Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The difference between Olbermann and FAUX News

It's very important to distinguish between Keith Olbermann, who spoke truth (his facts were assiduously checked and were unassailable) and the fact-distorters at FOX News.  Following is an excellent assessment of the differences between Olbermann and the "let's-pretend-we're-presenting-real-news" characters on FOX.  As the author notes, Keith Olbermann was always shining a light on the facts, in the tradition of Edward R. Murrow and other REAL newsmen who preceded him.  Keith and his special comments will be greatly missed, for the simple reason that he did present truth in a world of flurrying lies, but I have hopes we will hear more from him via other news outlets.  Real news versus lies from the right.  Which do you prefer?


A TRIBUTE TO OLBERMANN: Why he is different from the pundits at FOX News
By Mitchell Bard

EXCERPT: Much focus is directed at how Olbermann made his points (his combative tone, his aggressive language, etc.), but it was the fact-based content that really mattered and separated him from his right-wing counterparts. The reason the founders accorded the press the protections of the First Amendment was under the belief that the press was, as Jeffery Smith described it, "A lash for government and a prod for the people." Under this point of view, government was rendered more stable by a free press, since it exposed problems (and allowed for reform), preserving the liberties of the people. What Olbermann did on his show, day in and day out, was to carry out that function, shining a light on elected officials (of both parties).

That's the difference between Olbermann and his Fox News counterparts. When Beck claims that radicals in the Obama administration want to kill 10 percent of the American population and overthrow the U.S. government, or Sean Hannity uses bogus footage to exaggerate attendance at a Tea Party event, or Fox News hosts give credibility to those claiming that the health care reform law included "death panels" or that the president wasn't born in the United States, they are not shining a light on anything. Instead, they are using the cloak of "the press" to lie, exaggerate and use innuendo as a way of promoting an agenda.

And one of the strengths of Olbermann's show was that he didn't only take on government officials, but he devoted part of nearly every program to fact-checking the lies being spewed by major right-wing media figures like Palin, Beck, Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly. Again, Olbermann was consistently looking to shine a light on the facts.