Sesno Bashes Fox's Tea Party Coverage, Defends Olbermann and Roesgen

April 19th, 2009 5:23 PM

In today's You've Got To Be Kidding Me moment, former CNN personality Frank Sesno scolded Fox News for its coverage of last week's Tea Parties while defending the disgraceful behavior of Keith Olbermann and Susan Roesgen.

This from a man who is now a professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University.

Appearing on CNN's "Reliable Sources," this was Sesno's opinion of the Tea Party involvement of Fox News's Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck (file photo):

It's fine from a First Amendment point of view. They've got that right. It's not fine from a journalistic point of view...Because that's not our job. Our job is not to use our podium and our platform and our television camera to tell people what they should be thinking and doing. Our job should be to tell them what's happening out there and then they decide what to do.

Yet, moments later when host Howard Kurtz played a clip of Susan Roesgen's deplorable behavior at the Chicago Tea Party, Sesno responded:

She was debating him, which is a problem. On the other hand -- and I've been there, OK? You're on live television, you have somebody who's throwing, you know, firebombs at the camera, and you cannot just let that go unchallenged.

Words like "fascist" are very serious words. And your responsibility as a journalist, it seems to me, to be out there, is to challenge that and draw that person out. It doesn't mean getting into a debating contest with him. And maybe she stepped over the line with that, but that's an important thing to call people out on.

Hmmm. So, the responsibility of a CNN "journalist" is to challenge and call people out for their opinions. BUT, a Fox News "journalist" should not use his or her podium, platform, and television camera to tell people what they should be thinking and doing.

Got that?

But there's more, for when Kurtz brought up Janeane Garofalo's disgusting rant on MSNBC's "Countdown" Thursday, he asked Sesno if host Keith Olbermann should have called out Garofalo for her comments. Readers are encouraged to brace themselves for Sesno's next hypocrisy:

Should be challenged. I mean, again -- but it depends what the show is. All right? I mean, Keith Olbermann is Keith Olbermann. I mean, he's going to approach this the way he should.

Amazing. So Roesgen was right to challenge and draw out folks at the Chicago Tea Party, but Olbermann gets a pass with Garofalo because he's Olbermann.

Meanwhile, Beck and Hannity clearly overstepped journalistic boundaries.

Thanks for straightening that out for us, Professor.

And that concludes today's lesson on media and public affairs.

Any questions?