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Ed Driscoll

Is America Getting Over A Low-Rated Television Polemicist?

January 31st, 2010 - 4:35 pm

At AOL’s Daily Finance page, liberal TV analyst Jeff Bercovici asks, “Is America Getting Over Keith Olbermann?”

Keith Olbermann was already a renowned sportscaster when he rose to prominence as a political commentator. This was during the Bush Administration, when the left was badly in need of a forceful voice to rally around. [Beyond Al Gore, John Kerry, Michael Moore, Bill Moyers, the Daily Kos, the Nation, the New Republic, the New York Times op-ed page, Air America, etc. -- Ed] Such was his popularity that MSNBC reoriented its entire primetime lineup around it.

But now the Democrats control Congress and the White House, and there are creeping indications that the world may not have quite as much need of — or patience for — Olbermann and his shtick as it once did.

Not that the world, let alone American cable viewers, had too much need or patience for Olbermann’s shtick to begin with:

Meanwhile, O’Reilly’s boss gets accused of impoliteness by — wait for it — the titular proprietress of the Huffington Post on ABC this morning:

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Aren’t you concerned about the language that Glenn Beck is using, which is, after all, inciting the American people? There is a lot of suffering out there, as you know, and when he talks about people being slaughtered, about who is going to be the next in the killing spree…

(CROSSTALK)

AILES: Well, he was talking about Hitler and Stalin slaughtering people. So I think he was probably accurate. Also, I’m a little….

HUFFINGTON: No, no, he was talking about this administration.

AILES: I don’t — I think he speaks English. I don’t know, but I mean, I don’t misinterpret any of his words. He did say one unfortunate thing, which he apologized for, but that happens in live television. So I don’t think it’s — I think if we start going around as the word police in this business, it will be…

HUFFINGTON: It’s not about the word police. It’s about something deeper. It’s about the fact that there is a tradition as the historian Richard Hofstetter said, in American politics, of the paranoid style. And the paranoid style is dangerous when there is real pain out there. [It sure is, Arianna -- Ed] I mean, with…

AILES: I agree with you. I read something on your blog that said I looked like J. Edgar Hoover, I had a face like a fist, and I was essentially a malignant tumor…

HUFFINGTON: Well, that’s…

AILES: And I thought — and then it got nasty after that…

HUFFINGTON: … that was never by anybody that we had…

(CROSSTALK)

AILES: Then it really went nasty, and I thought, gee, maybe Arianna ought to cut this out, but…

Heh.™

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