Accuracy in Media

The Hollywood Reporter interviewed MSNBC vice president of programming Bill Wolff about what happens now that Keith Olbermann is gone an the network’s addiction to Sarah Palin.

In the article Paul Bond points out that Olbermann first mentioned Palin’s name way back in July of 2008 and according to a Lexis-Nexis search had managed to do so another 319 times before departing the network.  But despite having MSNBC’s highest rated show and biggest megaphone Olbermann’s mentions of Palin  paled compared to non-stop talker Chris Matthews whose addiction to Palin resulted in a whopping 420 mentions and counting.

Since the Tucson shooting Matthews has mentioned Palin almost every night so it won’t be long before he hits the 500 mark at this rate.

No wonder The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank has called for a Palin-free month in February. And he’s a liberal.

This compares with around 400 mentions on Fox split between O’Reilly  and Hannity in the 2008-09 period.  The difference here really is that the Fox mentions of Palin were largely positive while MSNBC’s were overwhelmingly negative.

When asked about why MSNBC is so obsessed with Palin Wolff replied that “She’s powerful and important,” and that “she matters.”

Wolff bristled at the notion that the airtime Palin receives is driven by politics or profits and called any such idea “nonsense.”

To further reiterate his point he told Bond:

“MSNBC does not have a political agenda. The idea that we’re beholden to one side or the other is ridiculous,” he says. “And if Sarah Palin is so good for business, why would we want to destroy her? We tell the truth. We hold up a mirror and say, ‘This is what’s going on.’ We’re not so crass to think that she’s good for business, therefore we’ll talk about her.”

But that is dancing around the issue especially when MSNBC’s vice president Phil Griffin has admitted that the network has a “progressive flow” when it comes to the shows it airs. That’s just a code word for liberal or left wing and the network has been very true to that “flow” with its evening lineup.

It’s hard to imagine that in the face of the programs MSNBC airs and what is said on them that Wolff can actually make the claim about not having a political agenda with a straight face.  Either he’s completely delusional or he doesn’t watch any of the programs the network airs.

Wolff just needs to admit that Palin is good for business and that MSNBC’s viewers love to see her ripped to shreds by the network’s various hosts whether or not they are accurate.  Yes Palin is newsworthy but if the pro-Palin crowd at Fox is mentioning her only about half as much as their liberal counterparts at MSNBC then you know it’s less about the news she makes and more about her politcs.

Olbermann may be gone but the liberal bias will continue.

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