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Jealous Liberal Journalists Attack Keith Olbermann

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Lookout Keith Olbermann: now that you are more popular than Bill O'Reilly in the cable news Neilson ratings, you must confront an even bigger monster, an even more tenacious adversary, an egomaniacally superior life-species: establishment liberal journalists.

Strong is establishment liberal journalists. Mind what you have learned. Save you it can. Use the force, Olbermann.

The liberal attacks all began about the time when Olbermann tied the charming, self-effacing Fox News “O’Reilly Factor” host in the Neilson ratings. Jealous establishment liberal journalists everywhere threw a fit. Time columnist James Poniewozik got up on his high ponie and trotted out a stinging critique of Olbermann, calling him "just another of the cable gasbags he used to be a corrective to." (How dare you end a sentence with a preposition? You brute.)

The internecine attacks continued this week when The New Yorker, an  almost required-reading-for-liberals magazine, published an article about Olbermann entitled, "One Angry Man." Peter J. Boyer pulled the hit job, alternately belittling, mocking and demonizing the man:

Olbermann’s tenure at ESPN was characteristically contentious. One of his co-anchors, Suzy Kolber, has said that Olbermann was sometimes so overbearing that she would lock herself in the bathroom and cry. Another colleague, Mike Soltys, has said that when Olbermann left the network, in 1997, "he didn’t burn bridges here—he napalmed them." (emphasis mine)

Boyer also paints Olbermann as a quack: released from CNN, left ESPN, fired from Fox, fired from his first gig as a baseball sportscaster. "At the age of twenty-five, he moved back home, a flameout, with few prospects," Boyer writes, betraying a personal opinion of Olbermann that colors the entire hit job. Never mind that media personalities not infrequently clash with supervisors before they move from one news network to the next.

Boyer goes to great lengths to portray Olbermann as mentally ill, a sensitive subject and a reckless characterization.

In two back-to-back paragraphs, Boyer quoted the word "crazy," as attributed to Olbermann.

Once again, Olbermann left a job unhappily, returning to sportscasting at Fox Sports. He was subsequently fired, and the remainder of his contract was paid off. (“I fired him,” Rupert Murdoch said recently. “He’s crazy.”)

Seven sentences later, he used a quote from Phil Griffin, a producer for MSNBC: "I mean, the guy is crazy."

Boyer reinforces this characterization throughout and exposes his own condescending attitude toward the readers of Daily Kos in a telling paragraph:

The jeremiad against Bush [for swearing off golf in solidarity with US troops and their families] was a signature Olbermann effort, the sort of stylized, mocking tirade that has lately made him a cable-news sensation, the Edward R. Murrow of the Angry Left…

“Angry Left!” It’s just “crazy” Olbermann and his crazy fringe followers. Apparently Boyer hasn’t filled up his 16-gallon pickup truck with $3.89/gallon gas lately. Perhaps Boyer doesn’t have to choose between food and medicine. Maybe Boyer doesn’t live in a world where each new emergency is seized upon by Republicans as an opportunity to ram through another gutting of the Clean Air Act, or tax break for the oil companies.

You see, Boyer doesn’t understand “anger” except as an O'Reilly cliche about "liberals" because to Boyer, politics is an intellectual argument. None of the consequences of the Bush Administration really matter when you live an upscale life dispatching your brilliant articles to The New Yorker between one coffee shop and the next, while your mutual fund grows merrily by the day.

…Olbermann was pleased with the script, and the next day, before going on the air with it, he posted excerpts on the liberal blog Daily Kos, which is a fairly good representation of the Olbermann fan base. The Kossacks wholly approved. (“You excoriated the bloodyhanded, warmongering imbecile.” “This country cannot survive without you.” “Dude, you’ve got a pair of steel ones!” “I’m gonna print it out, hang it up and memorize it.”)

Can you hear the sneer in Boyer's tone as he wrote this paragraph? Boyer and My Little Poniewozik are the epitome of upper-crust intellectuals who despise common Americans. They fail to grasp the difference between formal debate, as taught in colleges with judges and assigned "affirmative" and "negative" positions on a given issue and pugilistic debate, which is taught in high school parking lots and bar room brawls. In one case, facts matter. In the other case toughness and, yes, “anger” matters.

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Dean Powers lives in Castleton, VT. He has apprenticed at several newspapers including The Nation. He currently writes for OpEdNews. He can be found at

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