I was reading today on MSNBC and stumbed on an article from Time that said that Hillary could benefit from Obama taking the lead on fundraising. The article goes on to say that the leading money winners do not always come out on top. I have noticed in the past that people tend to favor the underdog in most cases. Read the article for yourself.
According to a report over at the TVNewser blog, which really is the go to place for information on the industry, MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann is getting a raise -- and probably a big one at that.
Ever since the former sports broadcaster started launching scathing attacks on the hypocrisy and wrongheadedness of actions taken by the likes of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill O'Reilly and others, filling in a much needed gap within the cable broadcast industry for a newsman willing to cover the issues without a noticeable right wing bias, Olbermann has seen his ratings climb while his competitors have fallen.
Back in July, Olbermann briefly bested his nemesis Bill O'Reilly in the key 25-54 year old demographic (the "demo") during one program. True, it was more of a symbolic than real victory, seeing that O'Reilly was on vacation (and thus his program was a rerun) while Olbermann was not; still, it did mark the first time, to my knowledge that Olbermann's "Countdown" had topped Fox's "The Factor". By the late summer and early fall, Olbermann catapulted ahead of Paula Zahn within the demo, his competition during the 8 PM Eastern timeslot on CNN, and has since reached the point at which he regularly beats her in the ratings, both overall and within the demo. And the trend has not been limited to Olbermann and O'Reilly. MSNBC's numbers have been up across the board while Fox News' numbers have dropped significantly. So suffice it to say that it is good news that Olbermann at least appears to be on track to stay on the air with MSNBC for a long time to come.
And what of Fox News these days? Aside from being shunned and ashamed for pushing the clearly bogus story about Barack Obama's educational background, Fox News is moving ahead with a comedy program created by a producer of the Fox broadcast show "24" that aims to be a conservative alternative to "The Daily Show". From the bits and pieces released thus far, it's stunningly bad. I've already posted the video over in Breaking Blue, but it bears repeating on the front page because it is just so, so bad.
It's difficult for me to imagine someone coming up with something less funny -- though perhaps unintentionally hilarious because it attempts to be funny but so clearly fails -- as this program. One conservative blogger even suggests that "the writers are all liberals deliberately sabotaging the show." If this is what Fox News is going to come up with, it's no wonder their numbers are plummeting.
First Lady Laura Bush, sitting down for an interview this week with MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell, flexed her muscles and blasted the media for her husband's abysmal approval ratings on Iraq, claiming that they fail to report any "good news" out of "Baghtopia."
"For example," said Mrs. Bush, "there's a new school being built every 15 seconds, immediately after the old one gets blown to smithereens."
The former elementary school teacher and librarian also emphasized that due to the high student mortality rate and flight of the middle class, Baghdad has made dramatic strides in reducing class size.
"Iraqi students also spend more hours studying than their American counterparts," Mrs. Bush hastened to add, "since they go out and play only at risk to their very lives."
When Keith Olbermann took the courageous step of delivering a blistering attack on top administration officials for likening those opposed to the War in Iraq to Neville Chamberlain's appeasement crowd last week, it was not a foregone conclusion that his special comment would be received well or that his ratings would hold steady, let alone rise. After all, with the exception of the occasional moment from Jack Cafferty or the even less frequent moment from Chris Matthews, cable news -- well, really all television news shows tend to hedge their bets and play it safe for fear of reprisal from the vast right wing apparatus.
But Olbermann's special comment caught the attention of many Americans desperate for common sense on the airwaves and cable wires -- so much so that his ratings have noticeably increased in relation to his competition. On Tuesday September 5, the evening Olbermann went after the administration's "appeasement" rhetoric, Countdown received a better-than-normal 669,000 viewers, though this number equalled just 64.8 percent of Paula Zahn's ratings at the same time over at CNN and 66.3 percent of her ratings in the key 25-54 demographic. The next evening Olbermann's overall numbers were down a bit to 554,000 viewers. This number, however, represented 84.2 percent of Zahn's rating. What's more, Olbermann actually beat Zahn by more than 25 percent among the 25-54 demo. On Thursday, Olbermann again got around 84 percent of Zahn's rating, but this time trounced her by more than 50 percent among the key demo. By Friday night, Olbermann surpassed Zahn in overall numbers even as younger viewers, his best demo, generally opted to go out instead of watching television news.
Olbermann was at it again tonight with another biting commentary taking the administration to task for the great distance between its language and the reality on the ground. You can watch it for yourself over at Crooks and Liars or read the complete transcript over at Bloggermann.
At a time when MSNBC, or at least MSNBC.com, is showing it's intention to move in a new direction by firing Eric Alterman, it's imperative that we show support for Keith Olbermann, one of the few (and perhaps only) consistent voices of sanity on cable news. If you are a cable subscriber who is home when Countdown broadcasts (8 PM Eastern/5 PM Pacific), consider tuning in (especially if you're a member of a Nielson family). If you're more of a fan of this online medium, visit http://bloggermann.msnbc.com on a regular basis for interesting commentary. And should the time come when MSNBC or one of its corporate bosses, GE/NBC and Microsoft, tries to can Olbermann as they have Alterman, Phil Donohue and others before, be prepared to rain down fury on the network for stifling much-needed debate and reality in the world of cable news.
So you may have remembered a little campaign a month ago in which a group of us went after Chris Matthews for parroting right-wing lies. Well it turns out that, after some digging, there was more to the story than just bad boring TV and a blowhard vomiting out right-wing conventional wisdom. You see, we ended up looking at speaking fees, a nice slice of income for TV personalities, and they led, surprise surprise, to Chris Matthews, and his penchant for taking fees for speaking in front of trade associations with right-wing agendas and histories of donating disproportionately to Republicans.
This isn't illegal, or even necessarily unethical, depending on disclosure. So we went further, and attempted to get NBC's ethics policy. Eventually, we sort of succeeded, only, Rick Kaplan, the President of MSNBC, hasn't actually been entirely truthful about his star Chris Matthews and speaking fees. Or maybe he's just not well informed and can't use Google. Regardless, Kaplan and MSNBC kind of got caught with their pants down, ethically speaking.