He can bea blowhard and a bully, and without his cue cards he's often a muddle, as on election night; but Keith Olbermann is usually right. And if you think he's usually right, you're likely to find him amusing, usually. (If you think he's wrong, his confidence will irritate you, as Bill O'Reilly's confidence irritates me). His show can be edifying, but if you're looking for edification, and can read, there are better ways to get it. Don't let the lead-in clip of Edward R. Murrow fool you: Olbermann is really somewhere between Bill Moyers and Jon Stewart -- and closer to Stewart. Let our reporters and anchormen be nonparticipant observers and follow the old rules of journalism; they are good rules for the ground they cover. It's just that they don't cover the ground people like Olbermann are working. Paul Moses writes in the post below, "I realize thatmany people don't believe it is even possible to be impartial." I believe it is possible -- and difficult and admirable -- but it's not what I expect from commentators. Some commentators are journalists, but not all journalists are reporters. So let a thousand well-labeled flowers bloom, and don't spend too much time with your nose stuck in any one of them.
Matthew Boudway is senior editor of Commonweal.