Following up on Mike’s post yesterday re: the MSNBC-Olbermann suspension debacle, amidst all the sturm und drang, Rachel Maddow tries to be ecumenical in supporting both Olbermann and the official company line:
I understand the rule. I understand what it means to break it. I believe everyone should face the same treatment under that rule. I also personally believe that the point has been made and we should have Keith back hosting Countdown.
Here’s the larger point, though, that’s going mysteriously missing from the right-wing cackling and old media cluck-cluck-clucking: I know everyone likes to say, “Oh, cable news, it’s all the same. Fox and MSNBC — mirror images of each other. But if you look at the long history of Fox hosts not just giving money to candidates, but actively endorsing campaigns and raising millions of dollars for politicians and political parties — whether it’s Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck or Mike Huckabee — and you’ll see that we can lay that old false equivalency to rest forever. There are multiple people being paid by Fox News to essentially run for office as Republican candidates. If you count not just their hosts but their contributors, you’re looking at a significant portion of the entire Republican lineup of potential contenders for 2012.
They can do that because there’s no rule against that at Fox. Their network is run as a political operation. Ours isn’t. Yeah, Keith’s a liberal, and so am I. But we’re not a political operation — Fox is. We’re a news operation. The rules around here are part of how you know that.
MSNBC is a serious news organization, not a gauche political op like Fox. This appears to be the message MSNBC brass are attempting to send, following criticism from both wingnut and Beltway pundits (“right-wing cackling and old media cluck-cluck-clucking,” as Maddow put it) about the network’s purportedly “biased” election night coverage this past Tuesday: We are not Fox Left. We still inhabit the same void of vainly deluded fauxjectivity like our Village brethren do.
Make no mistake: Keith Olbermann is the new Phil Donahue, an unabashedly liberal MSNBC host who had to be ritually sacrificed on the altar of High Broderism. Whether this was ultimately meant to appease the cluck-cluck-clucking cocktail party set or the new soon-to-be corporate overlords at Comcast remains to be seen. Regardless, the message has been sent and received: The View From Nowhere still reigns supreme, even at 30 Rock.