Media consumers can just imagine the stories they’d read if ESPN hired radio talker Rush Limbaugh to host his own one-hour show.
The term “conservative” would appear in the first paragraph, the word “divisive” would come next, and then we’d be treated to a greatest hits package of Limbaugh’s past alleged transgressions as well as a wish for Limbaugh to avoid political talking points.
None of that came to pass this week across many media outlets when far-left broadcaster Keith Olbermann got hired back by ESPN 2 to host his own program.
USA Today avoided labeling Olbermann’s politics and gently alluded to his past transgressions–the reasons why he keeps needing to find new employment.
After leaving many of his past jobs on less-than-friendly terms, Olbermann says he doesn’t want his past departure from ESPN “to be in the obituary” and pledges to “put a different ending to my relationship with ESPN.
Less than friendly?
Current TV fired Olbermann last year, and the parties ended up suing each other. Here’s what pushed Current TV over the edge regarding the broadcaster’s behavior:
In its counter-suit filed on Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Current attorneys fired back, claiming Olbermann “willfully” failed to show up for work and did not help create new programming or promote the network as he’d agreed to do when taking the job roughly a year ago.
Olbermann also allegedly bullied his fellow staffers at Current TV, and his clashes with MSNBC brass helped lead to his departure from that liberal enclave.
Even the broadcaster’s peers have railed against his misogynistic statements over the years, like when he referred to conservative media mogul Michelle Malkin as a “mashed up bag of meat with lipstick.”
Forbes.com sugarcoated Olbermann’s past, ignored labeling him as a liberal and even rooted him on to get political on the show, something that would never be said had Limbaugh been the focus of attention.
Business Week also left out any labels while applauding ESPN for the hire. At least the outlet includes a savory quote from an ESPN staffer–“he didn’t burn bridges here. He napalmed them.”
Media columnist Dylan Byers at Politico avoided any partisan labels, too, simply calling him “fiery.”
The wire service UPI similarly avoided any labels for Olbermann’s brand of politics.
Of course, Limbaugh did work briefly at ESPN until his media criticism regarding a black athlete forced him to resign. CNN was one of many outlets covering the story at the time, and the word “conservative” made it into the very first paragraph.