Conor Friedersdorf laments for television news.
There’s an important caveat that Benen left out: Olbermann offered something that couldn’t be found elsewhere on television. For liberals who like that medium, I’m sure the show proved cathartic. But wouldn’t they be better informed, more meaningfully entertained, and psychicly happier if just read Washington Monthly instead? Yes, I know, television is a very popular medium (mostly because it demands so little from its audience). But it is the worst way to engage politics in America. Compared to reading it is a wildly inefficient time suck. The format itself often strips the issue at hand of all nuance. It rewards demagoguery, and the host’s words disappear into the ether so fast that inaccuracies slip easily past and are seldom corrected for the people misled by them. Often as not, its producers and writers just take insights from the written medium and dumb them down.