In case you missed it, the other day, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann flew the coop on Twitter after numerous people called him out for giving a pass to Michael Moore’s inappropriate comments about the rape charges against Julian Assange. He informed the Twitter world that he didn’t like being under attack and announced that he would quit Twittering, the online equivalent of taking your marbles and going home.
Not a great way to treat your viewing public to say the least but for a moment, tis the season, let’s be charitable and cut the guy some slack–it has got to be exhausting to have your very own well-watched show and sometimes we all do dumb things in the heat of the moment. So Keith, take a break, rest up and maybe ask yourself this–in fact, let me re-phrase it–I’m asking you, call it my holiday wish–please ask yourself whether you are perhaps the victim of your own show.
Week after week, most of the people who you invite on your show are men. Most of them are white. They look a lot like you. They sound a lot like you. The impression one gets is that white dudes are the most important voices to listen to. It sends a message and not a good one.
But the truth is, if you stop and really listen to what was said to you on Twitter, sometimes white dude myopia gets it very wrong. In fact that happens a lot and it needs to be called out. And when it is, covering your ears, or in this case your computer monitor is not the right response.
In fact it is kind of scary because let’s just consider this–Over the last few weeks, a concerted effort has been made to knock Wikileaks off the internet and cut off their funding. The U.S. military is cutting off access to the New York Times and other news outlets because they have participated in the release of the Wikileaks documents. These actions point to the very real vulnerability we face regarding our access to the internet and information. Right now Comcast, a major internet service provider and media outlet is trying to buy the NBCs. And what happens if they don’t like what you say? All they have to do is pull the plug and take their marbles and go elsewhere. So please, enough of this juvenile behavior. Realize the possibility that you got it very wrong and open yourself to listening and learning.
If there is anything we should learn from Wikileaks, it is that the communications business has changed. Corporate media can no longer say this is the frame and walk away without expectation of being challenged. It’s not a one-way street anymore, the traffic now flows both ways and goodnight and good luck won’t cut it anymore.