Salon’s Walsh and Greenwald Attack AP’s 'Hit Job' on Olbermann

May 7th, 2007 3:09 PM

Has the king of Bush Derangement Syndrome, Keith Olbermann, created a new liberal malady characterized by an almost incomprehensible inability to tolerate any criticism of the MSNBC host?

After reading Joan Walsh and Glenn Greenwald’s articles at Salon Monday, one could certainly come to the conclusion that such an affliction exists, and that the two are suffering from this little known psychological impairment “Olbermann Derangement Syndrome."

For instance, Walsh began her “A Hit Job on Keith Olbermann” (emphasis added throughout):

The Associated Press ran an outrageous story over the weekend, reporting that the Rudy Giuliani campaign complained to MSNBC about Keith Olbermann's anchoring the network's Republican debate coverage May 3. That wasn't the worst outrage, to me. I wasn't surprised that the thin-skinned Giuliani complained about Olbermann's debate-anchor role preemptively (after an Olbermann commentary blasted the former New York mayor for saying Democrats wouldn't fight terror if they won the White House).


What bothered me most was the entire premise of the AP article, which depicted Olbermann as a polarizing partisan television hack equivalent to Fox's Bill O'Reilly.

I bet it did, for liberal media members are never allowed to express anything but sycophantic praise for others on the left. In fact, Walsh adroitly demonstrated this requirement with her own laughable description of Olbermann:

He is indeed a Bush critic, but I haven't found him to be a Democratic partisan. (I edited Olbermann briefly when he wrote for Salon, and knew him to be passionate and hardworking but not ideologically driven.)

How hysterical. Of course, once your laughing subsides, don’t you find this typical of liberal media members? Folks like Olbermann aren’t partisan, but just passionate and hardworking. Meanwhile, people like O’Reilly are “polarizing partisan television hacks.”

Color me unsurprised.

As an aside, Walsh also didn't miss an opportunity to bash this website and its parent:

In fact, the only source quoted in the piece criticizing MSNBC and Olbermann is Brent Bozell's ultra-right-wing Media Research Center. This story belonged on MRC's NewsBusters site, not in the AP. (Oh, and predictably, they loved it over there.)

Thanks, Joan. All those involved will wear your disdain like a badge of honor.

Also not surprising was Greenwald’s blog post on the subject wherein he oddly chose to take the opportunity to attack Fox News’ Brit Hume by sarcastically stating (emphasis added throughout):

No, Fox has "never" put an ideological figure like Keith Olbermann -- or his supposed equivalent, Bill O'Reilly -- in a position of news anchor. Instead, Fox diligently and impressively ensures that such important news positions are filled by objective, non-partisan, Real Reporters . . . like "news anchor" Brit Hume.

What did Greenwald use as an example of partisan behavior on Hume’s part?

A couple of months ago, in the midst of the debate over troop withdrawal from Iraq, the objective, ideology-free, pure-news-guy Brit Hume launched a bitter and deeply personal attack on Jack Murtha -- all but calling him senile -- and then said this about "Democrats":

HUME: And think of the Democrats in the middle of this. They know these facts. They can see them. They know that Iran is up to no good. And what are they worried about? Are they worried about Iran? Not so as you'd notice. What they're worried about is that the president might do something to Iran without clearing it with them.

Wonderful. I mean, think -- I mean, this is why the Democratic Party has had this reputation, going back decades, of really not being very serious about national defense. It's because they aren't.

Brit Hume -- "news anchor" -- just comes right out and proclaims that Jack Murtha is senile and the Democratic Party is not "serious about national defense."

Actually, Glenn, there’s a serious flaw in your position here: Hume wasn’t acting in the role of “news anchor” that day, for the clip is from the panel discussion of the February 18 installment of “Fox News Sunday.” As such, the anchor in your clip was Chris Wallace.

Furthermore, if you hadn't noticed, during such panel discussions, the guests indeed share their opinions, even ones you don’t like. As a result, these segments aren’t reporting the news, but, instead, offering analysis of it.

For some reason, even though he's a former constitutional lawyer, this distinction was lost on Greenwald.

Sadly, these articles epitomize the pathetic state of media in our nation. The AP for a change published a very balanced article, in this case about seemingly reasonable concerns expressed by Republicans over the presence of Olbermann at their presidential debate.

As this followed well-publicized boycotts by Democrats of debates sponsored by Fox News, it was quite reasonable for the AP's David Bauder to address FNC in this article, and how it fits in with this discussion. It therefore made sense that Bauder would try to equate some FNC figure to Olbermann to proffer a tenable analogy.

In reality, Bauder may have made a mistake in casting O'Reilly in the role of FNC's Olbermann, as the "Factor" is likely far more balanced than "Countdown." It seems a metaphysical certitude that O'Reilly has significantly more liberal guests on his program than Olbermann interviews conservatives. 

In the end, regardless of what Walsh or Greenwald think, Olbermann is indeed a polarizing and partisan figure in this country, and there was nothing wrong with the AP addressing it. Clearly, they're just unhappy that someone in the mainstream media had the unmitigated audacity to report it.

Of course, the AP does indeed bear some of the responsibility for their disdain. After all, if the wire service did a better job of consistently publishing balanced reports on a regular basis, Walsh and Greenwald wouldn't be so shocked by this article in question. 

It is indeed the lack of balance in the media that makes folks on the left so outraged when every now and then a bit of impartiality accidentally surfaces.

Wouldn't it be nice if they all had to get used to it rather than protest so vehemently when it happens?