Media

I survived my month without Dana Milbank

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank has been hoping for a month without Sarah Palin: “I admit there were doubts in those early days about whether I could make it through all of February without invoking her name. The tremors and sweats were manageable.” (Irony!)

The others had backed down; the "Saturday Night Live" late-night comics (they still have that?) and Katie Couric, that incredible disappearing woman; New York Times columnist Frank Rich has quit, Letterman in a world of hurt, internally eviscerated by Vengeance Demons. Kathleen Parker, the first to call Palin “out of her league,” won a Pulitzer Prize for defending the old temple, then got “revised” out of her big new gig with Eliot Spitzer. And Keith Olbermann has been sent to the neverwhere with Al Gore.

Those who shrieked in pain and apoplexy into my phone on the day Palin was nominated for VP have not been heard from again. Hopefully they have gotten back on their meds.

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Courting birther nuts, Huckabee plays the Kenyan Mau Mau card against Obama

Where do Republicans find these guys? Now former Arkansas governor current Fox News host and possible aspirant to be America's president Mike Huckabee dramatizes again why a majority of voters reject the Republican far right and why the Republican field of presidential candidates is so weak.

In the endless need to consider cranks, weirdos and haters a core part of the Republican coalition, speaking on the radio, Huckabee said (falsely) that the president grew up in Kenya, and said (incredibly) that the president has a different view from most Americans of the Mau Mau revolution in Kenya.

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C-SPAN: The new reality show

On June 11, 2002, when "American Idol" premiered on the Fox Network, it introduced the American people to their first taste of crushing reality. Thousands of people auditioned in front of three judges, hoping upon hope that they would grab the brass ring, that their singing talents were so immense that they would be a big star.

Simon Cowell, who had the guts and the fortitude to tell the would-be singers that they sucked, mostly crushed the hopes of the overwhelming majority of contestants. Cowell wasn’t nice about it. He was brutal. And it was just about what America needed to hear. We can’t all be stars. Some people have voices that are best left in the shower.

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Matt Drudge defines the debate

The blunt truth is, Matt Drudge has probably had more influence deciding the political narrative in Washington than any individual in America, except President Obama in 2008 with his "hope and change" agenda that has largely disappeared.

When I refer to the power of Drudge, I refer to the power to determine and define the political story line that dominates our national debate. It is more than Drudge. Just as the Obama campaign dominated the story line in 2008, the Tea Party movement dominated the story line in 2010 and (for better or worse) the Tea Party story line still rules our debate today.

Drudge has what liberals and Democrats lack: a coherent and consistent narrarative about American politics, the ability to drive that narrative through multiple media and the staying power to drive the narrative year after year, relentlessly and successfully.

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Fox News should fire Glenn Beck; Speaker Boehner should denounce the birthers

Fox News should fire Glenn Beck because there are some "opinions" that should not be given prominence on a network that purports to be a serious news station. Beck has the right to express his opinions, but a publicly traded company that presumes to be a credible news network should not be aiding and abetting the spreading of hate using its shareholders' money on the public airwaves.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) should denounce the birthers clearly, unequivocally, immediately and unconditionally and should state, without qualification, that President Obama is a Christian and an American. A leader of one of our two great parties, and the leader of the whole House of Representatives, which is the true role of the Speaker, should not give one ounce of credence to the politics of lies and hate, or leave one inch of doubt that he condemns the politics of lies and hate.

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Keith Olbermann joins Al Gore: The professional left strikes back!

When Keith Olbermann joins forces with Al Gore and Current TV, it will be a bonanza day for progressives that will generate an excitement and enthusiasm that will benefit Current TV, MSNBC, the progressive movement and progressive media as a whole.

The most underrepresented audience group on television today is the large progressive movement in America. MSNBC has tapped into this movement, which is why MSNBC has surpassed CNN in the ratings.

If Keith Olbermann joins forces with Al Gore it will be powerful and good for Current TV, for the progressive movement, and in my view for MSNBC as well.

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MSNBC will thrive, Keith Olbermann will return (somewhere else)

After I ended my time working for Democratic leaders in Congress and went into (real) business, my most significant client was Frank Sinatra through his agency. Great talent often comes with great tumult. Keith Olbermann was and remains a giant talent, and what happened last week was regrettable but not surprising.

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The WikiLeaks revolution continues

Recent press reports about the continuing adventures of WikiLeaks assure: 1) that this phenomenon will not go away anytime soon; 2) that the definition and role of media is changing in warp speed; 3) and that the virtue of whistleblowers is in question.

1. That the Wiki phenomenon isn’t going away is clear. The latest news reports are that Wiki is about to publicize thousands of private records of the Swiss bank Julius Baer, embarrassing, and possibly incriminating, politicians, business leaders, “pillars of society.” Wiki leader Julian Assange claims this new trove of secret documents will “educate society” about money-laundering by worldwide banks and their ultra-wealthy depositors.

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Chris Christie, Mike Bloomberg, Haley Barbour have a very bad December

It has been a tough December for media darlings in American politics.

Let’s give three examples:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) faces a barrage of criticism from New Jersey voters for choosing to continue vacationing in sunny Florida while voters were deluged with snow, ice and blizzard. His Republican lieutenant governor was in Mexico during the blizzard, visiting an ill relative. No fault in that, but the governor should have been at his desk dealing with the blizzard and not engaging in leisure, entertainment, sporting and bathing pursuits while New Jersey voters were suffering the snow.

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Responsible reporting

There's a possible expectation of "accountability journalism" that includes fact-checking of interviewees and realtime challenge of misstatements. That also includes coverage of important but buried stories, wherein mainstream media is called to task for lack of coverage, etc.

The best recent example of this was the last episode of "The Daily Show," where accountability journalism was executed brilliantly. This could have a dramatic effect on American politics, and out here, we feel we sure need it.

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