Richard Wolffe, one of many high-profile “hacks” to turn “flack” this year, has been drawing the ire of bloggers by maintaining his pole position on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
He was Newsweek’s Senior White House Correspondent before leaving journalism to join Public Strategies, Inc. as a Senior Strategist in the spring.
It’s quite common for political consultants to appear on cable shows, however Wolffe has done so as a guest host, not a panelist. As a result, Wolffe and the firm received the full Gawker treatment today, illuminating some connections between Public Strategies’ lobbying clients, and the healthcare fight on the Hill.
MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines responded to Talking Points Memo, promising to disclose Wolffe’s new job title. Olbermann wrote on Daily Kos that Wolffe might be welcomed back when the show “can clarify what else he is doing.”
As media watchers know, Olbermann switched a few years back from booking a wide variety of experts to a handful of pithy regulars, many from the synergized Newsweek. The reason MSNBC is sticking with Wolffe is for two big reasons: he covered the Obama run from the beginning, and because he’s a very good guest–a smooth talking pundit with good suits and quick British wit. These things matter when viewer boredom is alleviated with a quick flip of the remote. A guest’s delivery on cable is just as important as pedigree.
However, as you’ll see from the clip of Wolffe’s guest host appearance from Friday above, it’s much harder to sit behind the anchor desk than to react to questions. He’s pretty good but not very “Keithy,” as the network promises in their promos.