Diary

Has the Daily Kos community soured on Keith Olbermann?

keith olbermann daily kosA survey found that 65% of Daily Kos’ discussion of a recent Olbermann segment is negative.

Last week, Fox News’ Sean Hannity made an off-the-cuff offer to partake in waterboarding for charity, an announcement that MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann met with his own charity offer.

“For every second you last, a thousand dollars — live or on tape, provided other networks’ cameras are there,” the MSNBC anchor said. “A thousand dollars a second, Sean, because this is no game. This is serious stuff. Put your money where your mouth is, and your nose. Oh, and I’ll double it when you admit you feared for your life, when you admit the horrible truth — waterboarding, the symbol of the last administration, is torture.”

Over the past few years, members of the liberal blogosphere have been among Olbermann’s most ardent supporters, perhaps none more so than the diarists at Daily Kos. During every show of his the community hosts an “open thread” and Olbermann himself often blogs at the liberal site.

But the negative response the Kos community had for this Olbermann segment and others indicates a certain level of animosity is growing towards the MSNBC host. As of this writing, Olbermann’s charity offer has spawned nine diary posts and nearly 1,400 comments at Daily Kos. I surveyed a sizable percentage of these comments and found that approximately 65% of the discussion of Olbermann is negative. About 30% of the comments are positive, while the remaining 5% is neutral.

“Someone should ask Olbermann why he would want to inflict any such treatment on any other living human,” one commenter wrote. “And, if what he is proposing comes up short of what we did with our ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ what’s to be gained by giving Hannity any attention.”

Much of the negative coverage followed in this vein, while Olbermann supporters said that the anchor’s offer was a good idea, one that would finally teach Hannity that waterboarding constitutes torture.

“I disagree,” one person wrote. “This is co-opting Hannity’s stunt. I think Hannity is now in a losing position. Either he backs out, or Olbermann makes some actual good come out of Fox News.”

This isn’t the first indication that the Daily Kos community has soured on Olbermann. When CNBC’s Jim Cramer appeared on the Daily Show — an appearance that many considered an embarrassment to CNBC and its parent company — the Kos community harshly criticized Olbermann for not highlighting the interview on his show. Many accused him of bowing down to alleged demands that MSNBC anchors not mention the Cramer/Stewart interview. Olbermann himself showed up in the comment threads to defend himself from these charges.

But if this is a sign that the Kossacks have turned on Olbermann, who will take his place in the cable news lineup as the liberal blogosphere’s darling? Both Rachel Maddow and (ironically) FNC’s Sheppard Smith have been getting favorable coverage from Daily Kos in recent months. Might one of them become the blog’s newest champion?

Simon Owens is a media journalist and social media consultant. Email him at [email protected] or read more of his writing at his blog