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Friday, May 13, 2005

Cup o' Tea

Posted by: Hammer / 10:20 AM

I guess Surfer Girl just isn't my cup of tea. First, critically blogging (is there another kind?) about a television show mocking another television show about blogging seems a bit silly.

Of course, blogging about blogging about a television show about a television show about blogging makes perfect sense to me.

Surfer Girls writes well. I enjoy her prose, but I think her substance too often misses the mark:

Stewart also mentions the growing phenomenon of the "anchor blog" -- forums for the networks' hosts to tie up the loose ends of their on-air bloviations. I'd say more about these, but that would involve reading them. The point is, we don't want Joe Scarborough or Keith Olbermann or Dan Abrams to be sitting around MSNBC headquarters blogging (if in fact they do write the blogs attributed to them). We want them to be preparing for the guests on their shows, checking the reporting on their stories, and generally acting like journalists. TV journalism can only hope to compete with the new media that threaten to eclipse it by remaining resolutely unhip and using the resources it does have -- good visuals, professional reporters, and lots and lots of money -- to tell it like it is.
Here's the thing: Keith Olbermann's blog is actually very good. Olbermann writes well with an an interesting perspective. In fact, he even does a fair amount of reporting in his blog. In further fact, the reporting in his blog would be awful television. Take, for example, his review of the first fifteen Pope Benedicts. No visuals, no on-site reporters, no need to spend lots and lots of money. His blog coverage of Schiavo and the Ohio post-election vote contests was outstanding.

Surfer Girl's point -- that these anchors have important jobs they should take seriously, prepare for, and perform well -- is not lost on me.The Daily Howler has made the point before:

And oh by the way: What else did Koppel do Thursday night, after he left the Powell roast? When Powell stood to speak, he explained: "Ted had to leave. He's got to do this late-night show that nobody watches." Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Everyone laughed at the fatuous quip because a plupotent fellow had told it. But yes, that’s right -- Koppel left the roast to do Nightline. And maybe that’s why he was so unprepared when the show went on the air -- when John O’Neill lied in his face that night. Earlier that day, Koppel had found plenty of time to pal around with the people he "covers" and no time for some simple background reading. Maybe that’s why he didn’t know jack when John O’Neill lied in his face.
At bottom, the question is whether Olbermann's blogging advances or hinders the public discourse which he has the privilege of shaping. I've read the blog and, rarely, watched the show. I say the blogging advances the discourse by providing additional depth and detail to the stories he covers. Surfer Girl suggests the blog has the potential to detract from Olbermann's preparation. She might be right, but what standing does she have to criticize Olbermann's preparation when she admits that she couldn't be bothered to read his blog?


Besides this fine publication, and Media Matters, Olbermann's blog is one of the only others I read regularly. I like him. He is sincere. He is not interested in bashing you across the face with a political stance; he just gives you the news with a unique angle. Also, as of today, Keith has the least-annoying news program on 24hourcablenews.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:41 AM  

Careful, monostereo, lest you incur the wrath of the Surfer Girl apologists.

By Blogger Hammer, at 10:48 AM  

Olbermann rules. He and Jon Stewart are my only sources of TV news since the tragic 2004 presidential election.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:14 AM  

As a new resident of Stillwater, I am also quite smitten by this blog dealing with my kook/dingbat representative, Michelle Bachmann. She needs to be sent somewhere, possibly to hell.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:12 PM  

I like Surfer Girl, but would agree she misses the mark with her comments regarding Olbermann. I also rarely watch Countdown, but regularly read his blog. Olbermann's blog offers insight and content that would be out of place on Countdown.

I can't speak to the Matthews, Abrams or Scarborough blogs.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:12 PM  

I like Surfer Girl's style, but it seems like I disagree with her a lot. And about important stuff, too, like Dylan covers.

By Blogger Hammer, at 12:31 PM  

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