MSNBC, Current TV compete to cover Occupy Wall Street protests

Keith Olbermann was the first cable news anchor to cover the anti-corporate protests, and he appears to be enjoying the moral high ground from which he preaches to -- among others -- his old bosses, Keach Hagey reports.

Behind Olbermann’s media critiques is a bit of rivalry with his former employer MSNBC, which a revamped Current TV is now competing directly against for progressive viewers at 8 p.m. Olbermann has lured several former MSNBC hosts to his new home, including Cenk Uygur and David Shuster and has been forthright about wanting to beat them.

Ed Schultz anchored his Wednesday program from the protests, after hearing populist critiques similar to his own from the growing crowd, his producer told Hagey.

The enthusiastic coverage from Current and MSNBC at times has seemed like a mirror image of Fox News’s cheerleading for the early tea party rallies, giving credibility to those who argue that the movement could be the left’s tea party. But those who are running the coverage deny that they have stepped over the line from journalism to activism.

“We were there covering the event to find out what the story was all about, not to promote a specific agenda that any of the protesters had last night,” said Rich Stockwell, the executive producer of “The Ed Show.” ...

The conservative media watchdog the Media Research Center has been critical of how these stories were framed, pointing out that they didn’t label the protesters as “liberal” in the way that the mainstream media labeled the tea partiers as “conservative.”

MSNBC's ratings have declined since Olbermann's departure. | Arrests at OWS protest raise questions about NYPD press credential process (CJR) | Related: A Citizen's Guide to Reporting on #OccupyWallStreet


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