MSNBC’s suspension of Keith Olbermann is another nail in the coffin of traditional media.

We live in the age of opinion, where anyone with a computer can make his/her partisan views heard. When what a person says resonates with enough people, the person develops a following. If not, he/she does monologues.

By continuing the ruse that journalism is objective, MSNBC is ignoring the reality of the Internet Age – we want to hear from people who are honest, transparent, and opinionated. That way, we know how to interpret what they are telling us.

Keith Olbermann has become a major force of liberalism on MSNBC and I, for one, am happy that I know where he stands. Don’t ask me to believe that you can’t detect a different editorial slant in the NY Times and FOX, or the Wall St Journal and the MSNBC.

Just as I know David Brooks will take a quasi-conservative view in the NY Times, and I can count on right wing opinions from the Wall St Journal, (now that their lone liberal voice, Thomas Frank, is gone,) I knew I could count on Olbermann for a liberal slant. That’s why I watched him.

As someone who gets interviewed a lot, and as someone with a degree in journalism who interviews a lot of people, I can tell you that nine out of 10 times, a journalist interviews you for an hour and then uses the line that fits the point he/she was trying to make with their story.

People formerly known as the gatekeepers are de-throned
Feeling he was misquoted in the Dallas Morning News, Mark Cuban called foul on the reporter in 2008 by publishing the interview transcripts. Many public figures, formerly known as the interview subjects, have been doing the same ever since, changing the balance of power permanently.

Some traditional journalists, like Steve Baker when he was a Businessweek, began publishing their notes along with their stories so people could see how they came to the conclusions they drew. “If anyone wants to read the notes from this interview, [download the file] have at them. And if you find stories or angles there that I should have stressed, let me know.”

The publishing of transcripts, e-mail messages and conversations – by journalists and subjects alike – and the ability to search Google and other engines for sources, has empowered those whom blogger and NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen, calls ”the people formerly known as the audience.”

Most of us listen to and read only those with whose opinions we agree these days, although that practice helps nobody. But right or wrong, holding journalists to the old-fashioned ideal of objectivity, which was always an illusion, is a waste of time.

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