Monday, March 12, 2012

Week of 03/12/2012

Memo To Olbermann: Stop Acting Like A Democrat!
– by David Matthews 2

I have a real simple request for Current TV’s Keith Olbermann.

You remember Keith, don’t you? He used to be on ESPN. He used to be on NBC and MSNBC. He used to be the thorn in the side of FoxNews and News Corp. Then he lost his job when Comcast bought out NBC and MSNBC. Apparently the folks at Comcast rightly saw Olbermann as their “Howard Beale” and wanted him gone before he sounded off about the new owners.

Since then, Keith’s been busy working with Al Gore’s Current TV cable channel, trying to keep his show going without the MSNBC draw. Operative word being “trying”. Being the “premiere face” on Current TV is a little bit like being the “premiere voice” on ShockNet Radio. In other words, Keith, welcome to my world.

Now, folks, I’m not a bean-counter, which means that I don’t measure a show by how many viewers it has and how much ad revenue it brings in. And I don’t use bean-counter numbers to justify that an idea is “right” like some of Rupert’s people do. Being “number one” does not excuse you for being wrong about something. Just ask Dan Rather if you don’t know what that means. I measure a show and their host by their content, not on their audience draw or their ad revenue.

So what I have to say to Keith now will seem a bit strange, but I hope that it will make sense to everyone by the time I’m through.

Keith, please stop behaving in the same way as the Democrats.

You know how Democrats work, right Keith? You have them on your show regularly. They have a lot of ideas. They talk a lot about vision. They try to gain broad support, they try to be inclusive, and they try to make things work.

But when push comes to shove, what do Democrats do, Keith? They fold. They back up and retreat. Their push for common ground and inclusiveness compels them to negotiate with the very people that are trying to sabotage their efforts at every turn.

Guess what happens to those ideas and that vision? Well, you know what happens to those ideas, Keith. Those are the first things put up for sacrifice.

If Dems say something like “two plus two equals four”, then the GOP would cry “class warfare” over the word “equals”. Fox News would accuse the Dems of using “fuzzy math”. The conservative talk radio hosts would condemn the Dems for being “intellectual elitists” by “pompously proclaiming that two plus two MUST equal four”. The theo-conservatives would accuse the Dems of promoting some “deviant lifestyle” by putting “two” and “two” together. And then six weeks after the Dems back down, the GOP would then issue their own declaration, saying that “in the name of heritage and culture, four is just four,” and then claim ownership of the whole discussion.

This is the game that the conservatives and their various sub-factions do, Keith, and you’ve seen the Democrats fold every time they are put to the test. You’ve seen this first-hand, and you’ve reported on it in your broadcasts.

You saw this with President Obama’s healthcare reform plan; the very campaign that you championed following your father’s declining health. You watched, with disgust I might add, as key reform tenants such as single-payer were sacrificed from day one by mealy-mouthed cowards. I watched you spend every single day on the air to promote and encourage and needle elected officials to make reforms possible. I watched you castigate the president and the Congress for the abomination that was substituted for real reforms.

You saw the political cowardice with the Democrats failing to challenge every filibuster, every procedural hold being placed by the GOP just to score political points. The debt ceiling, budget extensions, every nomination that would be held up, every deadline that would come and go, putting millions of Americans on the edge simply because the GOP wanted to play games and the Democrats would back down.

You’ve seen this cowardice and you’ve said on the air that this is wrong. You wondered where the spines were in the Democratic Party and why the GOP has been able to roll over them.

So why are you making their mistakes, Keith?

Recently, political troublemaker Andrew Breitbart was the frequent subject of your “Worst Persons” segment, using the rehashed mix of his verbal meltdown at a recent “Occupy” rally with various scenes from movies like “Planet of the Apes” and “Network”. And it wasn’t just one time. It was day after day after day for about two weeks straight, and always declared the “Worst Person in the World”.

Then, suddenly, he’s dead, and you’re silent, Keith. There is no special comment about Breitbart being dead. There is no dancing on his grave or mentioning that Karma is a bitch. There is not even an acknowledgement that the frequent star of your “Worst Persons” segment will not be around anymore to provide misery and video mashing. Why is that?

Remember what Breitbart said when Senator Ted Kennedy died? He wasn’t at all silent about it. He didn’t ignore Kennedy’s passing. He danced on Kennedy’s grave, digitally urinated on it, verbally defecated on it, and yet Breitbart was given a pass from you when he died. Why is that, Keith? Karma demands that he be treated no less in his passing than how he treated others in theirs.

And that brings us to your “Worst Persons” segment, Keith. This is the very reason why I watch your show. It’s what dragged me in, and twice now you’ve suspended it from your program.

The first time was because Jon Stewart somehow lumped you in with the talk radio venom and you suddenly felt self-conscious that an actual comedian would mistake you from anything that the talk radio segment regurgitates. And now you’re suspending this segment because some neo-cons are playing the false-equivalency game and comparing your words with those of Rush Limbaugh.

What the hell, Keith? Why are you playing the same game as the Democrats?

Let’s get brutally honest here… by suspending key segments which help to define your show, you are validating the false-equivalence being perpetrated by the cons and neo-cons!

Look at your friend Bill Maher. Does he suspend his HBO show because some pinhead from FoxNews wants to play the false-equivalence game? No! He doubles-down and calls them out on their BS! In fact, he did just that this past week and he did it quite well.

Has Rush Limbaugh backed down from his rhetoric? No. Has his friends in the conservative and neo-conservative media backed down on their attacks on Sandra Fluke? Absolutely not! In fact, they have since doubled-down on the rhetoric! They have continued on their attacks of Ms. Fluke and others like her. They have turned the outrage into a temper-tantrum far worse than anything Veruca Salt could ever exhibit. If they can’t have it their way, then they will take all of the toys and go home. Not just their toys, but everyone’s toys.

This is what they do, Keith. You know that as much as I do. Their arrogance is such that they will never admit to being wrong about anything, especially when they know that the target of their venom would fold. And they do expect you to fold, Keith, which is what you’re doing.

Not only that, but you are giving these people the means to eventually silence your show once and for all. If they know that they can silence your “Worst Persons” segment by invoking the False-Equivalence argument, then what is to stop them from eventually using it to also shut down your “Special Comments”, or “Time Marches On”, or even your “Fridays with Thurber”? All they have to do is point to the tone or the subject or the stance and say “A-Ha! Hate speech! You’re no different that Rush! Why are you still on the air?”

The sad truth, Keith, is that there is a stark difference between your show and the Democratic Party. The Democrats have the luxury of believing that people will eventually turn to them no matter how badly they perform. They just have to appear to be not as bad as their GOP counterparts. That is something that you, as a broadcast commentator, do not have.

When people are digested by Fox News, they don’t have to switch to Current or MSNBC or CNN. They can opt to turn to the other 495 channels, download a movie to watch, or find something else to spend the time. Maybe they will even tune in to an Internet radio station like ShockNet Radio, where they can hear views from people willing to speak out against the “False-Equivocation”.

Maybe things were different when you had NBC bosses to answer to. Big corporate media executives are always fascinated with political fire but are deathly afraid of getting burned by it. But this is supposed to be your own playground, Keith. If you aren’t willing to defend your own segments against the conservatives and neo-conservatives, then how can you expect anyone else to?

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