Leave it to a high school journalism class to figure out what MSNBC could not.
MSNBC of course suspended popular host and commentator Keith Olbermann today because he made contributions to the campaigns of three political candidates, which is against NBC policy. It’s both stupid and hilarious to suspend Olbermann, an unapologetic liberal who has never hidden his political ideology.
It brings me to the conversation I had Tuesday with advanced scholastic journalism students from West Branch High School. I tweeted about it. I’ve also written about this subject before: What’s more important, balance or truth?
It’s truth. Every time. Whose truth? That’s a question for another time.
For now, I ask what is the greater crime against journalism. Is it Olbermann letting the public know exactly where he lands on the political spectrum? Therefore letting viewers decide for themselves whether they want to A) watch his show, and B) respect his commentary. Or Fox News’ creed of “Fair and Balanced,” even as it fuels hostility through propaganda, fear, vitriol and outright lies?
Obviously the deeper infraction is Fox News. Olbermann, for all his pompousness and self fornication, masks nothing. He is to be respected, not for his opinions, but for his forthrightness.
MSNBC suspended him. Boo.
Let’s stop pretending journalists are soulless, opinionless, regurgitating tape recorders with a single purpose to hit “play” on the soundtracks of others. We have opinions. Smart ones. So let’s be open about it.
High school students understand this. MSNBC does not.
Find Dave Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.