Keith Olbermann Journalist or Charlatan?

You decide.

Murrow at work with CBS 1957
Murrow at work with CBS 1957 | Source

Edward R. Murrow Olbermann is Not

What I could never understand was why a major broadcast news organization would let a "journalist” who constantly reverted to name- calling, ridicule, and outrageous emotional outbursts to stay on air?   Yet, Keith Olbermann, who believes he is, a journalist, of the caliber of Edward R. Murrow, was on the air for eight years at MSNBC.  He even ended his nightly broadcast with Murrow’s tag line “Goodnight and good luck.”  I have never seen a clip of Edward R. Murrow screaming a mile a minute while spittle came flying out of his mouth as he delivered his editorials at the end of the nightly newscast or while he conducted his interviews on See It Now. Olbermann does not measure up to the caliber or standards of Edward R. Murrow.

Get a Shovel Joe

Olbermann shows his superficial political knowledge

One of Olbermann’s "unbiased an astute" political observations concerned a comment he made to Joe Scarborough during the Democratic National Convention of 2008. Scarborough was explaining how the McCain campaign was starting to build momentum; while the Obama campaign was no longer comfortable in their belief that the Presidency was Obama’s for the taking.  Before Scarborough could finish, Olbermann demonstrated his deficiency in understanding the strategies of presidential election politic by announcing into an open mike, “Jeez Joe why don’t you get a shovel.”  Olbermann then spewed out poll numbers, not realizing what those numbers actually represented.  Scarborough gave Olbermann a quick primer on correctly interperting the true meaning of the poll numbers.  At the end of Scarborough’s lesson, there was dead silence from Olbermann.  Chris Matthew, the co anchor, seemed like he was trying very hard not laugh.  I don’t think Edward R. Murrow would have made such a comment on air in that situation.

This is a professional journalist with integrity?

Olbermann jumps in to save Matthews from going off at the mouth

 Earlier at the convention Olbermann’s astute political antenna sensed that Chris Matthews was “running off at the mouth.”  Matthews was relating how the women of the democratic party felt they had been “screwed” and “jumped over” with Hilary not getting the nomination.  As Matthews was explaining how that was going to be an important issue, which had to be dealt with at the convention that night, for party unity. Olbermann jumped in marginalizing what Matthews said with “…the first time that subject came up was with Rachel Maddow and Michelle Bernard and that this is not two guys just talking about how women feel.”  Olbermann then introduces their next guest ;  “Congressman Steny Hoyer has been good enough to be standing by while listening to use go off at the mouth…” Olbermann makes a hand gesture of lips moving. Matthews doesn’t even try to hide his contempt for Olbermann’s stupidity.

A "heart felt" Apology to Scott Brown

If you do not think the way Olbermann thinks, then you are a racist.

Olbermann threw down the race card at the people of Massachusetts.  When the poll numbers were showing Scott Brown was close to winning Ted Kennedy’s vacant senate seat, Olbermann became indignant.  How dare Scott Brown have the temerity to run for the "Kennedy" senate seat?  Olbermann’s outrage was clear and unmistakable.  What Olbermann refuse to understand, but Brown did, it is the peoples seat; and the people decide who will sit in it not Keith Olbermann.  In a desperate attempt to discredit Brown, Olbermann let loose with a string of derogatory adjectives directed at Brown’s character. Thereby openly telling the voters of Massachusetts, if Brown won the people of Massachusetts were racist.  Olbermann used the can’t disprove a negative strategy. Over and over again Olbermann repeated “the voters may not have know that Scott Brown ….” He then ends his special comment by saying “…Scott Brown is…” he used every pejorative term he could spew out in thirty seconds.  Somehow I find it hard to believe that Edward R. Murrow would end a broadcast like that. The very next night Olbermann gave an apology to Scott Brown. Sort of.

A pathetic excuse of a Journalist


Olbermann’s worst performance was his infamous “shut the hell up” screed directed at President Bush, but in actuality he was pandering to his base. If there was any question that Olbermann was way out of his depth as a political analyst, it was answered that night. Pulling out all the stops, he started a non- stop adjective laced verbal steeple chase of clumsy and inept name calling. He threw out facts that were not verified such as: President Bush destroying evidence, lying to the congress, starting an unjust war, etc, etc.  I can see where a journalism degree from Cornell Aggie and twenty years as a sports anchor has made Keith Olbermann the consummate political analyst.  Was Olbermann going for a Murrow moment? If so, he missed the mark. What he looked like and sounded like was some deranged bit player in a Monty Python skit.  

Charlatan Exposed

Joe Scarborough deftly exposed Olbermann for the journalistic charlatan he is. Twice on his show, Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough pointedly called out Olbermann without using his name. The first time was during the surge in Iraq.  Olbermann gave a wild rant on the affect the surge had on the Sunni awakening.  In a clear calm dispassionate discussion Scarborough explained how Olbermann is just too stupid to be on T.V.  The next time Scarborough took Olbermann to task was right before the 09 elections.  Olbermann had pontificated a year before that Virginia, a traditionally republican state, had switch over to the democratic column for years too come. “The political landscape was changed forever in Virginia."  The Polls were saying the republicans would take Virginia. Scarborough went to town on Olbermann’s lack of political savvy.

"We have to put the guns down."

Crocodile Tears

However, Olbermann’s most disingenuous special comment came after the Arizona shooting. After years of spilling his inane juvenile prattle, poisoning the airwaves, and the minds of people (who believe there are government conspiracies everywhere) with his hateful comments and mock indignation, Olbermann gravely states "We need to put the guns down." This from a man who did more to incite hatred of anyone who's views differed from his.

Commenting on Olbermann's Political Acumen

More like Saul Alinsky

Olbermann spent his eight years at MSNBC making disparaging comments about any one who happen to be to the right of his politic thought. Olbermann believes in free speech as long as you agree with him. He never had a guest on that disagreed with his point of view. He would never debate anyone that disagreed with his point of view. He believes in the market place of idea; just don’t have any ideas that he doesn’t like. How can he call himself a journalist if he refuses to see all sides of an issue?

Olbermann’s idol is Edward R. Murrow; but his actions are those of left wing social organizer Saul Alinsky. Alinsky preached the use of ridicule against his targets, Alinsky believed if you "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside." Olbermann followed those rules to teh letter.   However, Olbermann forgot one import rule "A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time...." Olbermann antics went on too long. The powers that be had had enough. Mr. Olbermann "Goodnight and good ...."

The Man behind Olbermann's tactics

Saul Alinsky the author of "Rules for Radicals"
Saul Alinsky the author of "Rules for Radicals" | Source

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