While MSNBC reshuffles its anchor chairs, thanks in part to criticism from rival media outlets and a certain presidential candidate, Fox News continues to be a loudmouth right-wing spin factory. Is it a case of the boy who cried “terrorist,” or is there a double standard for Murdoch’s media empire? Truthdig contributor Elliot Cohen has more.
On September 7, The New York Times printed a story titled, “MSNBC Takes Incendiary Hosts from Anchor Seat.” The “incendiary” hosts in question were Countdown’s Keith Olbermann and Hardball’s Chris Matthews, and the anchor seat referred to was that of the upcoming presidential debates as well as election night. According to the Times, the McCain/Palin campaign had filed letters of complaint to NBC about the coverage these pundits were giving the McCain campaign. Unfortunately, the climate of media hypocrisy and censorship that now feeds this campaign may be a predictor of its intolerance for healthy, reciprocal disagreement, and freedom of the press should it ascend on the White House in 2009.
What did Olbermann do to warrant a complaint lodged by the McCain/Palin campaign? The Times accounted that after showing a “tribute to the victims of 9/11,” on the last night of the Republican National Convention, which contained graphic footage of the World Trade Center attacks, he claimed it exploited the memories of the dead and that it was probably inappropriate. Olbermann has been a critic of Palin’s alleged lack of experience and misrepresentation of facts about her record. He has also steadily attacked McCain’s record since the inception of the campaign.
But why should Olbermann’s left-leaning arguments have been called out given the assembly of anti-Obama attacks launched from the right. There was, after all, no complaint filed by the Obama campaign against Fox when Karl Rove was on hand to criticize Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention for not showing enough love for her country, despite the fact that she repeatedly talked about her love for America. Nor was a complaint filed with Fox when Bill Kristol was on hand to say the speech was “generic” and that Michelle Obama “really didn’t say that much that was interesting.” Isn’t this bias?