John Avlon at DailyBeast has an interesting thesis, which is that Olbermann’s departure from MSNBC marks the beginning of the end for several rancorous partisans, including Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and presumably many others (my list includes Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Ed Schultz, Dylan Ratigan, Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity).
I’m skeptical. When I look at the landscape of cable news opinion, I see few islands of hope among a sea of reflexive partisanship. On MSNBC, Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough are fairly reasonable, Fox News has an occasional strong host (my favorite, Brit Hume, departed), and CNN hits a sweet spot on Sundays with Fareed Zakaria (KPR: +2.7) and Howard Kurtz. But that’s pretty much it. John Avlon may think Team Centrist has the big mo, but we’ve got to face up to facts: the blowhards are still running up the score against us. The time slot that Olbermann has opened up is likely to go to Cenk Ugyur, a long-time YouTube crank. Meanwhile, CNN has visited Parker/Spitzer and Piers Morgan upon us, and Fox continues to hand its soapbox to seemingly every failed Republican presidential candidate it can find.
I’d like to believe that Avlon is right, but I’m not holding my breath.