1/6/09 1:05 PM

Tuesday Links & Open Thread

Latest cable news links [updated through the day]:

Monday's numbers. Weekend numbers. Weekly ranker. Palin doc rocks.

Does MSNBC need a brain room?
Olby's pay raise leaked by Zucker?
Chris Matthews's uncertain future.
Who's stabbing whom?

MSNBC: too little, too late? Blue blog bellyaching. Theories abound. Audio: J$ given credit.

Obama: softballs vs substance.

Maddow rehashes Countdown on gaudy set. Reviews: likable, lame, peppy, redundant, smart.

Video: Doetsch wants Palin in his bed?!?

FNC's other Wallace. Alan's hate mail.

Media winners and losers.

J$P Poll results.

Use our valuable bandwidth to comments on any and all cable news topics in today's open thread. Standard rules apply.

Re: The Washington Post piece.
Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo is a smart man who runs an interesting blog.
He knows better than this crap.
September 9, 2008, 2:26:50 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Last night, I watched the Olbermann interview of Senator Obama and the new Maddow show. Olbermann, I have to admit, did a better job than I might have expected. Of course, I expected nothing. There were no hostile questions with deeply probing follow-up, to be sure, but there were also no purely puff questions. At the end of the interview, there wasn't that rather pathetic, "How did I do? Was I as wonderful as you expected I would be?" O-Reillyesque catharsis. Overall, from the segments I have seen so far, Olbermann, a C+, O'Reilly a C-.
Without going into the substance, I do think during the segments surrounding the interview, Olbermann used the word "liar" or some form of it about as often as Cecelia, which is far too much. Proper political discourse warrants the purchase of a thesaurus, as does ordinary civil discourse.
Maddow made a relatively solid start, I think. There is work to be done. Rough spots, a sort of thematic void, rough transition. But, she does seem to be trying to come up with a unique product, something I would certainly appreciate in the cookie-cutter world of cable news. Once the campaign finally ends, it will be interesting to see how the Olbermann and Maddow shows continue. Do they find their feet on non-political soil? At that point Maddow will either do very well or slip into the mundane.
I had a bit of my faith restored in cable news last night with Cooper over at CNN. I had given up on any probing work on Palin. FNC will, of course, be and remain effusive in its uncritical praise of her, and MSNBC, at least in the guise of Olbermann, will be rather superficially critical. I do see a bit more balance of Matthews and a bit more still on Gregory. Cooper, however, did a long, and I think objective view of both of Palin's churches and Palin's faith as measured by the few outward signs she has given us. I suspect the other cable news stations are going to be picking up on this, and even FNC may feel compelled to deal with some of the information.

Edited By Siteowner
September 9, 2008, 8:02:52 AM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Given the penetrating questions like "Have the Republicans succeeded in muddying up this election" (no purely puff questions--LOL!), I think Howard Kurtz's description was quite accurate: a "strikingly friendly" interview.
September 9, 2008, 10:00:10 AM EDT – Like – Reply

I would call it amateur hour with this probing question:
"Have you thought of using more exclamation points and getting angrier?"
September 9, 2008, 10:08:01 AM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Just added a link to an AP story about the interview.
September 9, 2008, 10:22:58 AM EDT – Like – Reply

I didn't see Anderson Cooper's piece. This is the part of Palin's talk to the young church members (when she started talking about the war in Iraq) that I think got missed by others who have reported that Palin called the war a so-called mission from God (hey Blue's Brothers, I digress).
"...make sure that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan..."
My interpretation (and we'll hear her own explanation I am sure) is that she asked, in part, for their prayers that this is really what God intends. For non-believers, e.g. Hitchens, this would be a ridiculous statement. It wouldn't be to many Christians. Pray that this is indeed what is right. The Catholic interpretation of God's will is more complicated (permissive will versus direct will). But in any case, it doesn't appear to me that she said the war is God's plan. Soundbites never give the whole picture.
I heard Chris Matthews bellow over and over how Palin doesn't believe in evolution and wants creationism taught. That was last night, one of the few times Matthews emerged from his subdued approach IMO. She'll have a chance to explain when Gibson has full access.

Edited By Siteowner
September 9, 2008, 10:27:24 AM EDT – Like – Reply

I'm not really interested in what the deeply compromised Kurtz says about the interview (or anything else, for that matter), Johnny, as I read the POST everyday, and I am not really interested in what any linked article or clip says. I would be interested in your own observations. To the extent you suggest this was not a great interview, I agree. When I was in school, I always feared getting a C. It is a terrible disgrace. I live my life as if I were a citizen of Lake Wobegon. All the women are strong, all the men are good-looking and all the children are above average.
Give me a second to get this out, Cecelia, before you pounce:  
(1) I do think the campaign has been exerting pressure on MSNBC and on CNN, as well.
(2) The current Administration has being doing this for 8 years, successfuly, so why would the campaign do otherwise?
(3) The (Hillary) Clinton campaign did this.
(4) I suspect the Obama campaign may be doing this.
(5) I do not think that outside pressure drove this decision, nor do I think that this was borne out of some concern that the network was too liberal.
(6) I think the decision was driven by an internal dynamic, perhaps a power struggle, likely by Gregory, aided by Brokaw. We know Williams loathes Gregory, so Williams lost. Much of this probably has to do with the MTP chair.
(7) Whatever drove the decision, I do believe the blame rests not with the campaigns or the Administration. Politicians, alas, are politicians. The blame rests clearly with the networks which may or may not cave into the pressure. Too often, they do.
(8) If Obama were to win and if he were to emerge as a strong president (not a consideration of policy), it will be interesting to see if his Administration would exert pressure on FNC. FNC has yet to be tested as this media message control phenomenon is rather new and during its lifespan FNC has been extraordinarily in tune with and supporting the Administration in a head cheerleader-like fashion. I suspect an Obama Administration may well seek to exert pressure on FNC. Will FNC fold? The only indication we have at present is the relationship Murdoch and his minions had with Tony Blair. A more-or-less avid Thatcherite (despite her lack of physical endowment and her aversion to anything remotely décolleté), Murdoch seems an odd Blairite, despite the fact Blair turned sharply right shortly after he came to power. That may well not be an exact parallel, but Murdoch folded with a Full House he never showed.
September 9, 2008, 10:38:24 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Gibson, I am sure, has nothing approaching full access, and if he did he wouldn't use it. In my view, he has become a huge disappointment. I would have much rather seen Schieffer get the initial interview, as McCain indicated he would. From a campaign manager's viewpoint, I can see the Gibson choice, however. Much, much safer.
The Cooper piece was far more than the Iraq issue, Sharon. It also dealt with the pipeline and Palin seeking God's intervention to have it built. I will add, I think Cooper approached this all tastefully and professionally. It could be very sensitive, and I am sure sensitivities were offended all about. He deserves some kudos. This was one of the few cable news stories I have seen in some time that showed a fair and balanced, comprehensive approach. Since I am dispensing grades today, a good effort/reasonable results B+.
I will add, Sharon, I do agree with your view of the Iraq segment. I do think Palin argued tha war met something akin to the Augustine/Aquinas "just war" criteria, which she was certainly within her rights to argue even if it struck me as superficial and hollow. Beyond that, and the real thrust was to pray for our leaders to make the right decisions. I am 100% for that, and like most in the high church/liturgucal quartet, do that weekly, if not daily. I wish Palin had stopped with that, but there was nothing illegitimate about anything in the Iraq discussion.
I wish you had seen the piece. You would have found it interesting, on its own, and as a much needed validation of cable news. I would also have liked your views on the broader range of topics.

Edited By Siteowner
September 9, 2008, 10:54:26 AM EDT – Like – Reply

And by 'amateur hour' I was not only talking about the interviewer....
Olbermann: "This is a question I've never heard asked: Is Palin qualified to be vice-President?"
Obama: "I'll let Gov. Palin answer that, I'm sure she'll be appearing on your show."
Mmm, it seems like I heard both the question (Olbermann lies again) and, (I'll give Obama some slack here), the near identical but still silly answer...  
...Just the day prior........
Stephnopoulos: "In choosing Palin, did John McCain get someone who met the minimum test of being 'capable of being president?'"  
Obama: "Well, you know, I'll let you ask John McCain when he's on ABC."
September 9, 2008, 11:00:24 AM EDT – Like – Reply

I watched both last night. With O'Reilly/Obama it looked like Obama was pumped and I didn't hear a whole bunch of 'Uhs' and 'hums'. He didn't look like he was reaching for a thought. It was like one on one on the court. They moved fast, got down to nuts and bolts. Tons of Body language. And they left me wanting to see more.
I give it a B- because Bill was getting excited and Obama had to get him to chill just a little. Though Bill did say on his radio show, they only had 30 minutes so, he tried to cram in as much as he could. Good prep on BOR's part also.
I really think Obama could do very well against a Hannity or an Ingraham. Very Well!
Olby? Softball is not the right word. 'T'-ball questions were more like it. This was not a interview, It was a 'Chapstick' session. Where did Olby get these questions, from High-Schoolers? Nothing New here. Olby was proud of himself for this? I would give this a 'D' with a note on Olby's paper asking. "Did you put any effort into this, or did you just play 'cut & paste'?  
The bottom line is this. No doubt with many more people watching on FNC. Barrack probably won over a few or at least left them thinking. Plus, we have two more nights.
The 'Chapstick' session? Even Barrack has to be getting tired of these, I know I am.
September 9, 2008, 11:06:43 AM EDT – Like – Reply

I put it on the wrong thread originally...
I did not watch Maddow's show, but did she explain the "It's Pat!" title for the segment with Pat Buchanon?
Is it an obscure reference to a once overused running joke about androgeny?.....
If I recall my early 1990's SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE history, there was a recurring skit cast member Julia Sweeney developed. The running joke was that no one could get the character, named Pat, to divulge if he/she was male or female....
And the theme song sounds very similar to the Pat Buchanon segment title.....
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110...110169/ keywords
Why would Maddow even go there?
September 9, 2008, 11:35:37 AM EDT – Like – Reply

1)"Gibson, I am sure, has nothing approaching full access,"  
I am just going by this for my information:
2) "and if he did he wouldn't use it. "
According to you.
3) "From a campaign manager's viewpoint, I can see the Gibson choice, however. Much, much safer."
He'll have to report something, her positions, for instance, on some topics other than moose hunting.
4) "It also dealt with the pipeline and Palin seeking God's intervention to have it built."
She was speaking to her church, I assume. Did she use the same approach officially?  
5) "I do think Palin argued tha war met something akin to the Augustine/Aquinas "just war" criteria, which she was certainly within her rights to argue even if it struck me as superficial and hollow."
She was speaking to 18 year olds, not Harvard grads, wasn't she?  
I watch AC360 on and off. I am sure I'll catch Anderson in the coming weeks.
September 9, 2008, 11:54:20 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Hey Johnny... you gotta start giving out awards for funny or clever headlines.
The Soup Cans post actually made me LOL... and not like a 16 year-old on a cell phone... like an actual laugh.
"Rachel Maddow's Set Must Hate The Way It's Mother Dresses It"
Bravo, Soup Cans... it's like an Onion headline... but with significance.
September 9, 2008, 12:01:28 PM EDT – Like – Reply

What an interesting, informative post, puck30. You raised a point I hadn't considered, and I appreciate it. A real sound view, it strikes me, of O'Reilly's approach, and your review of Olbermann has some merit, in my view. You have set me thinking.
September 9, 2008, 12:12:26 PM EDT – Like – Reply

And, thank you, Cee for your typical walk on the dark side. I think it best we leave the gay-Lesbian-transgendered stuff out of the picture. If we don't, a number of cable news people, on all the networks, are going to be subject to your derision and ridicule. Perhaps, you can just be pleased Rachel is open and honest about it.
Thanks, Sharon. I am glad to see someone has a higher opinion of Gibson that I do. It goes without saying that I expressed my opinion, so, of course, it is according to me. I can't imagine why you felt the need to say it. Abundantly clear to all, I should think, in the "water is wet" genre.
September 9, 2008, 12:18:12 PM EDT – Like – Reply

I did not choose the title, Mark.
Perhaps it will be a running theme through this very serious news analysis show!
September 9, 2008, 1:03:21 PM EDT – Like – Reply

J$, you're usually way ahead of me and maybe you've already posted this somewhere, but if not, please post in your links so EVERYONE can share in this article. It's PRICELESS!  
The author does an excellent job of portraying everyone's two favorite MSNBC partisans. I loved it!!!
September 9, 2008, 1:51:29 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Low Blow KO's pattycake Obama Rama Ding Dong was supposed to be hard hitting journalistic probing of a presedential candidate.
Instead, it was an excellent example of Barakery Hackery in the Tanqueray Daiquiri head first rectal probing of the annointed, self appointed Chosen One.
September 9, 2008, 2:27:18 PM EDT – Like – Reply

You don't have to get so testy, Mark.  
"Gibson, I am sure, has nothing approaching full access, and if he did he wouldn't use it. In my view, he has become a huge disappointment."  
I read that you are "sure" of something, but even if you are wrong, you are sure of something else. Then, you go on to state what is clearly an opinion.  
That is just my opinion, of course.  
I never gave an opinion on Gibson, just a link that said Gibson would have full access and then, a statement that he will have to report something. No judgment on Gibson at all, one way or the other
... How about that Donny Deutsch video clip? I wonder what ingredients he felt that Clinton had?
September 9, 2008, 2:48:01 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Wow, it looks like CNN is trying to out stupid MSNBC.
The other day, Soledad O'Brien flat out lied about Sarah Palin claiming she cut funding for special needs children by 62%.
Now, Jessica Yellin is repeating the lies and Jeffry Toobin is lying about Palin's abortion stance.
It appears these "reporters" graduated with honors from the Edward R. Olbermann School of Journalism
September 9, 2008, 2:52:52 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Great numbers on the Palin documentary. The intense media and public interest in this American just keeps going. It will be interesting to see Charlie Gibson's interview...a quiet and hopefully revealing affair.

Edited By Siteowner
September 9, 2008, 3:51:05 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Those weekend numbers for FNC are great. I'm looking forward to Monday's numbers, to see that far more people watched Obama interviewed on FNC than on that 4th place network that stars Olby the Clown.
September 9, 2008, 4:10:02 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Mark "Without going into the substance, I do think during the segments surrounding the interview, Olbermann used the word "liar" or some form of it about as often as Cecelia, which is far too much. Proper political discourse warrants the purchase of a thesaurus, as does ordinary civil discourse."
Can you show me where I've used the term "liar" for you, other liberals, or politicians of any party, Mark?
Actually I've used the terms "mountiebank", "pickpocket", "film-flam-man", "operative", and "handler" for you, rarely if ever the term "liar".
But then your statement wasn't meant to be accurate, just condescending and distorting.
Here's a mere one symbol word, but I think it apt, Mark. You're also an effeminate JERK.
September 9, 2008, 6:10:15 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Mike C.
BOR is going to refer to KO in tonight's Talking Points Memo:
Talking Points Memo
Fox News vs. NBC News
An analysis compares interviews with Barack Obama on both Fox News and NBC News... guess whose coverage came out on top?
I predict this will make BOR a Worst Person tomorrow night. Something from last night will make him Worst tonight.
I'd say this at OlbyWatch, but Patrick's on the prowl [at a site he doesn't have to participate in].
September 9, 2008, 6:21:17 PM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
OK, Mark attacked, Cecelia replied, and that ends it. I missed the original attack or it would have been modded out. Since it wasn't I gave C a response but it ends there.
September 9, 2008, 6:38:21 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Great commentary by Harry Stein at Forbes.com on the MSNBC debacle, Johnny.
September 9, 2008, 7:37:01 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Old enough to know 'jerk' is a '60's dance, young enough to know 'effeminate' is not a label I'd care to be tagged with by an intelligent, warm, attractive, loving and obviously perceptive young woman.
Cable news commentator on "The New and Improved Place for Politics," when asked if he wanted a thesaurus replied, "Why would I want an apology from Barney Frank?"
September 9, 2008, 8:05:11 PM EDT – Like – Reply

McCain in the membrane? Is Olby going after the stoner crowd now?
September 9, 2008, 8:48:34 PM EDT – Like – Reply

James: I saw that and almost wanted to puke. And I hope that Obamma calls Olbermann out for going after McCains daughter. Just when I think that I could not think any less of Olbermann he goes and proves me wrong.
September 9, 2008, 9:32:10 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Did anyone see CNN's Randi Kay do her hit piece on Gov. Palin? She was just asounded to see that Sarah went to a church where people actually prayed to God!  
While Campbell Brown certainly isn't my favorite, I did see that she had on Joe Johns, who did a "fact check" on rumors re: the governor's actions. They debunked the "cut the mental health budget" and "closed the library" rumors. But those two mega-libs, Jeffrey Toobin and Roland Martin, were there to provide their anti-GOP commentary, as usual.
September 9, 2008, 9:32:37 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Fox Fan
James | 09.09.08 - 8:53 pm | #
I thought I was the only one who understood the Cypress Hill reference from those protesters at the DNC. Did Olby replay that video? "Insane in the Membrane" isn't as good a song as "Hits from the Bong". Used to listen to those back in high school.
September 9, 2008, 10:27:55 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Olby Sucks
BOR made sure to remind his viewers exactly what to think and then had Tammy Bruce on right after the interview to reinforce his conclusions.  
by melanie
Wasn't clarence page there, too? Or was that just tammy's shadow I was seeing?
September 9, 2008, 11:28:06 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Mike C.
To follow up on my earlier comment on T-Points, BOR did not mention Keith by name nor did he besmirch him. Good.
September 9, 2008, 11:32:32 PM EDT – Like – Reply

So, Missy, can a cable news anchor present any facts which tend to cast Governor Palin in a negative light or can a cable news pundit/commenter make any critical remarks. Is there some sort of unscalable pedastel on which Governor Palin abides? Perhaps cable news should simply show cartoons or "Beverly Hillbilles" reruns until the election is over?
September 9, 2008, 11:56:12 PM EDT – Like – Reply

You're very kind, vstol.
I calls it as I sees it... and obviously you do too....  
September 10, 2008, 12:01:16 AM EDT – Like – Reply

I posted an updated, minute-by-minute review of the show.
September 10, 2008, 2:17:39 PM EDT – Like – Reply