November 6, 2010

ThinkProgress festoons itself with updates of shame.

I'm willing to believe there's something screwy about MSNBC's suspension of Keith Olbermann, but Think Progress's eagerness to blame a conservative resulted in an elaborate post that is now so studded with backtracking updates as to be unreadable.


TRO said...

"Updates of Shame"

Would make a nice blog name.

Who cares why he was fired, except him, and if you want to know how he feels just read his never-ending Twitter feed. I guess he has a lot of time on his hands now.

I would love for him to stay myself, as just like Nancy Pelosi, he only makes the right look better every time he opens his mouth.

Beta Rube said...

Wow, the updates render the whole thing pointless.

How long before they take it down and it disappears into a cyberhole?

cubanbob said...

I never waste my time reading anything "ThinkProgress" writes. As for Olberman's suspension, perhaps the network is looking for an excuse to can him. They can always find some progressive to rant on for a fraction of what Olberman is pulling in and with their ratings that would be a smart business move.

Lincolntf said...

Oh, the humanity.
How many pixels had to die to make that non-story?

kent said...

ThinkProgress festoons itself with updates of shame.

ThinkProgress: the leftist online equivalent of Highlights, or Cricket.

Lincolntf said...

The commenters over there at ThinkEgress are out of their minds. Apparently the media, all of it, is controlled by a conservative cabal.
I did not know that.

kent said...

The commenters over there at ThinkEgress are out of their minds.

437 comments there on the story in question, thus far.

It's like a giant, online black hole of fail.

SWWBO said...

TRO - Updates of Shame as a blog name - I love it.
Or,it could be a good name for a Goth band.

M. Simon said...

Think about it:

Firing Olberman for cause vs we are changing our line up.

In one case non severance. In the other - buy out his contract.

jr565 said...

Fox should offer him a show. I would laugh hystericallly at the hypocricy if he actually took it, and if he actually got die hard liberals to switch from MSNBC to Fox.
I doubt it would happen, and if it did I would hope his show remained in last place so he soon got fired for being a loser. But I would love to see it just for the cognitive dissonance created.

kent said...

From their comments section:

Phil Donohue was an outspoken opponent of Bush's murderous misadventure in Griffin fired him, meaning that Griffin has as much innocent blood on his hands as Bush and Cheney.

Insufficient fealty to Mr. Marlo Thomas = accesory to mass murder! Who knew -- ?!?

Lincolntf said...

That's what I was thinking, but then I heard Olby is their number one ratings draw.
As long as he stays the hell off of my sportscasts, I don't much care what happens to him.

GM Roper said...

I have no use for Olberman, none at all, but it seems to me that being suspended for political contributions when others aren't is squelching what we like to call "speech."

If we demand free speech for conservatives, shouldn't we also demand it for creeps like Olberman? If "political speech" is the act of donating, and if others do it with so called impunity, shouldn't Olberman be allowed the same privilege?

kent said...

The Columbia Journalism Review -- not even remotely capable of being mistaken for a politically conservative source -- states uncategorically that, yes indeedy, Olberdouche absolutely, positively DID screw the proverbial pooch on this one:

"To start with, Olbermann was foolish to so blatantly violate company policy, that while dusty, is well intentioned: Commentators—even those with strong ideological foundations—are expected to survey the political landscape and offer an opinion that is sharp, critical, and independent. And while Olbermann and others at MSNBC might frequently align themselves with Democratic ideas and politicians, there must be a line between arguing for a cause or candidate and directly and materially contributing to a candidate’s re-election. You create questions about entanglements that may affect your reporting and do affect the way your reporting is perceived. Cross that line and you become an activist or teammate and no longer the kind of journalist Olbermann purports to be on his show. Or, as we found out today, the kind of journalist NBC does not consider above reproach. And that is their prerogative."

Rich Vail said...

I tried to comment...but my comment promptly disappeared...

Being the top rated host of the network with the lowest ratings is something of an oxymoron, don't you think?

That being said, I (being centre right politically) think that suspending this idiot is wrong. It infringes upon his first amendment rights to express (this time with dollars) freedom of speech. Freedom of Speach is literally permitting even that speech with which you (vehemently) disagree with. I don't like Mr. Olbermann, I think that he is part of the problem that has been polarizing politics over the past decade. But I would never think of muzzling him, or removing him from his perch on MSNBC...

On the otherhand, I suspect that as a far left (my view) network that has been steadily losing money, that Comcast may move too eliminate the bias that many percieve exists in today's media outlets. Everyone has their bias', but the way to move beyond them is to admit them and attempt NOT to allow them to invade your reporting.

That being said, Mr. Olbermann is a pundit/analyst, and thus MUST be permitted to voice is opinions unfettered. This was a very dumb thing to do. I believe it's merely a 'pretext' to pushing to network back towards the centre, and try and rescue it's abysmal ratings.

We can agree to disagree, but that doesn't mean I don't have the right to my opinions, just as you have that right.

Rich Vail,
Pikesville, MD

setnaffa said...

Re: ThinkProgress and Olbermann.

Just two more examples of why the Left can't be trusted.

The only thing funnier is Obama demanding that the GOP compromise, now that they've won the House and enough of the Senate to block cloture even without the squishies...

Chip Ahoy said...

I have completely changed my life around to halt communication and to put distance between the likes of what is to be seen at ThinkProgress. The very name declares thoughtless retrogression in the cyber world.

But lets try again and check. Nope. Fail. Right off the bat, they're too foul to read. Skip to the comments. Yep. Still stuck.

deborah said...

The bigger question is why Ed Schultz has a show and Laurence O'Donnell does not.

Olberdouche...I like it.

Harry said...

Being the top rated host of the network with the lowest ratings is something of an oxymoron, don't you think?

Like being the skinniest kid at fat camp, to borrow a Jon Stewart expression.

Corporate policy aside, I think it's silly that Olberman should be fired for making political contributions. Did anyone listen to him for objective commentary?

ricpic said...

Isn't this blaming of conservatives no more than a variant of "The devil made me do it?"

William said...

How many men have died hard deaths in Iraq, and who gets memorialized with a major motion picture? Valerie Plame. This is not the end of Overbite. If the suspension from MSNBC holds, he will achieve full martyr status. Morgan Freeman will play him in the movie version and will be Keith's first guest on his new HLN show......Olbermann has a following, but his comments are so overdone, I can't imagine him changing anyone's opinion. I suppose the same could be said for Hannity or Beck on the right. All of these commentators are said to influential, but all they really do is get amens from the faithful. ....O'Reilly, Stewart, Limbaugh have an intrinsic entertainment value, and their views influence the non-believers in their audience.

johannalapp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
johannalapp said...

Murdoch should SO hire this guy. From The Fountainhead: "He hired a sensitibe poet to cover baseball games. He hired an art expert to handle financial news. He got a socialist to defend factory owners and a conservative to champion labor. He forced an atheist to write on the glories of religion. He made a disciplined scientist proclaim the superiority of mystical intuition over the scientific method. He gave a great symphony conductor a munificent yearly income, for no work at all, on the sole condition that he never conduct an orchestra again."

DaveW said...

LOL. I made a very polite comment over there pointing out that the premise of their post is false and they deleted it within 10 minutes.

What a bunch of babies lefties are.

Michael said...

"Why would Comcast be interested in silencing progressive voices? "

I think the "progressive voices" on MSNBC are effectively silenced by their lack of an audience. Comcast probably wants to enlarge that audience to make some money. That is the big threat to Olbermann. NBC finally got him off NFL games to avoid alienating audience. This is the next step. He was pretty dumb to give them such an easy pretext.

kent said...

I made a very polite comment over there pointing out that the premise of their post is false and they deleted it within 10 minutes

... on a thread filled with high-pitched keening and the hammy, vaudevillian rending of garments over the issue of "Free Speech," no less.

Leftist hypocrisy: the only substance in this universe more common than hydrogen.

edutcher said...

I have to go with cubanbob. I think Ubermoronn and friends made such idiots of themselves Election Night that this is the beginning of a major house-cleaning, possibly even a format change (saw a little of Countdown last night and the guy they had doing it seemed rational, even mildly objective). Keif just gave them an excuse right out of Frank Capra (where Jean Arthur or somebody dusts off an old law from 1689 still on the books that manages to save the day).

It will be interesting to see if Maddow, Chrissy, Shultz, and O'Donnell follow in the near future.

From Inwood said...

There are 437 comments so far on ThinkProgress’s blog. Funny, I didn’t think that MSNBC had 437 viewers.

kent said...

Funny, I didn’t think that MSNBC had 437 viewers.

Well... per annum, possibly...

bagoh20 said...

"Fox should offer him a show. "

The Hannity / Olbermnann show. A freaking goldmine, I tell you.

John Burgess said...

But think--progressively!--about the good side. According to comments there, many viewers are going to be boycotting MSNBC. This is a good thing. These boycotters now have a chance of escaping permanent brain damage. Even if they end up watching Ren & Stimpy re-runs, they will end up wiser.

When a doctor diagnoses a case of poisoning, it's always good to stop the ingestion of more poison.

bagoh20 said...

The FOX / MSNBC comparison is fascinating. People of each political persuasion think the other is diabolicly partisan, wrong, stupid and malicious.

Are they both right or is there a difference? I think it's very hard for each side to see it from the other's point of view. There certainly is one big difference...ratings

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I can't help it-- every time I see Olbermann I think Earl Camembert

Alex said...

The FOX / MSNBC comparison is fascinating. People of each political persuasion think the other is diabolicly partisan, wrong, stupid and malicious.

Such has it been since the days of Ugg & Clugg.

EDH said...

ThinkProgress festoons itself with updates of shame.

I'm sure, initially, Lee Fang at ThinkProgress must have thought he was doing the same to Steve Burke.

"I'll festoon my bedchamber with his guts."

madAsHell said...

The comments at ThinkProgress speak volumes. I liked this one from John Sheets -

I disagree completely. Oberman was very compident at what he did. He is only one of a few that tell the real story of what's going on on the other side. Seems in a relitive short time we will loose one of the most important networks that isn't bent like a wish-bone to the right.

If John Sheets...then what does Jack do?

Alex said...

"Yeah, Keith's a liberal, and so am I. But we're not a political operation - Fox is. We're a news operation."

Any takers on that whopper?

DADvocate said...

diabolicly partisan, wrong, stupid and malicious.

Describes Olberman pretty well.

There does seem to be something screwy. Maybe MSNBC just wanted an excuse so they could hire somebody people will actually watch.

Richard Dolan said...

Updates of shame is what partisan hackery usually leads to. It all stems from the 'fake but accurate' idea -- you know what the story is really about without regard to what the facts of the matter may be or, really , any need to inquire about them. Truthiness is the standard that aims at. Looks like they hit the bulls-eye at ThinkProgress on this one.

un said...

I, too, think that FOX hiring (or at least offering him job) Olbermann would be a coup.

FOX would basically give him a free hand in his show and when he turns down the offer his hypocrisy will be even more apparent.

I had to delete some people from an online discussion group the other day because in response to a Leftist saying that 'Red is color of anger' I pointed out that when a body turns blue it is dead and he and other Leftists just... went... NUTS! Started calling me vile names and doubting my lineage.

I then said that 'reasonable people can disagree' and it was like throwing gasoline on a fire.

mockmook said...

OK, I'll go for Olby having a Fox show, but:

He must have an Andy Levy type fact checker who notes all the errors and logical fallacies in the show, and gives his critique to Olby's face.

Synova said...

I'd go to bat for free speech here except that I remember that thing what with Jennings and Wallace??? I don't remember, big names anyway, talking about how they weren't American citizens, they were journalists and required to remain objective in relation to world events even if, and I suppose this was in the context of Desert Storm or maybe even before that, it meant not warning US troops of enemy action that they, as journalists, knew about. It was obscene. But if that's the standard they want, then that's the standard they want.

That Olberman is an "out" partisan and no one is the least deceived about who he supports and who he wants to win is irrelevant if his employer is going to try even for the semblance of objectivity. They have a right to make whatever rules and limitations on the participation of their employees in the events those employees are supposed to be objective about.

Employers have the right to set those conditions as a requirement of employment and people have the right to say "no" and work for someone else.

Synova said...

Or FOX can have him delivering straight news.

That would be a greater coup. Just think about whose heads would explode.

BJM said...

Why would Comcast be interested in silencing progressive voices?

The libs so don't understand a simple truth; media is a business and must return a profit.

Comcast will be loath to alienate 50% of their potential customer base to provide a handful of commentators/journalists a platform to do so. It is an insane business model.

I suggest Lee Fang read GE's annual report for a clue.

AJ Lynch said...

Slightly OT:

Does anyone know how a network [like MSNBC] maintains its slot on a cable company lineup of stations? IOW, does MSNBC pay Comcast and Direct TV to distribute its network?

Based on its low number of viewers, I'd think "The Paint Drying Network" could get better ratings than MSNBC.

If I was Comcast, I would not change a thing about MSNBC and I'd try to get some liberal rich dope to pay me a ridiculous amount to buy it from me.

BJM said...


The Hannity / Olbermnann show. A freaking goldmine, I tell you.

I'd watch...Hannity would probably do it too.

traditionalguy said...

Isn't free speech great. It lets us know what the dangerous people are thinking about doing. So MSNBC has put its reputation ahead of the free speech that we needed. I would expect Obama will give Olby Robert Gibbs's job as press secretary. Then we will see where Major Garrett gets to sit...I hope far enough away not to get spittle on him.

BJM said...


Content is purchased through licensing and carry agreements. Low rating (MSNBC) and/or niche content is bundled with more profitable content(NBC).

That's how cable powerhouses such as E!, A&E, History Channel, Food Network and Bravo gained a foothold...btw all of whom are NBC productions. The merged company will control a great deal of content.

btw-It's rather telling that ThinkProgress is beclowning themselves over imaginary editorial meddling at MSNBC while completely oblivious about what would be a real threat to their future political base if such meddling occurred: Telemundo.

(In full disclosure, I am both a GE and Comcast shareholder)

Christy said...

Building on what Michael and AJ said about Comcast and profit - I have a query. For those who have Comcast service, where does MSNBC lie in your basic cable? Here in Knoxville it is up in the mid-100s, smack dab in the middle of beyond basic, an area I seldom click through, and which I cannot access from the TVs lacking a cable box. CNN is 22, Fox Cable is 37, both amid the usual stuff everyone clicks through. Is this not poor positioning? Does it reflect Comcast's corporate opinion of MSNBC? The position hasn't improved here in the time since Comcast bought the network, so it might mean nothing. Just wondering is all. And FWIW, after we went HD and added most of the other channels, I still don't come across MSNBC naturally.

Regarding Olberman, I do think the policy is wrong as long as the contributions are part of the record. We certainly are not surprised at where his money went. But think about it from NBC's viewpoint. If they allowed and disclosed contributions, the evidence would be irrefutable that they are overwhelmingly leftist. to appear fair and balanced, they might (gasp!) be forced to hire non-progressives. That could never be!

kent said...

Too good not to share:

Heh: Joe Biden Sought Advice on Controlling Anger ... From Keith Olbermann

Nate Whilk said...

ThinkProgress wrote, As Greg Sargent reported, a close reading of the NBC ethics rules suggest that the political donation standards do not even apply to opinionated hosts like Olbermann.

Are there ANY standards that apply to KO? Except lunacy, of course.

cubanbob said, They can always find some progressive to rant on for a fraction of what Olberman is pulling in and with their ratings that would be a smart business move.

Alan Grayson.

AJ Lynch said...


I have Comcast too here in Phily area.

Non-HD channels:
CNN 34
Fox News 51
Weather Channel 52

HD Channels:
CNN 221
NBC 231
ABC 232
CBS 233
FOX 234
FNC 277
MSNBC 800 something I think

In my office, about 2 miles away and also on Comcast, the channel numbers are slightly different. Go figure?

AJ Lynch said...


Thanks for the info.


I got a feeling we tend to think the big cable companies like Comcas are ultra-smart re cable channel positioning. But I suspect we are wrong- they wing it a bit. Hence the difference in channel placement by Comcast in different markets.

jerryofva said...


This isn't a free speech issue. The First Amendment applies to government restriction on private speech. Olbermann works for NBC/Comcast. They own the right to free speech not their employees. A private firm can censor to its hearts content. The real hypocracy is that MSNBC is a 24 hour infomercial for the Democrats. Prohibiting Keith Olbermann from contributing to the party they shill for is ridiculous

Tscottme said...

Most likely KO was suspended so he could avoid the post-election audience until the subject changes. I think it's more like the Y2K hucksters taking a lengthy vacation on 1-1-2000 until they can think of something else to talk about.

Google KO and "bathtub boy." He's not very brave.

BJM said...


Does it reflect Comcast's corporate opinion of MSNBC? The position hasn't improved here in the time since Comcast bought the network, so it might mean nothing.

Firstly the merger hasn't been completed it must still pass govt approval, so Comcast doesn't own or control any part of NBC-Universal yet.

Cable companies organize channel assignment by tiers for which they can charge different pricing. Basic contains the must-carry portions of their service, all over-the-air channels, those numbers can't be changed on cable.

It's a complex system based on The Communications Act,FCC rules & regs as well as the franchise agreement with the communities they serve, i.e. local access, information, govt and edu channels. Not personal whims or political viewpoints.

Sorry for the long answer.

Kirk Parker said...


It was a hypothetical situation, but obviously set up with reference to our experience in Viet Nam.

marklewin said...

Building on what Michael and AJ said about Comcast and profit - I have a query. For those who have Comcast service, where does MSNBC lie in your basic cable?

MSNBC is no longer available here in Memphis on Comcast basic cable.

Blue@9 said...

So is there any real evidence that Comcast had a hand in this? Isn't Olbermann the top draw at MSNBC? Typically when companies buy other companies, they make efforts to ensure that top talent is retained, not fired. Why would Comcast pay a set price for MSNBC, a price that must also reflect the value of KO's audience draw, and then demand that KO be taken out? I don't know of many public corps that let ideological fervor get in the way of profit. Heck, Rupert Murdoch will hire anyone who can make him money.

As for KO, yeah, he got a raw deal. The entire point of such ethics rules is to prevent any hint of bias in straight news reporting. But KO is clearly not a news reporter. No one who has watched a minute of KO could possibly think he's a neutral, unbiased newscaster. So what's the issue with him donating a few thousand bucks?

Blue@9 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lord Whorfin said...

BTW- Olberman is considered a "newperson", not an opinion guy, which brought on the suspension. And don't forget, Olbie has claimed the mantle of Ed Murrow, the greatest newsman of our time.

Christy said...

Thanks for the feedback, I was wondering if the position on the cable channels explained the lousy ratings. Looks like maybe it does to a small extent.