Sharpton No Shows NABJ Convention

"Hello NABJ. I must be going."

This would still be just another non-journalist media “celebrity” receiving a TV show based upon their name recognition, not their years of experience, training, ability and talent.

The National Association of Black Journalists invited the Reverend Al Sharpton to last week to speak at their convention.   He accepted the invitation.  Then he turned it down.
The Reverend Al Sharpton blew off the convention based upon his anger at statements made on the NABJ discussion board by two members.   I am one of those two.  I wonder if the other guy is feeling like events  have swirled out of their control.

It’s not always fun being stuck in the eye of the storm.  It’s even less fun when only half of what you say gets any notice.

There’s a saying that a lie can be half way around the world before truth puts on its shoes.  The same thing applies to misinformation except in cyberspace it can be all the way around the world before truth even wakes up.

In my nearly 20 years as a reporter, editor, columnist and blogger, I have been at the center of controversy more than once.   A syndicated radio show host called me a “Sambo.”  I’ve had more than a few readers accuse me of being a  “White-hating militant.”   There is no need for me to declare who I am to anyone who doesn’t know me.  When I write something I never declare it to be the definitive truth.  It is simply my truth and truth is subjective.  It can be accepted, rejected or ignored.

It’s regrettable Sharpton chose to blow off over a thousand Black journalists because in his words, he “would have been a distraction” by showing up.   Sharpton was scheduled to be part of a discussion on presidential politics  as part of a panel with Cornel West, former RNC chairman Michael Steele, author Sophia Nelson and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

Sharpton said in an interview, “I was invited to come speak about politics and the upcoming presidential election. If they had invited me to talk about whether advocates and activist organizations should host talk shows, I would have considered coming to discuss those kinds of things. But to put me on a political panel and then for it to go into something else about MSNBC, that wouldn’t have been good.”

I have no idea what moderator Roland Martin would have asked Sharpton or what questions he would have gotten from attendees.   But so what if the MSNBC question or my remarks would have come up.   I know Sharpton wasn’t invited to talk about whether he was getting a show or not.  By refusing to attend he made his absence the issue and a huge distraction.   Or does he think Martin and NABJ president Kathy Times were calling to ask him to reconsider because they had nothing better to do?

The issue is not whether or not Sharpton should get a show.  It never was the issue.  Since so many seem to have missed out on what the subject actually was here is a reminder from Carole Simpson as reported by Richard Prince on his Journal-isms column.

Simpson sees the problem in Sharpton's new gig.

Carole Simpson, the retired ABC News anchor, echoed Winbush in a telephone interview Wednesday with Mallary Jean Tenore of the Poynter Institute.

“[Sharpton] was not a journalist. It seems like having a name is more important than your credentials and the news you’ve covered, and how well you did as a reporter and how much you did as a thinker and writer about the issues of the day,” she said. “Who’s going to get the eyeballs? … That’s the bottom line. It’s all about eyeballs. It’s the drive for ratings.

“I have nothing against the Rev. Al. I’ve known him for years. I’ve covered him, but he doesn’t sound like a professional broadcaster. Somebody sounding like that wouldn’t typically be hired by any station. Yeah, as a pundit. He’s an intelligent man. I give him credit for that. But he doesn’t sound like a professional broadcaster.

“But he’s controversial, he’s provocative, he yells, and so they’re looking for personalities and not journalists. The problem that I have, as NABJ has, is fine — hire somebody of color — but how about a journalist? Not a reverend. I don’t get it.”

I don’t either.  The point was never whether or not Sharpton should get the MSNBC gig.  The point was why can’t a journalist even be considered? 

My comment has appeared on Blackamericaweb.com, Beliefnet, the conservative Accuracy In Media website, three times on Prince’s column,  the Tom Joyner Morning Show, read by Keith Olbermann on his newly revived Countdown program and last week Politco picked it up.

With the exception of Prince nobody has picked up the phone or dropped me an e-mail asking me why I wrote what I wrote.  The comment is all that matters.  The commentator is irrelevant.

Sharpton has run for president.  He’s faced down angry White mobs in Howard Beach, Bensonhurst, and Crown Heights.  He’s gone head-to-head with the likes of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.  He’s been in screaming matches with Cornel West.   Sharpton has taken on professional back breakers and walked away with a big winning grin on his face.

Last week he got in a shouting match with that old Nazi sympathizing racist Pat Buchanan over his calling President Obama “your boy.”

Am I supposed to believe Sharpton is afraid to take on a freelance writer and blogger from Columbus, Ohio he’s never heard of?  If Sharpton had shown up in Philadelphia and someone asked him a question about the NABJ list serve he didn’t want to answer there’s a simple two-word response, “no comment.”

The mind boggles at the suggestion, but it seems to be a reality.

Sharpton said,  “People are making conclusions based off their assumptions. I’ve been guilty of this too in the past, so I understand it, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that people are rushing to judgment.”

No argument there, Reverend.  Unfortunately, since you haven’t bothered to get the story, you are one of those people.   What you believe I said was not necessarily what I meant.

Philly loves NABJ, but Al Sharpton doesn't.

The Al Sharpton Blowback: Stuck In a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of

Rev. Sharpton slimmed down, but he's still a big target for his enemies.

The Germans, when they weren’t conquering Europe coined a word to describe the pleasure or satisfaction others receive from the misfortunes of others.  Schadenfreude is the word and over the last two weeks I’ve given a lot of folks I’ve never met a lot of pleasure.

Jeff, I’m hearing your name everywhere. Even this morning on my drive in to work, I hear about your thoughts on the whole MSNBC thing. How is this newfound (or renewed) stardom treating you?

That was a message waiting for me when I signed on to Facebook the other day.  I had no idea what my friend was talking about.

It turns out she was talking about me being talked about on The Tom Joyner Show.   The fly jock was jockin’ my name regarding remarks I made about the Reverend Al Sharpton replacing Cenk Uygur on MSNBC.

Jeff Johnson, a contributor to Joyner’s morning radio show and a writer for Black America Web.com had some thoughts he wanted to share about what I had said on my blog and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) discussion board  that had been picked up by media reporter Richard Prince on his Journal-isms column and gone nationwide.

Prince wrote in his July 21 column:  When rumors surfaced this week that Sharpton was under consideration for the MSNBC job, one NABJ member told colleagues without challenge, “This would still be just another non-journalist media ‘celebrity’ receiving a TV show based upon their name recognition, not their years of experience, training, ability and talent.”

Media Writer Richard Prince

That observation became the centerpiece every critic and supporter of the Sharpton hire springboarded off of.

Johnson rolled up his pants legs and waded in on Blackamericaweb in an essay, “Don’t Hate on Sharpton-Congratulate Him”:

For years, there have been no black hosts in primetime cable news and fewer than a handful anywhere in cable news. Last week, that reality was served a blow when MSNBC decided to announce that Rev. Al Sharpton would become the network’s newest host, filling the 6 p.m. hour of the cable network’s programming. Now, MSNBC had been using Rev. Sharpton to fill in for Cenk Uygur and then seemingly opened space for him to continue to audition (if you will) for the spot. I heard my fair share of comments regarding his performance, from praise to reasonable critique, to straight-up hate. And when it was finally announced that he would get the spot, the naysayers came out of the woodwork.

Even Keith Olbermann, a former MSNBC host, weighed in, helping to spread one of the most reported quotes about Sharpton’s hiring from Ohio journalist Jeff Winbush. He stated, “This would still be just another non-journalist media ‘celebrity’ receiving a TV show based upon their name recognition, not their years of experience, training, ability and talent.” It is important to state that Winbush went further to say that he did not have an issue with Sharpton, but wanted legitimate black journalists to get an honest shot at this type of opportunity.

I hope that we as a community pause, put this into perspective and make the most of this moment in time.

As a growing journalist myself, I want to see seasoned, tested and consistent black journalists get greater visibility as well. However, let us not allow others to use this moment to create division between us.

I guess I’m supposed to one of those “others” Johnson says is creating division.   I always wanted to be an “other.”

This was apparently the quote heard round the world.

It showed up on Roland Martin’s website, The Poynter Institute which covers media-related issues,  Blackamericaweb.com, Beliefnet, Media Bistro, the conservative Accuracy In Media site and places I never knew existed.    When I learned Media Takeout, the Black-oriented celebrity and scandal site, had picked up on it with the headline, “Jealousy??? Black Journalists Criticize MSNBC…For Hiring Al Sharpton!!!”, I knew things had snowballed into something way beyond my control.

A quick Google search of “Al Sharpton, Jeff Winbush” found this article from EEW Magazine Buzz: 

Is it the age old “crabs-in-the-barrel” syndrome among African Americans? Or does National Association of Black Journalists member, Jeff Winbush, have good reason to get all huffy about MSNBC’s rumored plans to hire Reverend Al Sharpton for a primetime nightly hosting gig?

Winbush’s written commentary about the decision to potentially hire Al Sharpton has made its rounds online.  Said Winbush, “This would still be just another non-journalist media ‘celebrity’ receiving a TV show based upon their name recognition, not their years of experience, training, ability and talent… “

On the one hand, black folks complain about not having a visible role on primetime cable news. On the other hand, once someone is chosen, complainers are not satisfied because they would like to see someone else get a shot.

Can anybody really win?

Although there is merit to Winbush’s argument that qualified journalists of color consistently get passed over for these type positions, should we allow that issue to cloud the fact that one of our own may be getting a nationwide platform to advance our causes and interests?

Johnson agreed with some of my remarks, but thought it was too harsh on Sharpton

Then there was this from J.C. Brooks at EURWeb:

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the NAACP have been asking for more faces of color at the news desks across the country, but for some reason when Al Sharpton was asked to consider a position at MSNBC’s news desk in the 6pm slot, he was met with strong words and, to make it simple, a little “hateration.”

One member of the NABJ took to his blog saying, “‘This would still be just another non-journalist media ‘celebrity’ receiving a TV show based upon their name recognition, not their years of experience, training, ability and talent.”‘  Well, when Jeff Winbush made that comment, it took off across the Internet, columns, and even Keith Olbermann’s new “Countdown” show.  Now he feels he should clarify his statements.

According to Journal-isms, Sharpton was asked how he felt about the controversy that stirred up with Winbush’s comments and he told the Root.com, “We can’t get into a crabs-in-the-barrel mentality,” Sharpton said. “We cannot let them play us off one another. There is a history here. Kweisi Mfume had a talk show. Jesse Jackson Jr. had a talk show. If someone can advocate nationwide, we need to do that given the pain of our people. We need to do that on television, in newspapers and magazines. And all of us need to be united.”

The Root’s Leslie Holloway further clarified that the position being offered to Sharpton is not one of news, but “opinions and advocacy.”  Winbush contends that he didn’t want to stir anything up with Sharpton and that he has “no ill will” toward the community crusader, he just wants journalists to get a fair shake too.

They both make sense, but most journalists and everyone else were given the wrong impression.  The media reported Sharpton’s position as one of a 6pm news format and in that capacity, Winbush and fellow journalists had reason for concern.

Concern?  Yeah, you might say I was concerned.  Mostly because my name was floating around as ripping Sharpton and had mutated from a pointed observation to a truncheon to bludgeon a non-journalist taking a gig away from somebody more deserving.

What surprises me most is how nobody ever asked me why I made the remarks about Sharpton in the first place.  If anyone had bothered to ask I would have explained I’m not anti-Sharpton, I’m pro-Black journalists.   All I did was point out Reverend Al is a man of the cloth, not the Associated Press style book.

Nobody wanted to hear that.  I thought I had exposed an inconvenient truth.  The truth is all these writers on these websites wanted was a juicy pull quote.  Once they got it, it was time to whip up a controversy that all these Black journalists were upset over Sharpton beating them out of a gig when the only person who said jack was me.

Richard Prince’s Journal-isms column ran a follow-up where he identified me as the source of the controversial quote.  I was glad Prince gave me a chance to clarify my remarks, but the follow-up never gets the kind of play as the original statement.

Freelance journalist Jeff Winbush wants it known that he is not hatin’ on the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Winbush is a blogger in Columbus, Ohio, a former editor of the black newspaper the Columbus Post and a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. More to the point, he was the source of a quote in Thursday’s “Journal-isms” about MSNBC’s reported readiness to hire Sharpton for its 6 p.m. slot.

“When rumors surfaced this week that Sharpton was under consideration for the MSNBC job, one NABJ member told colleagues without challenge, ‘This would still be just another non-journalist media “celebrity” receiving a TV show based upon their name recognition, not their years of experience, training, ability and talent,’ ” the column read.

Winbush’s quote reverberated around the Internet and was even shown, with the column, on Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown” show on Current TV. Olbermann was fired by MSNBC, where his show was also called “Countdown,” in January. On Thursday, Olbermann gave a platform to Cenk Uygur, the former MSNBC host whose slot has been filed temporarily by Sharpton.

“MSNBC Set To Hire Sharpton; Black Journalists Slam Impending Hire,” one headline read.

” ‘Slam?’ I did no such thing. I said nothing of the sort,” Winbush told Journal-isms by email. “I was not attacking him personally. I bear him no ill will. I simply want to see Black journalists get a fair shot as well.”

There is no control when the Internet gets hold of something you say or do.  If it’s caught by a camera it will soon be slapped on You Tube.  If it’s a muttered racist remark everybody will hear it.   There is no hiding place in cyberspace.

I’ve written several miles worth of columns and essays taking on and taking down politicians, celebrities and other pundits.  Keith Olbermann and Sharpton are among the many subjects I’ve praised, slammed or damned, so I can’t really bitch about having my words thrown back in my face.  My words are like my kids and they belong to me.  I can’t distance myself from them and I can’t deny I said what I said.

Sharpton getting a show has upset both the Right and the Left.

After all the times I’ve bad-talked Michael Steele, I’m surprised he hasn’t called to say, “How it’s feel to get played, brother?”

It’s been an interesting experience.  Next time though I would hope over something I said that was actually newsworthy instead of scandalous.

Next week I’ll be in Philadelphia attending the National Association of Black Journalists Convention.  I’ll have more to say later about the convention, but a lot of my “friends” will be there.  Sharpton will be there.  So will Michael Steele, Cornel West, Roland Martin, Jeff Johnson, Melissa Harris-Perry, Joel Dreyfuss, editor of The Root, and Arianna Huffington among a cast of thousands.

For Black journalists next week is our Woodstock.   There’s going to be far more partying, drinking, and over indulgence in four days than most folks will do in four months, but for me it will also be an opportunity to look some of the people who got my remarks wrong and set them right.

And if I get a chance to get close enough to Reverend Sharpton and shake his hand,  I’ll introduce myself and tell him how sorry I am my name was used to scandalize his.  Sharpton is taking heat not from his enemies on the Right, but from the Left as both The Daily Caller and The Huffington Post have blasted MSNBC for ousting Uygur and replacing a White liberal with a Black liberal.

I’m no fan of U2.  Not even a bit, but I have to credit Bono and the boys this much.  They came up with a song that perfectly captures the mixed emotions one experiences when something they say gets all mashed up into something unrecognizable as your original thought.    When the media starts manipulating it is like being stuck in a moment you can’t get out of.

You’ve got to get yourself together
You’ve got stuck in a moment and you can’t get out of it
Don’t say that later will be better now
You’re stuck in a moment and you can’t get out of it

Keith Olbermann Leans Forward, Falls Out at MSNBC.

Out through the in door. Bye, Keith!

It was a Black Friday for both the Left and the Right that loves to bash the media for left-wing bias.

Keith Olbermann and MSNBC went their separate ways with the final episode of “Countdown” airing Friday, January 21.

 MSNBC’s statement reads as follows

MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC’s success and we wish him well in his future endeavors. 

As for the updated schedule, Lawrence O’Donnell’s show will be moved to 8 p.m.; while “The Ed Show” with Ed Schultz will air at 10 p.m. Rachel Maddow will stay in her regular slot at 9 p.m.  Olbermann bid a brief three-minute farewell to the viewers, but among his “thank you’s” he pointedly neglected to mention MSNBC president Phil Griffin who suspended Olbermann for not disclosing campaign contributions to several Democrats including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. 

The question  destined to burn up the liberal blogosphere is whether Olbermann jumped or pushed?   MSNBC signed him two years ago to a four-year $30 million contract, but this relationship stopped being a love match early on once it became clear while Olbermann was great at doing opinionated and advocacy, he was not interchangeable as a straight and sober newsman. 

Hear that?   That’s the  sound of Bill O’Reilly laughing his ass off. 

Something I noticed on MSNBC this week was the appearance of a sight rarely seen in their evening programming.  Republicans!

On her show Rachel Maddow interviewed former RNC chairman Michael Steele followed by Lawrence O’Donnell questioning Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)  one of the president’s most committed (and bigoted) opponents. I can’t recall if I’ve ever seen Olbermann interview any Republican politicians. Even Sean Hannity invites a few token, weaker than day old beer “liberals” to show up for a little public humiliation.

The new star at MSNBC, then and now.

It’s doubtful Comcast is going to turn MSNBC into a little league version of Fox News, but as Olbermann and the execs at MSNBC weren’t blowing sloppy kisses to each other, maybe they figured they’ve gone as far as they can go as the liberal alternative to Fox. The denials that the FCC approval of the sale has nothing to do with Olbermann’s exit is garbage. Like they would admit they waxed their most popular host as conditions of the sale?

I feel a little bad for Olbermann because I don’t know where he’s supposed to land. CNN seems unlikely the way he dumped on Campbell Brown. CBS and ABC wouldn’t touch him. ESPN might, but he burned a lot of bridges in Bristol.

If Roger Ailes calls it’s only because Bill O’Reilly is looking for someone to take his suits to the cleaners.

Aw, the hell with it. With a $30 million contract I’m sure Keith saved a few nickels to rub together.   I never worry about wealthy White men and their uncanny ability to land on their feet.   He may even find a better opportunity, though I can’t imagine where.  With Olbermann hitting the bricks the new go-to guy at the network is a girl;  Rachel Maddow, better known as the woman who made Rand Paul cry like a whiny baby.  

We’re talking about a freaking Rhodes scholar. She’s a real doctor. Paul just plays one in Kentucky.

Dr. Maddow is only 37 years old. She’s not nearly as good now as she’s going to be. MSNBC should lock her up to a long-term contract. She is what Katie Couric wanted to be: the true star of her network and their brightest light.   O’Donnell is well-liked by the front office as a Democratic insider, Ed Schultz will pick up the stragglers from Olbermann’s camp (maybe he’ll pick up the “Worst Person In the World” segment too?)  Chris Matthews will get a tingle up his leg as he never seemed comfortable being paired with Olbermann.   The breaking point was the lousy job they did covering the 2010 elections where they could barely hide their dismay and disgust at the Republican wave sweeping away Democrats across the country.  

Meanwhile, MSNBC remains as  predominantly male and White as ever.  Some things just don’t ever seem to change.      

I hate to be the skunk at the garden party, but instead of joining a Facebook page demanding Comcast/MSNBC hire back a guy they just paid $7 million to take a walk, why aren’t all good libs and progressives demanding they replace Olbermann with a liberal and progressive PERSON OF COLOR?

We haven’t  tried that, have we?   Let’s try a little thinking outside the box here, people.

 It’s not like CNN or FOX are busting their asses to put someone in their primetime programming that adds a little diversity to the proceedings.   Why does the default reaction to a wealthy White guy losing his show have to be “Oh no!  We must get him back!  Storm the ramparts!” 

Meet the new Ted Williams?

Keith Olbermann: Worst Person in MSNBC’s World?

A suspension now and permanent vacation later?

You’ve probably heard by now how Keith Olbermann, the host of MSNBC’s Countdown was suspended indefinitely without pay for not disclosing campaign contributions he had made to three Democratic candidates.

Some people are very unhappy with this decision.   There are calls for a boycott of MSNBC and petitions are floating around the web demanding Olbermann’s immediate reinstatement.

I think some good people are missing the point here.

I’m sorry that Keith Olbermann got suspended, but even outspoken and opinionated TV talking heads need to maintain some pretense of credibility.  He had a clear conflict of interest and saying others have made contributions to candidates without disclosing them is no justification or excuse.  Olbermann should take his lumps and hopefully return wiser from the experience.

There is no single agency or board that oversees journalistic practices.  The Society of Professional Journalists has a code of ethics to guide professional journalists ow, but they are more suggested rules for the road instead of policies and protocols to be followed or face consequences for violating them.

Journalists should:

—Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
— Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.

On some of the journalism boards, there’s been much discussion as what the proper role of a journalist is exercising their political views. Some go so far as to say they do not vote so as not to tarnish their image of impartiality.

I wouldn’t allow the fact of being a journalist go so far as to self-disenfrachise. I vote and I have my political perspective. But I’m not signing any petitions or joining any Facebook pages to support Olbermann. He screwed up. He can’t slam Fox for their shaky journalistic practices and then get caught in a sketchy situation like this.

The problem with journalism is unlike practicing law and medicine, there’s no oversight board that cites acts of journalistic malpractice. ANYONE from a blogger to Andrew Breitbart can claim to be a “journalist.” Those of us whom are feel annoyed by those who are not. If standards and ethics mean anything, it means when you cross the line, you get pimp-slapped so you stay in your lane.

Olbermann contributed to a candidate and then interviewed him afterwards and didn’t disclose the contribution. Is giving $2400 to three separate Democratic candidates a firing or suspendable offense?   Not really, but though Olbermann has never concealed his liberal bias giving money to a candidate and then turning around to interview him without disclosing the contribution is a big no-no.

Lean forward and chill out

What was most embarrassing to MSNBC should have been the incredibly sloppy Election Night coverage  by the team of Olbermann, Lawrence O’ Donnell, Rachel Maddow and the always overwrought Chris Matthews.   You could almost hear their collective gnashing of teeth as Democrats fell across the country as results rolled in.

It was tough to watch MSNBC’s editorializing-as-reporting style  come totally unglued.    I clicked over to Fox News but had to eject due to the barely concealed happiness of the hosts to the Republican wave and ended up at CNN which seemed to have no less than 12 “expert” commentators crowded around two tables with Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper barely controlling the yammering and jockeying for face time.

But Olbermann’s stumble into overt activism is hardly a unique case.

Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation gave $1.25 million to the Republican Governors Association and another $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce during this past election. More likely than not, if you saw an independent attack ad against a targeted Democrat, the fine print at end indicated it came from the RGA or the Chamber of Commerce and in part financed by Fox News.

According to Dana Milbank in the Washington Post, some 30 Fox News personalities have endorsed, done fundraisers and endorsed Republican candidates in more than 600 cases across 47 states. Karl Rove and likely 2012 presidential candidates, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee work for Fox and were aggressively campaigning for Republicans this year.

What’s “fair or balanced” about that?

Rachel Maddow is right when she says Fox is “a political operation” and not simply just another cable news network. That’s what happens when you hire an old Richard Nixon staffer and put him in charge. You get a lot of advocacy and not much journalism.

You also get cheerleaders instead of journalists.

CNN’s Campbell Brown: No Bias? That’s Bull!

This is what an objective journalist looks like?

Prime-time viewing for the cable news networks begins at 8:00 p.m.   The competition is high and the differences stark between Campbell Brown (CNN), Keith Olbermann (MSNBC), Bill O’Reilly (Fox News) and Nancy Grace (HLN).  

Campbell Brown thinks she’s the only real journalist working during  that hour and she doesn’t mind telling anybody that will listen.

“Some of us, like my colleagues here at CNN, are still trying to do journalism….I’m not critical of what my friends at Fox News and MSNBC do, but it is apples and oranges when compared to what we at CNN do,”  Brown said.

Brown apparently doesn’t watch Lou Dobbs and his rants against illegal immigrants and cheerleading for Birther idiots such as Orly Taitz.   If she did she might not be so smug about the quality of “journalism” at CNN these days.

During her show Wednesday,  Brown interviewed White House adviser Valarie Jarrett and quizzed her on the Obama Administration’s cold shouldering of Fox News.

BROWN: Officials have been very public about their feelings about FOX News and what they believe FOX News is and represents. And they made a point of coming out and saying it.

JARRETT: What we’re saying is, is that we want the public to understand what’s going on.

When we saw the kind of distortions this summer, particularly directed at seniors, over health care reform, it was really outrageous. And I think what the president said in his message before Congress is, we’re going to speak directly to the American people and make sure that they understand the truth.

And so, certainly, if we see somebody distorting the truth, we’re going to call them on the carpet for that. But we don’t want to take our focus away from the core issues that are so important to the American people. Now, when there’s all that chatter and distortion and false information, we have to disseminate – we have to distinguish between truth and fiction.

BROWN: So do you think FOX News is biased?

JARRETT: Well, of course they’re biased. Of course they are.

BROWN: OK. Then do you also think that MSNBC is biased?

JARRETT: Well, you know what? This is the thing. I don’t want to – actually, I don’t want to just generalize all FOX is biased or that another station is biased.

I think what we want to do is look at it on a case-by-case basis. And when we see a pattern of distortion, we’re going to be honest about that pattern of distortion.

BROWN: But you only see that at FOX News? That’s all that – you have spoken out about FOX News.

JARRETT: That’s actually not true.

I think that what the administration has said very clearly is that we’re going to speak truth to power. When we saw all of the distortions in the course of the summer, when people were coming down to town hall meetings and putting up signs that were scaring seniors to death, when we have seen commercials go up on television that are distorting the truth, we’re actually calling everybody out.

So, this isn’t something that’s simply directed at FOX. We really just want the American people to have a clear understanding. There’s so much at stake right now. We really don’t have a lot of time for nonsense and distortions.

The American people are also smarter than that. Let them reach their own judgments based on the facts. Let’s just take health care, for example. Reasonable people could differ about the right approach. So, let’s have a conversation about that. Let’s not scare people by telling them that things are going to happen that are actually not even on the table. Let’s just talk about the facts.

Brown's pretty cocky for someone whose show is dead last.

Ms. Brown’s comment in her “No Bias, No Bull” segment was:

Jarrett seems loath to admit that MSNBC has a bias. And that is where I think the White House loses all credibility on this issue. Just as Fox News leans to the right with their opinionated hosts in prime time, MSNBC leans left. I don’t think anyone at Fox or MSNBC would disagree. In fact both Fox News and MSNBC are doing quite well in the prime time ratings by doing partisan opinion.

Brown seems to be suggesting there’s MSNBC on the Left and Fox News on the right, and by process of elimination, that leaves CNN squarely in the middle of the political mainstream.

And I suppose Lou Dobbs is the second coming of Walter Cronkite?

Another problem is even if CNN is the middle of the road news network it’s a far cry from the CNN Ted Turner created. They aren’t the new kids on the block any more and their attempts to touch up the grey haven’t helped all that much.

Second, most folks aren’t watching Brown or CNN. CNN sunk to fourth place behind Fox, MSNBC and sister network HLN (Headline News). Brown’s program (648,000 viewers) at 8:00 p.m. lags behind both Keith Olbermann (1.02 million) and Bill O’ Reilly (3.39 million).

nancy_grace-web

Nancy Grace has something Campbell Brown wants: better ratings

Lately, the only thing that CNN has been the “go to” network for has been non-stop saturation coverage of Michael Jackson’s death. Otherwise, all  they’re doing is making themselves irrelevant as even the septuagenarian Larry King is getting stomped by the unlikely duo of Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow.

If Brown isn’t careful, she might find her “real journalism” replaced by the “infortainment” of the repulsive Nancy Grace, a woman so vile she even sickens Stephen King.    Brown might want to spend less time sniping at her more successful competitors and spend more on trying to improve  her own crappy ratings before she finds out she’s only keeping the seat warm for Nancy Grace.