Monday, Sept 8, 2008
MSNBC is removing Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews as the anchors of live political events, bowing to growing criticism that they are too opinionated to be seen as neutral in the heat of the presidential campaign.
David Gregory, the NBC newsman and White House correspondent who also hosts a program on MSNBC, will take over during such events as this fall’s presidential and vice presidential debates and election night.
The move, confirmed by spokesmen for both networks, follows increasingly loud complaints about Olbermann’s anchor role at the Democratic and Republican conventions. Olbermann, who regularly assails President Bush and GOP nominee John McCain on his “Countdown” program, was effusive in praising the acceptance speech of Democratic nominee Barack Obama. He drew flak Thursday when the Republicans played a video that included a tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, saying that if the networks had done that, “we would be rightly eviscerated at all quarters, perhaps by the Republican Party itself, for exploiting the memories of the dead, and perhaps even for trying to evoke that pain again. If you reacted to that videotape the way I did, I apologize.”
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Matthews, who has criticized politicians in both parties, drew less criticism for his convention role but became a divisive figure during the primaries when he described how he was inspired by Obama’s speeches and made disparaging remarks about Hillary Clinton, for which he later apologized.
In May, MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in an interview that during live events Olbermann and Matthews “put on different hats. I think the audience gets it. . . . I see zero problem.”
This article was posted: Monday, September 8, 2008 at 12:51 pm