The credibility meltdown of MS-NBC and the collateral damage to its parent isn’t exactly news here, but its competitors in the mainstream media have kept quiet about it — until now. Chris Wallace launched a broadside at the cable network last night, telling reporters at an industry event that the cable outlet has “lost all credibility” and accused Keith Olbermann of unprofessional conduct:
Continuing Fox News’ war of words with MSNBC, “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace accused its rival of being “in the tank” for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, while further pressing the news channel’s case that the mainstream press exhibits a liberal bias.
“I think MSNBC’s coverage went so far over the line that it lost all credibility,” Wallace told reporters Monday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour.
Wallace accused MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann of inappropriately mixing anchor and opinion-making duties, and said Fox News drew a distinction between its reporters and opinion-minded hosts.
“There’s a reason why Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity won’t be anchoring the election night or the conventions,” he said during the sesh at the BevHilton hotel.
Wallace and Brit Hume have the most journalistic credibility at Fox, with most of the rest of its on-air talent falling into the punditry. That’s two more than MS-NBC has, and its two most well-known personalities have long since given up any pretense at objectivity. Chris Matthews talks about Barack Obama in terms most people would find embarrassing for a paramour, the most notorious example being the “thrill up my leg” quote. Olbermann’s daily diatribes make Peter Finch’s scenery-chewing performance in Network look positively wooden. Both made it clear even in the primaries that they favored Barack Obama, and have skewed their reporting accordingly.
Fox does have a roundtable of pundits on its Special Report, which Hume hosts and in which he participates, though. That does tend to argue against Wallace’s assertions that Fox has some sort of Gorelick-like wall between news and editorial functions at the network. Wallace actually does a better job at keeping his politics separate from his reporting than Hume. While not even in the most fevered imaginations on the Left can anyone compare Hume to Olbermann or Matthews, the differences are in scale, not in structure.
I assume that Wallace will become Olby’s Worst Person in the World tonight, which would ruin Wallace’s day — if he believed anyone would bother to watch it.