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MSNBC host

June 14, 2008

IT'S ASTOUNDING that in a cable news environment where Fox News is an overt, 24-hour-a-day surrogate for the GOP, with news anchors who wondered on air this week whether Barack and Michelle Obama shared a "terrorist fist jab," where CNN provides a daily hour of airtime each to xenophobic Lou Dobbs and Glenn "Is Obama a Manchurian Candidate" Beck, Howard Rosenberg finds the future of broadcast news threatened by . . . liberal humor! ["Smirking Into the Sunset," June 7.]

Aghast that the "fellow macho men" at his gym are entertained by it, Rosenberg argues that "Countdown With Keith Olbermann," the lone progressive voice in a sea of right-wing cable outrages, is leading the ruination of broadcast journalism with its entertaining blend of news and humor. Evidently, a show that causes people to talk about the news the next day is a bad thing. Who knew?

Rosenberg decries "Countdown's" "echo chamber," in which apparently such regular interviewee-contributors as highly respected Newsweek reporters Howard Fineman and Richard Wolffe, or Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank are just Olbermann's "like-minded bobbleheads." If this is Rosenberg's standard for journalism and analysis, he should stay retired and be thankful his Pulitzer can't be revoked.

Steve Gordon

South Pasadena

HOWARD ROSENBERG berates Keith Olbermann for being a big ham and smirking. Maybe Olbermann doesn't present the news with the gravitas of Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow. At least Olbermann was not one of the media lemmings as described by Scott McClellan who unquestioningly reported the propaganda from the White House. It is the job of the news (L.A. Times included) to report when the emperor has no clothes. If the rest of the media would do their jobs, then maybe the future of the news would not be Olbermann.

Dave Guttman

Rancho Palos Verdes

MSNBC IS the worst "news" channel that was ever allowed to go on the air, and the worst offenders are Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Dan Abrams and their panels of "experts," their yes people. Pure venom.

I beg to differ with Rosenberg on one point. Keith Olbermann is not funny. He is, as are Matthews and Abrams, a bully, a misogynist, an abuser who has disrespected Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton with his bias and malicious comments. His perennial angry scowl is more like a bulldog in attack mode.

However, the worst offense is that he considers himself to be a "journalist," and by appropriating the sign-off line "Good night and good luck," he does not pay homage to Edward R. Murrow but rather sullies the name of an ethical and legendary newsman.

MSNBC's promotion and adulation of Sen. Barack Obama is unworthy of any news organization. It is devoid of any sense of fairness, professionalism, respect and decency.

Fortuna Spiwak


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