TV Critic Thinks Keith Olbermann Could be the Future of Journalism
Here’s a shocking thought for your Election Day: A Keith Olbermann-style anchorman on every television news program on every channel spewing vitriol and animus as only he can. Some Halloween trick, huh? Well, if Aaron Barnhart, television critic of the Kansas City Star is right, this could be the case in the near future (hat tip to TVNewser).
Barnhart’s column on Monday entitled “Numbers look good for Keith Olbermann; Is MSNBC newscaster's 'Countdown' journalism's saving grace?” absolutely gushed praise on America’s premiere Bush-hater (emphasis mine throughout):
Keith Olbermann is, to date, the most perfect expression of [the fake newsman] idea. As he continues to pick up steam -- that he will pass CNN’s Paula Zahn for second place at 7 p.m. seems inevitable -- it’s worth asking if his brand of journalism will be, and should be, the future of TV journalism.
The article apocalyptically continued:
He has been called a misunderstood visionary, a liar and the de facto voice of progressives and lefties in cable news. Three things are indisputable: Olbermann has a giant ego. He’s finally found his voice with "Countdown," by far the best of the three shows he’s done since leaving his job as ESPN "SportsCenter" anchor. And his bosses give him license to do things no other serious journo gets to do on TV.
Barnhart then shared some marvelous moments from KO’s greatest hits:
After "comedian Rush Limbaugh" tried to backpedal on his earlier remarks about actor Michael J. Fox, Olbermann barked, "Rush, your lies used to be slightly entertaining, but no more" and added: "Please, go back on the drugs!"
Other recent comments have attacked the anti-terrorism bill for suspending habeas corpus, GOP political ads that use images of Osama bin Laden and the failure to recover dozens of bone fragments from the 9/11 attacks that had sat untouched under manhole covers for five years.
"You (Mr. Bush) can actually claim that you and you alone can protect us from terrorism?" fumed Olbermann, who says he lost several friends on 9/11. "You can’t even recover our dead from the battlefield -- the battlefield in an American city -- when we’ve given you five years and unlimited funds to do so!"
Charming. This is the future of journalism? Suddenly I'm questioning my position on euthanasia. Mercifully, Barnhart was moving to a conclusion:
With each special comment, each story that mocks the GOP, Olbermann edges ever closer to a form of journalism not seen since the early 20th century, when Democratic and Republican newspapers routinely sparred, their front pages filled with wildly differing accounts of a news event.
If Keith Olbermann’s brand of journalism is what it will take to keep viewers younger than 60 informed, is it worth throwing neutrality overboard?
A fascinating question to say the least. Does this say more about Olbermann, his viewers, or Barnhart? After all, I’m younger than 60, and I yearn for neutrality, especially from my news sources. Fortunately, I imagine myself more in the majority than those that need the likes of Keith Olbermann to make the news entertaining enough to be informative.