DC Trawler

David Shuster is a hard-hitting journalist who has all kinds of integrity and whatnot

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Some people can’t get enough of The Onion. Some are College Humor junkies. Other folks get their yuks at Cracked.com. But when I want a good laugh, I go to the funniest site on the Internet: Mediaite!

Those nutty jokesters just put up two hilarious stories about former journalist David Shuster’s appearance yesterday on CNN’s Reliable Sources. Here’s Shuster — who was fired from MSNBC last year after he taped a pilot for, yes, CNN… without telling his bosses! — opining on the idea that MSNBC will start to dial back the unhinged left-wing rhetoric in the wake of Keith Olbermann’s departure:

“There are no journalistic standards on many of these shows on Fox News, with the exception of a couple of news shows, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, they don’t even attempt to subscribe to the journalistic principles that were attempted throughout the MSNBC schedule.”

Shuster knows what he’s talking about because he’s the epitome of journalistic integrity. This was obvious during his coverage last year of an ill-conceived sting by leftist bête noire James O’Keefe. O’Keefe and three colleagues posed as a telephone repairmen to enter New Orleans Senator Mary Landrieu’s office, investigating accusations that she ignored constituents’ phone calls during the ObamaCare debate. The four were arrested, and MSNBC instantly accused O’Keefe of attempted wiretapping and dubbed the incident, for reasons of journalistic integrity, “Watergate Jr.”

Shuster went even further:

And further:

For you see, it’s common journalistic practice to call the subject of one of your stories a “wingnut” and taunt him that he’s going to prison. It’s okay because Shuster doesn’t like him! Shuster had the story written in his head the second he heard about it, and kept his fingers crossed that the facts would bear it out. That’s just good journalism. Presumption of innocence? That’s for mass murderers who just happen to be Muslim.

Not only did O’Keefe stay out of prison, but the U.S. Attorney’s office admitted in writing that there was no evidence of attempted wiretapping. Whoops!

Mediaite’s second humor piece on Shuster’s electrifying CNN appearance has two rib-tickling highlights. The first is the transcript of this exchange between Shuster and Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz, chatting about Olbermann’s warm personal feelings for the fans who stood by him when he was suspended last year:

SHUSTER: Well, a couple of things. I mean, all the staff that I have spoken with have suggested that this whole event of him giving donations and the reaction to him being pulled off the air was a much bigger story than people think. Not so much in terms of how MSNBC and NBC executives viewed Keith, but in terms of how much Keith viewed his own sort of following.

Keith was mesmerized and flattered beyond belief by the 250,000 people who signed the petition. And he and his new agents who he picked up for the last year felt that that had certain value. And that when MSNBC made it clear that, no, it does not have the value that you think it does, Keith and his team felt like, OK, let’s try to take this base of support, let’s try to take this loyal fan following, and let’s take it to a forum where I’ll have the kind of independence that I’ve always wanted, and I’ll be able to do the sort of reporting and analysis without having my wings clipped by NBC News.

KURTZ: Independence, but he was being paid $30 million over four years. Did he want more money from MSNBC?

SHUSTER: Keith has never been about money, and he’s not somebody who’s sort of obsessed with it.

KURTZ: I would agree with that.

How could you not? Clearly, a man who made over $7 million a year doesn’t care a thing about money. “Ewww, gross, money! Get it away from me! It’s interfering with my journalistic integrity!” Why, I’ll bet Olbermann quit because they wanted to give him even more money and he just wouldn’t stand for it.

The second and funniest bit of all is this satirical “analysis” from that noted humorist, Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher:

The outpouring of support over his suspension probably did give Olbermann a misplaced sense of his importance to progressive journalism, but not necessarily an inflated one. While he may well enjoy success on another digital platform (he can’t have another TV show until his contract runs out in 2012), he won’t be breaking new ground for liberals in media. At best, he could become a big fish in a very crowded pond.

Conversely, his absence from MSNBC’s lineup could jeopardize the roots that he helped put down for liberals like Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Cenk Uygur. Liberals have yet to establish a beachhead on any other TV network, and without Olbermann’s numbers to anchor this one, could find themselves watching middle-of-the-road fare like Parker/Spitzer, or more Lock-up repeats.

“Liberals have yet to establish a beachhead on any other TV network.” Ha ha ha! Get it? Look out, Colbert, Mediaite is comin’ through!

Ahhh, good times, good times… The left’s reaction to Olbermann’s exit makes me wonder if they want me to feel happy inside. Nah, it’s probably unintentional.

P.S. In other Olbermannfreude news, the NYT reports on the “years of tension” at MSNBC:

Inside the offices of MSNBC, staff members grew more restive about Mr. Olbermann’s temperament. Some days Mr. Olbermann threatened not to come to work at all and a substitute anchor had to be notified to be on standby.

Years ago John Gibson gave Olbermann the nickname “Bathtub Boy,” claiming that when they both worked at MSNBC, Olby had a habit of not getting out of the bathtub to come to work and Gibson had to sub for him. Olbermann denies it. The NYT just confirmed it. Did I mention that I feel happy inside?

Jim Treacher