Former LA Times TV Critic Skewers Olbermann as Bad for News Industry

Keith Olbermann is not good for the news industry.

Such was the opinion of former Los Angeles Times television critic and Pulitzer Prize winner Howard Rosenberg in a rather scathing article published Saturday.

Adding delicious insult to injury, Rosenberg didn't have very nice things to say about Chris Matthews, Dan Abrams, MSNBC, or that network's obvious love affair with Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama either.

Here were some of his candid observations (emphasis added, h/t TVNewser):

"Countdown With Keith Olbermann" is the bean ball between "Hardball With Chris Matthews" and "Verdict With Dan Abrams" in MSNBC's weekday lineup. This trio has spent the election season heckling Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton from deep inside Sen. Barack Obama's hip pocket and hammering Sen. John McCain since Day One.

Olbermann and Matthews co-anchored MSNBC's coverage of this year's party caucuses and primaries, and when Obama clinched the Democratic nomination this week, calming down these guys would have required a defibrillator. But the low point was New Hampshire, when they spent probably 15 minutes giggling at and making fun of the speech McCain gave after topping that primary's GOP field.

All right, McCain couldn't give a good speech even if he were lip-syncing Obama. Yet inept as he was, the news nihilism of Olbermann and Matthews was worse. And Olbermann hasn't let up; he's now attacking McCain's grammar.

We worried in Walter Cronkite's day in the '60s and '70s that a news anchor would sway public opinion merely by raising a brow in subtle response to a story. Oh the horror.

Some difference in just a few decades, wouldn't you agree? Yet, Rosenberg wasn't done:

But is his ends-justifies-means credo good for the news biz? The answer is no, even if you dislike the president and his policies as much as Olbermann does. I do, and can still testify that watching Olbermann collect Republican scalps like baseball cards is only marginally more rewarding than watching his favorite foil, O'Reilly, batter guests who don't share his wacky views. [...]

But at least O'Reilly invites dissenters to his lair (if only to disembowel them), whereas "Countdown" is more or less an echo chamber in which Olbermann and like-minded bobbleheads nod at each other.

Exactly. And, for the most part, so is Abrams's "Verdict," which is why both are obvious advocacy programs with no place on a cable news network.

Fortunately, more and more people in the media are beginning to not only recognize the lack of real journalism emanating from MSNBC, but are also willing to voice such opinions.

Maybe NBC will eventually get this point despite the million some-odd extreme-liberals that never will.

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Noel Sheppard's picture