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Keith Olbermann
Keith Olbermann, photo by Robin Holland
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December 14, 2007

"I don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican," said Keith Olbermann in a recent interview with NPR.

"You're not doing what you said you were going to do. You have not restored habeas corpus fully. We're still in Gitmo. We're still in Iraq. We're not out fast enough. These are still going to be issues. They don't go away with George Bush."

The launch of COUNTDOWN on MSNBC in March 2003 coincided with the American invasion of Iraq, yet Olbermann did not begin delivering the types of extended commentaries for which he is most known until August 2006. According to ROLLING STONE, Olbermann:

"...was stuck in a plane on a runway and happened to read that Donald Rumsfeld had compared war critics to Nazi appeasers. That night he ended COUNTDOWN with a furious six-and-a-half-minute attack that began, 'The man who sees absolutes where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning is either a prophet or a quack. Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.'"

In his interview with Bill Moyers, Olbermann discusses the "organic" nature of these commentaries, which have helped to significantly boost the program's ratings:

When I get angry on the air, it's because I'm angry about that particular subject and because of the revision of this country that has been done under our noses for the last seven years against the will of the people. And when something happens that touches into that general anger, combined with the specific anger for the actual event that we're talking about, it swells up and I feel like, all right, here comes another one.

What's your take on Olbermann's journalism and similar cable programs?

>Talk back on the blog.

Photo by Robin Holland

Published on December 14, 2007

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References and Reading:
More on Olbermann and the Cable News Wars

MSNBC: COUNTDOWN with Keith Olbermann
Explore the Web site for COUNTDOWN, watch show video highlights and read the show's blog, the News Hole.

FOX NEWS: The O'Reilly Factor
Watch show video from Bill O'Reilly's THE O'REILLY FACTOR and learn more about the show and his views.

Counting Down on MSNBC's Keith Olbermann
by David Folkenflik, NPR: MORNING EDITION, November 23, 2007
Listen to NPR's interview with Keith Olbermann where he discusses what the format of his show would like under a Democratic presidential administration.

Cable Channel Nods to Ratings and Leans Left
By Jacques Steinberg, THE NEW YORK TIMES, November 6, 2007
"Riding a ratings wave from Countdown With Keith Olbermann, a program that takes strong issue with the Bush administration, MSNBC is increasingly seeking to showcase its nighttime lineup as a welcome haven for viewers of a similar mind."

The Most Honest Man in News
by Mark Binelli, ROLLING STONE, Feb 22, 2007
"Keith Olbermann is mad as hell - and unlike Rush Limbaugh, he's not faking it."

Limbaugh for Lefties
By Stephen Rodrick, NEW YORK MAGAZINE, April 9, 2007
"Keith Olbermann fumbled his way through sportscasting and talk-show gigs with varying degrees of success. Now he's found his niche as a truth-telling, Bush-bashing accidental liberal hero."

Is Keith Olbermann the Future of Journalism?
By Mark Lisheron, AMERICAN JOURNALISM REVIEW, February/March 2007
"The MSNBC anchor's unorthodox amalgam of the serious and the silly and his trenchant criticism of the war in Iraq have boosted the struggling network's ratings and made him a hot media commodity. But some critics dislike blurring the line between fact and opinion."

Bill O'Reilly And NBC, Shouting to Make Themselves Seen?
By Howard Kurtz, WASHINGTON POST, January 15, 2007
"The cable pundits, for their part, thrive on finger-in-the-eye argument, not nuance. Fox analyst Geraldo Rivera defended O'Reilly in a radio interview, calling Olbermann a coward and saying he was ready to fight him. 'I would make a pizza out of him,' Rivera said."

MSNBC's Star Carves Anti-Fox Niche
By Bill Carter, THE NEW YORK TIMES, July 11, 2006
"He is either the leading man of MSNBC or its leading agent provocateur, but Keith Olbermann has no problem embracing either role."

PBS: Online NewsHour
Explore this special feature entitled, "The Cable News Wars," featuring interviews with various correspondents from FOX, CNN and MSNBC and the results of a NewsHour-commissioned study on the content of the three all-news cable networks.

Also This Week:

Bill Moyers talks with host of MSNBC's COUNTDOWN with Keith Olbermann about the relationships between politics and journalism.

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The director of the African American Leadership Center at the University of Maryland on how race is playing out in the campaign.

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