If Joe Oliver knows one thing as a reporter, he knows that if you fight the media template, any media template, you put yourself in the cross hairs.
Oliver is the former news reporter who came out in defense of George Zimmerman in the tragic Treyvon Martin shooting.
Oliver has worked with CNN and WESH TV in Orland0. As a former TV news reporter myself, I always find it interesting when reporters attack other reporters on a basic story template. Sharp knives come out. Oliver had to have known he would get this treatment.
Oliver has gone on virtually every network as a friend of Zimmerman's and has been very vocal about saying he does not believe the shooting was racially motivated. Uh oh Joe, there you did it, you went out there and dared tell the media that it jumped to conclusions in the Martin shooting, and that they may not have the full story. You'd think Oliver had just questioned Global Warming or bad-mouthed windmills.
MSNBC did a panel discussion on Joe Oliver (a panel discussion on JOE OLIVER?) and gave him the full-on "Joe the Plumber" treatment. You could feel their anger for Oliver just for stepping up and giving the other side of the story (something I thought reporters loved.) They spent 10 minutes debating how close a friend he was to Zimmerman. Ignoring his words, were they going to act like junior high girls and try to find out if Oliver and Zimmerman were BF's or BFF's (that would be best friends forever?) I was waiting to see them check Oliver's Facebook page and twitter accounts to see who he followed (that may come up tomorrow.) MSNBC Contributor Jonathan Capehart wondered, "this same person (Oliver) doesn't talk to him ( Zimmerman) about his dreams and aspirations...he's not even a close acquaintance, he's just some guy." You mean like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, "just some guy" who decided to insert himself into this case, is that what you're saying Jonathan?
Listen to host Lawrence O'Donnell:
I think we just ripped away the veneer of what the Joe Oliver TV act is. There's absolutely nothing there, except a guy who for some strange reason, inexplicable, I just confessed to the audience that I find it inexplicable that he's dropped everything, he's dropped his job, he's dropped his income simply to go on television.
Yeah, I can't explain it either, Larry. Maybe he's just a reporter gone rogue out there destroying a template you have spent your entire career trying to create. Jackson and Sharpton are credible, Oliver inexplicable. Jackson and Sharpton are courageous pioneers while Oliver is a "TV act."
"How are you paying your expenses, is somebody paying you to do this for George?" blasted O'Donnell. Oliver calmly answered no, then O'Donnell continued his attack, "Did you spend time together in the workplace?" "Have you ever been alone with George Zimmerman?" "Do you know the Zodiac sign of George Zimmerman?" I made the last one up, but the line of questioning was that ridiculous. Lawrence had to attack a fellow reporter for not bowing to the well established template. Instead of being seen as a friend trying to give the media the other side of the story, Oliver was treated by MSNBC as if he were the perp. I'm guessing they think Oliver is guilty of a crime: the crime of being a former reporter questioning the media's version of events.
At one point the studio lights went out on Oliver's interview. I'm guessing that was an accident.
Charles Blow of the New York Times went through a totally silly and angry line of questioning, "have you ever heard George Zimmerman scream?" After Oliver said "yes," Blow said in disgust, "you don't have an answer." At one point Oliver acknowledged, "I know what I'm up against." Perhaps he does, but in his wildest nightmares he couldn't have pictured it this insane. It was clear throughout that MSNBC did not want to hear anything Oliver had to say.
The craziness continued on CNN, as contributor Keli Goff (who is black) even accused Oliver of being used as Zimmerman's typical "black friend" that people use when they get in racial trouble. That had to make Oliver feel good about being called an "Uncle Tom" on the network he used to work for.
I don't know if what Oliver is saying is accurate about Zimmerman; he's a reporter and a friend of the accused. Oliver is also African-American, and that makes this all the more troubling to the Activist Old Media. I have no idea what Oliver's motivation is---maybe it actually is what he says it is, to tell the truth about a friend. I can tell you this, I do know what Jackson's and Sharpton's motivation is. Everybody knows what their motivation is and Oliver has dared to say that as well. While we're at it, Oliver has also said he considers Jackson a friend, so what pretzel will you try to twist that into, MSNBC?
I do know this about the media: they are not there to solve this problem, as they would like you to believe from their promos. They are there to encourage angst and thus get ratings. They are also there to perpetuate and promote their template---even at the expense of one of their own if he dares get in the way.