Keith Olbermann lashed out at Newsweek's Howard Kurtz for what he called a dishonest, enabling interview with Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.
Kurtz drew wide attention Monday for his piece on Ailes, which suggested that the cable news honcho had begun shifting Fox News away from some of its more hard-right leanings:
While Fox reporters ply their trade under Ailes's much-mocked "fair and balanced" banner, the opinion arm of the operation has been told to lower the temperature. After the Gabrielle Giffords shooting triggered a debate about feverish rhetoric, Ailes ordered his troops to tone things down. It was, in his view, a chance to boost profits by grabbing a more moderate audience.
Olbermann called this a "fanciful" notion, and pointed out that several Fox News anchors had recently devoted coverage to a paper clip that President Obama had used to hold a speech together. He also mocked the idea that Glenn Beck had, in Ailes' words, become a "branding issue" for Fox News.
"If you're endangering the Fox brand, you must be carrying the bubonic plague," OIbermann said. He wondered how Kurtz could have "mistaken" Ailes' real efforts, which he said were to help choose the next GOP candidate for president and to get huge ratings in the process.
Olbermann also talked to Daily Kos editor Markos Moulitsas about the article. He called the Kurtz piece "the essence of journalistic dishonesty," and said that it reflected the same "enabling process that allowed Fox News to get where it is."