LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - TV isn't place to look for journalism


I am a little confused by your editorial (Nov. 10) decrying the reinstatement of Keith Olbermann to MSNBC after his donations to candidates. Do you really consider both Olbermann and your other example, Sean Hannity, to be journalists? In my opinion they are two sides to the same coin: shrill partisans causing long-term damage to our political discourse for short-term ratings victories.

If NBC anchor Brian Williams had made the same mistake I might be surprised but nothing that happens at the 24-hour "news" channels shocks me any more.

You state in your editorial that no news organization should have anyone cross the line from commentator to advocate but let's look at the record of Fox News, both Hannity in particular and his colleagues in general:

Sean Hannity donated $5,000 to Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and pledged $10,000 to former Fox host Robert Kasich's campaign for governor of Ohio. His list of endorsements of candidates runs several pages long at Mediamatters.org and if you want to read about all the Fox newsers' donations and endorsements you'll have to spend awhile at your computer scrolling down. Heck, even Newscorp, the parent company of Fox, owned by Australian-born Rupert Murdoch, donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association in this last election. The difference? At Fox News you don't have to get pre-approval for contributions like you do at NBC and other networks. So advocacy is encouraged. Do those journalistic standards sit well with you?

You seem more upset that Olbermann and his $2,400 donation were reinstated too soon. If you really dig beneath that story you'll find at its heart a grudge match between the egos of Olbermann and his boss, Phil Griffin, that has been going on for a long time. Griffin was looking for a reason to put Olbermann in his place and I'm sure Keith knew the donation was going to get attention. Hey, his name was in the paper every day for a week!

Let's face it, ratings are the only thing that matter to Fox, MSNBC and CNN. If you are looking for journalism you best look somewhere else. The truth is out there, people, turn off your TV and start looking.

Steve Michener

Walla Walla


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