Pat and Keith’s Excellent Adventure: Pundit Soap Operas

Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Venerable daytime soap One Life To Live may have signed off for the last time Friday after 44 years, but the tales of two political pundits  are poised to take up the slack. msnbc reports that uber-conservative Pat Buchanan has been granted leave of absence from the cable network after coming out with his new screed book, Suicide of a Superpower. With tantalizing chapter titles  like The End of White America and The Death of Christian America, network chief Phil Griffin pulled the plug on msnbc’s version of the “Wild Man of Borneo” in October saying he “didn’t think it should be part of the national dialogue much less part of the dialogue on MSNBC.” Amen to that brother, but shouldn’t we at least get a little sample like this beaut:

Back then, black and white lived apart, went to different schools and churches, played on different playgrounds, and went to different restaurants, bars, theaters, and soda fountains. But we shared a country and a culture. We were one nation. We were Americans.

And here’s one that I selected in honor of Martin Luther King Day:

Half a century after Martin Luther King envisioned a day when his children would be judged ‘not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character,’ journalists of color are demanding the hiring and promotion of journalists based on the color of their skin. Jim Crow is back. Only the color of the beneficiaries and the color of the victims have been reversed.

Pure poetry there, Pat, and so true — in that  fawning Jim Crow sort of way you have. No word yet on just when Pat might make his triumphant return, but Vegas says the odds aren’t good for the  man who makes many of us think of Nixon and his gang of marauders along with that “Southern Strategy.” Query, who came up with  that idea for Nixon?  For the youthful readers, ol’ Pat was a “Tricky Dicky” speechwriter and political adviser before branching out into punditry.

The left wasn’t immune from the drama either, as acknowledged drama-king Keith Olbermann was MIA from the Al Gore fledgling network Current following a dispute over production values for his show, Countdown. Now, I’ve watched Olbermann a few times since his move from msnbc, and the production values at Current aren’t great from riotously funny graphic snafus to blown light bulbs, the show has that high school play feel sometimes, but for a cool 10 million dollars a year you think ol’ Keith could suck it up and at least attend the network’s coverage of the Iowa Caucuses. The sides have since made peace, but not until lawyering up over Keith’s role.  Olbermann is known for a thin skin, leaving both msnbc and ESPN in now famous huffs over issues like unauthorized political contributions and unauthorized TV appearances. The word at Current is that Olbermann was miffed when Al Gore hired former CNN exec David Borman as network president, effectively supplanting Keith as the network’s chief newsman.  Reports are that Olbermann removed the title as Current’s “chief news officer” from his Twitter page following the hire. While the network and it’s only star say they have made up for now, history says it’s only a matter of time until the next blowup.

Will Pat ever get back to Morning Joe and talking about the good ol’ days of the 50’s — the 1850’s? Can Keith avoid broadcasting in the dark and bringing his lawyers to every production meeting? Stay tuned.

Sources:  CBS News; New York Times; TPM

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

43 thoughts on “Pat and Keith’s Excellent Adventure: Pundit Soap Operas

  1. I enjoyed Keith’s emotional fire and leftie fervor during his MSNBC stint. I haven’t seen his Current show. I hope I never have to endure Buchanan again.

  2. I do not see what Buchanan has to do with Olberman or however one spells it but there was a saying relevant when Nixon was running for re-election which has been attributed to Patrick Buchanan: Dont Change Dicks In The Middle of A Screw: Vote For Nixon in ’72. That was printed on T shirts and bumper stickers.
    When they sell this new book for a dollar at the local Dollar Tree we will get a copy and keep it by the toilet in case we run out of the other paper which comes on a roll.

  3. Chief you are showing your age!
    Great article Mark. Mr. Buchanan is a racist, pure and simple. He actually longs for the Jim Crow days so it is interesting he claims that the White Man is now a victim of Jim Crow in reverse. Do white people have to use a separate bathroom Pat? Do white people have to attend a sub standard school? Do white people have to move to the back of the bus or drink from separate water fountains? Are black people hanging white people at the drop of a hat? Pat’s racism has blinded him.

  4. Mark,

    Thank you for saving me the time of finding out what Old Pat has written now.
    It seems indeed a screed, but curious, in that he is dropping all pretense of not being a racist and bigot. Could this be because the tenor on the Right has now shifted so far over that racism is yet again openly acceptable? Could that be because we have a Black President and that fact alone, aside from his policies, has enraged that element so much that they no longer need to resort to code to mask their bigoted hatred?

  5. Mark,

    Excellent piece….or if I was on the other side I’d say…well, you get the drift….


    Racism exist if not in name but actions…One thing you can give the south…You know where you stand…I cannot say that about folks from the North…they have a different way of being racist…to me it is more disingenuous…

    Mike S,

    I was listening to my favorite radio….NPR…and to think with the current field of GOP hat RWR would not even have a shot at the Presidency is way beyond my comprehension….They were speaking about his record and how he sounds (RWR) more like today’s Democrat….that is scary as all get out…

  6. Buchanan is quite the anti-Semite too. I often wondered why MSNBC paid someone like him to be frequent contributor on their programs.

    Patrick Buchanan: What Else Is New?

    Like rancid salami, Patrick Buchanan is a gift that keeps on giving.

    While he is careful — or under orders — to appear mainstream conservative and eminently reasonable in his frequent appearances on MSNBC, the three-time presidential candidate and former White House aide in the Nixon and Reagan administrations does not bother to hide his blatant anti-Semitism in his syndicated columns.

    In his May 14, 2010, column, Buchanan petulantly objects to the fact that Solicitor General Elena Kagan is about to join Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer as the third Jew on the Supreme Court. “If Kagan is confirmed,” Buchanan writes, “Jews, who represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, will have 33 percent of the Supreme Court seats. Is this the Democrats’ idea of diversity.”

    As far as he is concerned, three Jews on the Supreme Court is proof positive that liberals like President Obama are, as the title of Buchanan’s latest fulmination unsubtly proclaims, “anti-WASP.”

    Buchanan also objects that Ms. Kagan is not “academically distinguished.” Really? Upon graduating summa cum laude from Princeton, she received one of that university’s highest awards; she then earned a Master of Philosophy at Oxford; and graduated, this time magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School where she was supervising editor of the Law Review. She went on to clerk for Judge Abner Mikva on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, and then for Justice Thurgood Marshall before becoming first a tenured professor at the University of Chicago Law School and more recently Dean of Harvard Law School.

    This particular charge is especially ludicrous coming from Buchanan who boasts that he supported G. Harrold Carswell, Richard Nixon’s unsuccessful Supreme Court nominee. Carswell was so wholly lackluster, in addition to being a segregationist, that the best Republican Senator Roman Hruska of Nebraska could say in his defense that “there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers” who “are entitled to a little representation” on the Court.

    By his own admission, Buchanan has no problem with a mediocre, racist WASP on the U.S. Supreme Court, but he dismisses a Jewish woman who has at all times been an intellectual superstar as just another “Ivy League leftist.”

    To be fair, Buchanan is an equal opportunity offender. He disparaged Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who also graduated summa cum laude from Princeton, was an editor on the Yale Law Journal, and served with distinction as a federal district court and circuit court judge, as a “quota queen.” And who can forget Pitchfork Pat’s prime-time anti-feminist, gay-bashing keynote address at the 1992 Republican national convention?

  7. The Bigotry Of Pat Buchanan
    Media Matters
    July 29, 2011

    Pat Buchanan wrote in his recent syndicated column that accused Norway mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik may be “evil,” but when it comes to his reported belief that there’s a coming “climactic conflict between a once-Christian West and an Islamic world … Breivik may be right.” Buchanan, who also serves as an MSNBC analyst, has a long history marred by bigotry and hostility toward non-whites.

  8. If I remember Pat’s history correctly he has reminisced that his father was a profound admirer of Spain’s Francisco Franco, who was blatantly a fascist. He has also bragged that the Buchanan Brothers, in their youth, were the bullies of their Washington, D.C. neighborhood. It has always angered me that this bigot was brought in to comment on news events as if he was a neutral pundit. Part of the current confusion and propagandizing of the America public is due to the major media giving him credit as a fit commenter on political affairs. This is a man of evil thought who considers himself a paragon of morality.

    As for Keith, it is precisely his “prickliness” that has always made his commentary, whether on sports or politics, among the most prescient and honest available on main stream media. Current TV, Al Gore’s creation, is repositioning itself as a fourth major cable news outlet. Keith is preceded by
    The Young Turks with Cenk Ungyar and soon will be followed by a show with Jennifer Granholm. I believe that Keith is battling to ensure that the soul of this new outlet, is not modified by Corporate considerations. That was why for years MSBC insisted on Buchanan’s presence to add “balance”, which given Pat’s proclivities was a specious notion.

  9. Mike,

    I am also a fan of Keith. He may be prickly and bombastic at times–but he doesn’t believe that true journalists/newsmen always feel one must provide both the liberal/conservative or Democractic/Republican side of an issue. He prefers to talk about the truth of an issue–not the opposing sides of every story.

    Besides, you and I both know that truth has a liberal bias.


  10. All I know is that the bigots who live around me see something in Ron Paul they really like and have supported him for years.

  11. ELAINE: just an editorial note on the quote from Roman Hruska: he ended his statement on the need for representation of the mediocre with the phrase “…and stuff like that there.” I alwyas thought this was not quite senatorial.

  12. jbrown,


    I found the following on the Senate website. You’ll find Hruska quoted in the paragraph below:

    President Richard Nixon nominated appeals court judge Clement F. Haynsworth, Jr. to the vacancy. The conservative South Carolinian, who was recognized by those who knew him as distinguished and able, quickly ran into conflict-of-interest charges similar to those directed at Fortas. He also encountered the hostility of labor and civil rights organizations for alleged insensitivity to their interests. Ultimately the Senate rejected his nomination on a 45-to-55 vote because Republicans, who had recently opposed Democratic nominee Fortas on ethical and moral grounds, believed consistency dictated a similar stance against Haynsworth. Deeply angered, Nixon responded spitefully by nominating appeals court judge G. Harrold Carswell, an undistinguished Florida jurist considered far less qualified than Haynsworth. The Senate seemed initially disposed to confirm Carswell, but evidence of his racial biases and mediocre intellect shifted sentiment against him. Seeking to save the nomination, floor manager Roman Hruska (R-NE) delivered an assessment that proved to be fatal. “Even if he is mediocre there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they, and a little chance? We can’t have all Brandeises, Cardozos, and Frankfurters, and stuff like that there.” After four months, the Senate rejected Carswell, triggering a statement from Nixon that he considered the Senate’s confirmation responsibilities under the Constitution only pro forma. Abandoning his efforts to place a strict constructionist southerner on the high court, he turned to appeals court judge Harry Blackmun, a Minnesotan whom the Senate quickly approved.

  13. “He prefers to talk about the truth of an issue–not the opposing sides of every story.”


    In light of your comment, which I fully agree with, did you catch this story this week? It astounded me that the question had to be asked, but then considering the state of “news” organizations reporting today, quite indicative of the current reality.

  14. Mike,

    I read about it on Glenn Greenwald’s blog at Salon:

    Arthur Brisbane and selective stenography

    The New York Times‘ Public Editor Arthur Brisbane unwittingly sparked an intense and likely enduring controversy yesterday when he pondered — as though it were some agonizing, complex dilemma — whether news reporters “should challenge ‘facts’ that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.” That’s basically the equivalent of pondering in a medical journal whether doctors should treat diseases, or asking in a law review article whether lawyers should defend the legal interests of their clients, etc.: reporting facts that conflict with public claims (what Brisbane tellingly demeaned as being “truth vigilantes”) is one of the defining functions of journalism, at least in theory. Subsequent attempts to explain what he meant, along with a response from the NYT‘s Executive Editor, Jill Abramson, will only add fuel to the fire.

  15. The New York Times public editor’s very public utterance

    by Clay Shirky

    Thursday 12 January 2012 22.32 EST


    This is what was so extraordinary about his original question: he is evidently so steeped in newsroom culture that he does not understand – literally, does not understand, as we know from his subsequent clarifications – that this is not a hard question at all, considered from the readers’ perspective. Readers do not care about the epistemological differences between lies and weasel words; we want newspapers to limit the ability of politicians to make dubious assertions without penalty. Judging from the reactions to his post, most of us never understood that this wasn’t the newspapers’ self-conceived mission in the first place.

    If the Times were to commit itself to challenging deliberately vague political language, it would have to express skepticism about some huge percentage of utterances made by public figures. Newspapers, at least in their US configuration, are simply not in the business of broadcasting skepticism about mainstream political speech.

    This is partly because centrist publications enjoy more uniform access to politicians than partisan ones (even if the partisanship is simply an intolerance for hogwash). It’s also because treating readers as political participants rather than spectators would be frowned on by advertisers, for whom the relative neutrality of the mainstream press is a prized part of that platform’s value.

    The immediate fallout from Brisbane’s question will be minor – no paper in the United States, not even the Times (as its editor partially concedes), has enough staff to express continuous skepticism about political speech – but there may yet be a lasting effect to be reckoned with. Having asked, in a completely innocent way, whether the Times should behave like an advocate for the readers, rather than a stenographer to politicians, the question cannot now be unasked. Every day in which the Times (and indeed, most US papers) fail at what has clearly surfaced as their readers’ preference on the matter will be a day in which that gap remains uncomfortably visible.

  16. Anon Nurse,

    Good quote. What gets me is that in my naivete I believed that reporting the truth on someones supposed statement of facts, was taught as basic reportorial ethics in Journalism School. It seems I was wrong.

  17. Swarthmore Mom. I agree that there are similarities.
    Mike S.,
    I am with you. I would have guessed that they taught the difference between facts and lies in Journalism school.

  18. yeah, pat misses the good old days. not too old though, not as far back as the “help wanted no irish need apply” signs. just to the whites only signs.

  19. Pete: “…really creepy bukake.”

    LOL, I think Mark was making an editorial comment with his choice of illustration, but then my mind just devolves to the lowest common denominator when it comes to Pat.

  20. Mike Spindell: “Could that be because we have a Black President and that fact alone, aside from his policies, has enraged that element so much that they no longer need to resort to code to mask their bigoted hatred?”

    Yep. The policies are immaterial to what we have been seeing for the last 3 1/2 years. It began with his nomination and has only become more virulent since then.

    Some signs:

    A good refutation of some of the claims Pat made on the Maddow show in regard to US history/race and Sotomayor

  21. Elaine M. – Patty hits all the buttons. He hates EVERYONE! I think the first time I became aware of him was his RNC speech that Molly Ivins said “sounded better in its original German”

    I dug into his history a little & the first thing I found was him bragging about how he & his brothers used to lay in ambush for Protestant kids in his neighborhood. He was quite proud of beating smaller boys or when they outnumbered their victims.

    His continued appearance on what passes for a liberal TV network is further evidence of how far off the rails America has gone.

  22. Elaine,

    Molly Ivins was one heck of a lady…She told you the way she thought it and was generally right…I met her at Scholz’s Beer Garden in Austin years ago….and in my case many, many beers ago….

  23. I can only speak for myself, but thank God for KO…there were many dark days during the Bush Admin that without Keith and his bombastic ways I would have given up hope for this country….when you are the only voice crying in the wilderness, and for a long time Keith was it, I believe you deserve a pass for getting carried away…plus not being a lawyer I would have never known who Prof Turley was or found this great blog that I feel privileged to read an on occasion, make comments on.

  24. Pat Buchanan claimed the phrase about changing dicks in the middle of a screw in one of his television interviews. But Google says it is attributable to some McGovern guy. Google had some other things good about Pat Buchanan. He is quoted as saying “that Obama is the Bain of capitalizm.”
    Is that not the place where Willard Romney worked?

  25. My wife and I always felt that, at MSNBC, Keith was an acquired taste. But at Current TV, he’s been sensational. He calls it as he sees it, and never backs down. He’s a passionate, eloquent voice for progressive causes. He’s been the only one to consistently cover Occupy Wall Street and its progeny in depth, when other networks avoided it like the proverbial plague. He covered the movement so well that we went to OWS to donate clothing and sleeping bags, and to observe OWS for ourselves. I have since returned to donate my professional services. (I’m an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist.) I doubt that we would have done so without having seen Keith’s excellent coverage. We await his return!

  26. The reason Ron Paul and Buchanan sound alike is that they are both paleo-conservatives. If Paul was really libertarian he wouldn’t want to regulate vaginas. Buchanan wraps himself in the flag of victimhood: the previously superior positioned white man stripped of his privilege. that comes off as racist and sexist as a byproduct. I don’t think he and Ron Paul are in the same boat at all.
    Ron Paul was featured in the movie Bruno, who came on to him in a hotel room. It was hilarious, but exonerates Paul of the homophobia charge.

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