10.2.08

Suspension Coming for Keith Olbermann?

Howard Wolfson, communications director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, called it “disgusting” and “beneath contempt.”

He characterized it as something that “should never be said on a national news network.”

He also brought up the Chris Matthews apology, the one in which the “Hardball” host said he was sorry for suggesting that Hillary's political success was due to her spouse having had an affair with an intern.

“At some point,” Wolfson said, “you have to question whether there is a pattern at this particular network.”

What’s the “it” that has Wolfson so exercised?

James Hirsen is a media analyst, Trinity Law School professor and teacher of mass media law at Biola University.

Well, Wolfson’s remarks were about David Shuster and the comments the fill-in host made about Chelsea Clinton’s campaign role. Shuster used the words “pimped out” in reference to the campaign’s use of Chelsea to recruit Democratic Party super delegates in support of her mother.

Most would agree that the remarks were regrettable, but what about the “pattern” to which Wolfson referred?

The subject network here is none other than MSNBC. But the unnamed perpetrator of the “pattern” is one of its most outspoken and opinionated hosts, Keith Olbermann.

Olbermann is billed on NBC and MSNBC as a journalist. He has called one of his favorite targets, Fox News’ “Factor” host Bill O'Reilly, a “passive-aggressive racist.”

This is the same Olbermann who in narrating an NFL play described a punt return by Roscoe Parrish, a wide receiver who happens to be African-American, as “Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles at its finest.”

Olbermann also described a supposed conversation between Bill Clinton and Bill Richardson, the New Mexico governor of Hispanic descent, in which Clinton was “asking Richardson for an endorsement and then, ‘would you please pass the guacamole?’”

The “Countdown” host also said that the Bush administration was an example of facism, claiming that it was similar to The Third Reich, and compared Fox News to the Nazis as well.

Meanwhile Shuster profusely apologized to the Clintons and in return was given a suspension.

The suspension was apparently not enough for Hillary. The senator and presidential candidate wrote a letter to president of NBC Steve Capus, which stated that “no temporary suspension or half-hearted apology is sufficient” for the language that Shuster used.

Hillary also asked Capus to “look at the pattern of behavior on your network that seems to repeatedly lead to this sort of degrading language.”

As long as Capus is looking, maybe he ought to take a glance in Olbermann’s direction.

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