhaps a First Amendment refresher is in order, Lorie. It says "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press" not "Cable news anchors shall not cut off Republican guests."

Lorie, I certainly agree wi... (Below threshold)

Lorie, I certainly agree with you that Obermann is a biased figure, so I hope they will find some more objective voice to cover the Republican convention than him because I doubt the demographic watching the Republican convention would really appreciate some of his detractions from their right to present their case to the voters. Obermann has his place as a journalist, but it certainly should be limited during this convention coverage in my opinion. CNN has allowed Republican figures the hour during the Larry King Show to make their case, which seems fair to me, and likely will do the same during the Republican convention with some Democrats.

But mostly, CNN's coverage of the Democratic Party convention has bothered me. Rather than allowing most speakers to present their case to the public, CNN's analysts have used the convention mainly to offer them a platform to express their own analysist of the events, rather than the viewer. Only the major speeches have been covered by the networks, and airing at 10pm on the East Coast as well.

I'd give all the networks a failing grade for convention coverage so far. The conventions are meant as a voter education project, and I doubt that either party will be able to effectively make their case because of the way these conventions are being covered by every network I've reviewed so far.

Lorie, you've been on CNN before as a guest blogger commenter and you were very good. You should express your concerns to MSNBC and see if they would allow you to do analysist for them during the Republican convention to insure balance. Go for it.

Paul, I am still laughing a... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Paul, I am still laughing at your line about the news anchors saying positive things about the republicans next week. Really. Were you serious? ww

Willie, do you watch Fox Ne... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Willie, do you watch Fox News? So what if MSNBC is shifting to the left? (Rachel Maddow--very good hire. Almost enough to make watching TV news worthwhile.) Isn't it fair that one network offer an alternative for the large number of partisan viewers who disagree with Brit Hume and Neil Cavuto's spin?

Hey Willie, you're not goin... (Below threshold)
max:

Hey Willie, you're not going to cry if Obama doesn't get rained on, are you?

Paul,"During next ... (Below threshold)
Kenny:

Paul,

"During next week's Republican Convention, I also expect the news coverage to have some very nice things to say about John McCain"

Thank you, Paul. That was the best laugh I've had all week!

Here is the difference betw... (Below threshold)

Here is the difference between Fox and MSNBC -- Fox gives both sides a chance to speak. MSNBC, not quite so much. Fox also does a better job at identifying their opinion/partisan commentators as such. Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly don't pretend to be unbiased news reporters. Cavuto doesn't spin any more so than Lou Dobbs. As for MSNBC "shifting" to the left -- Olbermann is a Kos contributor for goodness sakes. That shift is more like a landslide. If they would admit it, it would not be an issue, but to pretend that they are fair and objective is a farce.

Lorie, I certainly... (Below threshold)
Lorie, I certainly agree with you that Obermann is a biased figure, so I hope they will find some more objective voice to cover the Republican convention than him because I doubt the demographic watching the Republican convention would really appreciate some of his detractions from their right to present their case to the voters

Holy crap, Paul, how big a knot did you end up twisting yourself into when you typed this sentence?

Comparing him to Lou Dobbs?... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Comparing him to Lou Dobbs? Umm...thanks for making my point?

Hey Willie, you're... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
Hey Willie, you're not going to cry if Obama doesn't get rained on, are you?

Hey Willie, someone is making an annoying noise in your direction. Oh, never mind. It's just max, hockin' a loogie.

Olbermann doesn't surprise me at all, but the rest of the MSM is a "wait and see" for next week.

Hooson - "Lorie, I actu... (Below threshold)
marc:

Hooson - "Lorie, I actually think that the anchors are playing to the TV audience for this convention which is probably mostly Democrats."

If that's the case can you agree Fox News is mostly watched by the Dems, after all their ratings so far during the convention has outpaced the closest competition by about 700,000 viewers and the rest trail further back.




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