Olbermann and Maddow Deserve Our Thanks


One of Baltimore’s more talented media critics, David Zurawik got it wrong yesterday when he criticized MSNBC with the same broad brush that he uses to criticize FOXnews. We all know that Fox is right wing propaganda, where Murdoch and Roger Ailes feeds anchors republican talking points as their news headlines of the day.

MSNBC doesn’t work that way. Unlike Fox where the entire news division is in the tank for republicans, MSNBC relies on NBC news for their “fact-based” journalism. NBC news is as objective as any mainstream press unit (in my estimation not so objective, but that’s for another day).  Moreover, Zurawik directed his criticism at Keith Olbermann, who he sees as engagaing in the same propaganda techniques as Fox and rachel Maddow, who he sees as more pleasant than Olbermann but a propagandist nonetheless. 

I think he is flat out wrong and here’s why.

1) Zurawik seems to miss the big point that Olbermann and maddow are commentators, not news anchors, and that their shows are in fact opinion generated.

2) he condenses all of Olbermann to its last 15-20 minutes, where Keith indeed engages in more of his silly over the top special comments and best and worst persons in the world. Zurowik misses the first 35 minutes of Countdown which indeed is critical but highlights news stories that the mainstream press ignortes and deliberately chooses not to highlight. Most of these stories involve illegal and unethical shenanigans in the Bush Administration and Mccain campaign. So to that extent there is political biaqs. But they reporting of these stories are fact-based. Zurowik misses this essential point.

For the first 7 years of the bush Administration, the mainstream news ignored important stories that if reported would have kept Bush to a one term failure. it is not propaganda to focus on valerie plame, US Attorneys firing, unitary executive theory, and so forth. It is critical reporting and crucial for a democracy to survive.

The mainstream press in all its zurowikian objectivity, failed to notice these actions were subverting the constituion and destroying democracy.

Rachel Maddow is a recent addition, but i would challenge zurowik or anyone to document stories that fabricate facts or exagerate the truth. that’s just not what she does.  All the while, this is almost all that Fox does. The differences couldnt be greater.

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