Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday morning tunes: It took me by surprise, I must say -- KO's out at MSNBC (plus a Special Comment)

Here's music to listen to while we sift through the sure-to-follow rumors and leaks concerning Olbermann's abrupt departure from MSNBC. (Absent any other information Friday night, I'm guessing Comcast made this an unspoken part of their takeover deal, but time will tell.


And now, as promised, a Special Comment:

Longtime p3 correspondent and master of the mystic media arts Doctor TV wrote me shortly after the word got out:

The point that I want to make now is how meaningless it is for a news organization to cover itself. One might think that the unfettered journalism taught in our journalism schools would mean that MSNBC would have the best coverage of why and what happened. My goodness -- it happened in their own offices. If you read their coverage, you'll discover nothing that isn't already on the other news sites.

The byline says that it was written in part by MSNBC staff and from wire copy. I wonder why an event that happened next to your desk needs wire service copy to help get the story? Even if they couldn't get more official information from the suits, the reporters at MSNBC couldn't find an anonymous source somewhere in their own newsroom?

There is an official MSNBC statement and I imagine there will be no other explanation reported until someone else breaks the story. How do company reporters go beyond what their own company's flacks tell them is the truth?

Not surprised by this but it drives home the schism between what journalists believe they are and do and what occurs in the corporate media world where the news story is about the company that not only pays you but controls access to only the stories they want covered.

It isn't just MSNBC but any news agency that has to do self reporting -- think how bad the New York Times has been with any number of stories concerning itself.

And as for that "official MSNBC statement," here it is in its entirety:

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.

To appreciate fully the irony of that last highlighted bit, go here.

Good night and good luck.

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