Hannity and O'Reilly to Anchor Election Night Coverage!

J$P Exclusive! A startling, unconventional move to reinvent election coverage. But what does it mean?

In a startling development, J$P has learned exclusively that there are big changes in the works for Fox's election night coverage. In a bold move, FNC will turn over the evening to a newly-formed co-anchor team: Bill O'Reilly of The O'Reilly Factor, and Sean Hannity, one half of Hannity & Colmes. Sources tell J$P the decision was made to give Fox viewers fair and balanced coverage that will establish the channel as "the undisputed place for politics".

Caveat: the above paragraph is false. FNC is doing no such thing. But can you imagine the furor if they did? MediaMatters would have conniption fits; the Fox haters would erupt; and blistering columns would be filed at the New York Times, the Washington Post, Salon.com, and the like. How can they turn an important news event over to partisans? Isn't it a reprehensible journalistic move to let opinion commentators masquerade as reporters just for ratings? It's more GOP propaganda from Fox!

Follow: Recently MSNBC announced plans for its election-night coverage. They have created their own co-anchor team: Chris Matthews of Hardball, and Keith Olbermann of Countdown. Matthews, a longtime Democrat activist, presides over a talk show that does allow for a fair balance of viewpoints. But Chris is still a partisan. In recent weeks, he has been indefatigable in opining support for Harold Ford, for Jim Webb, for John Kerry. This is completely appropriate as a commentator hosting a talk show. But does that bring journalistic credibility to anchoring hard news?

If the Matthews choice is dubious, installing Keith Olbermann as a co-anchor is nothing short of farcical. Olbermann hosts a program that is news in the same sense that North Korea broadcasts news. The stories are slanted, each in the same direction. Interviews are almost wholly restricted to those who share Olbermann's bias, thereby insuring that any misreporting or bias from the host will not be challenged, let alone corrected. In the months running up to the elections, Olbermann has frequently interviewed political strategists to analyze the races and the issues. The scorecard? 18 Democrat strategists, zero Republican strategists.

And there's Olbermann himself, who has claimed he holds "no more interest in the political outcome of an election than I did in the winner or loser of any ballgame I ever covered." And yet, in the weeks before a national election, he suddenly starts spewing "special comments", each one more over the top in its hatred for the GOP than the one before. The biggest terror threat in the US is not sleeper cells--it's the Republican Party. They and "Mister" Bush are responsible for sending a fake anthrax letter to Olbermann's home. John McCain is a liar. Laura Bush is in the gutter. "Mister" Bush is a lying bully who hates other Americans. With every installment, the blue blog paranoia deepens.

But don't get the impression that Olbermann restricts extreme partisanship to his "special comments". Just four days ago he began his "newscast" by reporting:
the president is no longer charging admission for each of his campaign appearances.  That‘s right, he's now lying for free.

Invoking the "Bush lied" mantra is just one of a stream of insults, personal attacks, and smears that are all standard issue in the Olbermann armamentarium. Airhead, brainless, bozo, crazy, creepy, deranged, dumbass, evil, fat ass, idiot, insane, jackass, lackey, monkey, moron, pig, poop, slovenly, toxic, whore, zombie...these are just a few of the cheap shots, some of them sick and profane, that Olbermann uses against conservatives, Republicans, journalists, and others who do not march in lockstep with his ideological agenda.

The point: Matthews and Olbermann are not journalists. They are commentators--modern-day pamphleteers--one representing an establishment Democrat position, the other a more extreme, fanatical leftist ideology. They form a wildly unbalanced duo that should not play "pretend": cross-dressing as news "journalists" and anchoring an evening of election returns.

This brings us back to our fictional pairing of O'Reilly and Hannity. The idea is preposterous on its face, and would rightly be an object of immediate derision. But what has been the reaction to making Matthews and Olbermann co-anchors of breaking political news? Have we seen outrage from MediaMatters? Angry columns from the newspaper critics? A stern editorial from Editor & Publisher? With a few exceptions, the silence is deafening. And very telling.

posted: Thu - November 2, 2006 at 03:23 PM       j$p  send 

Fox Fan
KO and Matthews host election coverage.
If a tree falls in the woods and nobody's around to hear it, does it make a noise?
November 2, 2006, 10:20:35 PM EST – Like – Reply

I would rather have Col. Hunt
November 2, 2006, 11:40:57 PM EST – Like – Reply

Fox Fan: Excellent assessment. This may be MSNBC's last election night!
Because O'Reilly and Hannity bascially don't like each other, I suspected that it was a spoof from Johnny to make a point.
November 3, 2006, 12:31:35 PM EST – Like – Reply

Libertarian Republican
If nothing else, it'll be entertaining. I can't really blame MSNBC, Matthews and Olbermann are their 2 biggests stars. Who would you suggest take their place?
November 3, 2006, 11:52:22 PM EST – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Oh, how about Brian Williams? Or Lester Holt? Even Tim Russert. If MSNBC doesn't have a straight journalist with the credibility to anchor a breaking news event isn't my fault, it's theirs. If NBC cared enough about the reputation of their news department, they would send some of their people in for election night.
I'm sure it would be entertaining for Sean Hannity to anchor Fox's coverage, but it wouldn't exactly be journalism.
November 4, 2006, 12:12:16 AM EST – Like – Reply

This is the best dissection of the MSNBC absurdity I have read.
Thanks for saying this for all of us.
November 4, 2006, 11:32:41 AM EST – Like – Reply

o'reilly and hannity don't like each other? i've never heard that.
November 5, 2006, 2:11:16 AM EST – Like – Reply

Christa A.
Enh, if O'Reilley and Hannity wanted to host election coverage together it wouldn't be any skin off my nose. I wouldn't watch it. I'm a huge fan of Olbermann and I'm not going to stop being a fan just because he goes on the air with Matthews. The way I see it, voting is an inherently partisan act so I see no problem with having partisan coverage of it. People watch the news where the commentators best reflect their views. Watching the opposition is too painful.
November 6, 2006, 6:23:09 PM EST – Like – Reply

My head started hurting contemplating the howls surely to arise from the 'news'hound site if your spoof were in fact true. Too bad the bleating left will surely have no issue with the clearly partisan coverage from a 'news' outlet as long as its liberally leaning.
To Christa A., you really should listen to opposing views, how else could you possibly be making an informed decision after hearing only one side of an argument?
November 6, 2006, 7:36:29 PM EST – Like – Reply

Fox Fan
>To Christa A., you really should listen to opposing views, how else could you possibly be making an informed decision after hearing only one side of an argument?
Agreed, I voted to watch Olbermann/Matthews in the J$P poll because I actually WANT to see the opposing viewpoint.
I guess I'm just a masochist. I'll keep the barf bowl handy.
November 6, 2006, 9:12:26 PM EST – Like – Reply

I'll flip around to see all of the coverage, however I actually *WILL* be watching Dancing with the Stars, because I have to write an article about it for a Reality TV Web site I edit. 
November 7, 2006, 11:20:25 AM EST – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Hey I check out some of those reality sites. Which one is yours? Give yourself a free plug: put up a link.
November 7, 2006, 12:17:28 PM EST – Like – Reply

Ok, I wasn't sure if that was ok to do, but the sites I edit are:
Thanks johnny
November 7, 2006, 12:38:17 PM EST – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Really? I check RNO regularly. In fact I even linked to it in this post:
November 7, 2006, 12:52:17 PM EST – Like – Reply

Yep, I had just started writing for them around the time of that article. I just became an Assistant Editor this year. Good to know you read us!
November 7, 2006, 1:11:21 PM EST – Like – Reply