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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

a lame attempt to package a radical right-wing sow's ear in a silk purse

Bob Cox is apparently aware that his radical right-wing rants aren’t going to win him any friends in the more exclusive circles he hopes to move in.

What does one do when their personality doesn’t fit with their ambitions? Change the personality, of course. Well, maybe just give the appearance of a change.

The blog that started it all, The National Debate, is shutting its doors. Here are some revealing excerpts from Cox’s farewell post:

oday, my primary blogging passion is the Media Bloggers Association. I'm far more interested in advancing blogging and citizen journalism and helping make sure that bloggers are not silenced by governments or powerful corporate interests than I am about bitching about Chris Matthews or Maureen Dowd [I will still bitch about Keith Olbermann over at OlbermannWatch (sorry KO) because I still need some outlet for my right-of-center media rants and Keith is a relatively harmless vice.]

It's clear to me that TND has too much right-of-center baggage to be an effective platform from which to advance the non-partisan agenda of the Media Bloggers Association. I believe I can be a far more effective advocate for the MBA - and establish myself as a thought-leader on blogging and citizen media - by creating an entirely new blog. Maybe folks will see this as somewhat pointless in that I am still the same person and I am still going to have the same opinions. Maybe they're right but I feel that that the time has come to break with my TND-self and start a new chapter in my blogging career. What better way than with a new personal blog with a new more constructive tone; a blog devoted to my work as President of the Media Bloggers Association.

Good for you, Bob.

Your final post at The National Debate is clearly the act of a rat abandoning a sinking ship. It’s a smart move to repackage your particular brand of lunacy into something more palatable to a broader audience.

As they say over at the Fox network, I wish you well.

Informing Others About Bob Cox's Blogging Background

The Media Bloggers Association (MBA) has received considerable attention for gaining access for bloggers to the Libby trial.

The fact is that journalists are busy people and some bloggers may not be aware of other blogger's online activities.

Throughout the course of the day, I will be sending the letter posted below (or a variant thereof) to every news outlet that has discussed the MBA in the context of the Libby trial. I would encourage others to also share that information with groups discussing relevant topics.

Feel free to use whatever portions of the letter you find to be of most relevance.

Are you aware that Bob Cox, founder and President of the Media Bloggers Association (MBA), is also widely recognized as running one of the most virulently right-wing presences on the internet –

The raison d’etre of Cox’s blog is a critique of veteran news anchor Keith Olbermann. If you’re not familiar with MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, it’s been the only cable network program to openly express disagreement with the Bush administration’s policies, in particular on the war in Iraq.

In his own words:

“Not that it was ever my goal in life but I am now the leading blog critic of Keith Olbermann and a recognized authority on Keith Olbermann (citation: quoted in Washington Post, New York Observer, Hartford Courant, Online Journalism Review, etc.).”

Bob Cox refers to supporters of Keith Olbermann as “Olbyloons” – a derisive term whose only purpose can be to evoke scorn and distain for those who support Olbermann’s informative, entertaining, and thought-provoking newscast.

Here’s one example of Cox’s use of the term from an October 18, 2007 interview with Ken Berwitz:

“We asked Ken if he could apply the research in his book to help us better understand those afflicted with OlbyLoon Disorder, those disturbed people known the world over as ‘OlbyLoons.’”


“Let's start with hygiene. OlbyLoons spend a great deal of time in the bathtub in order to emulate their hero, Keith Olbermann. What did you learn about the bathing habits of OlbyLoons.”


“OlbyLoons, often unable to apply logic in an argument, resort to vituperation. Why?”

Given the importance of the Libby trial, this may help to put the MBA’s activities in this broader context. The blogging community has thrived on the principle of questioning accepted wisdom. In that same spirit, I would encourage you to reflect on the background of MBA’s spokesperson.

Are you confident about the absence of a right-wing bias from MBA? Do you believe that the information that you are receiving from them is both fair and accurate?

It is a watershed moment to have the Libby trial opened to live blogging coverage. It would be a tragedy to have that honor somehow compromised by demonstrable partisan affiliations among those pioneers.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bob's New Hat

This post has been edited for content.

Have you been wondering why Bob Cox hasn’t posted on OlbermannWatch lately?

I know I have.

He appears to be busy with other things.

Earlier this month, Associated Press announced that a select group of bloggers would receive access to the Scooter Libby trial. Cox’s group, the Media Bloggers Association, trumpeted it as a victory for bloggers across the nation.

Well, some bloggers.

Cox is apparently focusing at least a portion of his non-OlbermannWatch efforts at creating a blogging "elite."

The Charlotte Observer
discussed Cox’s position:

A group called the Media Bloggers Association, led by veteran blogger Robert Cox, is pushing for greater professionalization among blogmasters through training about legal and ethical obligations.

In time, Cox suggests, bloggers might be less likely to succumb to the pleasing fiction that they can work at the same time as political operatives, Web entrepreneurs and independent commentators without compromising something of value.

In the context of this discussion on ethics, it may be useful for someone to write the author of the article a letter to refresh his memory about Bob Cox's work on OlbermannWatch. The reporter, Edward Wasserman, is Knight professor of journalism ethics at Washington and Lee University. His email address is

But back to the point. If you are training a professional “elite” of bloggers to cover major news stories, aren’t you going against the egalitarianism that makes blogging such a powerful medium for the transfer of information?

That doesn't make sense for an organization whose ostensible purpose is to promote blogging.

It may suggest that Bob has other ambitions.

His style would certainly would be consistent with that found in any college marketing textbook.

(Bob’s not a trained journalist. He graduated with an MBA from the University of Chicago’s school of business in 1994.)

For anyone who is interested, the process of self-promotion on the internet is so simple that absolutely anyone can do it.

* Make your mark on the internet by adhering to a particular party line.
* Attack a randomly selected person.
* Don’t think of anything new. Realize there's already a script in place. Become the instrument of those in power.
* Repeat one line of thought persistently enough to make people think you are either insane or privy to some unique insight (why else would you keep on repeating such drivel) and an audience will gather.

Is that media party line a mirror image of the party line of the most powerful political group in the nation? What a coincidence! All the better!

The Bush administration has irretrievably fallen from grace. Coincidently, Bob has moved on to greener, more lucrative pastures.

Watching OlbermannWatch on 1/29/07

The idea was to flog the Insight/Obama/Fox story yet again.

By "flog" you must mean mention so briefly that the casual viewer missed it completely. In fact, didn't Fox News issue their characteristic non-apology apology for yet another departure from reality? Here's the video of the non-apology from Fox and Friends just in case you missed it.

... Oralmann... Krazy Keith...Olbypocrisy

Zero points for creativity. If you're to succeed in undermining anyone, you have to use your imagination. I've heard that spending Sunday afternoons with a coloring book may help with that.

Next on the agenda was the big battle where Iraqi troops killed or captured hundreds of terrorists and insurgents. KO had barely finished his first sentence when he immediately brought up "the timing" [Ding!] and the venue, while the details were left to a taped report from NBC.

That's funny. I thought he mentioned that the site of one of the biggest battles of the war in Iraq was nowhere close to where the surge troops are headed. I thought he mentioned the possibility of increased Iraqi troop involvement. Did we watch the same show?

Given your presentation of things, it sounds a lot like that selective sort of reporting you purport to hate so much. That must be some sort of mistake. Of course you want to engage the issues rather than simply provide a weak attempt at a character assassination. Anything else would imply you're not smart enough to do better. You must have had a time crunch.

Hillary is trying to "imply" that troops should come home by 2009. Olby opined that in 2004 John Kerry was "slammed" for "being too subtle" and for requiring people to think. Great thanks.

You're welcome! I hope KO hears that you learned something from all of this. I can't imagine why a reader of your blog would think that you've got problems understanding subtle logic.

The book that bears Olberman's name stands at #5,294 at, while "Culture Warrior" is #159. The OlbyTome is #2,586 at Barnes & Noble; O'Reilly's book is #421 there, and for the 17th week is still on the New York Times bestsellers list.

Jesus wasn't too popular with the illiterate masses, either, Johnny. What would Jesus say about this finger pointing?

Welcome to Watching OlbermannWatch

In a recent article from the American Journalism Review, Mark Lisheron wrote:

It's all right there for everybody to see at olbermannwatch, he says. It certainly appears from examining the site that anything Olbermann has ever said or done is reproduced there. The problem is that no one yet has started a to sift the wheat of his truth from the chaff of his opinion. Like many bloggers, Cox laments the demise of objective journalism while offering up opinion, in this instance right-wing, along with fact.

Bob Cox and his minions do not worry themselves with little details like "facts." They traffic in anti-Olbermann marketing.

It's time that someone stepped up and called them out on it.

That time is now.