Tag Archives: Keith Olbermann

This Story You Will Be Talking About Tomorrow

Mark Joyella at Mediaite:

Sources tell Mediaite Keith Olbermann and MSNBC were headed for a breakup long before Comcast’s rise to power, but clearly something set the divorce into motion quickly today, with network promos set to run touting Olbermann’s role in MSNBC’s coverage of next week’s State of the Union address–and, notably, a Keith Olbermann promo running on MSNBC in the hour after the host signed off and left the network.

MSNBC executives have long planned for the day the network’s star might be sent packing, and the rise of Rachel Maddow at MSNBC–along with the grooming of Lawrence O’Donnell as a potential replacement for Olbermann–appears to have hastened the host’s departure.

While Olbermann and his iconic Countdown have been immensely important in the resurgence of MSNBC, Olbermann’s friction with management has been a sticking point. At many points–including the recent suspension over political contributions–tensions rose so high as to lead to serious discussions inside MSNBC about firing their star.

With Maddow enjoying both immense popularity inside MSNBC and very strong ratings for her Rachel Maddow Show, Olbermann’s invincibility as the heart and soul of MSNBC’s brand became softer. In recent weeks, sources tell Mediaite there have been meetings on the topic of Keith Olbermann and his future at the network. Did Comcast–as many Countdown viewers seem to suspect–order Olbermann out? It appears that the end of the Olbermann era at MSNBC was not “ordered” by Comcast, nor was it a move to tone down the network’s politics. Instead, sources inside the network say it came down to the more mundane world of office politics–Olbermann was a difficult employee, who clashed with bosses, colleagues and underlings alike, and with the Comcast-related departure of Jeff Zucker, and the rise of Maddow and O’Donnell, the landscape shifted, making an Olbermann exit suddenly seem well-timed.

Howard Kurtz at Daily Beast:

Whatever his excesses, he led third-place MSNBC out of the cable wilderness to the point where it overtook CNN in prime time, boosted not only by his numbers but by those of his protégé, Rachel Maddow.

Without question, he was a polarizing presence, and several NBC veterans, including Tom Brokaw, complained to network management that he was damaging MSNBC’s reputation for independence.

At a meeting with Olbermann’s representatives last September, NBC Chief Executive Jeff Zucker and NBC News President Steve Capus said that some of their client’s behavior was unacceptable and had to stop. Griffin said that Olbermann’s personal problems were affecting his work and he looked angrier on the air, eclipsing the smart and ironic anchor they had once loved.

In November, when Griffin suspended Olbermann indefinitely over the political donations, the two sides engaged in blistering negotiations over how long it would last. Olbermann’s manager, Price, warned Griffin that if the matter wasn’t resolved quickly, Olbermann would take his complaints public by accepting invitations from Good Morning America, David Letterman, and Larry King.

“If you go on GMA, I will fire Keith,” Griffin shot back.

The suspension wound up lasting just two days, and Olbermann said he was sorry for the “unnecessary drama” and “for having mistakenly violated an inconsistently applied rule” in making the $7,200 in contributions. But after years of internal warfare, Olbermann had no major allies left at 30 Rock.

There were similar backstage struggles in 2008 and 2009 when top executives tried to get Olbermann and O’Reilly to tone down their personal attacks. O’Reilly, who never mentions Olbermann by name, was assailing NBC’s parent company, General Electric, while Olbermann once imagined the fate of “a poor kid” born to a transgendered man who became pregnant, adding: “Kind of like life at home for Bill’s kids.”

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:

I was just on in the opening segment of Olbermann tonight. And I get home and get this press release from NBC saying this was the last episode of Countdown. At first I figured it had to be a spoof email because, jeez, I was on and I didn’t have any sense that any other than a regular Friday evening show was on. But sure enough I pulled up the recording and now I’m watching his final sign off.

I doubt I would have had any heads up or known anything was happening if Olbermann was going to go off the air. But I was a bit more stunned than I might otherwise have been because I was just over there. And I did not have any sense that there was anything any different than normal going on. Everything seemed calm and pretty sedate. I didn’t sense anything different in Keith’s manner or affect (though it’s not like we’re tight and I would have been the person to notice.) There were a few more people than I’m used to seeing in the studio — maybe two or three, seated, who seemed to be there to watch. (Something I don’t remember seeing before.) But nothing that made me think twice that anything odd was going on.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing soon enough what on earth happened here. But color me stunned. And really disappointed.

Joe Klein at Swampland at Time:

Keith Olbermann and I started from the same place, the same school, the same English teacher–Arthur Naething–who changed our lives. I’ve always had a soft spot for Keith as a result, even when he called me one of the worst people in the world (based on a wildly inaccurate interpretation of something I’d written). I’ve criticized him, too, for his melodramatically over-the-top effusions. I’m not so sure what this dispute with MSNBC is all about, but I’m sad that Keith won’t be around (at least, for a while). If there is a place for the nonsense-spew of Fox News, there has to be a place on my cable dial for Olbermann (who, while occasionally obnoxious, operates from a base of reality–unlike some people we know [see below]). Keith is a brilliant writer, and presenter; I always enjoy watching him, even when he’s occasionally wrong. I hope I’ll have the opportunity to do so again soon. In the meantime, I hope he’ll heed the words of the master and “Go forth, and spread beauty and light.”

On another decidedly hilarious front, Glenn Beck has found yet another enemy of the people in a 78-year-old Columbia University professor named Frances Fox Piven. I’ve always thought that Piven’s work was foolish and inhumane. There was a brief, disastrous time in the 1960s when her desire to flood the welfare system with new recipients was the tacit policy of the city of New York, which produced absolutely terrible results–as Daniel Patrick Moynihan predicted–in the 1970s and 1980s. I also remember Piven railing against a brilliantly successful welfare-to-work program called “America Works” because it was for-profit, even though the company only was paid by the government if the recipient remained on the job for six months (and even though the ability to do honorable work gave the women involved new-found confidence, according to study after study of the results). But the notion that Piven’s ideas had any widespread influence, or are even worth commenting on 45 years later, is beyond absurd; it is another case of Beck’s show-paranoid perversity. It seems academic and sophisticated, to those who don’t know any better: Glenn’s soooo erudite, he’s found a secret part of The Plan to turn America into a socialist gulag, hatched by a college professor. The reality is that he’s focused onto an obscure form of left-liberalism that was found wanting a long time ago, as the sociological results of Aid to Families with Dependent Children became known, and better ways to help the poor were developed.

Beck’s essential sin is a matter of proportionality. He has, as ever, latched onto an obscurity, blown it out of proportion–as he did with Van Jones’ stupid but essentially harmless comments about communism–and turned it into a lie. He is an extraordinary liar, on matters large and small, as I’ve learned from personal experience with the man. That Beck remains on the air and Keith Olbermann–unpleasant and extreme at times, but no fantasist–isn’t anymore is a travesty.

What of Olbermann’s legacy? There’s a great deal of crowing on the right about Olbermann’s apparent ouster. But let’s be clear on what he accomplished: He helped clear a huge space on the airwaves for “unapologetic liberalism,” as Steve Benen puts it, when it remained anything but certain that such a space could be created with any measure of success.

The unexpected popularity of Olbermann’s show early on cleared the way for MSNBC to stack its nighttime lineup with pugnacious lefty hosts. Indeed, it was Olbermann who invited Rachel Maddow on repeatedly as a guest, raising her profile to the point where she got her own show. Olbermann, followed by Maddow, proved in the face of enormous skepticism that there’s a huge audience out there for real liberal talk-show hosts to adopt the sort of take-no-prisoners approach once monopolized by the right. Only they accomplished this without descending into the crackpot conspiracy mongering and all-around ugliness of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

Indeed, there’s already talk that CNN might be interested in picking up Olbermann. While that seems unlikely, given CNN’s more staid air, the mere fact that it’s being discussed at all shows how much he helped change the landscape.

Olbermann may be gone, but the space he did so much to help create is here to stay.

Joe Coscarelli at Village Voice:

Though it’s as of yet impossible to answer the question “Why?” in regards to Olbermann’s dismissal, what is on the record is how trying he was to manage. Back in October, there was Gabriel Sherman’s account in New York of the cable news wars with tidbits like this:

But Olbermann can take his eccentricities to extremes. There’s a story that he told his producers to communicate with him by leaving notes in a small box positioned outside his office. Last spring, after David Shuster tweeted that he was guest-hosting Countdown while Olbermann was out sick, Olbermann erupted when a blog mentioned Shuster’s tweet and he fired off an e-mail to him saying, “Don’t ever talk about me and medical issues again.” Olbermann’s executive producer later told Shuster that there’s a rule against mentioning Olbermann on Twitter.

And more of the same in the Times today:

Mr. Olbermann was within one move of being fired in November after he was suspended for making donations to Democratic Congressional candidates. He threatened to make an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to protest the suspension; Mr. Zucker was prepared to fire him on the spot if he did, according to a senior NBC Universal executive who declined to be identified in discussing confidential deliberations.

Many questions remains, but if he’s not in the mood for a vacation, Olbermann does have options, namely radio or the internet. So he should join us and he needn’t worry — here, everyone is an asshole.

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We’re Proud At Around The Sphere To Annouce Our Acquisition Of WhatTheHellIsInTheWaterAtMSNBC.com

The Daily Caller:

The Daily Caller, one of the fastest-growing online media properties, announced today its acquisition of KeithOlbermann.com, expanding the company’s global reach into a new segment of the online political market.  For more than six months The Daily Caller has been a recognized market leader in commentary about Keith Olbermann.  Ruth Graham’s weekly Olbermann wrap-up, “We watch, because we’re paid to,” appears on The Daily Caller’s website each Friday.

“We plan to make The Daily Caller the one-stop online shop for Keith Olbermann commentary,” said Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson.  “We will be THE Keith Olbermann superstore.”

“This is part of our long-term growth strategy,” added Publisher and CEO Neil Patel.  “Our future acquisition targets include several other annoying cable news commentators.”

Olbermann, the host of a low-rated nightly show on MSNBC, attacked The Daily Caller last week on Twitter.  “Daily Caller has never known what Daily Caller is talking about,” he wrote.

Patrick Gavin at Politico:

You may (or may not) have noticed that there’s been a bit of a feud taking place between MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and The Daily Caller, the website run by (former MSNBC-er) Tucker Carlson.

The Caller — via its Twitter account, especially — has poked fun at Olbermann with  headlines such as “Keith Olbermann talks too much about himself: We watch, because we’re paid to.”

Olbermann hasn’t taken the taunts sitting down, responding via Twitter with  “@TheDailyCaller unfortunately I don’t read you because I don’t have to.”

Olbermann has said Carlson has a “bow tie contained brain” and named Carlson among his “worst persons in the world” on several occasions.

The Daily Caller has knocked Olbermann’s “ratings decline” and so on and so on …

But the battle has been kicked up a notch today, as The Daily Caller has purchased www.KeithOlbermann.com. The site, as you can imagine, directs readers to The Daily Caller’s online offerings.

“This is just the beginning of an online public service project,” Carlson told POLITICO. “We’ll be rolling out more in the coming weeks and months but I’d love to get your suggestions. Email me anytime at my personal address, keith@keitholbermann.com.”

We’ve reached out to MSNBC for comment. Will update as soon as we hear back.

UPDATE: Olbermann tells POLITICO: “I hope whoever sold it to them got cash.”

Steve Krakauer at Mediaite:

Tucker Carlson and his site Daily Caller have been having fun today with their new acquisition, KeithOlbermann.com.We talked to Tucker in a podcast tonight about the reason for buying the site – but he also unleashed personally on the top-rated MSNBC host and former colleague. And Jon Klein. And Eliot Spitzer

Tucker explained to Mediaite why he bought the site. “The opportunity to acquire KeithOlbermann.com arose and we felt it was a market niche which we could enter and dominate and it would be a public service so we did it,” he said. “Plus it’s amusing as hell.”

Now, about Keith specifically. Here are some comments from our discussion, but you can listen to all of it below:

I’ve heard a lot from MSNBC, from friends of mine who work there who despise Keith. I’ve always had kind of a soft spot for Keith because I feel sorry for him because of his various phobias. He won’t drive a car. He’s obviously a sad guy, in elastic-band jeans…

A lot of people there, as you well know, since you’ve reported on it for years, really hate Keith Olbermann because he’s cruel to people who work for him. A lot of those people have emailed me with joy, jubilation in their voices, in their email. Letters of congratulations, just thank you for doing this finally…

He’s despised at MSNBC…I’m not saying every person at MSNBC despises him but I would say he’s the most disliked person in the building by a factor of 10, and I would dare anybody who’s worked there to look me right in the eye and deny that…I don’t have any malice toward Olbermann. I feel sorry for him.

Well. We’ve reached out several times to MSNBC for comment.

We also asked Carlson about CNN’s recent prime time moves:

I think it’s great. I think it’s probably too late to work but I hope it does. I certainly wish them well. It’s amazing that Jon Klein still has a job. That’s amazing to me. But there’s a lot of good people at CNN. I’m glad to see debate make a comeback.

Of Eliot Spitzer: “The worst Attorney General, probably, in the history of the world.”

Ed Morrissey:

I suspect that the rest of the annoying cable news commentators are contacting hosting services as we speak to buy their own .com domains.  Frankly, that’s SOP for anyone in the business, especially for those who write books. Olbermann has written two, one with Dan Patrick during the ESPN days in 1998, and another in 2007 that repackaged his “special comment” rants about the Bush administration. Still, one would think that Olbermann would have wanted to promote those efforts himself.

Neil Patel is obviously placing his tongue firmly in his cheek with the “acquisition strategy” and rollout announcement.  It’s a parody of corporate communications, and a pretty humorous one at that.  That doesn’t mean they won’t exploit their new asset, of course, assuming they can hang on to it.  They already have a regular Olbermann column (“We watch because we’re paid to watch”) that tracks the host’s daily performance, and the new URL would be perfect for it.

However, Patel better enjoy it while he can.  I’d bet that the Daily Caller doesn’t get to use the name for long.  As I recall, courts have taken dim views of poaching eponymous domain names, and a concerted effort by MSNBC’s lawyers will likely return to Olbermann what he should have bought in the first place.  Meanwhile, keep checking KeithOlbermann.com to keep up with the war.

Alex Pareene at Salon:

As you may have heard, Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller bought KeithOlbermann.com. That URL now takes you to a Keith Olbermann-focused version of the Daily Caller site. (Or, uh, the regular Daily Caller site, which is currently going with at least 7 Olbermann stories above the fold.) It did this purely to annoy Olbermann. No matter what you think of the “Countdown” host, this is childish, petty and boorish behavior for a formerly respected journalist like Carlson. And that is why we here at Salon are proud to announce our purchase of TuckerCarlson.net.

Tragically, Carlson has already reserved TuckerCarlson.com. But TuckerCarlson.net was there for the taking, and so we took it. At the moment, we’re just pointing it at War Room. But what should we do with it?

Greg Pollowitz at NRO:

Ironically, Tucker Carlson successfully sued the owner of TuckerCarlson.com in 2008 for doing basically the same thing he’s doing to KeithOlbmerann.com now:

TuckerCarlson.com was registered in 2003. The domain points to a DomainSponsor parking page including links to “The Tucker Carlson Show” and “Tucker MSNBC”. The owner of the domain name used privacy protection to mask his identity.

In general, celebrities can win UDRP decisions if they are reasonably well known and if the corresponding domain name is being used for profit (ala Jerry Seinfeld). If it is being used for criticism, such as in the case of Jerry Falwell and typo Fallwell.com, domain owners have prevailed in disputes. Also, politician’s domain names are usually fair game if it is being used in a non-commercial manner.

I have no idea if KeithOlbmermann.com in its current iteration will fall into this exemption category, but I’m sure we’ll be hearing from both Keith and Tucker soon enough.

Dan Amira at New York Magazine:

Whether the Daily Caller’s plans to build KeithOlbermann.com into the Internet’s premiere Olbermann-criticism site is a good publicity stunt is not in question. It is. It’s all over the Internet, and Olbermann will probably complain about it on his show tonight. The back-and-forth will result in lots of attention for both parties involved. That doesn’t mean it’s a smart legal move, though, as Olbermann suggested earlier. In fact, according to Enrico Schaefer, founding attorney of Traverse Legal, a law firm specializing in cybersquatting and domain-name disputes, Olbermann would probably have little trouble becoming master of his domain.

“There’s always room for some debate on this kind of stuff,” Schaefer told us. “But the reality is that Keith Olbermann has got strong trademark rights in his name — a show called Countdown With Keith Olbermann, with his name used as a brand — and therefore anyone that registers a domain name in bad faith, or a personal name of a famous individual who has trademark right, is potentially liable for up to $100,000 in damages, plus attorney fees.”

“But wait a second,” we ignorantly inquired, “What about, you know, freedom of speech? Doesn’t the First Amendment allow us to criticize public figures however we damn well please?” Not always. Some “gripe sites,” as they’re known, are okay, if they “have no financial stake, no positive benefit that they receive. They just have something to say and they’re going to say it,” Schaefer explains. But “the moment that you start to make money or derive a benefit for your business, you lose a whole layer of First Amendment protection.”

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Exit The Great Orange Satan

Keith Olbermann at Daily Kos:

I was checking in tonight to see what was new, came across a diary trashing first me and my colleague Rachel, and scrolled through it shaking my head, sadly, until I got to one comment that leaped off the page.

can’t verify, of course… (2+ / 0-)
but a friend in the news biz tells me he got a damaging e-mail from one of his pals at NBC.  something to the effect that their anger was pre-planned because “beating up on the President has been good for ratings.”

I haven’t checked but I’m hearing that Olbermann slammed the speech on Twitter before it even started.

“Can’t verify”… “haven’t checked”…It can’t be verified because it’s nonsense, and it wasn’t checked because nobody bothered. Unfortunately there’s been a lot of this here lately.

And what’s more, I didn’t “slam” the speech on Twitter before it even started. I got off the phone with my White House source at about 7:35, and then summarized his description of the speech thusly::

I gather this may not be the big picture broad canvas “never again” speech redefining our nation’s energy addiction that many are expecting

Wow. What a slam!

For years, from the Katrina days onward, whenever I stuck my neck out, I usually visited here as the cliched guy in the desert stopping by the oasis. I never got universal support, and never expected it, nor wanted it (who wants an automatic “Yes” machine?). But I used to read a lot about how people here would ‘always have my back’ and trust me this was of palpable value as I fought opponents external and internal who try to knock me and Rachel off the air, all the time, in ways you can imagine and others you can’t.

Now I get to read how we pre-planned our anger because ‘beating up on the President has been good for ratings’.

If I can understand people’s frustration with seeing a speech by a Democratic president criticized in a venue such as mine, why is it impossible for some people here to accept my frustration about the speech? You don’t agree with me, fine. You don’t want to watch because you don’t agree with me, fine. But to accuse me, after five years of risking what I have to present the truth as I see it, of staging something for effect, is deeply offensive to me and is an indication of what has happened here.

You want Cheerleaders? Hire the Buffalo Jills. You want diaries with conspiracy theories, go nuts. If you want this site the way it was even a year ago, let me know and I’ll be back.

Steve Krakauer at Mediaite:

Salon’s Glenn Greenwald tweets, “Not saying this isn’t thin-skinned – it is – but what he’s reacting to is very common.”

It’s interesting to see Olbermann react strongly to the commenters who, almost universally, have been supporter of his show and his network. As he sticks with his ‘non-Obama-cheerleader’ position, it’s now clear there are some in this country far farther left than he is. It is a testament to the polarized American public that Olbermann would be on the outs with the Daily Kos and his liberal Twitter followers.

Peter Wehner at Commentary:

As a friend wrote me, “It’s a bit like the Iran-Iraq or Germany–Soviet Union wars. But who does one root for?” That is an existential question I cannot possibly hope to answer. But watching this all unfold is quite fascinating.

Liberals do seem quite unhappy these days, don’t they? Call it the Obama Effect.

David Freddoso at Washington Examiner:

Allow me to suggest that there are two kinds of crazy in politics.

First, there’s the crazy of the minority — a crazy consisting of wild conspiracy theories by the powerless. A significant minority on the liberal side excelled at this in the Bush years with conspiracy theories about 9/11; a smaller group still went further with protest violence, advocacy for violence against the military, and anti-war rallies at which the yellow Hezbollah flag flew proudly.

In the Obama era, this kind of crazy has been carried forward by the minority of conservatives who are birthers and believers that President Obama is a Muslim; there also the smaller group that actually calls for violence. (And I mean militia groups here, not just people who use figurative campaign language that causes liberals to whine.) In the Clinton era, we had the same thing in the form of the Vince Foster murder conspiracy, etc.

Then there’s the crazy of the majority, characterized by empowered groupthink. As President Bush steamrolled conservative hopes with his Farm Bill, subsidies for unsustainable businesses and executive power grabs, the Right was nearly silent. When he tried to “fix” 9/11 by creating a new and incompetent federal bureaucracy in the Department of Homeland Security, you could hear the crickets. The wisdom of the Iraq War was barely questioned at all by conservatives, and those who did question it (like my old boss, Robert Novak) were denounced by groupthinkers as “unpatriotic.” It wasn’t until the Harriet Miers debacle that the Right really began pushing back.

But now that the Right is out of power, liberals are suffering from this majority variety of crazy. As President Obama fails to keep his promises to the Left on curbing lobbyists and Bush-era executive power grabs, on closing Guantanamo, on showing basic competence in government, only a few on the Left are raising the skeptic’s flag.

The most prominent liberal to do so was Keith Olbermann, whose scathing criticism of Obama’s Tuesday night address nearly earned him a firing squad at the left-wing site Daily Kos.

Matt Welch at Reason

Dan Riehl:

Oh. Oh. Oh. This is so precious, it effin’ hurts through the laughter. Keif Olbermann has gotten his panties in a bunch over something he read at DailyKos and has crawled under his desk, pledging to leave the site. Keif! Come back!

Or don’t, who cares? Over 1,000 comments and counting. Enjoy the tasty goodness of it, this is a day that will live in the infamy that is Keif Olbermann. And enjoy the Blogasm sure to come via Memeorandum. I feel dirty just watching it. ha ha ha!

UPDATE: Bill Scher and Matt Lewis at Bloggingheads

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“I Cost That Kid A Perfect Game”

Brian Dickerson at The Detroit Free Press:

Armando Galarraga is an artist. But my fondest hope for my children is that they grow up to be like Jim Joyce.

Every Detroiter with a TV knows Joyce as the first base umpire whose blown call in the final inning of Wednesday’s contest between the Tigers and the Cleveland Indians cost Galarraga a perfect game, at least in the official annals of Major League Baseball. Unless he figures out how to plug the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, Joyce has likely written the first paragraph of his obituary.

But what I can’t stop thinking about is what happened next, and how Joyce conducted himself in the aftermath of the gaffe seen ‘round the world. Because from the split-second after his errant call, Joyce’s conduct was as faultless, and as inspiring a demonstration of grace under pressure, as Galarraga’s pitching performance.

The festival of indignation began with a collective gasp, continued with a torrent of close-range abuse from Galarraga’s manager and teammates, and crescendoed into the most sustained bombardment of boos young Comerica Park has ever witnessed.

Joyce didn’t turn his back, or look at his shoes; he looked his critics in the face, then resolutely returned to his unfinished work. His annoyance flickered when first baseman Miguel Cabrera refused to abridge his uncomplimentary remarks, but mostly he absorbed the waves of invective in stoical silence, holding his ground and his peace even when Leyland returned to deliver a post-game tongue-lashing.
Then, still withholding his own verdict on his performance, Joyce went inside to check out the evidence.

The unblinking camera confirmed, with clinical dispassion, what Leyland & Co. had been screaming from the get-go: Joyce had blown the call of his life.

Keith Olbermann:

“I don’t know what to do,” says first base umpire Jim Joyce about the worst safe/out call since the 1985 World Series. “I cost that kid a perfect game…Biggest call of my career and I kicked the **** out of it.”

What you do, Jim, is to put baseball etiquette and umpire pride on the shelf for a moment. Even if you’re sure, you consult with your colleagues. Even if you have no doubt, you listen to Jim Leyland. Hell, ask the runner Jason Donald.
In fact, you do what Frank Pulli did, 11 years ago this past Monday. He was in Florida and Cliff Floyd banged one off the visual obstacle course that was the scoreboard in left. Above the line it’s a homer, otherwise it’s a double. There were more lines on the scoreboard than on a volleyball court or a parcheesi board. Frank says to himself, I want to get this right, so he went over to a tv camera and asked to look at the replay. Mind you, this is nearly a decade before they passed replay, but Frank didn’t care. The call counted, not the rule. The integrity of the game was not supported by adhering to the protocol, it was undermined by it.
Frank Pulli invented, ad hoc, tv replay. And he got grief for it, from commentators, from his bosses. But he got the call (double, not homer) correct.
That’s what Jim Joyce should’ve done. He should have said to himself, I’m going to get grief for this call anyway, I might as well get the grief for going above and beyond to get it right. He should’ve, ad hoc, expanded the replay rule.
More over, that’s exactly what baseball should do right now. The Commissioner should appoint an emergency committee to examine the expansion of replay on a formalized basis with set rules. And in the interim, in fairness to Armando Galarraga, in fairness to Jason Donald, in fairness to the fans, and especially in fairness to Jim Joyce, he ought to do a little ad hoc of his own: overrule Joyce’s safe call and give Galarraga what he in fact accomplished, and only the arrogance of authority is denying him – the perfect game he pitched tonight in Detroit, the majors’ third this season, second in five days, and fourth in the 135 days of play dating back to Mark Buehrle’s job last season.
This is not the time to stick to the rules. The rules failed the sport tonight.

Ross Douthat:

Extraordinary cases make bad law. In a sense, Armando Galarraga’s non-perfect perfect game, spoiled by an umpire’s call on what should have been the 27th out, offers the strongest possible exhibit for expanding instant replay’s role in baseball. Who wouldn’t want to have seen Galaragga take his rightful place in the history books, making this remarkable baseball season — whose first two months have already featured two perfect games and a no-hitter — more remarkable still? And after watching the post-game agony of Jim Joyce, a distinguished umpire whose career will be forever marred by this one unforgivable call, who would deny the next disastrously-erring ump the chance to watch a replay on a video monitor and make the whole thing right?

But extraordinary cases make bad law. There’s a reason that sportswriters immediately reached for Don Denkinger’s botched “safe” call in the 1985 World Series, which sent the Cardinals tailspinning to defeat, as the closest analogy to what happened last night — because blown calls this high-stakes and this egregious are exceptional, once-in-a-decade events. (The particular circumstances of last night’s call will probably never recur in a lifetime.) Whereas the solution to the problem — some kind of football-style system, in which managers get one or two replay “challenges” per game — would affect almost every baseball contest, week in and week out, across the entire 162-game season. To avoid the extraordinary bad calls, you have to start overturning the quotidian bad calls, the gaffes and brain cramps that have always been part of the warp and woof of the game and that have never detracted a whit from anyone’s enjoyment of it. And I’m pretty sure that would be a mistake.

Not a disastrous mistake, mind you: Baseball with instant replay would still be baseball, and I’m sure there would be many moments, across games and seasons to come, where I would be grateful for the technology’s existence. But baseball is also a game where history matters, and where continuity — those mystic chords of memory, connecting the Tiger fans who watched Charlie Gehringer and Hank Greenberg and Al Kaline and Mickey Lolich to the Tiger fans watching Armando Galarraga last night — matters even more. True, often it’s just the illusion of continuity (part of the fury over the steroid scandal reflects the rage of a fan base having part of that illusion stripped away), and starry-eyed sportswriters can go overboard heaping metaphysical significance on what is, in the end, an athletic contest and a multi-billion dollar business, and not necessarily in that order. But still, baseball’s past is real, those mystic chords are real, and a hundred years and counting of bad calls are part of the sport’s history, part of the legacy of glories and grievances that one generation hands down to the next.

So Cardinals fans have Denkinger. Orioles fans have Jeffrey Maier and Rich Garcia. Red Sox fans have Ed Armbrister and Larry Barnett. Braves fans have Eric Gregg and Livan Hernandez. Now Tigers fans have Armando Galarraga and poor despairing Jim Joyce.

Allah Pundit:

I’m seeing arguments today that blowing the call was, in a way, actually better than getting it right since it created a more memorable moment than the perfect game would have been. To which I say: Tell it to Cardinals fans who are still smarting over Don Denkinger’s blown call in the 1985 World Series. The rule says that if the ball beats the batter to first base, he’s out; that’s what happened last night, yet the rule wasn’t enforced — although it could have been, in about five seconds, if the umps were simply allowed to look at the Jumbotron. If, in the name of baseball romance and magic and whimsy, you want terrible calls to be “part of the game,” then Selig should pull the umps aside and tell them to boot one every now and then just to keep things interesting. If, on the other hand, you don’t want players deprived of hard-earned achievements due to human error that can easily be corrected via technology we’ve had for decades, then replay it is. Count me in the latter camp.

Jay Mariotti at FanHouse

Ed Price at Fanhouse:

Bud Selig, fortunately, did not become Pandora.

OK, if Selig had overturned Jim Joyce‘s mistake from Wednesday night, he wouldn’t exactly have opened a box that unleashed all the evils onto the world. But it’s a good thing that, as a Major League Baseball source indicated to FanHouse, such interference in the result was never seriously considered.

Had Selig declared that a runner called safe — by an umpire, in a game that continued on and wasn’t protested — was actually out, he would have set a terrible precedent.

If the All-Star Game slogan is, “This time, it counts,” then the regular season slogan would have been, “This time, it might not count.”

Of course, Jim Joyce was wrong. Of course, Armando Galarraga and the Tigers were robbed. Of course, we all would like to have seen what should have happened.

But it’s passed. You can’t undo history.

// <![CDATA[// Selig, wisely, understood that.

Todd Spangler at The Detroit Free Press:

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today that President Barack Obama’s administration was working on an executive order regarding the perfect game Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga’s would have been awarded but for a blown call by an umpire on Wednesday night.

He was joking.

Just as he was concluding the daily press briefing in Washington, Gibbs was asked whether baseball should consider instant replay. He responded: “I hope that baseball awards a perfect game to that pitcher.”

He was then told it appeared that Major League Baseball had decided against that. Gibbs said offhandedly, “We’re going to work on an executive order.” The White House later confirmed it was meant as a joke – which is understandable with everything on the president’s plate and the fact that, as far as we know, he is not a Tigers fan.

Newsweek:

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm—or GovGranholm as she’s known on Twitter—just tweeted to her 15,066 followers that she’s overruling an apparently blind Major League Baseball umpire, Jim Joyce, and issuing an official state proclamation declaring that Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga did, in fact, throw a perfect game last night against the Cleveland Indians.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock since last night, you know that Galarraga lost his bid for a perfect game on the 27th batter when Joyce called Indian base runner Jason Donald safe at first when he was clearly out.

Granholm, who is certainly politically savvy enough to know that there is no other topic more important in the state of Michigan today, tweeted soon after the game last night that she was going to make amends, writing, “As governor, I’m issuing a proclamation declaring Galarraga pitched a perfect game!”

Micheline Maynard at The New York Times:

Less than 18 hours after Mr. Galarraga’s effort was spoiled by an admittedly wrong call by umpire Jim Joyce, Mr. Galarraga, a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, received a red Chevrolet Corvette convertible with a beige rag top in a ceremony before Thursday afternoon’s game. The car, whose sticker price starts at $53,580, was driven onto the field at Comerica Park by Mark Reuss, the president of General Motors’ North American operations, who jumped out from behind the wheel to shake Mr. Galarraga’s hand.

Chevrolet is a sponsor of the Tigers, whose outfield features the ivy covered Chevrolet Fountain. The park stands within view of G.M. headquarters on the Detroit River.

Mr. Galarraga did not speak, but he grinned and patted the top of the car as he posed with it for photographers. A teammate, first baseman Miguel Cabrera, looked even more excited than Galarraga, peering inside the driver’s side window as other Tigers grouped around the car.

Mr. Reuss said the pitcher deserved the car for the way he handled himself after Mr. Joyce’s call at first base, which took away Mr. Galarraga’s perfect game. Mr. Joyce said after the game that he made the wrong decision and apologized to Mr. Galarraga, who hugged him.

Joe Posnanski:

Galarraga pitched a perfect game on Wednesday night in Detroit. I’ll always believe that. I think most baseball fans will always believe that. But, more than anything it seems that Galarraga will always believe it. The way he handled himself after the game, well, that was something better than perfection. Dallas Braden’s perfect game was thrilling. Roy Halladay’s perfect game was art. But Armando’s Galarraga’s perfect game was a lesson in grace.

And when my young daughters ask, “Why didn’t he get mad and scream about how he was robbed,” I think I will tell them this: I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s because Armando Galarraga understands something that is very hard to understand, something we all struggle with, something I hope you learn as you grow older: In the end, nobody’s perfect. We just do the best we can.

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New Front Opens On Late Night Wars: Now Taking On MSNBC

Jon Stewart on Keith Olbermann last night

Ed Morrissey:

Give credit to Stewart for getting laughs out of some very unfunny source material. I’m wondering why Stewart missed the opportunity to go after Olby’s assertion (with agreement from Newsweek editor Howard Fineman) that trucks represent racism, which could have made for some blockbuster comedy. But do notice where his audience laughs and applauds, because even though Stewart got a good response from them for himself, it becomes rather obvious where their sympathies lie — except when Stewart quotes Olby on Michelle, which gets a very gratifying gasp.

Charli Carpenter:

About time the fake news outlets took on left-wing as well as right-wing demagogues in the name of logical consistency and basic standards of civility. Only Stewart acts as if “name-calling” on the Olbermann show is something new, or that he ever had the “moral high ground.” Maybe he did politically, but rhetorically he’s been no better than Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh for a very long time.

The Jawa Report:

For a long time I’ve maintained that while Jon Stewart has the smartest writers on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert has the funniest. I’m sorry, I just don’t find The Daily Show that funny.

Stewart’s wit would find better use as, say, a blogger. A kind of snarky sarcasm nearly always directed at the political opposition. Nearly.

In this big Stewart rails on Keith Olbermann for nearly seven minutes. A much deserved railing, in my estimation But the surprise comes near the end where after refuting the rather lame accusation made by Olbermann that Scott Brown supports violence against women, he uses Olby’s attack against long-time friend of the Jawa Michelle Malkin as evidence that Olby — if measured by his own standards — supports violence against women.

Classic.

Hopefully we’ll get a comment from Michelle later.

Alex Knapp:

Jon Stewart is a national treasure.

Chris Ariens at TV Newser:

Olbermann’s response to TVNewser, “It was a little bit of a ripoff of the Affleck thing, but overall, I’d give it a B-“

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FIND EVERYTHING YOU CAN ON LARRY “BUD” MELMAN, THE GUY UNDER THE SEATS, AND RUPERT JEE

Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake:

I first met Van Jones when he was honored last year by the Campaign for America’s Future at their gala dinner.  He was being swarmed by all of the liberal institutional elite, who just could not be more full of praise for the impressive environmental leader and prison reform organizer.  Everybody wanted Van Jones on their board.  Everyone wanted him at their fundraisers.  Everyone wanted a piece of his formidable limelight.

Now he’s been thrown under the bus by the White House for signing his name to a petition expressing something that 35% of all Democrats believed as of 2007 — that George Bush knew in advance about the attacks of 9/11.  Well, that and calling Republicans “assholes.”  I’m pretty sure that if you search through the histories of every single liberal leader at the CAF dinner that night, they have publicly said that and worse.

So where are all the statements defending Van Jones by those who were willing to exploit him when it served their purpose?  Why aren’t they standing up  and defending one of their own, who has done nothing that probably the majority of people in the Democratic party haven’t done at one time or another?  Is he no longer “one of their own?”

[…]

If these groups, if these liberal leaders, let Jones just hang there while Glenn Beck pounds his chest and celebrates the scalp, we have no liberal institutions.  What we have are a bunch of neoliberal enablers who have found a nice comfortable place in the DC establishment that they don’t want to jeopardize, a place on the new K-Street gravy train that they don’t want to lose.  Dropping Van Jones from their rolodex is a small price to pay.

If there is going to be a serious progressive movement in this country capable of standing up for health care against an industry that spends $1.4 million a day on lobbying, we can’t just look to the members of the Progressive Caucus and say “hey, you, get something done.”  They need cover.  They need to know that they will be supported.  And people like Van Jones who have given their lives to causes we say we value like prison reform and environmental advocacy need to know that they will be defended, and not handed over to Glenn Beck as an acceptable casualty in the battle for K-Street dollars.

So to all you liberal organizations in the “veal pen” — this is your moment of truth.  I get all your emails.  And the next Common Purpose meeting is probably on Tuesday.  If you can’t get it together to at least put out a statement of support for Van Jones and condemn the White House for using him as a sacrificial lamb to right wing extremists that will devour us all if left unchecked, it’s time to add “proudly liberal only when it doesn’t matter” to your logo and be done with it.

Carl Pope at Huffington Post:

This was a lynch mob and, when it started forming a month ago, we didn’t take it seriously enough. When I saw the first Glenn Beck piece on Van Jones and the Apollo Alliance as the new vast left-wing conspiracy, I could not take it seriously. Silence enabled Fox to keep pushing. The statements for which Jones apologized — the reference to the right as “assholes” and saying that Bush was talking “like a crack-head” were such ordinary political discourse — think Rahm Emmanuel, think Dick Cheney saying “fuck yourself” to Senator Leahy, think Tom Friedman dubbing Bush “the addict-in-chief” — that I didn’t understand why an apology was necessary; I assumed it would blow over.

Well, that was a mistake. So was the decision by the White House to treat the initial attacks not as part of an assault on the president but, instead, to allow them to be viewed as being about Van Jones. What we underestimated was the power of the fact that both Jones and the Barack Obama are black. Yes, the hysteria was about politics — I don’t think Fox News really cares about Jones’s ethnicity — but it was enabled by race. Calling Bush a “crack-head” is seen by a large part of America as worse than calling him “addict-in-chief” because crack is not just a drug — it is a drug used largely by black people. It reminds those Americans who are still uncomfortable with Barack Obama that we have a black president.

Atrios

Dan Riehl:

Oh my. Via Firedoglake we learn that Obama’s WH cuts off the funding to liberal groups that criticize the one? And the liberal leaders Obama grabbed up for the WH are now more interested in dining on K Street, than perhaps attending the next Yearly Kos? Gee, that doesn’t sound like the hope and change you voted for to me. Oh, this is going to get good. heh! Question: Did Kos sell out? Not even a mention of this on the front page? Hmm.

Conor Friedersdorf at The American Scene:

This is basically the same argument that certain conservatives make when I criticize Human Events and World Net Daily — if there’s going to be a serious conservative movement in this country, they say, you can’t just have a bunch of Inside The Beltway elites. You need to loyally support the most energetic partisan fighters and the hard core among the grassroots, even if they have some associations or views or past statements that the average American would regard as nuttily odious. Ideological movements at most stay silent about these fringe friendlies — also see Ron Paul’s libertarians — so you’ll inevitably have a day when it’s the left calling for the resignation of some guy who signed an Obama birther petition. And I won’t feel sorry for him either.

But today’s reminder is that just as the grassroots right traffics in its paranoid nonsense, the grassroots left has subsections of people who are sympathetic to militant Marxism, 9/11 trutherism, and other idiocies that don’t seem to hurt their rise in that movement. This is why the average American is deeply suspicious of career political activists and people who rise via both parties into low level administration posts. They’re right to be! A lot of true believers climb ideological ladders in this country and wind up in government, leaving the average citizen upset because they suspect there are plenty of folks who aren’t ideological extremists, but are nevertheless qualified to fill those posts — they just don’t happen work in circles with connections to a partisan political world where loyalty to the cause is prized above all else.

Glenn Beck’s statement on the firing:

The American people stood up and demanded answers. Instead of providing them, the Administration had Jones resign under cover of darkness. I continue to be amazed by the power of everyday Americans to initiate change in our government through honest questioning, and judging by the other radicals in the administration, I expect that questioning to continue for the foreseeable future

David Weigel at The Washington Independent:

As he makes a real impact in pushing conservative fringe attacks on Obama administration officials into the mainstream, Glenn Beck’s Twitter feed has become a must-read. In a message from last night, Beck told his followers to “FIND EVERYTHING YOU CAN ON CASS SUNSTEIN, MARK LLOYD AND CAROL BROWNER.” They are, respectively, the nominee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the Associate General Counsel and Chief Diversity Officer of the FCC, and the Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change. Browner was also administrator of the EPA for all eight years of Bill Clinton’s presidency.

Picture 112

Beck’s ostensible purpose here is to expose the “czars” who’ve been appointed by the president. Sunstein stands out like a sore thumb, as he’s been tied up by holds and filibusters for months, and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) only filed for cloture on his nomination at the start of August.

Keith Olbermann at Daily Kos:

I don’t know why I’ve got this phrasing in my head, but: Find everything you can about Glenn Beck,  Stu Burguiere, and Roger Ailes.

No, even now, I refuse to go all caps.

No, sending me links to the last two Countdowns with my own de-constructions of his biblical vision quality Communist/Fascist/Socialist/Zimbalist art at Rockefeller Center (where, curiously, he works, Comrade) doesn’t count. Nor does sending me links to  specious inappropriate point-underscoring prove-you’re-innocent made-up rumors.

Tuesday we will expand this to the television audience and have a dedicated email address to accept leads, tips, contacts, on Beck, his radio producer Burguiere, and the chief of his tv enablers, Ailes (even though Ailes’ power was desperately undercut when he failed to pull off his phony “truce” push).

This becomes necessary after this in order to prove various cliches about goose and gander, and to remind everybody to walk softly and carry a big popsicle, and most particularly to save this nation from the Oligarhy of The Stupid.

I keep wondering if somewhere somebody named Ollie Garhey thinks he’s in charge now. Or, even more entertainingly and societally satisfying, if somebody named Ali Garhi does.

Despite the worn-out snark above, I am in earnest here.

The Confluence:

Okay, this is just way too strange not to bring up. It’s not in my area of expertise and it’s going to cause me to link to places I would usually rather not go, but just when I think cable news stations can sink no lower,  I find another jaw dropper.  I know, I know, they’re sycophants that are paid to misinform. They get ratings by telling folks what they want to hear.  But so many people take them seriously that I think it’s dangerous to look away.  Besides it has the Schadenfreude element.

So, first up we have Glenn Beck who is doing a dance on the grave of Van Jones’ career by telling the Becksters to send him everything they can find on Cass Sunstein.  Sunstein is the next target of the Meanie Becksters.

[…]

Now, there is a similar call by Keith Olbermann via the Orange Place.

[…]

It gets curiouser and curiouser.  Jane Hamshear at FDL (my old hangout) is complaining about all the liberals under the bus and writes this piece as a way of protesting the handling of Jones. She’s calling for liberal organizations to return to their roots and bite the hands that feed them.  This has a sort’ve ancillary feel because she believes the President keeps selling out to the right rather than being their enabler.  Yeah, right.

[…]

Oh, I got one more quote for you.

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!
Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17.
Scottish author & novelist (1771 – 1832)

James Joyner

Erick Erickson at Redstate

EARLIER: We Got Truthers In High Places, Where The Whiskey Drowns And The Beer Chases

UPDATE: Olbermann calls it off. Olbermann at Daily Kos

Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters

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Bury The Hatchet By Hacking At Your Television Set Until You Electrocute Yourself

HM Marker

Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters:

Although the ongoing feud between Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly and MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann was apparently good for ratings — likely more for the latter than the former, of course — the heads of the parent companies of both networks stepped in recently to end the on-air squabble.

Not only that, but News Corporation’s Rupert Murdoch and General Electric’s Jeffrey Immelt were apparently coaxed into doing so by PBS’s Charlie Rose.

Lindsay Beyerstein:

Executives told the New York Times that the feud was called off specifically because it threatened the business interests of GE and the News Corporation.

Olbermann denies that he’s a party to any deal, but the verbal barbs have tapered off.

Joe Gandelman at Moderate Voice:

The two networks’ bigwigs huddled – -and in the end it seems as if Fox News O’Reilly “won” in his ongoing feud with MSBNC’s Keith Olbermann.

Olbermann_O'Reilly_5.19

Steve Benen:

As feuds go, this one seemed odd. Olbermann would criticize O’Reilly’s brand of “journalism,” O’Reilly would sidestep Olbermann and MSNBC, instead attacking General Electric, including sending activists to disrupt a GE shareholders’ meeting. Two months ago, O’Reilly even slowly read the email address and mailing address of GE’s CEO on the air. It wasn’t, in other words, a host vs. host conflict, but rather, one causing headaches for a corporation.

But stranger still is what, exactly, constitutes the nature of the “cease fire.” Olbermann, whose ratings have been bolstered by the feud, was asked last week about the negotiations between Immelt and Murdoch. “I am party to no deal,” Olbermann said.

And while Immelt and Murdoch have sought to protect their corporate interests, there are legitimate concerns about interference with news programming. Will Olbermann receive orders to stop doing reports on Fox News-related controversies? Is O’Reilly no longer eligible to be named the Worst Person in the World? For that matter, O’Reilly seemed extremely interested in GE’s contracts in Iran. Will the story no longer seem important?

The Daily Beast has the best of the feud.

FirstHamiltonBurrDuel1

Glenn Greenwald:

Though Olbermann denies he was part of any deal, the NYT says that there has been virtually no criticism of Fox by Olbermman, or MSNBC by O’Reilly, since June 1 when the deal took effect.  That’s mostly but not entirely true.  On June 17, after President Obama accused Fox News of fomenting hostility towards his agenda, and Fox responded by saying that the “other networks” were pure pro-Obama outlets, Olbermann did voice fairly stinging criticisms of Fox as “more of a political entity than is the Republican National Committee right now, only it’s fraudulently disguised as some sort of news organization.”

But a review of all of Olbermann’s post-June 1 shows does reveal that he has not ever criticized (or even mentioned) Bill O’Reilly since then and barely ever mentions Fox News any longer.  And on June 1 — the last time Olbermann mentioned O’Reilly — Olbermann claimed at the end of his broadcast that he would cease referring to O’Reilly in the future because ignoring him (and “quarantining” Fox) would supposedly help get O’Reilly off the air (“So as of this show‘s end, I will retire the name, the photograph, and the caricature”).

So here we have yet another example — perhaps the most glaring yet — of the corporations that own our largest media outlets controlling and censoring the content of their news organizations based on the unrelated interests of the parent corporation.  In light of that, just marvel at what the supreme establishment-power-worshiper Charlie Rose said dismissively in March, 2003, when he had Amy Goodman on his show as a condescending example of someone who opposed the Iraq War, after Goodman touted the vital importance of “independent media” in America:

ROSE:  I don’t know what “independent” means — “independent” in contrast to what?

GOODMAN:  It means not being sponsored by the corporations, the networks — like NBC, CBS, ABC:  NBC owned by General Electric, CBS owned by Viacom, or ABC owned by Disney —

ROSE:  My point in response to that would be that we do need you . . . . Having said that, I promise you, CBS News and ABC News and NBC News are not influenced by the corporations that may own those companies.  Since I know one of them very well and worked for one of them.

That’s the very same Charlie Rose who sat there with the CEO of GE and the CEO of News Corp. as an agreement was reached to order their news employees to stop criticizing the activities of Fox and GE in order to protect the corporate interests of those parents.

It makes no difference what one thinks of O’Reilly’s attacks on the corporate activities of GE or Olbermann’s criticisms of O’Reilly and Fox News.  Whatever one’s views on that are — and I watch neither show very often — those are perfectly legitimate subjects for news reporting and commentary, and the corporate decree to stop commenting on those topics is nothing less than corporate censorship.

Matthew Yglesias:

I don’t have much of anything to add to what Glenn Greenwald says here but to make a long story short it seems that General Electric felt that it would be better for overall GE business if Keith Olbermann stopped being mean to Bill O’Reilly and the editorial personnel at MSNBC made it happen.

Joan-Crawford-Bette-Davis-Photograph-C10045801

Mediaite:

But let’s step back for a minute, and look at the reality of the situation. Maybe the idea this feud is really over is a bit of an exaggeration. For one thing, if June 1 signaled the beginning of the end, as Stelter wrote, then how come Olbermann continued attacks on Fox News, Murdoch and, yes, even O’Reilly (in relation to his Joan Walsh Tiller interview) after the date? (TVNewser has a source with another critique of the Times story.) O’Reilly has not held back either – he’s talked about G.E., as has Glenn Beck.

And speaking of Beck – MSNBC couldn’t stop talking about him for several days this week.

The question now becomes what happens on Monday (and in the near future). Reports of an attempted deal between the two entities is not entirely new – Howard Kurtz wrote about talks back in May 2008. But if this one is really happening, we’ll see it in the coverage. Olbermann is not one to shy away, or listen to management. And having the G.E. spokesperson in the Times story discuss a “certain level of civility” that “needed to be introduced into the public discussion” had to have irked the MSNBC host – maybe to the point of addressing the issue head-on (to the likely headaches of execs at 30 Rock). O’Reilly may not touch the topic, but if he completely drops the G.E.-Iran storyline, some may start to question the News Corp. influence on his top-rated program.

The news of a deal is more important than the deal itself – and it’s going to be a problem for all parties involved.

UPDATE: Jason Zengerle in TNR:

O’Reilly and Olbermann are buffoons and add little, if anything, to the public discourse. Their attacks against one another are about getting ratings. But that ratings-grabbing buffoonery has become a vital component of cable news these days, and if O’Reilly and Olbermann’s corporate bosses are willing to muzzle them, it’s not hard to imagine those same corporate bosses ruling certain, more newsworthy subjects off-limits to other, less powerful reporters in their employ.

UPDATE #2: Olbermann at Daily Kos:

But first I did wish to make brief responses to two topics that have been much discussed here and elsewhere.
Primarily, there is no “deal” between MSNBC and Fox over what we can and cannot cover. This is part of a continuing strategy of blackmail by Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes, that reaches back to 2004, and has as its goal the cancellation of “Countdown.” This stuff has ebbed and flowed for five years, it’s part of my daily job to push it back with whichever strategy I think will best work at a given moment. For the last two months I’ve been employing “News Jujitsu.” If you watch tonight and catch the references to Fox and its rogues gallery you will know that the most recent tack has worked, but the fight is endless and there will be reversals in the future, I’m sure.
Ailes himself is tonight quoted as saying he tried to ‘broker peace’ by restraining his hosts. This is the same Ailes who insisted he would never interfere with what Bill O’Reilly said on the air. Even naked hypocrisy is not too much if Fox can make itself seem victimized, or can muzzle dissent.
But there is no “deal.” I would never consent, and, fortunately, MSNBC and NBC News would never ask me to.

UPDATE #3: More Greenwald here and here.

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