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September 2, 2006

Olbermann News Clip Getting Major Circulation on YouTube

One of the most popular new clips making its way around YouTube is MSNBC's Keith Olbermann's commentary last week against Donald Rumsfeld and the current administration for what he views as their continued use of lies and fears to create an environment of fear in this country to allow the administration to continually make and cover up bad decisions.

Olbermann likens this administration to the 1930s British administration that ignored the Nazi threat and claimed Winston Churchill was wrong in his assertions, reversing a claim from Rumsfeld that they were like Churchill in the 30s. Of course, Rumsfeld was claiming that they could see a threat when everyone else could not, but Olbermann's comparison is to the faulty logic and lack of facts from Rumsfeld in being much like the British administration of Neville Chamberlain in the 30s.

Olbermann channels the spirit of Edward R. Murrow and even ends the clip with a direct quote from the famed journalist, which you will recognize from Good Night and Good Luck, transforming the quote as a direct warning against Rumsfeld instead of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

C3 Director Henry Jenkins sent me this clip, noting that, since the MSNBC program is not particularly higher rated, "this is one of those clips that is being seen by far more people digitally than saw it via broadcast."

Although I feel the political message is powerful here and cannot be ignored, despite how you feel about the current administration, the implications of this clip's popularity on YouTube shows how quality broadcast journalism or powerful journalistic commentary can have continued life in the blogosphere and in the current convergence culture.

In an environment of transient 24-hour news programming, where most comments come and go into the ether without anyone ever paying lasting attention, YouTube and similar video sharing sites are a place in which these types of comments retain and actually even grow in relevance over time.

So, for all those journalists who fear convergence culture, they should realize that this type of archiving gives added, not diminished, relevance to their work.


Daily Show and Colbert report. Better news. I'd bet both get wider viewership via YouTube then cable.

KO's statement is now frozen in time and that may not be good. I'm not clear on why you think KO's work is more relevant? It has a longer shelf life, wider distribution, greater viewership but I'm not sure I'd map relevance to any of those traits.

Embrace truthiness
Bush Junior for King!

Posted by: Siddiq | September 5, 2006 7:09 PM

Hey, I'm not Olbermann watcher, nothing against him. Just to bring home my point, this truly is the first time I've ever seen his work, the YouTube clip, which proves he's going to reach a far greater audience.

As for Colbert and Stewart, you'll find if you search their names in the archives that I write about them on a fairly regular basis, especially Stephen. In fact, I think I am going to declare myself as media studies' Colbertian, since I find myself blogging about something that was driven by his show on a fairly regular basis.

Considering the number of college campuses that don't get Comedy Central, for instance (ours doesn't), there are a lot of people who can only watched Colbert and Daily Show online, either through iTunes or through YouTube clips or whatever they can find on BitTorrent.

By the way, Siddiq, when I said relevant, I meant relevant to the nation as a whole not as in on-topic. The on-topic-ness of his diatribe doesn't change when more people watch it and when it has a longer shelf life, but its relevance in American history and in its impact grows when there are more and more people seeing it, people having the ability to share it with others (as Henry did with me), etc.

Posted by: Sam Ford | September 7, 2006 11:01 AM
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