Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Open Letter to Phil Griffin at MSNBC

Dear Phil Griffin,

I read with interest your take on the Keith Olbermann / misogyny in the campaign issue. Please pay attention:

quote from Shakesville -

Griffin knows that some of that anger is aimed at his star anchor. "It was, like, you meet a guy and you fall in love with him, and he's funny and he's clever and he's witty, and he's all these great things," Griffin said of the relationship between Olbermann and the Clinton supporters among his viewers. "And then you commit yourself to him, and he turns out to be a jerk and difficult and brutal. And that is how the Hillary viewers see him. It's true. But I do think they're going to come back. There's nowhere else to go."

How many problems are there with this quote?

1. Griffin implicitly identifies all Clinton supporters as women. Clearly, wrong. I'm not even going to bother finding a link.

2. He casually uses the metaphor of a battered spouse / partner / girlfriend to illustrate his point. If these are the terms you're using to describe a hefty chunk of your audience, I think it goes without saying that his network has a problem. But beyond what it illustrates about his attitude toward Clinton supporters and women in general, his use of this metaphor trivializes violence against women. As a national news executive, one would hope (vainly, it seems) he would understand that comparing his ratings problems to the widespread problem of domestic abuse is way out of bounds.

3. He casts Keith Olbermann as an abuser. Did this guy even have a rudimentary course in public relations? I mean, rule No. 1 is "Don't call your client as a wife beater."

4. It's belittling. The whole quote paints the viewer (specifically, women viewers, mind you) as helpless, love-sick puppy dogs.

5. Ultimately, the abuse is OK. Olbermann doesn't have to do a damn thing because the viewer (read: women) will come crawling back. In a Fox-dominated world, there's no place else to go, right?

Personally, I can think of a number of different places one could go at 8pm on a weeknight (watch a DVD, read a book, frisky business with a lover). Shockingly, NONE of them involves watching Countdown on MSNBC!

I would like to add to that complete analysis - I was a cheerleader for KO's Countdown. I used to talk it up as the ONLY place to get the news with an acceptable truthiness quotient. I was glued to the tube for that hour. After Keith's poor showing this election season I no longer talk it up, and if I miss the program for an evening or two - so what?

The first step in changing yourself for the good is to acknowledge your failings. If Keith Olbermann actually thinks that all of us who are righteously outraged are hysterical - then perhaps you need to glean your tv personalities from somewhere besides the locker room.

Thank you for your time



Blogger StephenMartin said...

I couldn't agree more. This needs to be sent to the sponser's. They pay the bill. They need to know that if they sponser KO we will not purchase their products.

2:29 PM, June 18, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Out the door with KO, Griffin and Capus. When it gets warm Capus will bail on them. He is not a stand up guy.

6:32 PM, June 18, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the second time I wished Olbermann would chastise his bosses as worst person, or in any way at all, just to show that he doesn't appreciate what they've said or done. The first time was when NBC sent lawyers to stop Kucinich from appearing in the Democratic debate in Nevada, and this is the second time. He should have rebut Griffin's stupid remarks, but I guess he can't.

Olbermann's said he answers to no one, but he censors himself so he won't have to.

10:49 PM, June 18, 2008  
Blogger SB Gypsy said...

KO is counting on the fact that there's no other even faintly progressive voice on the news and we all have nowhere else to go. We need to do the same with him as with our elected officials: educate them and hold their feet to the fire until they do what we want.

12:24 PM, June 19, 2008  
Blogger Mauigirl said...

Two words: Jon Stewart. Less hyperbole and he didn't seem to favor one Democrat over the other. I think it became fairly clear toward the end that he was supportive of Obama but he'll rag on any of them and call them on things if they are out of line. He never castigated Hillary the way Olbermann did.

11:14 AM, June 21, 2008  

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