Whew! I am so glad that is not in my job description.
I watched every hour I could force down of both conventions, and I watched it all on MSNBC, so I can tell you that yes, the coverage of the Republican convention, at least as far as Olbermann & Mathews were concerned, was much more cynical than the coverage of the Democratic convention. But you know, it’s funny to me when people get worked up about Olbermann being chosen, as if it were a choice based on anything other than his ratings. Olbermann is the biggest star MSNBC has; who the fuck else are they going to get to boost the viewership of those week-long U! S! A! flag orgies, Al Roker? It’s all about the $$$ for the network, which is a concept you’d think Republicans would understand. Or aren’t they so hot on capitalism anymore?
Perhaps MSNBC does have an obligation to have a more neutral anchor, but I’ll be damned if I can think of one. Every anchor has his or her own political bent – it’s really all in how you look at it.
For example, let’s look at that fairly inflammatory piece of Republican video rhetoric that features footage from 9/11. I believe the message of that video could fairly be summed up to be “Democrats = another 9/11.” Olbermann responded by rebuking his network for showing it, saying that for him and many others, the footage used was a reminder of deeply personal loss, and he felt it was offensive to many viewers to see it used in such a fashion.
Yeah, no matter what you think of Olbermann, you have to admit that he gives good tv.
Tom Brokaw, on the other hand, revered mother superior of NBC, could have responded to the Republican’s little video by pointing out that it was an odd message for a party whose president had been in office for over 7 months when 9/11 occurred, or that the Republican’s president had been warned that the attack was coming and yet failed to act to prevent it, focusing instead on more desirable oil-producing targets.
He didn’t. Instead he responded by delivering a mild discourse on how Barack Obama would have to prove his “defend
Now, isn’t Brokaw’s reaction politically biased? Doesn’t it, as mild and yet authoritative as it sounds, still betray Brokaw’s personal point of view, which is that the Democrats, against all evidence to the contrary, have to prove themselves when it comes to national defense?
Why wasn’t Brokaw called out? Because although Olbermann made the fuss while Brokaw played it cool, wasn’t Olbermann the one closer to fulfilling the roll that we have relegated to the press, which is to call bullshit when politicians lie?
Or, in other words, what is the value of neutrality when one side dissembles and the other reaches toward truth? The Swiss have been neutral for almost two hundred years, and what is their big contribution to society? Instant cocoa and cuckoo clocks. What is the point of the press standing in the middle and saying to the American public “There! We provided you with both points of view!” when one of the points of view is morally arid?
I reject the notion that there is value on both sides. I understand the Republican point of view. Hey, I like to keep my money too. But when it comes to making sure that human beings move toward making this a better world, I think that most of the time, the Democrats are right, and the Republicans are wrong.
And I think it’s a shame when the intelligent members of our press corps pretend otherwise for the sake of this charade they’ve married themselves to, that their mission is to be unbiased, instead of to be right, and to be good.