by Ben Cohen
Keith Olberman’s discussion with Michael Moore was one of the more interesting pieces of television I have seen in quite some time. Both men are on the same ideological page, and clearly have a lot of respect for each other. But more than that, they understand the precarious and contradictory nature of their own success as it relates to the capitalism, and proclaimed a desire to give it all up should it make an actual difference. Check out this fascinating exchange:
MOORE: But so—but here‘s the thing, though.
This is when they‘ll stop putting you on the air, and when they‘ll stop
distributing my movies. If people, after they get done watching
COUNTDOWN each night, or after they leave the movie theater for my
movie, if they actually get up off the couch, get out of that theater
seat and do something. If your bosses at GE or my distributor at
Viacom and Liberty Media decides that oh, my god, look what happened;
we put this movie in theaters and now the people are revolting? And
our lobbyists aren‘t get their way in Congress? The representatives
are actually doing what the people want? That‘s when they‘re going to
maybe say, OK, this is a mistake.
So my appeal to the viewers is, put Keith and me out of business.
OLBERMANN: I was just going to say, you‘re willing to make that trade?
OLBERMANN: Me too.
MOORE: Oh, god, yes, sir. Let‘s go fishing.
There are few people capable of telling the unvarnished truth to a large audience because most often, it threatens a variety of interests that has put that person in that position in the first place. But occasionally, someone so talented and so popular arrives that it doesn’t matter what they say. Olbermann and Moore may threaten the interests of their respective companies, but they are so popular and profitable that their corporate bosses don’t care. As Olbermann put it to Moore:
Is the—the one saving grace in the corporate system we were talking
about this before was that it—the reason—it‘s the reason you can make
your films. It‘s the reason I can do my show without being thrown out
of the windows up there. The corporation is not necessarily immoral.
It‘s amoral. If you make it money, most of the time it will let you
do—it is built in to sustain itself, even when we‘re at—doing whatever
it is we do best, correct?
While social progressive almost exclusively comes from grassroots movements (and not gifts from elected politicians), it is nice to know we have a couple of insiders up at the very top of the system. Olbermann and Moore have large audiences they can sell to advertisers, and coincidentally, those audiences could potentially affect some serious change. It’s a loophole that could bring the system down, and ironically, the loophole that makes it work in the first place.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.