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FOX Friends: maybe MSNBC should consult with White House to get OK on election anchors

Reported by Chrish - September 8, 2008 -

MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews will no longer anchor election-related special coverage (debates, election night), it was gleefully reported this morning 9/08/08 on FOX and Friends. The hosts asserted, in multiple segments, that NBC has made a conscious decision to move to the left, but recent comments by Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews were sooo liberal they had to be "fired." Of course no voice is too conservative for the mainstream media.

The NYTimes report on the issue was the basis for the segments. Steve Doocy repeatedly and emphatically said that the two hosts "were fired," but noted they would still remain on the air, just not for election coverage. Alisyn Camerota clarified further that they would still "provide color," but would not hold anchor duties.

Camerota said the last straw was apparently when Keith Olbermann objected to the Republican's use of 9/11 footage at their political convention, and Steve Doocy reminded viewers that the McCain campaign wrote to MSNBC about their "unfair" coverage some months ago. He also noted that David Gregory, who will take the anchor seat for election coverage, has an MSNBC program that airs on AirAmerica!

Brian Kilmeade then suggested that NBC vet their anchors with the White House, asking them if they think David Gregory is fairandbalanced. (Of course the Bush White House would answer a resounding "no" and leave all anchoring, if they had their way, to right-wing ideologue Brit Hume.)

Doocy attributed the "firings" to their liberal bias and called it a huge embarrassment to NBC. Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com sees it another way, that the corporate media is once again shooting themselves in the foot by demoting their most popular personalities to accommodate the demands from the right:

"First, nothing changes the behavior of our media corporations more easily than vocal demands and complaints from the Right, which petrify media executives and cause them to snap into line. [snip] There is no question whatsoever that the Bush administration, the McCain campaign, and the Right generally have recently made it a top priority to force MSNBC to remove Olbermann (and Chris Matthews) from playing a prominent role in its election coverage, and MSNBC has now complied with the Right's demands. Does it need to be explained why it is disturbing in the extreme that the White House and the McCain campaign can so transparently dictate MSNBC's programming choices?" ...

"Second, in response to media criticism that the press is insufficiently substantive and adversarial to political power, the claim is frequently made that media outlets are simply driven by the profit motive, and that their programming choices are nothing more than a by-product of ratings. But in MSNBC's case, that is plainly untrue. Back in 2003, they actually canceled their highest-rated program, Phil Donahue's show, for purely ideological reasons -- because, at a time when the establishment "liberal media" were systematically amplifying the Government's pro-war views and excluding anti-war views, that short-lived MSNBC show was one of the only venues in America where one could hear anti-war viewpoints, and NBC's fear of angering the Government and the Right clearly caused them, first, to impose extreme and unusual restrictions on the show's content, and then to cancel it altogether.

And now here is MSNBC publicly removing (and therefore diminishing) the person who is, by far, its most valuable asset: Keith Olbermann." ...

"The irrefutable fact is that nothing attracts ratings for MSNBC -- and nothing has attracted ratings in the entire history of that channel -- the way that Olbermann does. Yet here is MSNBC removing him from the anchor position, reducing his role in its political coverage, and clearly diminishing his stature (and implicitly criticizing his coverage). That is extraordinary for a media company to publicly embarrass, diminish and tarnish its own principal asset. It is plainly doing so for ideological, not ratings-based, reasons: namely, it fears doing anything to anger the White House, the McCain campaign and the Right in this country.

Third, this episode demonstrates what Eric Alterman documented several years ago: that the greatest and most transparent myth in American politics is that the U.S. has a "liberal media." That is a myth that is maintained, first and foremost, by defining anyone who isn't Rush Limbaugh as a "liberal." ...

"Finally, and perhaps most notably of all, Olbermann's role as anchor somehow destroys the journalistic brand of both MSNBC and NBC, while Fox News continues to be deemed a legitimate news outlet by our political and media establishment. Fox does this despite (more accurately: due to) its employing Brit Hume as its main anchor -- someone who is every bit as partisan and ideological as Keith Olbermannn is (at least), who regularly spews the nastiest and most vicious right-wing talking points, yet because he's not a liberal, is deemed to be a legitimate news anchor."

Please read the whole article here.

Both segments sequed into yet others about US Magazine's "media bias" against Sarah Palin and the trio cheerfully chatted as if a gossip magazine cover was relevant to presidential politics and news. If FOX would stop elevating crap, maybe their viewers and the electorate would in turn be more serious.