Thursday, November 04, 2010

A "Countdown" To Some Ripe Billo/"Byko" Blather

The headline of today’s Philadelphia Daily News reads “Who’s Fair and Balanced: O’Reilly vs. Olbermann,” by Stu Bykofsky (here). The premise is that Bykofsky apparently watched both the O’Reilly program and “Countdown” for all five days last week and filed his report.

And if you’re guessing that Bykofsky provided plenty of fertilizer, then all I can say is that it’s time to start tending your garden.

Anyway, here it is…

Monday October 25 (O’Reilly)

First up from the left, in the wake of O'Reilly's questionable comment about "Muslims" attacking the U.S., is Ahmed Rehab, the Chicago executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations. He and Bill have a vigorous argument. Also on the left: Alicia Menendez, senior adviser of the NDN liberal think tank and liberal Juan Williams. (He and Bill are having a bromance.)
Ugh – that’s an image that will test my gag reflex. And if Williams is a “liberal,” then I’m a glibertarian (based on this and this).


Three from the right: Former network correspondent Bernie Goldberg, "Weekly Standard" writer Mary Katherine Ham and Fox News analyst Brit Hume, whose presentation is even-handed, but he usually leans right.
Hume does a lot more than “usually” lean right, as noted here.


Tuesday October 26 (“Countdown”)

Olbermann opens with Gabe Gonzalez, of the Campaign for Community Change, followed by Chris Hayes, Washington Editor of The Nation, followed by Lauren Valle of, who was roughed up by Rand Paul's henchmen in Kentucky, and closing with Michael Wolffe, political analyst of the "Daily Beast" website. All left. Olbermann repeatedly describes Valle as getting kicked "in the head" when the video clearly shows the blow was on the shoulder area.
Number one, the blow was to the head, Byko. And if anyone doesn’t want to believe me, here’s the video. See for yourself.

Number two, whether we’re talking about a blow to the head or to the shoulder, either way, we’re talking about an assault. And it was against a medium-build young woman holding a paper campaign placard who, I’m sure, posed a mortal threat to a bunch of tall, muscular, overweight middle-aged men.


Then - an inexplicable Stradivarius violin concert by virtuoso Anne Akiko Meyers, whose politics aren't discussed. Four of out five, left. One neutral.
Oh, how silly it was of K.O. to decide to introduce a little culture to his own program. Good thing Byko never saw any of the “Fridays with Thurber” segments, or else I’m sure he would complain about that too.

Continuing (and switching to O’Reilly)

Conservative Stephen Hayes of Weekly Standard is up next, followed by Heidi Harris, a conservative Las Vegas radio-talk host, and then John Stossel, a Libertarian. Since he's arguing for legalizing pot tonight, I count him left.
John Stossel is “left”? Based on this? This column gets more ridiculous by the minute (though Bykofsky is right about Harris, as noted herecharming).


Wednesday October 27 (“Countdown”)

Only two "Countdown" guests tonight as Olbermann gloms the last 20 minutes for a "Special Comment" tirade against the tea party. It wants to create, he hisses with his veins bulging and eyes popping, a "theocracy for white males." (Remember that.)
Yes, this was indeed the night of Keith’s “Special Comment” about the tea party. And given the behavior of these characters since they arrived on or about the summer of ’09 to protest health care reform, I can hardly criticize anyone for outrage over their actions (actually, there should be plenty more of it in our media).

Anyway, here is the Special Comment (Part 1)…

...and here is Part 2...

And the transcript is available from here.

And Byko is also right about the “theocracy for white males” comment. And if you watch the entire “Special Comment” containing, to an overwhelming degree, the words and actions of the teabaggers themselves, you’ll understand exactly why Keith said it (actually, it almost didn’t even need to be said since it was self-evident – almost).

Here is the context in which Olbermann made the remark…

You are willing to let these people run this country? This is the America you want? This is the America you are willing to permit? These are the kinds of cranks, menaces, mercenaries and authoritarians you will turn this country over to?

If you sit there next Tuesday and let this happen, whose fault will that be? Not really theirs. They are taught that freedom is to be seized and rationed. They can sleep at night having advanced themselves and their puppeteers and to hell with everybody else.

They see the greatness of America not in its people but in its corporations. They see the success of America not in hard work but in business swindles. They see the worthiness of America not in its quality of life but in its quality of investing. They see the future of America not in progress, but in revolution to establish a theocracy for white males, with dissent caged and individuality suppressed.

They see America not for what is, nor what it can be. They see delusions, specters, fantasies; they see communists under every bed and a gun in every hand. They see tax breaks for the rich and delayed retirement for everyone else. They fight the redistribution of wealth not because they oppose redistribution, but because their sole purpose is to protect wealth and keep it where they think it belongs - in the bank accounts of the wealthy.
Continuing with O’Reilly on the 27th…

Next is Occidental University professor Caroline Heldman, who says NPR isn't as far left as she is, then acerbic comedian Dennis Miller from the right.
By the way, I wonder if Byko knows that Miller headlined a fundraiser for Sharron Angle that Miller plugged on O’Reilly’s show (here)? Funny, but I’ve never heard, say, Howard Fineman publicize a fundraiser for Harry Reid on “Countdown,” nor would I ever.


Thursday October 28 (O’Reilly)

"Great American News Quiz" kids Steve Doocey (sp) and Martha MacCallum are neutral in the weekly segment that seems like an excuse to show off a lanky, luscious blond (and McCallum isn't bad either). That's four from the right, one from the left, three neutral.
Doocy is “neutral” based on this, and not “right”?


Friday October 29 (O’Reilly)

In a segment on gender and politics, conservative columnist Andrea Tantaros faces liberal talk-show host Leslie Marshall. From the left, Geraldo Rivera comes in for a chat, followed by Glenn Beck from the right.
Geraldo Rivera is “left” based on this (where he questioned John Kerry’s military service)?

Bykofsky wraps up, more or less, by saying that O’Reilly is more diverse than Olbermann because, during that week, O’Reilly happened to have a higher percentage of women and people of color on his show than Olbermann (saying, in response to K.O.’s “theocracy for white males” comment, that Olbermann could be an “imam” of such a group, which is hilarious…sorry Rep. Luis Gutierrez or Melissa Harris-Perry, formerly Bracewell, was unavailable that week).

Also, Bykofsky laments the lack of opposing views on “Countdown.” I don’t know exactly whether or not conservatives have been asked to come on the show and declined or whether the show never asked, but I don’t care (Rachel Maddow has had individuals such as right-wing lobbyist Rick Berman on her show and also famously jousted with Rand Paul, so it’s not as if MSNBC has tried to stifle them). Besides, there are plenty of places on cable TV to find conservative opinion. Aside from MSNBC, try finding programs such as “Countdown” anywhere else.

Bykofsky falls into the all-too-familiar trap of thinking that having a conservative and a liberal argue with each other for a minute or so before Anderson Cooper or whoever smiles and says “We’ll have to leave it there” is actually a means to educate and inform. I call that an utter waste of time. When I watch a news or commentary show, I want to learn something from watching knowledgeable people discuss a particular issue. If someone doesn’t know what the hell he or she is talking about but only serves to provide “balance” merely by their presence…well, I see that and it’s time to turn on Spike TV or The Discovery Channel (or Johnny Knoxville…joke).

In addition to all of this, how can Bykofsky seriously present an analysis of “Countdown” and The O’Reilly Factor, or whatever that mess is called, without actually attempting to analyze the content of what is being discussed? Is he seriously trying to imply that interviews with Dennis Miller and David Corn provide the same degree of expertise on a particular subject? Does he care about the distinction?

I’ll tell you what – here is a clip from a “Countdown” program in which the show practices some actual journalism for real. Please let me know if and when O’Reilly has ever done this sort of thing.

Also, this notes a sizeable contribution from Olbermann to the National Association of Free Clinics, with “Countdown” viewers also contributing to the clinics run by the truly heroic Nicole Lamoureaux. I’m sure O’Reilly makes charitable contributions also – I hope so anyway – but Keith has also publicized the clinics on the show, which are on the front lines of the fight for health care reform in this country (with that effort among many other causes still trying to rebound from the serious setback of last Tuesday).

I guess, by writing this idiotic column, Bykofsky tried once and for all to cement the mythology that O’Reilly’s program is a legitimate venue for news, while Olbermann’s show is a refuge for the “unserious” progressives who only are looking for a place to throw their nightly tantrums. As far as I’m concerned, he utterly failed to achieve that goal.

And another thing (speaking of unserious) – I’m still waiting for Bykofsky to apologize for this.

(And by the way, good comeback by K.O. here in response to Billo's joke about MSNBC hosts allegedly killing themselves, with suicide apparently being a wingnut source of humor...ha ha - wonder if "Byko" cares?)

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