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MSNBC Revises Roles of Olbermann, Matthews

Posted on Sep 7, 2008

Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews will no longer anchor MSNBC’s coverage of major political events, but will instead provide analysis for the network’s David Gregory, who will sit in the anchor’s chair. The network was under pressure, both internal and external, to rein in its two leading men, whose politics are well known. Olbermann himself initiated the move.

Washington Post:

In May, MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in an interview that during live events Olbermann and Matthews “put on different hats. I think the audience gets it. . . . I see zero problem.”

But NBC News journalists, who often appear on the cable channel, did see a problem, arguing behind the scenes that MSNBC’s move to the left—which includes a new show, debuting tonight [Monday], for Air America radio host Rachel Maddow—was tarnishing their reputation for fairness. Tom Brokaw, the interim host of “Meet the Press,” said that at times Olbermann and Matthews went too far.

Olbermann and Matthews will remain as analysts during major political events, and officials at both networks, who declined to be identified discussing personnel moves, said Olbermann had initiated the discussions to clarify his role. They said Olbermann’s influence at MSNBC would in no way be diminished and that the shift would enable him and Matthews to offer more candid analysis during live coverage. Olbermann confirmed [Sunday] he had initiated the discussions.

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By Catherine, September 10, 2008 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

Thanks, RUS7355…at least we agree that the msm are not the sources for unbiased reporting. I get my news from the internet…lots of different sources, including Truthdig.

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By Angela, September 9, 2008 at 7:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think Obermann got caught up in the the competition for ratings in the US news & commentary business that overly relies on “personality” and screaming at the cameras.

Obermann could have continued along the path to Edward R. Murrow but instead chose an O’Reilly style of delivery.

Amy Goodman is the best reporter & commentator while maintaining a professional style.  Obermann froths at the mouth - copying O’Reilly’s way of attracting viewers. 

Rachel Maddow - Good Luck and Good Night.

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By cann4ing, September 8, 2008 at 9:31 pm Link to this comment

Tom Brokaw is a stenographer.  You want to see real journalists in action, watch Bill Moyers or Amy Goodman.

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By samosamo, September 8, 2008 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

Olberman is opinionated but is more correct in his editorial comments and a very good counter to o’riillly, but no where near a pundit liar like o’riiilley is that gets his talking points more from the white house instead of the corporate owners(same with hannity). Chris Matthews is on tv and I don’t watch him but rarely and he seems to be more objective that Timmy Russert ever was.
But you want real information, check out TomDispatch on the internet, read Chalmers Johnson’s ‘Blowback’, ‘The Sorrows of the Empire’, and ‘Nemesis’. Go to ‘The Center of Public Integrity’s’ website and check out all of their investigations.
Read Naomi Klein’s ‘The Shock Doctrine’ or Daniel Estulin’s ‘The Bilderberg Group’. There is real information and investigative information. Oh, to really see what the msm is all about, order Robert Kane Pappas’ dvd ‘Orwell Rolls in His Grave’, that really puts the news services where they really are in our world and who and how these services are owned and manipulated.
Tom Brokaw, he justs reads the telepromter, I have seen him enough to know he hasn’t been too responsible in trying to inform the people of this country or the world except what his handlers tell him to say OR not say.
Also, go through the internet to any foreign countries english speaking news services and read what they have, you will be amazed at what you will find there and not here.
But again you may already have YOUR ideas of what the truth is and will keep on viewing the samosamo sources for your information much to the detriment of this country.

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By Angela, September 8, 2008 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I used to value Obermann, he is now just a mirror image of Bill O’Reilly.  Obermann is now so biased,  he has become a laughing stock amongst those who value reasoned political debate.  He has let the Left/Progressive movement down by turning into just another yelling talking head.

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By cann4ing, September 8, 2008 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment

I watched Countdown tonight.  Olbermann tore into McCain/Palin at the same time he interviewed Obama, then criticized Obama on Rachel Madow’s show for his modest way of saying that McCain/Palin were not being truthful, where Olbermann came right out and said they were lying.

Looks like this article is much concern about nothing.  Olbermann show gets great ratings (translation increased ad revenues) because he challenges the Reich wing spin with truth.

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By MarcyJ, September 8, 2008 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have to agree with a comment earlier that Tom Brokaw is a “journalist” and KO and CM are somewhat opinionated.

I watched KO absolutely eviserate(sp?) Hillary Clinton during the primary because he supports Obama.

I watched Tom Brokaw for years and years, and sometimes, just sometimes, you could see a sort of look of disgust on his face when he was reporting, but he did not editorialize.

KO and CM have their place, but not as unbiased journalist reporting the news.  Leave that stuff to the reporters.  I mean, such as they are these days.  But I think Brokaw IS a journalist.

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By samosamo, September 8, 2008 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

By Concerned Voter2, September 8 at 1:16 pm

Any nation should have a high priority for its national security, america ain’t the only one. As a matter of fact, direct from milton friedman’s ‘worst than communism, nazism and 1984 orwellism’ there are many countries and people of many countries that would like to defend it and themselves from america’s imperialist empire written from that monster friedman’s economic play book that is rigged to hell and back to keep any assemblance of self sovereignty of those countries, all in the name of robbery of everyone else’s natual resources.

Since the invention of the tv, and lesser degree the radio, and the amount of time people have stared googled eyed at what the tv convinces them is reality, tell me where a large segment of our population are still in their ‘right’ mind. TV, so remarkable a source of information for good was quickly seen in this consumerist society as a means of mind control and baby sitting that you have people that not just couldn’t but don’t know if they are making an intelligent sound decision.

If anything, this polling that shows mccain and what’s her name are ahead is expected after coming off of the rnc convention just as obama had a decent lead after the dnc convention. Now it will have to play out over next less than 60 days in the debates to shake people’s mind around and give them an excuse to vote for who they want. I give it a 50/50 chance for either one and that is sad to me as the ‘polls’ indicate that still 70%+ of americans think this country is going in the wrong direction, down. And any continuation of a republican administration would only push it harder, faster and further towards collapse. One thing I see missing and why I will have to vote obama instead of independent, is that the US needs to start mending its broken and shattered relations with the other countries of this planet and work together to fight the crimes that people labeled as terroists commit and don’t go cranking up our dangerously out of control military for another war.

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By cann4ing, September 8, 2008 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

Watch out Keith Olbermann, when you speak truth to power you are “going to far” in the eyes of your corporate employers.

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By troublesum, September 8, 2008 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

As in

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By troublesum, September 8, 2008 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

Chris Matthews is fair and balanced except when he’s not.  His sudden interest in Hillary’s supporters is quite amazing.

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By mackTN, September 8, 2008 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So, if the republicans had not complained about the coverage, MSNBC would have made these changes anyway?

Chris Matthews has truly evolved, hasn’t he?  He used to be Bush-right, but when the Iraq War began to go south, Chris became highly critical of the administration.  He’s an example of the kind of disgust thinking people on the right formed about Bush and their party.

Who’s next?  Campbell Brown for her rocking interview with Tucker Bounds? 

Why don’t we let the government staff the media from now on?

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 8, 2008 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment

Just watched Chris Matthews/Hardball interviewing both a republican and a democratic strategists, didn’t catch their names, and he crucified the repug re: Palin being the replacement for disenchanted Hillary supporters, asking for explanation for the differences between Palin and Hillary, point by point, and the repug had no response, except to try to divert Matthews.  Chris was splendid.  This is what we need.   

Matthews decried the lack of debate about issues in this campaign and that the repugs’ intention is to redirect the dialogue and focus. (Just what I say.)

I hope others of you saw it.  I also think it merits replay on the blogs, including this one.

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By troublesum, September 8, 2008 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

MSNBC has never been “fair and balanced.”  It was only matter of time before Olberman had to go.  He was an exception to the corporate slant.

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By Concerned Voter2, September 8, 2008 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Finally we can move past those ” very same boring and rather silly arguments” we hear here too many times !

And since > Olbermann himself initiated the move <
(Thank you so much)for that next important step that will provide ” some discussions to analyzing political Issues “, let us move straight forward to most obvious one for Keith,(my first choice) Chris and yes, also Rachel Maddow.
According to this present administration and the rest of those “self appointed experts on any subject” the national security of this country
must be of the # one concern….granted.

One objectively begging question for an open discussion must therefor include this one…..
In view of this serious issue,how can anyone in his right mind not object to McCain`s VP-pick Sarah Palin zero qualification or her obvious lack of experience thereof ?
Should this be the case,how come Condoleezza Rice  
“The touted expert” under Bush`s first term,has not even been suggested,never mind elected,for such a demanding position instead ?
Could it be,a honest question that has to be asked
because of Barrack Obama`s “raised concern” once before,that Dr. Rice is simply ” too dark ” for
the majority of the biased Conservative Voices ?
Or has this question suddenly become irrelevant and ” now labeled racist” by those very same blind hypocrites,who conveniently brought it up the very first time ?
Other basic question concerning the selection of this woman,should include:what actually makes her suitable to be even considered being a fit VP?

Are there any ?

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By Catherine, September 8, 2008 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

How come nobody ever gets this “riled up” about Faux Noise and its obvious slant to the right?

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 8, 2008 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

I watch MSNBC all the time and they’re fair and balanced.

When a politician is an asshole who lies and makes stupid blunders, kills his young people and puts his country at risk, it’s very fair and balanced to point that out to the viewers.  In fact, I know for a fact that the FCC would support and encourage such reporting because it is in the public’s best interest. That’s what they’re about, that’s their mission.

In closing, I would like to say we need a little more left-wing everything in this country—media, SCOTUS, WH, Pentagon, congress, Wall and K Street, Madison Ave., you name it.

Felicity, I loved your comment.

My comment really is, when the hell is this campaign going to get to the issues?  If the media is really right-wing and McCain/Palin have controlled the tone and tenor of the campaign since the 1st of Sept to this extent, then Obama is done. Can you imagine, people are talking about her eye-ware!!! Jes**F******Chr***!!!!

Next thing you know, they’ll introduce her golden retriever puppy, which she’ll name Remington.  I’m sure she’s out at the local pet store picking one up right now.

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By troublesum, September 8, 2008 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

They are also going to sharply reduce the number of appearences by left of center guests.  Instead of having a left of center guest on their news programs once a month they’re going to have one once a year.

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By troublesum, September 8, 2008 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

It is no coincidence that this shake up occured a couple days after McCain accepted the republican nomination.  It was fine having Olberman attacking Bush/Cheney because their standing in the polls was somewhere south of the border, but with McCain now head of the republican party NBC wants to return to toeing the party line.

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By truthreader3, September 8, 2008 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What liberal Media. There is no liberal media and
also there is no REAL left in this country. What
we are having is phony libarals and phony leftists.
Vote for the Greens.

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By shelle smythe, September 8, 2008 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

as mentioned before:  what liberal media?  fox is right of the right (and lies), msnbc is right (with lies) and cnn is right/psuedo-left (with lies.) olberman was/is a psueo-leftist who sometimes “talked the talk.” I will miss him though.

and send tom brokaw back to the old folks home—he is a tool of the administration.

they are ALL doing everything they can to see that mccain/palin are elected.

what a shame for all of US…


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By 123456, September 8, 2008 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

“arguing behind the scenes that MSNBC’s move to the left…was tarnishing their reputation for fairness.”

What “fairness”?

Nobody watches these networks for “fairness”. If people wanted “fainrness’, then they wouldn’t watch any of these news channels/programs, especially the interview programs, which by their very nature cannot be “fair”.

Perhaps “fairness” here is used in the Fox News sense of the word?

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By felicity, September 8, 2008 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

Actually I think the REAL reason Matthews and O. have been offed from their positions during the conventions was a sotto voce, but definitely audible comment made by Matthews during the Repub convention.
He aptly referred to Bush as “that clown.”  O. caught it, whipped out his 8-by-11 pad and wrote ‘clown’ down - he said for “future reference.”

That aside, contemporary media don’t seem to understand or want to understand that splitting the difference between two opposing sides does not necessarily arrive at the truth, yet it’s that delivery that we consistently get. 

The practice is rife; the result is the viewers and/or readers seldom if ever know the truth. (The distance between x and y is 10 miles; the distance between x and y is 1 mile: Conclusion - the distance between x and y is around 5 miles. Do I now know what the true distance is?)

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By BobZ, September 8, 2008 at 11:07 am Link to this comment


Great post - those of us who follow the news in various formats, realized eons ago that the great “liberal” bias was over. Even the vaunted NY Times and Wash Post are not that liberal, nor the LA Times or SF Chronicle. Talk radio is all right wing except for NPR. The network news is so superficial I don’t even watch it any more. CNN is middle-right (Lou Dobbs/King), Fox is right-right (O"Reilly-Hannity), and MSNBC is middle-Left ( Matthew’s/Olbermann). The blogs seem to be evenly distributed between left and right. The mainstream magazines are all center-right. So where is all of this “liberal bias” lurking that the Republican’s like to whine about? If there were a real liberal bias, Sarah Palin’s speech would have been panned rather than praised. The media is now in love with her. But the Republican’s can always get the base riled up with charges of liberal bias, and it has been that way since Richard Nixon’s time.

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By Big B, September 8, 2008 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

The myth of the liberal media died with woodward and bernstein and their gutting of the beast that was Nixon. Since then the right wing think tanks have been formed and funded by the wealthiest americans and their first order of business was media consolidation and information control. They correctly anticipated that in order to push the agenda for the “new american century” through all levels of government, information must be controlled!
(see, somebody else read “1984”). Since Reagan took office, and the government sold the public airways to the highest bidders, 60 some media corporations have been downsized to less than 10.(and most of those companies are not news companies, and the news is now tanamount to a press release from the office of the CEO) But that’s capitalism! Except that the media was supposed to be separate from government and business, “the fourth estate”, if you will. Imagine what the media has missed since watergate.
The true reasons behind the Iranian hostage crisis.
The utilmate release of those hostages under shadowy circumstances.
The deregulation of the banking, airline, and media businesses, and the subsequent ramifications.
Iran-Contra, the selling of weapons to the enemy, so you can fight another enemy.
The americans creation and support of the group of radicals that ultimatley attacked us on 9/11.
The genocide in Africa(I don’t know, you pick one)
The US material support to get atomic weapons in the hands of the Israelis, and the Indians, and Pakistanis.
The rise in power of the Chinese.
The conspiracy to make constant war in the middle east.
Anything GW has touched.
All of these events have some things in common. First, they really happened. Second, they went and still go relatively unreported by the corp media of the US. Many of us found out about these events only because we had access to foreign and other small liberal sources. The corporate media eventually had to cover these events, but did not do there jobs, still leaving out the who, what, where, when, why, and how. I have seen countless stories on Democracy Now lately that were reported on CNN a week to 10 days later. long after the story had developed.
A truly free media does more to keep your government honest than any amount of guns or second amendments.
I am tired of watching the news on TV, or reading the local paper, all the while trying to remember who owns it, and what is that companies stance on the issue in this story.
This is how black becomes white, right becomes wrong, good becomes bad. Orwell was a genius(unfortunaley)

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By Thomas Billis, September 8, 2008 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

The only two journalist who have the guts to say"the emporer has no clothes” and of course they are gone in favor of air headed Tom Brokaw types.Just what the world needs more Brokaw types and less Edward R.Morrow types.Bravo to MSNBC for bowing to pressure and replacing the two journalists who in the long run would have enhanced their reputation for journalistic excellence as Morrow and Morrow’s boys did for CBS.An aside:Is this “The David Gregory"who asked the penetrating questions of the White House in the lead up to war?

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By samosamo, September 8, 2008 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

***Every evening one will find two (2) sides represented on Hannity and Colms***

What a sick joke, how can any msm outlet(to clarify, tv, radio, newspaper, magazine and the internet) EVER present ‘2 sides’, ‘equal’ or ‘real jounalist work’ when they all owned and controlled by CONSERVATIVE corporate interests?
And liberal vs conservative news is just orwellian speakese that covers up real journalism. Real news doesn’t take a side, it is just the actual, verifiable events. And ‘liberal’ hating rupert murdoch ain’t gonna miss a chance to have news presented the way he wants the people to see it. Remember the headline story of the 40 lb. cat on the front page of the new york newspaper of murduck and the news of alaskan senator stevens indictment on page 14?
So, tell me, how the ‘liberal slant’ is the major force in the news these days? I bet the 4 or 5 owners of the msm that it is not.

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By Mike Jones, September 8, 2008 at 9:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have always wondered if in fact those folks who call themselves liberal or conservative know what a conservative or liberal really is.  If you have to form your opinions based on what you see on television then the end is clearly in sight. I would have much more respect for the various news organizations if they would just call their offerings just what they are - entertaintment.

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By jake3988, September 8, 2008 at 8:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

CNN and Fox News already, and well-known, lean far to the right and no one says anything.

One network has the guts to *gasp* have two liberal leaning hosts and the world comes crashing down.

We need fairness.

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By ajamo, September 8, 2008 at 8:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These two commentators will be free to speak out now more than before.  Maybe the move will be to the better for all, lets wait and see.
I have watched CNN for many years, and have dropped them for MSNBC.
CNN sucks up to the rights movement, and I notice during conversations with others on their shows that if they don’t like the answers that are giving they cut the other party off.  I see this a lot when a Democrat has they time to make their views, that the Republican will cut in on them,  sad but true.  I was always under the impression that when one has the floor it’s his.  That other have to wait their turn.  I butting in taught in schools.  Sad.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 8, 2008 at 7:21 am Link to this comment


Can you cite references to support your claim that NBC and MSNBC are “the Obama networks?”

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By Leefeller, September 8, 2008 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

Since I do not watch the Television, I get all my unbiased news from the knowledgeable posters on TD, posters like Rus3535 and Rightlimb. If I had time I would listen to Russlimpjaw or whatever his name is on the radio, he seems to have a finger on the puss of the nation.

Knowing now our futures will be in the sure hands of a Moose killer is most reassuring. Killing a Moose is no small feat, especially when using a stick.

McCain offers something to the nation and the world, we have not before, addressing with swift boat precision the many enemas we need to face with military fortitude.  Keep the money flowing. 

Let’s address with swift decider action any corporate failures for accountability and responsibility are not necessary for the elite.

When is news not the news?  How about that war?

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By choirgirl, September 8, 2008 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

What Liberal media?

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By BobZ, September 8, 2008 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

Olbermann and Maddow are liberal, but Buchanan and Scarborough are conservative. Matthews is just an idiot - likes to hear himself talk. MSNBC is still far better than Fox. Why all the hoopla over this? Brokaw is boring and should have stayed retired.

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By Leefeller, September 8, 2008 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

Liberal media must be stopped at all costs, spewing distaste of distasteful right wing news is not the way propaganda is supposed to work.

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By nf, September 8, 2008 at 5:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What a shame.  I consider Olbermann to be McCain’s secret weapon - with opponents as distasteful and obnoxious as Keith is (he must have been beat up every day in high school) people would certainly shy away from socialist Obama. But, alas, we got a new secret weapon - the equally despised Maddow.

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By jdkrheum, September 8, 2008 at 4:56 am Link to this comment

If this frees up Keith & Chris to express their opinions, fine. But with the likes of Joe Scarborough around, I hardly think MSNBC can be accused of being all liberal.

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By marlee, September 8, 2008 at 4:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Once more it seems the rightwingers are pulling the strings and running everyone scared.
I love MSNBC news and all the anchors and analysts.  So what if Keith and Chris go off the deep end occasionally?  It is the ONLY cable news that I watch.  I watch CSpan, PBS and MSNBC period.
And…they are hiding behind the idea that journalists are supposed to be neutral..ha…that is a joke.  We all know that.  That line has been crossed a longtime ago with cable.

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By Sodium, September 8, 2008 at 4:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Although I look forward to watch the new program anchored by Ms. Maddow which will be forecasted at 9:00
pm week days,I will stop watching MSNBC all togather,if
Olbermann and Chris Mathews are removed from running their respective “COUNTDOWN”,and “HARDBALL” and watch
Aljazeera and BBC for more reliable sources for news.

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By diamond, September 8, 2008 at 2:12 am Link to this comment

What a disgrace! David Gregory is nothing but a stooge for the right.  Loathe him and despise him.
Obviously Olbermann’s disgusted face after viewing the Dancing Republicans soon after they had watched a film on 9/11 which included graphic footage of terrified people jumping off buildings was too much for the far right puppet masters who run the station. When did MSNBC become Fox News? Years ago. Where have you been? The right must be afraid. Obviously they’ve seen the real figures not the ones they put out there to make people think the race is close. How else can they steal the election again? But they know the truth about how hated the Republicans are now and they live in fear.

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By samosamo, September 8, 2008 at 12:08 am Link to this comment

I don’t know, this appears to be a move to remove criticism that the conservative part of the msm don’t want being played while the fux news and those clowns Nicole Wallace, Jay carney are still able to spew their crap, it just doesn’t wash. In other words, even with msnbc claiming to turn more equal in their reporting(such that it is), the whole msm is a conservative bais information machine that will still control what gets over the airwaves, no matter that it is still public property.

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By DoctorK, September 7, 2008 at 11:53 pm Link to this comment

Pretty sad…when did MSNBC become Fox News?

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