Monday, January 02, 2006

New Hero: Keith Olbermann

I never watch MSNBC, so I'm only vaguely aware of Keith Olbermann as a former sportscaster and occasionaly nemesis to Fox pitbull Bill O'Reilly. What a delightful surprise, then, to see him taking down a Fox News hatemonger named John Gibson. Gibson, (who I'd not previously heard of) is the author of the heartwarming The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought (Sentinel, October 2005). Olbermann, a former friendly collegue of Gibson's, had named him one of the "World's Worst People" for comments Gibson had made about "people who practice the wrong religion" (non-Christians).

What makes this so delicious is that Gibson, along with O'Reilly, promptly denounced the "smear" and claimed to have been taken out of context. Thanks to the Web (and specifically, the excellent Crooks and Liars site), Olbermann's fiery response, with proof, is available for everyone to see. This is an energizing seven minutes and a terrific way to ring in the new year!

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Link via Salon.

2 comments:

Jeff said...

Olbermann has always been outspoken, intelligent, and articulate, but it seems that The Daily Show has legitimized this kind of commentary, thank God!

PeaceLove said...

I would take that a step further up the chain and say that the Internet has completely revolutionized television. Ten years ago you would hardly have seen such outspoken, pointed commentary anywhere. The Net, by being so open, forced television to become more honest and straightforward, too.

The Daily Show is in a very interesting and unique space; they can say almost anything they want since they are a "satire" show -- even though they generally have more revelatory "news" than any "news" show. They have built up a brand with very high street cred. "The most trusted name in fake news" is a funny catchphrase, but it's also absolutely true.

Regardless, to me there's still a BIG difference between The Daily Show and a "real" news show like Olbermann's, and it's enormously refreshing to see such biting truth on the latter. That's also why Jon Stewart was able to destroy Tucker Carlsen so definitively; comedian or not, he attacked Carlson on his own turf, the "real" news show Crossfire. Big difference between that and an "entertainment" show like Stewart's.