Monday, April 14, 2008

Deconstructing Keith-O

Last year, I became a loyal fan of MSNBC's Coutdown with Keith Olbermann. After class, I'd come home and watch Hardball and Countdown daily-- setting off eye rolls from my conservative roommate.

Olbermann was appealing-- brash and unforgiving, he was well- researched, intelligent and unafraid to rail against what he saw as incompetence and corruption. He gave profound soliloquies on the Iraq War, and humorous ancedots about his rival, Bill O'Reilly, or "Bill-O."

I can't stand Bill-O, and thought Olbermann a more principled alternative-- hearkening back to a time when the media held those in power accountable to the people, independent of ideology or political stripe.

But no longer.

Olbermann is so in the pocket of the Obama campaign that I can no longer watch his show. I like Obama as much as anyone, but Olbermann is not a journalist as much as a pitch- man. He has sunk to O'Reilly's level to a great extent.

During election night coverage with Chris Matthews and every night on his show, Olbermann offers remarks, sometimes over the top but usually underhanded, against Senator Hillary Clinton. They're essentially hit jobs, and even to an Obama supporter they're distracting and off-putting.

Olbermann signs off his show with "Good night and good luck," an homage to the most respected of newsmen, Edward R. Murrow. But it's doubtful that Murrow would pander to a candidate so blatantly, it'd be beneath him, and it should be beneath Keith-O too.

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