Perhaps there is something obstructing the view overlooking Rockefeller Plaza, where MSNBC broadcasts "Countdown" nightly because the show's host, Keith Olbermann fails to see the existence of a news media with a liberal bias.
On MSNBC's Dec. 14 broadcast of "Countdown," Olbermann came to the defense of NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" executive producer and noted left-winger Dick Wolf. The Dec. 9 episode of Wolf's program featured a killer who targeted the children of illegal immigrants and in that episode, one of the characters, played by John Larroquette, blamed conservatives "like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck" for inciting violence against immigrants. That prompted O'Reilly on Dec. 10, the next broadcast of the Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," to fire back at Wolf.
And that led Olbermann to respond to O'Reilly, five days later, which deteriorated into Olbermann making the seemingly laughable assertion there is no such thing as the liberal media. Olbermann began his tirade by attacking Andrew Breitbart, who is launching a Web site called "Big Journalism," which will take on "the Democratic-media complex."
"Well, fortunately, the slandering of Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly and Bernard Goldberg is about to come to an end," Olbermann said. "Mercifully and finally, the liberal media is going to get theirs. Having succeeded in making those on his side of the politics look like the most gullible, paranoid folks on the planet by pimping those high school humor-quality ACORN videos, a man named Breitbart, and again the name seems to be meant ironically, is founding a website with which he will quote, ‘Fight the mainstream media, who have repeatedly and under the guise of objectivity and political neutrality promoted a blatantly left-of-center, pro-Democratic Party agenda.'"
But according to Olbermann, Breitbart's Web site isn't necessary, because he insists there is no such thing as a liberal media, since it is of course owned by corporations and according to his definition of corporations, they all lean to the right (emphasis added).
"Let me give them two windmills to tilt at to start with - there is no liberal media!" Olbermann said. "The media which is, after all, owned by corporations naturally leans to the right. Corporations, by definition, lean to the right, towards the status quo. If an American media outlet presents a progressive point of view, the right will exploit the media's tendency to desperately seek balance. If the progressive says, ‘No, Obama was elected president last year,' they will mindlessly put in a clip of somebody from the right saying, ‘No, he wasn't. It didn't happen.'"
If corporate-owned media is "by definition" right-leaning, no one is telling that to who decides where their campaign contributions are sent. A closer look at "TV/Music/Movie" category on the Center for Responsive Politics Web site, OpenSecrets.org, shows this industry has given overwhelmingly more to Democrats versus Republicans in election cycles dating back to 1990. And to add, Olbermann also neglected to point out the cozy relationship General Electric (NYSE:GE) had with the Obama White House while it owned the NBC family of networks, which included MSNBC.
Nonetheless, Olbermann carried on with his rant by once again attempting to link conservative media figures to recent heinous events involving violence.
"The second thing I already mentioned, in the Tiller, Pittsburgh, and Knoxville cases, Beck, Goldberg and O'Reilly clearly incited murderous violence," Olbermann said. "And Dick Wolf was being over-the-top by comparing Beck, O'Reilly and Limbaugh to disease, because comparing them to disease gives disease a bad name."
Olbermann then borrowed the wisdom from the left-wing Web site BartCop.com, which alleges the idea of the liberal media is a fabricated myth.
"And to paraphrase something from the Web from several years ago written by a fellow identifying himself as BartCop, if Mr. Beck disagrees, or if Mr. Goldberg, or if Mr. O'Reilly disagrees, or Mr. Breitbart disagrees, and they think they're being crushed under the weight of this vast left-wing media conspiracy, they can go on the ‘Orly Taitz' Limbaugh show where Orly will insist conservatives have no voice in the media or go on the Sean Hannity Show, where Sean will insist conservatives have no voice in the media."
And Olbermann rattled off several other conservative commentators, suggesting their existence also dispels the notion there is a liberal media:
- Fox & Friends, Brian Kilmeade (TV)
- Mike Huckabee (TV)
- G. Gordon Liddy (Radio)
- Michael Medved (Radio)
- Mark Levin (Radio)
- Neal Boortz (Radio)
- Lou Dobbs (Radio)
- Laura Ingraham (Radio)
- Neil Cavuto (TV)
- John Stossel (TV)
- David Horowitz (Print)
- Bill Kristol (Print)
- Ann Coulter (Print)
- Peggy Noonan (Print)
- Jonah Goldberg (Print)
- John Fund (Print)
- Brent Bozell (Print)
- Cal Thomas (Print)
- Charles Krauthammer (Print)
- George Will (Print)
- Sarah Palin (Electronic)
- Matt Drudge (Electronic)
- Armstrong Williams (Print)
The problem with Olbermann's reasoning is he conflates conservative commentators with the mainstream news "media," even though those conservative pundits acknowledge for the most part to be coming at issues with a pre-determined point-of-view. Olbermann also fails to distinguish the difference between those commentators and what is generally defined as the mainstream news media, which operates under the assumption of not having a bias, despite a well-documented existence of a liberal bias. Those are points he neglected to make in his tirade justifying what Wolf did in that "Law & Order" episode.
"Because to conclude where we started with Dick Wolf and ‘Law & Order,' in the right-wing dominated media system, the people are represented by two separate, but equally important groups, the right-wing media who instigate crime, and the right-wing media who prosecute the imaginary liberal media," Olbermann said.