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The Torch Is Passed, MSNBC Must Be So Proud

BDBlue's picture

Via Talk Left, Bob Somerby on Keith Olbermann and Countdown:

But then, Countdown has almost surely become the most propagandized show in cable “news” history. Yes, you can still find pure crap in the mainstream press. But pure crap abounds now on Countdown.

When we started this site, the mainstream press corps took the cake (see item above). Now, our “liberal” cable show does—and that has our analysts bollixed.

How silly does it get on Countdown? Just watch any part of the show, any night! The propaganda flow starts right away, and it rarely stops.

But wait, there's more! The emphasis is mine.

We’re stunned each night by Olbermann’s show (when we can force ourselves to watch him). It points the way to a troubling future. We’ve never seen such pure propaganda, even on any particular Fox News Channel show. Is this how news orgs of the future will work? If so, Keith will be a hog in slop. It seems he was born to play liberals.

CHASING THE BIRDS: Keith has been a good boy in recent weeks; he has basically dropped his nightly feature of ridiculing young blonde women. We’ll guess: With all the complaints about MSNBC’s endless gender-trashing of Clinton, someone decided to cut this out too. If Obama becomes the Dem nominee, thereby ending the network’s problem with Clinton, will Keith return to beating on girls? His show is aimed at young liberal men. Presumably, Keith knows that tickling their latent distaste for girls is one more way he can please them.

At any rate, Wednesday evening saw Keith enjoying a rare bit of personal pleasure. Comedian Paul Mecurio had been asked to help kill the program’s final segment. Keith asked about the guys in those Abercrombie/Fitch tee-shirts—the ones who were visible as Obama spoke Tuesday night. Soon, Keith was running with Paul in the fields, very much as he used to:

MECURIO (2/23/08): Hi, Keith, how are you?

OLBERMANN: Let`s get at this from one particular angle. If that was not a plant by the company and the campaign did not plan that, doesn’t it make the campaign look kind of dopey? Didn’t they need somebody to look at the video before the senator spoke and say, “Move those three guys out of there?”

MECURIO: Absolutely, but I don’t believe the campaign. I think it was a plant. Remember when Barbara Bush said Hillary rhymes with “witch?” Well, Obama is sending a message to the world that she rhymes with “Fitch.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Actually, Barbara Bush said that Geraldine Ferraro “rhymed with rich,” way back in 1984. But so what? A minor change in a famous fact let the gentlemen gambol and play. Back to the fun: “You’re saying it was to get everybody to think that Hillary Clinton was rich,” Keith playfully countered. “Don`t want to get the network in any more trouble.” And then, Paul helped his host feel young again! He picked up another old chestnut:

OLBERMANN: Anyway, it is 24 hours since the speech, nearly. There is not as much as an ID of any of these three guys. There are direct appeals on the Internet from a bunch of political bloggers and writers. Are these the only three college-aged guys in America who don`t want publicity and TV exposure?

MECURIO: No, don’t worry about them. In our culture, in 24 hours, they’ll have their own reality show on VH-1. Trust me. The reality is, if they really wanted to get known, they would do something to get seen, like sleep with Lindsay Lohan. Then again, who hasn’t?

OLBERMANN (watching the video): Is that Lindsay Lohan, by the way, on his left? Is that her? No.

MECURIO: It might be. Exactly!

Omigod! It was heaven! According to Nexis, it had been several months since Keith had called Lohan a slut.


No, you can’t build progressive politics by having a smarmy old coot teach young liberal men to hate women. But we’ll admit it—we felt glad for Keith Wednesday night as Paul freed his soul once again.

Read the whole thing, including the further corruption of Rachel Maddow.

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snow-moon's picture
Submitted by snow-moon on

about Rachel.

I was a fan.

Then one day- it really happened suddenly- she turned on Hillary.

Rachel had always been a little obsessed about the "war vote" - and always gave too much credit (in my opinion) to Obama for his famous 2002 antiwar speech (so brave, so prescient).

But one day she just snapped-
and the anti-Hillary attitude has been flying ever since.

The day I first noticed her wearing false eyelashes- on MSNBC- a little part of me died (or as Rachel is fond of saying "I threw up a little in my mouth"- why does she say that so often? acid reflux?)

I hope she's paid well- Ms. Anti-War activist, now employed by General Electric. (Go Nukes!)

first they came for the networks,
then they came for public radio and tv,
then they came for the blogs and Party activists,
then they came for the podcasts,
then they came for the Democratic Party

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

(Can I say that? Is it sexist? So much PC running around these days.)

As a middle-aged straight white male I often picture myself as a young lesbian trying to break into big time TV, and ask myself just how much shit I would eat if I were. I would eat quite a lot.

Those pieces on Olbermann are scripted, by his writers. Much more the real Rachael is what she does unscripted, and especially when she does it to the worst of the pompous asses on NBC.

There’s this, where she won't back down from Joe Scarborough's bullying and he get so pissed off he can hardly contain himself. The barely controlled fury while he says he won't be condescending - while he's being condescending - is very satisfying, and then he leaves before the show is over. (You can hear him taking off his microphone. Then count talking heads at the end of the show: Where's Joe?):

Sometimes she makes me groan and swear, but other times I’m shaking a fist and shouting Sic‘em, Sic‘em! Not an easy path for her, I think.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

and I sympathize with her. It can't be easy to be a progressive lesbian working in a Frat House.

It's just depressing to watch her slow evolution. She still has her moments, including the one with Scarborough. But it seems that she's slowly being assimilated into the Borg. Although I admit I rarely watch MSNBC anymore, so what I know could be from skewed clips.

It's not her opposition to Hillary that I mind, btw, it's what Somerby highlighted which is how she now follows Keith's dishonest lead. She's better than that, IMO.

And it's not the selling out and playing along with the corporate narrative that bugs me, it's that the particular narrative at MSNBC is so often misogynistic. As Somerby pointed out, Countdown even without the Hillary bashing has a misogynistic heart. So does Hardball. So does, well the list goes on. It's one thing to put up with sexism from your colleagues towards you, hey we all do that. It's one thing to modify your opinions to make them more palpable to your corporate employers, hey we all do that. But to participate in a network that's peddling hatred towards your people, and that's what MSNBC does, that has to be soul destroying. It's totally her choice to make and I understand why she does it, but she's a talented woman and I can't believe in the long run she wouldn't be better off somewhere else.

Submitted by cg.eye on

Her show's no longer her, anymore. One hour's the MSNBC smarmfest simulcast, one hour's her, and the third hour is call-ins with somebody else. If she's on her way out of Air America, then her assimilation's going to be Ellen-strength before she even gets close to a contract for her own show.

What did Olbermann say that has Anglachel as pissed as I am, about Limbaugh threatening Denver with riot:

Does anyone know about a transcript of this?

snow-moon's picture
Submitted by snow-moon on

I haven't been paying close attention to Rachel's recent performances on MSNBC (I stopped watching several weeks ago). The transformation- in tone against Hillary- occurred on her radio show.

I used to listen to her by podcast- every day. She was a daily regular for many months.

After Edwards dropped out of the race, I was a bit lost (not crazy about either of my remaining choices at that point). As I began to lean toward Hillary, Rachel began to seem more and more hostile. (Maybe I just didn't notice before?)

It got worse until I ultimately chose to stop listening to the show. (It seems all of Air America became openly "partisan" for Obama around the same time. I'd hoped Rachel would remain neutral- or at least respectful of both candidates. I was disappointed.)

I agree that there have been moments on television when she's been quite good. I actually enjoy the relationship she seems to have developed with "Uncle Pat." Maybe those two should get a show-- far away from Keith or Chris.

It is a mixed bag, I agree. And I'm sure it's not easy for her.

Keith Olbermann-- I will NEVER watch again. He is damaged goods to me.


He is dead to me.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

It was the night of the New Hamster primary. That was the night she coined the phrase "the Tweety effect." Matthews was portrayed as the poster child for the media's HillaryHate boosting Hillary to victory.

The next morning, Maddow walked it back and praised Tweety as the ultimate in professional journalism. She has been one of the boys ever since, and she has been rewarded by MSNBC.

Real Democrats aren't afraid of democracy

48 + 2 = legitimacy

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

they don't respond--i think she's learned she can only play if she plays by the host's spin which is always reinforced by all "guests" and "analysts".

she mentions "opportunity costs" and things like that all the time too, and it falls like a lead balloon. Then the host steers it right back to "should Hillary quit?" "are Clintons racist?" "is Obama a wimp?" "why didn't he silence Wright?" etc...

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

People act like all these bloviating gasbags are independent and speaking their own minds.

They say whatever they are paid to say.

Real Democrats aren't afraid of democracy

48 + 2 = legitimacy

snow-moon's picture
Submitted by snow-moon on

credit where credit is due:

Wasn't Pam Spaulding- of Pam's House Blend- the person who coined the phrase "The Tweety Effect?"

I wasn't aware that anyone had ever actually called Matthews "Tweety" to his face. I remember when Rachel referred to bloggers writing about Matthews' influence- but she paused and smiled (as I remember it) and politely refrained from actually saying "Tweety" on air.

It would be rude, after all, to draw attention to someone's lisp and unnaturally yellow hair.