Cable Crush: Steve Jobs, Palin, Occupy Wall St.

It’s turning into a kind of fascinating night on cable news, given the confluence of three events: The death of Apple’s Steve Jobs, Sarah Palin’s decision (finally) not to run for president and the Occupy Wall Street protests across the country.

Few business titans would command the sort of coverage Jobs is receiving, including full blowouts of the lineups on CNN and MSNBC. By contrast, Sean Hannity on Fox News Channel led with the Palin announcement, and Keith Olbermann devoted his show to the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Apple, certainly, has a relationship with its consumers that goes well beyond almost any other corporate entity. Nevertheless, there’s some irony in seeing the coverage of Jobs — including footage dating back to the company’s early days — pushing a frontal assault against the U.S. financial community off of cable channels that surely would have devoted more time to it otherwise.

Fox, by contrast, knows where it’s bread is buttered, and Olbermann has been pretty relentless in attacking other media for not affording the Occupy Wall Street movement the coverage it deserves.

After his show, Olbermann tweeted:

No offense meant but if you’re a news operation and you’re not covering #OccupyWallStreet tonight, you’re not a news operation any more.

Intended or not, that was a blast at his old pal Rachel Maddow, who, like Lawrence O’Donnell, went all Jobs in opening her show. Maddow acknowledged it was a big-story news day, but I was still a bit surprised by how she prioritized them. (Somehow, I have a feeling the brass was calling the shots on this.)

On a separate note, Olbermann also lashed out at CNN’s new anchor, Erin Burnett, via Twitter: Erin Burnett self-destruction continues. Graphics tonight *(I Swear To Muthee): “Banks Are Good For America” “We Should Root For The Banks”

Setting aside politics, Burnett does appear to have been a terrible choice for her new role, on a program oddly titled “Erin Burnett OutFront.” Out front of what, exactly?

As I tweeted earlier, Burnett comes across like she’s running for class president at her junior high. Overly animated, and seemingly under-informed, it’s as if she’s trying to approximate what Megyn Kelly‘s dim-witted sister would be like.

Burnett cut her teeth covering financial news, but thus far she appears wildly out of her depth. And this is one hire that CNN can’t blame on former prez Jon Klein.


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