Keith Olbermann is in the hot seat this weekend with Deborah Solomon in the New York Times Magazine. Okay, so he did the interview before the mess yesterday, in which Olbermann was suspended indefinitely from MSNBC for donating to three politicians without declaring so, but it’s still funny timing! Thank god for the web, though, because the interview leads with a special framing: “Two days before his suspension from MSNBC, the anchor talked about his partisanship.”
Olbermann, for anyone stupid enough to not understand, clarified that he is not, in fact, on the right side of the political spectrum. When asked about MSNBC as the lefty version of Fox News, the Countdown host responded:
To present all this as the same is both unfair and injurious to the political system at the moment. One of the big flaws now is that there is all this noise on the right. When I yell there is a reason for it. There is a political and factual discernment behind it. I am not doing it gratuitously.
On Jon Stewart, Olbermann expanded upon a point at the heart of his own suspension, though he did not know he was doing so at the time. “If he believes he has no political viewpoint, that’s ludicrous,” Olbermann said of the Daily Show host.
Yes, Olbermann broke the rules of his company by not first seeking approval for his political donations. But beyond that, the larger issue here is about the lingering shadow the myth of objectivity casts over journalism of all kinds, even the sideshow that is cable news. As Olbermann says, to pretend a human being has no political viewpoint is insane. For a person to be expected, then, to not act on said viewpoint is simply unjust.
Pleading Sanity [NYT]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 6, 2010