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On Olbermann and MSNBC: Down the transparency road in the wrong direction @jeffjarvis

November 07, 2010 By: Theoblogical Category: Theoblogical

Jarvis nails it (as he does so often re:  journalism and its antics)

The problem with Olbermann’s contributions is not that he made them but that he hid them — it’s the coverup that always gets you in trouble [pace R. Nixon] — and that MSNBC made him hide them. The problem with MSNBC suspending Olbermann is that it heads down transparency road in exactly the wrong direction, toward continued opacity. And the problem with MSNBC’s policy that makes contributing to candidates a suspendable offense is that it prevents journalists from acting as citizens of the communities they are to serve.

BuzzMachine: Time to stop hiding

This and other similar moves by liberal/progressive news organizations is giving intellect a bad name.  Who REALLY believes there IS such a thing as true objectivity?  I would find the organization that really does a good job at this to be extremely boring.  It seems obvious to all of us when it comes to “news” that the org who shouts “fair and balanced” (ie.: “objective”, “factual”) loud enough are the very ones who have true motives to hide. 

I think most people understand that journalists and organization heads VOTE.  And that they can still be journalists however they vote.  Why then is MSNBC pitching such a fit? 

Don’t we liberals deserve our Fox News, but with intelligence, sanity, openness? That was its promise. But like NPR, it is now a place where opinions and action are verboten

Amen , Jeff.

There is another issue that this matter stirs up in me.  It is how ,  in the church,  we are also expected to “keep our political opinions to ourselves” when we are preaching,  teaching,  or doing something in the capacity of teacher/opinion as a ministry of the church.  Here we have again,  an attempt to deny what for many people is an integral piece of one’s “church membership”.  To the extent that public policy DOES impact the populace,  particularly the poor, there is a strong drive to advocate and to work for relief from those policies,  as well as to bring the story and the impact to light.  Given,  it is a problem when church folks who “advocate” leave this ultimately in the hands of the state for the solution. There is still the call to the church to actually provide alternative structures and means to alleviate said problem. Many fall into what David Fitch calls “The Great Giveaway” (in his book of that title).  Instead of pitching their tent with the oppressed group,  they stay at the “public square” to “advocate” while staying away from the actual people for whom they advocate.  This is “farming  it out” to the state.  This becomes nothing more than secular politics with occasional theology thrown in.

Now if a church is engaged with a group affected by public policy which they are working to change,  do the political machinations become off limits?  Do they avoid confronting certain candidates who oppose,  or NOT SUPPORT candidates who ARE INVOLVED with said issue? 

And when it comes to matters of war,  how does the  church say what it means about peace and non-violence?  To avoid voice in matters of war in order to avoid the inevitable conflation of nationalism with faith,  and “offend” the sense of “criticize America and you offend God who established this ‘chosen people’”; is this not a similar move in order to “maintain some sort of “objectivity” on this issue,  as if there are “two equally valid arguments” from which to choose?  Sometimes there are simply WRONG sides to take.  Did the slavery issue in the mid 1800’s feature debates with “two equally valid arguments”?  I don’t think we could call them “equally valid” today. 

3 thoughts on “On Olbermann and MSNBC: Down the transparency road in the wrong direction @jeffjarvis

  1. dlature says:

    Not quite sure I go along with that. Earlier post challenged the idea that the "extremes" are equally "extreme" or JUST AS INVALID.

  2. dleary1 says:

    I tweeted with Jeff Jarvis concerning his use of the word "hidden" to describe the contributions. He was willing to revise the term to "not revealed." Cleared public contributions that are logged on the internet by one's name cannot be said to be "hidden." I'm not crazy about "not revealed" (is Keith also expected to explain all his charitable contributions on the air?), but it's a lot better than "hidden" (though I'm reminded of Orwell's "not unblack dog").

    1. dlature says:

      what's your twitter handle?

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