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

Token Gestures and Table Scraps

Is Reverend Al ready for his close up?

From Media Bistro’s TVNewser:

Cenk Uygur was thrust onto the MSNBC schedule in January, when Keith Olbermann‘s departure set in motion several host changes on the progressive channel’s lineup.

Now TVNewser hears Uygur may be moved out of the 6pm hour, possibly to be replaced by Al Sharpton. When the host changes happened earlier this year, the 6pm hour was simply known as “MSNBC Live,” a telling sign that MSNBC was trying out Uygur.

Sharpton has hosted the 6pm show for the last two weeks. This past week, the hour was second, to Fox News, in A25-54 viewers Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

IF true, that’s great for Rev. Al.  Cornel West won’t be as happy for the “dear brother,” but even if I’m not a Sharpton supporter it’ is a step in the right direction to get some color on the television.  A good start is ALL it would be though.

This would still be just another non-journalist media “celebrity” receiving a TV show based upon their name recognition instead of their years of experience, training, ability and talent.   Hooray for popularity but for a veteran and seasoned Black journalist who deserves a shot at a show, they still have to go begging.

But this is what happens when we always go begging to the White man with our empty bowl and say, “Please throw us a crumb.”   If Al Sharpton gets a show at 6:00 pm, that’s cool, but it’s NOT primetime where Blacks and Asians and Hispanics are invisible on ALL the cable news channels unless they’re guest analysts trotted out to be the “Black authority” on a race-based issue.

Television executives have learned how to brush aside complaints their programming lacks diversity.  They find a Black personality willing to play ball with them, stick them outside of the prime time peak viewing hours and the minority pressure groups go away temporarily satisfied with the token representation.

Why not sweat the HNIC’s at TV One and BET to step their game up and switch out yet another “Fresh Prince” rerun for something like ONE news program during weekdays?   Why do they always get a pass when we have these debates about the lack of Black representation on cable?

I’m tired of the strategy of the National Association of Black Journalists and other pressure groups dogging out the execs at Fox, CNN and MSNBC saying’  “Please, baby, baby,  Please” but for Alfred Liggins and Debra Lee we won’t say shit even if we have a mouthful of the televised dung TV1 and BET programs.  What about Oprah Winfrey who has an entire network named after her?  What is there on the Oprah Winfrey Network that reflects Black life (and no, a talk show for Oprah’s gal pal, Gayle King does not count).

Once upon a time BET did have news programming such as BET News with Ed Gordon, BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley and BET Nightly News with Michelle Miller and Jacque Reed.  BET dropped most of its news and public affairs programming in 2000 and BET Nightly News in 2005. Viacom purchased BET in 2003.

With Viacom’s money behind BET there is no question the dollars exist for some news and public affairs programming, but where is the will for it?  It’s one thing to talk about the hot mess the BET Awards are, but its something else to remain strangely quiet about the lack of news on BET, TV One (with the notable exception of Mr. Roland Martin’s Washington Watch program) and the most powerful woman in the media, Oprah Winfrey and the OWN Network.

Meeting with the head of CNN to ask he consider giving an African-American some consideration for a program is cool.  But why should Black executives get a pass from the same scrutiny NABJ submits White executives to?

It’s cowardly to demand White men like CNN President Jim Walton do a better job of representing African-Americans while ignoring the Black folks like Liggins, Lee and Winfrey  who barely even acknowledge they exist.    The days when Blacks were supposed to feel a sense of pride when we got “one of our own” in a place where there were no Blacks at all has passed.  If accountability means anything at all, it applies to out-of-touch Black executives as well as White ones.

At what point do we demand the so-called “Black” cable channels provide more than music videos, award shows and bad reality TV instead of always pleading to the White man for a few hours of face time?   It’s past time we start building up our own networks and news channels to give us something more than the same safe, brain-numbing, unambitious crap.

The Al Sharpton Show would be great if it happens— for Al Sharpton.  For everybody else it changes nothing much at all.   Token gestures and table scraps are not enough and never were.   A real and systemic  adjustment needs to made in how  a job ALL the television networks represent Black people.  That won’t change until change is demanded by those who make the decisions whose stories are told and whose are ignored.
If you never ask the question the answer is always “no.”  I’m not asking BET, TV One or OWN to take on CBS, CNN or Fox.  I’m just thinking it’s not too presumptuous to ask for something more enlightening than another 30-year-old rerun of “The Flip Wilson Show.”

Oprah's network represents White women, not Black people.

Mark Halperin’s Dick Move

Mark Halperin is a snappy dresser.

What happens when you say the President of the United States is acting like “a dick?”

Not much if you’re a smart-ass political analyst with a big mouth. a small brain and a forum to air your stupidity.   Mark Halperin of TIME magazine and regular contributor to MSNBC’s Morning Joe rolled a verbal  hand grenade in the general direction of President Obama in response to his press conference this week.

Halperin: “Do we have the seven-second delay today? I want to characterize how I thought the President behaved?”

Brzezinski: “We have it. [To producer] We can use it, right?”

Scarborough: “Yeah, sure, come one, take a chance. Have faith.”

Brzezinski: “Let’s see what happens.”

Scarborough: “I’m behind you. You fall down. I’m gonna catch you.”

Brzezinski:” And the precedent has been set on the show, so you’re good”, [referring to his 2008 F-bomb on the air, which resulted in MSNBC instituting the seven second delay].

Halperin: “I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday.”


Scarborough: “Oh my God. Delay that! Delay that! What are you doing? I can’t believe you. I was joking! Don’t do that! Did we delay that?”

Next we get the same old weak apologies and the same old weak banishment to the time-out corner.  It’s just all soooooo predictable.

It’s doesn’t go far enough. Halperin has appeared on television many times and if he doesn’t know how to regulate his brain before something crude and ignorant slips out of his pie hole then he’s the real dick here.

TIME should fire his dumb ass. NOW

It’s not a giant leap forward in racial equality when some idiot goes on a morning show and says the President of the United States is acting like “a dick.”

How does a dick act anyway? Limp? Drooping? Rigid? Firm?

Walter Cronkite never had to be taken off the air for insulting the president. Good and professional journalists never had to be suspended for such boorish behavior.  Now its expected and usually shrugged off as no big deal.   Standards fall and it seems if anyone points out how far and fast they have fallen, they are told they are the one with the problem.

It’s not much of a punishment to tell a talking head he’s been punished by not being paid to talk. Examples need to be made and MSNBC has a high recidivism rate of offenders who do this crap repeatedly..

"I LIKE dicks!"

Halperin placed in the Number Two spot on Salon’s hack pundits list last year. Does he have his heart set on grabbing the top spot in 2011?

When you have a wacky “cocktail party” morning show where “anything can happen,” sometimes what will happen — especially if your guest list features a lot of useless tools like Mark Halperin — is that someone will call the president a “dick” because he thinks it’s endearingly naughty. There was even a big, smirky buildup to Halperin calling the president a “dick.” It didn’t just slip out. Everyone got really excited that Halperin was about to use a bad word, because these people are children, and Halperin looked very pleased with himself after he said the bad word on the TV. Chuckle chuckle chuckle! Faux-outrage! Fun and high jinks! High-quality political analysis, everyone.

I don’t care what Halperin calls Barack Obama. But for the record, President Obama did not really act like a dick yesterday, which is unsurprising, because Mark Halperin is a horrible political analyst who is wrong about everything. (Also for the record, it takes one to know one.)

This is a great excuse for MSNBC to fire Halperin, though! I mean if they won’t fire him for being incompetent at understanding and explaining politics they now have an opportunity to fire him for being disrespectful and vulgar. (Ed Schultz was suspended over as much.)

Being a professional observer of the “horse race” is bad enough, but Halperin doesn’t even understand the horse-race element of politics. He fails at being a hack. He’s too dumb to correctly parrot conventional wisdom. He is pretty sure Sarah Palin and Donald Trump are 2012 front-runners. He thought “suspending his campaign” to fix the economy and not knowing how many houses he has were both huge messaging victories for John McCain. He wrote a book about how to win in 2008 that predicted everything Hillary did, but in his world it all worked. He thought Bush’s political comeback would come any day now throughout the entirety of the years 2006-2008. He can’t interpret polls or see through the spin of GOP consultants who are much smarter than he. If I were revising the Hack list I’d put him above No. 1.

This wasn’t just a dumb comment.  It was a deliberate comment. Halperin measured the depth, stuck a toe in the water, practically asked for permission and dove in head first.

Hey, whaddya want? It's a dull show with dull people.

And what got Halperin’s panties in a wad?  He didn’t like President Obama telling the Republicans at his press conference to come correct and get serious about doing the jobs they were elected to do.   Halperin didn’t seem nearly so offended when Minority Leader Eric Cantor made a big production number of walking out of the budget negotiations.  Is it blasphemy to suggest the Republicans in Washington stop dicking around instead of pulling stunts like Cantor?

That’s not handling the people’s business. That’s grandstanding and its a dick move.

MSNBC can handle Halperin’s dickery any way they please.  It would please me to never see his stupid face on their programs.

The suspension is not appropriate. A suspension is some weak shit. A firing is appropriate. Let a few dicks like Halperin lose their job and the message gets through quick, fast and in one damn hurry: Act like a professional. Don’t be a dick.

If TIME won’t do it, MSNBC definitely should.  Halperin can take his dick moves to Fox and Friends.  He can also eat a bag of dicks.

Halperin is a lousy pundit and his act is tired. He should be retired from Morning Joe and all these other wack yakfests and their sniggering nudge-nudge/wink-wink attempts at being “edgy.”

This is not edgy. This is idiocy. Learn the difference.

Ed Schultz is a Big, Fat, Idiot (with apologies to Al Franken).

Big Eddie and his brother from another mother.

Ed Schultz is a sexist jack-ass for calling Laura Ingraham a “slut.”   Let’s establish that first and let’s get ready for the half-assed “apology” he’s certain to make sometime in the near future (oops…looks like Schultz got put into the time-out corner for a week by the MSNBC brass after they suspended him without pay).

The second thing that needs to be established is if anyone qualifies as a “media slut” it’s Big Eddie.

Schultz was just another in a long line of Rush Limbaugh wannabees who flipped his political perspective when he saw there was no room on the Right for yet another clone of Limbaugh and pivoted to the Left.

How does a former jock turned sportscaster turned talk show host go from a radio station in Fargo to a nationally broadcast show on MSNBC?   Why, by whoring out whatever principles he had to become a born again Lefty.

After two decades of sports reporting, Schultz launched a 2 1/2-hour regional talk show in 1996.

The show, which he continues to host, blends interviews with local officials and sharp-edged banter with callers, spiced up with Big Eddie’s rants about national affairs. He might report on a local school board meeting, break for the latest on pork belly futures, then swerve into acid commentary on the presidential primaries. The broadcast area reaches into South Dakota and Minnesota; on any given morning, nearly 30% of radio listeners in the region are tuned in to his show.

For years, Schultz’s patter on the regional show was conservative. He scoffed at the homeless for complaining about the cold. “How about getting a job?” he’d ask. He sneered at the three Democrats who represent him in Congress, nicknaming them the Three Stooges.

“I lined up with the Republicans because they were antitax, and I wanted to make a lot of money,” Schultz said.

About two years ago, listeners began to hear a softer tone.  Schultz had once derided farmers for relying on government subsidies. Now he was pounding Bush for not offering extra aid during a drought. He was calling for universal health insurance. And more services for homeless veterans.

Some dismayed fans suspected a cynical motive. “My own opinion is, he knew he would never go national if he stayed on the right or in the middle. I truly believe he moved to the left because he thought that’s where his career would get the biggest boost,” said Ron Gilmore, 42, who runs a cleaning business in Fargo. “You don’t change your politics overnight like he did without a goal in mind.”

Schultz has all the scruples of Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Edwards in a strip club and is about as big a sell-out for whatever the Far Left is shoveling as a Sean Hannity is for the Far Right. The difference being Hannity has always been a shill for the Right while Schultz cynically decided switching allegiances was the smart career path.

Schultz’s switch may have convinced the suits at MSNBC, but there are those that caught his act back in the day are skeptical. 

Ryan Bakken, a columnist at North Dakota’s Grand Forks Herald and a longtime Schultz skeptic, tells me Ed’s ideological shift was drastic. “Ed was about as conservative as you could come. He may not have switched 180 degrees, but he switched 179,” Bakken says.

“Ed saw an opening,” says Bakken, the Grand Forks Herald columnist. “He’s always been smart and able to take advantage of opportunities.” Bakken says that earlier in Schultz’s career, when he was a sportscaster covering football, he switched his allegiance from North Dakota State University to rival University of North Dakota after changing stations.

In an ’03 column, Bakken speculated that Schultz’s transformation was a response to competition from another right-wing talker:

The reason for his shift is that Scott Hennen moved next door in Fargo and took a foothold on the right side of the political spectrum. You can’t get to the right of Hennen without falling off the edge of the world. So that left the left as the only ground available to occupy. You can’t live in the thoughtful, open-minded middle and keep your job in talk radio.

After Keith Olbermann’s firing, there were of pleas made by minority journalists for MSNBC to consider hiring or promoting someone of color to the supposedly “liberal’ network’s evening lineup.  Instead, MSNBC got even  Whiter by eliminating the 10:00 pm reruns of “Countdown” and moving Schultz’s early evening show into primetime.

MSNBC’s motto may be “lean forward” but their commitment to diversity falls back into the bad old days when only White men were providing the news.

What does Ed Schultz really believe?   Yeah, he can bluster and bellow with the worst of them and make his colleagues Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’ Donnell look like Tea Party Patriots, but how much of Schultz’s song and dance just for show or sincerely what he believes in?

Switching rather than fighting paid off handsomely for Big Eddie the Blowhard, but there’s something about him that screams “opportunist.”   If he’s changed his beliefs before will he change them again if someone offers him enough cash to do it?  For years liberals have cried foul when Limbaugh and others on the Right have coarsened political debates with nasty personal slams to dirty up the opposition.   If it’s wrong when conservatives do it, it’s equally wrong when liberals start making mud pies too.

As far as it goes him calling Ingraham a “slut” that’s the wrong slur to use. Sluts give it away for nothing. Whores get paid and a man can be a whore too.

Don’t know about Ingraham’s private life, but Ed knows all about whoring himself for cash money, honey.  Maybe a little time off will remind him he’s no better than any of the right-wingers he rips.

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.

MSNBC ignores Pat Buchanan’s Hitler mancrush

Pat Buchanan: so Far-Right hes wrong.

Pat Buchanan: so Far-Right he's wrong.

Make a deal with the devil and you don’t change the devil.  The devil changes you.

But what if you’re someone who admires Adolf Hitler, the closest thing the world has ever seen to the devil in the flesh?

What if you actually wrote a column that suggests Poland started World War II and Hitler not only wanted peace, he didn’t even want to invade Russia.

You’d probably be Patrick J. Buchanan.

If Hitler wanted the world, why did he not build strategic bombers, instead of two-engine Dorniers and Heinkels that could not even reach Britain from Germany?

Why did he let the British army go at Dunkirk?

Why did he offer the British peace, twice, after Poland fell, and again after France fell?

Why, when Paris fell, did Hitler not demand the French fleet, as the Allies demanded and got the Kaiser’s fleet? Why did he not demand bases in French-controlled Syria to attack Suez? Why did he beg Benito Mussolini not to attack Greece?

Because Hitler wanted to end the war in 1940, almost two years before the trains began to roll to the camps.

~ Patrick J. Buchanan,  9-1-2009

MSNBC carried Buchanan’s column on their website  but removed it when a Jewish Democratic activist published an article on The Huffington Post  about Buchanan’s  pro-Hitler sentiments

In response to a query from Politico.com, a MSNBC spokesman said, “An editorial decision was made to remove the column from msnbc.com. Pat is a contributor to MSNBC, his syndicated column does not speak for the network or represent the views of MSNBC.”

MSNBC may rightly be embarrassed by  Buchanan’s blog entry where he defends Adolf Hitler, but they have no one but themselves to blame.   It doesn’t take a background check by a private investigator to find evidence of Buchanan’s sympathy for the Fuhrer.   All it takes is a Google search.

The Anti-Defamation League has complied entire pages devoted to Buchanan’s bigotry including his  Hitler crush such as this gushing bit of revisionism:   “Those of us in childhood during the war years were introduced to Hitler only as a caricature…Though Hitler was indeed racist and anti-Semitic to the core, a man who without compunction could commit murder and genocide, he was also an individual of great courage, a soldier’s soldier in the Great War, a leader steeped in the history of Europe, who possessed oratorical powers that could awe even those who despised him. But Hitler’s success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path.”

St. Louis Globe – Democrat, Aug 25, 1977

What’s the difference between Buchanan praising Hitler as “individual of great courage” possessing both “extraordinary gifts” and “genius” and MSNBC giving him a national platform and Louis Farrakhan calling the Fuhrer “wickedly great?”   Is it that Farrakhan is a reviled figure by the good ol’ boy mainstream media while Buchanan  is regarded as a kindred spirit who occasionally says off-the-wall things about Nazis?

But MSNBC, the supposed left-wing alternative to Fox News, doesn’t seem to care about Buchanan’s history of making inflammatory remarks defending Hitler, denigrating homosexuals, demonizing feminists and degrading minorities.   He’s “Uncle Pat” who plays the role of the crotchety curmudgeon for Rachel Maddow so she can shake her head sadly over how backwards and bigoted he is.

Buchanan is older, but he hasn’t mellowed with age like a fine wine.  If anything he’s become even more of a bitter old bigot, homophobe and anti-Semitic than he was.   As recently as June  Buchanan and Maddow argued over his opposition to affirmative action and Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court.   Even Maddow had wearied of Buchanan’s White supremacy rap, but she shouldn’t have been so naive.  As recently as March 2008 Buchanan  had reacted to Barack Obama’s speech about race and ranted where was the gratitude from Blacks for all White Americans had done for them?

…America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

(Jeremiah) Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.

Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ’60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.

Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks — with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas — to advance black applicants over white applicants.

Churches, foundations, civic groups, schools and individuals all over America have donated time and money to support soup kitchens, adult education, day care, retirement and nursing homes for blacks.

We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?

Buchanan conveniently forgets if White Americans hadn’t set sail to enslave Black Africans in the first place, their damned “Christian salvation” wouldn’t have been necessary.

MSNBC ignored Buchanan's bigotry, but now tries to play dumb.

MSNBC needs to go further than merely removing Buchanan’s columns from their website.   He should be removed from their employment.

And why not?  What has Pat Buchanan done to justify his prominence as a political commentator?   He last job in government was 22 years ago as Ronald Reagan’s Communications Director from 1985 to 1987.   He ran for president three times, failed three times and succeeded only in solidifying the image of the Republican Party as captive to the extreme right-wing with his 1992 “culture war”  speech to the Republican National Convention.

Apparently, MSNBC thinks this perennial loser gives the perennial third place cable news network some small degree of stature.

MSNBC has given this Hitler groupie a forum for his hatred for far too long.  If  the  insufferably sanctimonious Keith Olbermann needs a worthy candidate he should nominate  Buchanan as a lifetime member of his “Worst Person in the World” list.