Wednesday, 04 April 2012


Ken Berwitz

I'm sure you have heard of keith olbermann.  But I doubt that you have ever heard of Matt Saxon.  And that's too bad, given how much they have in common.

In the 1948 movie "That Saxon Charm", Matt Saxon, played by Robert Montgomery, was an arrogant, ruthless jerk with an ego as big as the sky, who insulted and demeaned everyone around him because he saw himself as superior to them.

Starting to see why I'm pairing him with keith olbermann?  I kind of thought so. 

In the cable TV world, keith olbermann is an arrogant, ruthless jerk, with an ego as big as the sky, who insults and demeans everyone around him because he sees himself as superior to them.  

As you are probably aware, olbermann was just dumped, unceremoniously, by Current TV.  This might have had something to do with the fact that, less than a year after handing him a five year $50,000,000 contract to "make" the network, the ownership apparently determined that olbermann was a supersedingly impossible pain in the rectum, with ratings far below what they had hoped for, who seemed more intent on sabotaging Current TV than helping it to succeed. 

Were they right?  Well, let's just say that, after the olbermann era, as before, Current TV has an audience roughly as large as the BBC would get if it broadcast the East Wickham tiddlywinks quarter-finals.

The reason I bring this up is because olbermann was on David Letterman's show last night.  And here is a bit of what he had to say about his abrupt termination from Current:

Its my fault it didnt succeed in the sense that I didnt think the whole thing through.  I didnt say, 'you know, if you buy a $10 million chandelier, you should have a house to put it in'. Just walking around with a $10 million chandelier isnt going to do anybody a lot of good, and its not going to do any good to the chandelier....

.....and I had 25 people who, most of them came with me from other jobs, one guy was with me four different places, and they put their careers at risk for me, and I didnt even get a chance to say goodbye to them let alone thank them."

Get it?  The problem was not olbermann.  It never has been (hmmm, "has been" may be an operative term here).  Not when he went bye-bye from Fox.  Or from ESPN.  Or from MSNBC.  Or now, from Current TV. 

The problem is that he is a magnificent $10,000,000 chandelier, and everyone/everything around him is garbage -- except the people he claims to have brought with him from "other jobs", who, because he got himself fired again, presumably are now left high and dry.

See why I thought of Matt Saxon? 

There you have it.  "That olbermann charm".  He sure can turn it on, can't he?


Ken Berwitz

Actual transcript of the dialogue between George Zimmerman and the 911 dispatcher:

Zimmerman:  This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs, or something.  It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about.

Dispatcher:  Ok.  And this guy, is he White, Black or Hispanic?

Zimmerman:   He looks Black.

NBC's version, played on the Today Show, MSNBC, and - I assume - NBC's Nightly News, with no indication at all that the dispatcher's question was edited out:

Zimmerman:  This guy looks like he's up to no good.  He looks Black.

Days later, after being absolutely skewered for the editing job, NBC's "apology":

"During our investigation it became evident that there was an error made in the production process that we deeply regret. We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers

An error in the production process?  An error in the production process????

No, this was no error.  This was the intentional editing of a transcript to make George Zimmerman's answer to a direct question look, instead, as if he was accusing Trayvon Martin of being up to no good specifically because he was Black - which the actual, unedited transcript clearly shows he did not do.

The only reason to edit the transcript that way, was to further inflame the already-raw nerve of racial tension over this shooting, by creating a fraudulent exchange between George Zimmerman and the 911 dispatcher, which did not take place.

Does NBC have any credibility anymore?  No it does not.  It lost what little it had left by creating this vile racial incitement out of thin air.

And don't think for a moment that this is anything new for NBC.  Never forget that NBC is also the network of MSNBC.  Which means it is the network of al sharpton.  And Ed Schultz.  And Lawrence O'Donnell.  And Martin Bashir.  And Rachel Maddow, among others.  To show how impossibly one-sided MSNBC is, Chris Matthews - a lifelong liberal Democrat operative and world-class Obama lover - is about the closest thing to a centrist the network has.

Does Brian Williams consider himself a news reporter?  Does he consider himself a journalist?  Then how can he work for this network?  Just take the money and run, Brian.  But stow the "journalist" label. 

You can be a journalist.  And you can be an NBC "news" anchor.  But you can't be both.

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