MSNBC

This drama is really good. There’s one article I want to single out:

Insiders say Olbermann is pushing to have Brokaw banned from the network and is also refusing to have centrist Time magazine columnist Mike Murphy on his show.

Since it comes from the NY Post, I’ll let the “centrist” thing slide, as well as the earlier comment that Joe Scarborough is the only person on the network who isn’t “openly Democratic.” Murdoch owns the paper after all.

But anyway, I want to offer a defense and an evisceration of Keith Olbermann simultaneously. First, there’s nothing unreasonable about not having Mike Murphy on television. The guy is, after all, very close to one of the candidates and used to be his chief political strategist. There’s obvious reasons, on the face of it, to question his objecivity (and for the record, I actually like Murphy and think he’s a really good analyst for the most part, but still the “appearance of impropriety” is certainly there). Even then though, in the event in question, Murphy was basically being a hack, asserting that he thinks Hillary Clinton is going to vote for McCain, so I won’t say Olbermann wasn’t justified. But that doesn’t really seem to be the reason Olbermann doesn’t like Murphy, it seems to be more about the fact that Murphy is a Republican. Whether or not I agree with the overall position, motivation is important, and Olbermann’s partisanship is a real problem for MSNBC.

As for Brokaw, I’m actually sort of glad someone at the network is standing up to him. But again, look at the reasoning for it. It’s not that Brokaw is spouting Republican talking points, misquoting Bill Clinton is substantively important ways, or is obviously not paying attention to what’s actually going on in the race, but because he slighted Olbermann. Now on some level I do agree with Olbermann here. Brokaw is clearly aloof and full of himself, as most “elite” journalists inevitably are, and Brokaw clearly “started” the MSNBC mess by calling out Olbermann and Matthews (indeed, I think I said something about it after one of Brokaw’s first MTP appearances when he chided Chuck Todd, the network’s political director of all people, on the air). So if MSNBC is concerned about what’s going on in Denver right now, a lot of the blame should go to Brokaw, who clearly fired the first shot. But that doesn’t make Olbermann’s ego any less problematic, or make him any less digestable. As my wife is pretty fond of pointing out, the guy is basically Bill O’Reilly’s soulmate. I might agree with him a good bit, but that doesn’t mean I like what he says about the state of American political media. And I really don’t like that he’s hitching himself to Rachel Maddow to the extent that he is, both walking all over her moment and threatening to tar her from the get go.