21 April 2010

Censorship at MSNBC

The MSNBC channel has aborted a week-long afternoon report on "America the Angry" conducted by guest anchorman Donny Deutsch, reportedly because yesterday's segment included an implicit criticism of Keith Olbermann. The criticism-by-association consisted of Olbermann's inclusion in a montage of rabble-rousing talkers, most of whom are his ideological or partisan opponents,and a guest's charge that Olbermann was a "hate-monger." Anonymous sources at the channel have contradicted Olbermann's denial that he intervened in a fit of anger to have the series canned. They remain anonymous because they fear reprisals from Olbermann or other MSNBC officials.

I'm sure that Olbermann does resent the association of his image with those of his enemies. In his mind, they're inciting people to violence, not he. But the series was not called "America the Incited unto Violence." It's called "America the Angry," and there is no way that Olbermann can deny that his "Countdown" show stokes liberal anger. Oxymoronic as it sounds, it exists, though it may result in the subject no longer being liberal. For that matter, MSNBC is supposed to be the "liberal" news network. Shouldn't that mean some tolerance for criticism of the house talent? An apologist might argue that Fox News would do no different in a comparable circumstance, but isn't that to be expected of the reactionary channel? And isn't a liberal channel supposed to be different? If there's no room for anyone on air to question the channel's chief propagandist, doesn't it prove the charge that MSNBC is essentially a propaganda channel?

According to the New York Times, Donny Deutsch said that he'd tried to be a "purple" voice in a nation and media environment torn between "red" and "blue." It looks like he picked the wrong-colored network.

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