Tag Archives: Keith Olbermann

Rachel Maddow for “Meet the Press” Host


Rachel Maddow on Air AmericaNow that NBC is searching for a replacement host for Meet the Press, I’d like to add my two cents that Rachel Maddow would fill the bill. Like Russert, she is a natural news hound, with incredible smarts and offers up an easy but high octane screen presence.  Like Russert, she knows her stuff and from what I can tell she works incredibly hard.  She is not easily intimidated and can handle her own with the likes of Pat Buchanan, who may be a real paleocon ass, but is a smart, sharp tongued right winger who does his best to put Rachel through the rigors every time they meet on MSNBC.  She raises above rather than going tit-for-tat.

With Obama’s nomination sure to have a positive impact on media culture, it also appears time for the media to break glass ceilings, and Maddow offers up two such ceilings. 

In response to those who suggest that Maddow has a political agenda, I would point them to Chris Wallace, a right wing hound on Fox who was Russert’s predecessor at Face the Nation.  Unlike Wallace, Maddow has a Ph.d, in politics which provides evidence of the sophisticated political analysis she is capable of and which would be in display at Meet the Press.

But alas, I am a realist and realize the MSM may not yet welcome Maddow with open arms.  If that’s the case, then consider this.  David Gregory would make a decent Meet the Press Host, and by moving him to Sunday morning, I would suggest then moving Maddow into his MSNBC prime time slot. Maddow deserves her own prime time show, and if not to be Meet the Press, then why not MSNBC’s “Race for the White House,” for now?  



We need more (than) Keith Olbermann

The New Yorker this week runs a feature on Keith Olbermann, angry man (on left).  I’m not convinced Olbermann is a lefty, tho his coverage during the Bush Administration gives ample evidence of his courage to speak truth to power, as he sees it.  

The easy cut against Olbermann is that he is a progressive version of Bill O’Reilly, his arch nemesis.  Far from it.  While I agree that Olbermann provides a critical voice against right wing media hegemony, one Olbermann is a far cry from balancing out the entire Fox network.  It is also worth noting that while Olbermann is quite opinionated, his opinions are supported by evidence, which is sorely lacking in Fox broadcasting.

Quite frankly, I do not know how likely it is that Olbermann would be an Obamanaut should Obama become President. I don’t imagine he becomes a Rush or Bill O’Reilly.  Here’s why: those wingnuts are propaganda machines, feeding off right wing talking points. Olbermann doesn’t answer to anyone, let alone suits issuing daily memos on what to say or not to say or how to say it.

On the larger score, Olbermann represents the first such progressive voice to hit it big in MSM in decades, if ever. Cronkite doesn’t count. too much like Russert (great for what he was, but limited by MSM frame).  

As for the network, MSN is no FOX; the former is ratings driven, the latter is ideologically driven. no comparison. Give MSN its due for giving Olbermann some space to do his thing, but he gets the biggest office and new website only because of ratings. nothing more and no less. consider that MSNBC recently chose David Gregory over Rachel Maddow to replace Tucker Carlson as evidence the network is not committed to progressive voices.

The larger issue is structural. Olbermann represents the limits of the MSM structure as well as its most progressive strength.  The limit is that the current system abides individuals and personality driven politics, once again as long as it reaps profits for the network. The larger issues have to do with the concentration of media ownership, the economic crisis facing the news industry and the reluctance of MSM to frame news in any way other than favoring the bottom line, with the outcome being that it supports and reproduces the political and economic status quo.

So, thanks to Olbermann, progressive voices have somewhere to go on MSM cable. it’s a start.




The Golfer-in-Chief Mischips Another Shot

Of all the things President Bush could have sacrificed as a symbolic act that these were not ordinary times, that the country needed to rally around the troops, their families, itself, all he came up with is golf. 

Last evening, Keith Olbermann went to town on this revelation and his compelling special comment about the president’s golf sacrifice, is worthy of praise.

Olbermann Blasts Bush\’s Golfing Remark

But let me come at it from a slightly different angle. During the last five years, political observers have documented the abundance of gross incompetence, negligence, high crimes and misdemeanors and other impeachable offenses since the US first invaded Iraq.  Obviously the president should have been brought to justice a long time ago. He should have been impeached, convicted and should now be sitting before a war crimes tribunal (hopefully, the latter will still occur). 

But here’s the thing,  given this context, I suggest that rather than giving up golf, the president should have given up something of greater symbolic import– like the presidency.  I say this because Bush was as incompetent at golf as he was at the presidency.  All he plays is speed golf and he is lousy at that. Speed golf is a version of golf that defeats the purpose of this sport being about concentration, focus and other mental and mind-body faculties. Unlike speed chess which heightens these faculties, speed golf is golf for people with ADHS (not meant as a cut against ADHD).

As badgolfer.com says

George W. Bush doesn’t just play golf either. He plays bad golf, the only kind you can really respect. W. learned speed golf from his father, and it’s the only way he prefers to play. Pity the French diplomats who want a traditional golf meeting with our President. They better get those chicken legs moving. Bush hits a shot and goes, speeding off to follow his ball and quickly hit it again. Thinking? Who needs thinking!

As Olbermann observed, golf is so trivial a sacrifice as to be sublimely idiotic.  Clearly, the president should have resigned the office of the presidency as his atonement for what he had done: to the troops, their families, Americans everywhere, and the entire world.  

Only that act would have convinced me he was serious about atoning for the war.



Rachel Maddow v Keith Olbermann on Hillary’s demise

On primary night on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow put forward the argument that the Hillary Clinton Campaign will not only not pack up and leave the stage but that her slash and burn strategy is likely to continue.  Keith Olbermann responded that for the first time ever, he disagreed with Maddow. According to Olbermann the Clinton campaign will cease the scorched earth strategy and assume a gentler and kinder posture until it finally goes away.

Two days removed from the primary results, it seems fair to say the Olbermann-Maddow dual is a draw.

Here’s what I think:

The Hillary campaign will indeed slowly grind to a halt. It is not so much the fact that it takes time for a humungus corporation as Clinton Co. to shift gears, as it is a psychological case study in how someone so obsessed with power and the presidency, and so seemingly close to it, can find her balance to step away.

In the meantime, the campaign will be encouraged to take it easy on Obama, but the campaign war horses, featuring Wolfson, McAuliffe and Clinton, will continue to make their case as they wind down, and the only case they have to make at this point is a negative one.  Hence, yesterday, the campaign’s main talking point had to do with their new goalpost that she is the only one capable of building a coalition of white working class women that they say is needed to defeat McCain.  Under any other circumstances, the fact that a campaign is now grasping onto the candidate’s ability to hold onto a white constituency when the opponent is black, is a form of race baiting, and would be treated as such.  

The key, which Madow might have been alluding to is that the race baiting will continue, but as Olbermann may have been implying, it may now be cloaked in less inflammatory rhetoric, and

perhaps, the media will finally disengage, and let this once brightly burning star burn out on her own time table.