On Sunday's "Reliable Sources," former MSNBC host David Shuster fervently defended Keith Olbermann and criticized Fox News while clashing with a fellow guest who compared Olbermann to Joe McCarthy.
Shuster--who frequently filled in for Olbermann when he was away-- and the other guest, Baltimore Sun critic David Zurawik, were both on the CNN show to discuss Olbermann's sudden departure from MSNBC on Friday. Their argument started after host Howard Kurtz played a clip of Olbermann's special comment after the Arizona shooting, where he apologized for anything he might have said that encouraged violence and urged people like Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly to do the same. Zurawik said that Olbermann's criticisms of O'Reilly were reminiscent of McCarthy than of the man who Olbermann quoted so often, Edward R. Murrow.
"I think that he will absolutely attack people and try to assassinate their character just the way Joe McCarthy did without facts," Zurawik said. "And to say that Bill O'Reilly, who has been much more reasonable in the last year than Keith Olbermann ever was on the air, much more responsible, to try to pin that on Bill O'Reilly, link him to that, is outrageous."
Shuster objected to this point. "Look, the fact of the matter is, is there are people who have tried to carry out acts of violence who were inspired by Glenn Beck," he said. "The fact of the matter is you're making a moral equivalency between Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann, and it's simply not fair."
Shuster also said there were few journalistic standards at Fox News. "With the exception of a couple of new 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," he said.
Shuster further speculated that part of the reason Olbermann left was due to the impending takeover of MSNBC by Comcast. The new owners plan to give NBC News president Steve Capus more control over MSNBC, and Olbermann was concerned that his "wings would be clipped," Shuster said.