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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Goodbye Keith Olbermann and good riddance

Keith Olbermann: Another deranged diva dumped

Keith Obermann, the fire-breathing sit-down comic masquerading as a journalist, arrived at Current TV like a Tasmanian devil, all whirling dervish praising his own self-perceived greatness while demanding perks and special treatment.

From the beginning, the Olbermann-Current relationship was a marriage made in hell, an attention-grabbing ploy doomed to failure.  Larger, more-established networks had tried to deal with Olbermann and failed.  His resume reads like a scorched-earth battle campaign, littered with corpses of the many he felt were beneath his fantasy of talent.  Smoke from the burning bridges he left behind blotted out the sun.

MSNBC tried to cope with Olbermann twice.  Both experiments ended in disaster — the last a very public firing.  A short-lived stint at Fox Sports ended in another firing with owner Rupert Murdoch calling Olbermann “crazy.”  When a loon like Murdoch calls you “crazy,” that must mean you’re lost in the ozone.

Olbermann burst on the scene as the co-host of ESPN’s “Sports Center,” where he and Dan Patrick sometimes got around to reporting sports news between comedy bits and self-absorption.  The success of the show quickly went to Obermann’s already outsized heat and when the network refused to go along with his increasingly-onerous demands he left in a huff and denounced the network as “second rate.”

So Olbermann re-invented himself as a news anchor and moved to MSNBC where he hosted “The Big Show with Keith Olbermann,” a nightly rehashing of the Bill Clinton – Monica Lewinsky scandal.  The openly-liberal Olbermann quickly chafed at the concept of a show that took a voyeuristic look at Clinton’s sex life, once proclaiming that “there really isn’t a ‘White House in crisis,’ but — hey — we’ve got a graphic that says so.”  He left the network and — in true form — trashed his former bosses.

After the disaster at Fox News, MSNBC ignored the past and brought Olbermann back, this time to host the openly liberal “Countdown With Keith Olbermann.” Although his show climbed in the ratings, it never approached those of conservative Bill O’Reilly at Fox News, a frequent target for Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” segment.

Staff members at MSNBC tell many horror stories about Olbermann.  He would deride staff members, was clearly chauvinistic around women, demanded staff run personal errands and would storm off in temper tantrums.

“People would keep their heads down around Keith,” one former MSNBC staff member tells Capitol Hill Blue.  “When he arrived an email would go around with vital information on his mood.  We called it the ‘Countdown Weather Report.’  ‘Stormy’ meant stay away. ‘Cloudy’ mean proceed at your own risk.”

NBC tired of Obermann’s excesses , fired him in January 2011 and a few months later he landed at Current TV amid of lot of hoopla.  But the honeymoon was short — if one existed at all.

Olbermann immediately complained about his working conditions.  He hated the car services that provided his limo transportation to the studio, complaining that drivers had the gall to try and talk to him.  One, he bitched, smiled too much.  Another, he claimed, smelled.  Current went through several limo companies but none satisfied their finicky diva.

He didn’t like the $350,000 set that he helped design and insisted on a dark, black backdrop instead.  Then he complained about that.  He publicly derided the network for technical glitches, calling the technicians “amateurs” and “idiots.”  He refused to co-host network election coverage because he didn’t like the setups.  He suddenly took vacation days during important election coverage periods, including the Super Tuesday primaries.

Sometimes, he just didn’t show up for work, so Current owners Al Gore and Joel Hyatt decided enough was enough and fired him.  Now Olbermann says he’s going to sue.

Let’s hope he does.  Lawsuits have a nasty habit of dragging dirty laundry into public view and the clothes hamper of Keith Olbermann’s career stinks to high heaven.  A lawsuit will expose him to what remains of his rapidly-shrinking base of die-hard fans, those who think opinion should replace facts in news reporting.

The New York Times over the weekend credited Olbermann with creating a place for liberal slant on television.

Wrote Brian Stelter:

Now, liberal journalists and pundits who were inspired by Mr. Olbermann’s invectives against the Iraq war and the Bush administration five years ago have multiple channels to appear on and potentially be paid by — a marketplace, in effect, for liberal talent on television.

Stelter contends Olbermann did for the left what Murdoch and Fox News did for the right: Make slanted “news” mainstream.

A sad legacy. When opinion masquerades as fact and comedians become hosts of news show, everyone loses.

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13 thoughts on “Goodbye Keith Olbermann and good riddance”

  1. So most every one complains about the “news” not being news, yet we use it as the primary basis for voting and other important decisions.

    Which is precisely why I stopped watching it more than three years ago.

  2. Thanks Sandy, and it’s great to see you here too.

    As long as I am here, I noticed a typo in my last sentence above. I keep getting my left and right hand mixed up after long days at the computer writing gibberish for clients. Sorry about that. It should read:

    I know that from checking websites to find out what I might have missed by leaving early.

      • Thanks for asking. The hand is better, but I broke my shoulder (same side) and the 8 separate fractured bones involved weren’t set because the x-rays and tests showed I had advanced, late stage bone cancer. They gave me three months to live, so setting the bones would be a useless exercise. That was a long time ago, bone wise.

        I rejected all offered chemo and stuff, got rid of fluoride, changed my diet and am now laughing at the doctors, except for the fact the fractures weren’t set. The dire diagnosis was four years ago, and I don’t have bone cancer. Period. Full stop. I also realized that those fractures, with the wrist, meant someone that said fluoridosis was the problem was right.

        Musically, it means I am not so much a violinist as a limited cellist because I can’t lift an instrument to my shoulder. I also have the bagpipes (played on wrong shoulder), oboe, guitar and piano to entertain myself. I am also doing whatever IP legal work I can pick up and working to find a doctor to set the bones that are in pieces still.

        I hope that you are doing well, this year the political silly season is entertaining for you, and one where your able and well reasoned voice will see changes for all of our benefit, as is also true for so many here.

  3. Why all the vitriol? An entertainer quit in a huff and this is news?

    I think not.

    Doug, you are likely right about Keith Olbermann. But whatever he did or didn’t do, his leaving and the surrounding circumstances point to a greater problem we all face daily regarding news.

    There hasn’t been anything resembling news on the airwaves in the US in a generation. Mr. Olbermann started out in sports, in which position he probably conveyed more real information than any infotainment broadcaster during the same period. That is, if that newscaster was at any of the US or MSM networks.

    What does it matter if he was a prima donna? Do we really care? Is this news?

    All that I see from the Olbermann/Current split is the means, manner and analysis points to one conclusion only. We are not getting enough real information when the newscaster/opinion spouter is of more focused interest than the real events that should be occupying our minds.

    We may owe Mr. Olbermann a thank-you note. His departure, as did his tenure at Current, make it obvious we need to seriously change our standards regarding news, demanding more real information about current events, and less about the star factor of broadcasters, sports, entertainers, spouses of leaders, sports, movie mania, analysis of latest events taken from social network sites, opinions about entertainers/ball players and their housing situations, salaries of broadcasters, makeup trends, fashion, recipes for sandwiches the kiddies love at lunch, and the intrusiveness of limo drivers that make sociable conversation.

    All of the above categories are based on what was on the news when I turned it off last week. At no time did I watch more than 4.5 minutes of US based MSM newscasts, because by the time they roll out the latest Facebook stats, real events will not be aired again until the next top or bottom of the hour. I know that form checking websites to find out what I might have missed by leaving early.

  4. Had no idea Olbermann was such a prima donna….Interesting report from Doug…..I rarely watched Olbermann though. On a Saturday Night Live show quite a while back, a guest host did a great impression of him.

    I agree with Woody…the Daily Show with Jon Stewart is usually clever and LOL funny. Plus, it is informative.

    I’m always amazed during this bad economy to hear about anyone behaving badly at work when jobs are so hard to come by, yet I guess when a person is near the top of a hierarchy in any business, their head can get to be the size of a zeppelin…and they feel they are not bound by the rules most of us follow…And, that appears to maybe be the case here.

  5. Gosh Woody, I really can’t take much more of this hateful negativity from the media. No matter who we suggest to replace these hated announcers, and candidates, the wave of more hatred is presented.

    I’ve gone through every possible political leader to run for something and the wave only grows higher and deeper.

    As far as candidates go, not a single Republican has a voting record to match his/her agenda. No one knows the Constitution better than President Obama and the Republican candidates want to ignore the Bill of Rights and head into the New Testament.

    I left home at a very young age to get away from hell and damnation and I’ll be damned if I will put one in the White House.

    The man who replaced Olbermann is terrific and I try every day to get home in time to follow his words of encouragement on our economic mess. I would never dare mention his name on Reader Rant or I would face the firing squad of hatred from the Ranters.

    It started here during the Clinton impeachment triggered by Rush Limbaugh.

    Enjoy Easter

  6. This is why one must watch Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It’s less slanted and more news than either MSNBC or FOX NEWS, and it’s funny to boot!

  7. This just adds to the hate mongering that has become the television and internet feeding spree. If one puts only trash in the pot, do not expect a good dinner.

  8. The Right-Wingers are havin’ a ball, gloating and trying to smear Keith. Hey guys, chill out , and just take some more Viagra! The real question we should be asking is : Did CurrentTV simply USE Keith to gain attention and higher ratings? They KNEW what they were getting! Did they lure him with big bucks, and then drop him when they were done? Yes, we all know that Keith injects emotion and passion into his commentary, into his intelligent and incisive reporting, and into his humor….all of which makes his program interesting, as well as informative. He’s forceful, honest, and direct: you FEEL his pain, you FEEL his anger, and you FEEL his heart-felt sincerity when he covers a story. And he covers it well. He’s NEVER just another talking head! If Keith is absent from CurrentTV, then I too will be absent from CurrentTV. For Keith is one of the best – hands down- as evidenced by his outstanding coverage of OWS during the past year. I wish him well, and hope that he is back on the air soon. We need his unique voice and viewpo

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