Defending Olbermann and Hannity

Is it possible to defend Keith Olbermann and Sean Hannity at the same time?
Yes — if they agree on a common principle. And in this case, though they both may deny it, they should agree on this principle: Both of them, as openly partisan hosts (Olbermann a liberal Democrat and Hannity a conservative Republican) should have the right to make donations to candidates or causes they believe in.
In fact, Fox has no problem with Hannity making political contributions because management makes no pretense that Fox’s evening shows are objective news-reporting programs that should be held to journalistic rules of political neutrality. Fox makes a distinction between its news organization — including such widely respected national political reporters as Carl Cameron, Jim Angel and Wendell Golar — and its political evening shows.


Keith Olbermann rises from the dead!

He’s back! Tuesday night. But the big question of the day remains: Should MSNBC have suspended Keith Olbermann in the first place?

And the big answer of the day is: Hell, no!

Look, I do think the best policy is for paid performers on radio and television not to make any political contributions. That, in fact, was the rule at CNN when I worked there, as co-host of “Crossfire.” And, believe me, as many other TV and radio hosts will admit, that’s not necessarily a burdensome policy. Let me tell you, it saved me a lot of money! Because it gave me a good excuse not to write a check.


Who’s afraid of Eliot Spitzer? Perry berated

In newly reelected Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s first TV interview, he was given the same rough treatment Rand Paul was when he was berated by Rachel Maddow and the same Sarah Palin was when she was attacked and mocked by Tina Fey, David Letterman, Katie Couric and many others.

Welcome to the realm of the winged monkeys. It was a telling moment: The thing they instinctively feared in Sarah Palin and Rand Paul they find again in Rick Perry. But it is much worse. This time it is real. Rick Perry is a master. Everything the Tea Party said and did these last two years takes shape and form in Perry’s reelection.


Press and the blame game

There’s always plenty of blame to go around come Election Day. This year is no different. Republicans blame Democrats for this economic mess we’re in. Democrats blame Republicans for putting us there. Obama blames Bush for just about everything. White House senior adviser David Axelrod and press secretary Robert Gibbs blame the “unnamed” donors for the money deficit Democrats face.
Democrats are even blaming pollsters for their ill fortunes. Early on Sunday morning, Dem operatives issued an e-mail titled “Public Polling is Crap this Cycle” in response to a survey showing Nevada Democratic Rep. Dina Titus down by nearly double digits to her GOP opponent.


Comedy central

President Obama makes for a bad straight man.

He was a complete bore on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, as he pontificated on how great his administration’s accomplishments have been and how he knew all along that this was going to be a tough election for Democrats.

Mr. Obama’s appearance on “The Daily Show” reminds one of John McCain’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live” the weekend before the presidential election two years ago. Except McCain was very funny.


The Juan Williams affair

I listen to National Public Radio all the time.

It has great programs. “Car Talk” is hilarious. So is “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.”

I learn a lot from Warren Olney’s program, “To the Point.” I also listen religiously to “Marketplace,” with Kai Ryssdal.

NPR has a bit of a slant on occasion, and many of its programs are a complete waste of time. But if you wade through the stupid stuff, you can get some excellent entertainment.


NPR & terrorists — 1; Americans — 0

This week, in a rare moment of candor, Juan Williams set down his journalist hat and spoke the truth about his feelings when on a plane with passengers wearing traditional Muslim garb. Yes, he was on national television. Yes, he was on conservative Bill O’Reilly’s show — a usual hotbed of fiery rhetoric. But his words were neither bombastic nor laced with hatred.


Why is Meghan McCain on TV?

The spawn of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is doing herself, her father and the GOP no favors. On ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, the 26-year-old Meghan McCain (R-or-D, of absolutely nothing) tore into Delaware's GOP Senate nominee, Christine O'Donnell, sharing with a national television audience that "in my group of friends, it turns people off because she's seen as a nut-job." In truth, many Republicans share that view, which should not come as a surprise to anyone. But why is it that we are listening to a 26-year-old with no political or professional accomplishments of her own? Her book Dirty, Sexy Politics would not be possible were it not for her good luck of being the daughter of John McCain.


Glenn Beck hearts Chris Christie

Have you heard? Glenn Beck has a new man-crush: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — the only Republican on the scene today Beck says he’d support for president.

He’s Beck’s new squeeze because of his ugly eruption in California last week. When a man named Ed Buck asked Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman at a campaign rally why she wouldn’t answer any questions, Christie grabbed the microphone, ran over to the guy, attacked him for daring to ask a question, told him to sit down and shut up and accused him of trying to “divide this country.”


A new edge on journalism?

If you didn't read the Washington Post story yesterday on D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and how his campaign unraveled in the months leading up to yesterday's primary loss that cost him his seat, you must. Post reporters Nikita Stewart and Paul Schwartzman do a superb job of placing the reader inside the rooms where key decisions (and non-decisions) were made by the mayor that ultimately cost him his seat.

Yet what most amazed me about the story was the day it ran — less than 24 hours following Election Day. In a journalistic-dexterous way, these two reporters went around town interviewing the innermost circles of aides and confidants to the mayor to find out "what happened" before it happened. Reading the polls and political tea leaves, Post editors gambled that Chairman Vincent Gray would best his opponent. So beginning from that end, the reporters worked back to uncover how and what went wrong. That's impressive, folks.