Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Farewell to Countdown

Keith Olbermann, whether you love him or hate him, is a winner. At his worst, he is as pompous of a gasbag as they come, and he certainly was a key player in the smearing of Hillary during the 2008 election, leading to the victory of a Wall Street tool. Which is besides the point, because he's also easily the biggest draw that MSNBC has. To dump him would be as foolish as if Fox News dumped Bill O'Reilly or Glenn Beck.

But dump him they did. Rachel Maddow, showing what a good korporate team player liberal she is, declared on Bill Maher's Real Time that "he and the company made a mutual decision that 'Countdown' is done." To which Maher, with his usual sharp wit, replied: "That's always bullshit."

Bullshit indeed. As Olbermann said on his surprise final show, he thought about ranting against management after he was "told that this is going to be the last edition." So that settles it, contrary to Maddow's claim, this was a unilateral decision, not a mutual one.

Most theories as to why Olbermann was dumped focus on the takeover of NBC by Comcast, and it's hard to ignore that as the explanation. Olbermann was one of the few media voices to question if electronic voting fraud was behind the 2004 election results, report with outrage on the illegal torture done on war prisoners, report with outrage on the illegal spying on Americans done by both the Bush and Obama Administrations, report with outrage on the Hurricane Katrina failures, and perhaps his greatest sin of all, rail against the War in Iraq.

Simply put, Keith Olbermann, love him or hate him, has balls and sticks his neck out, and that's not what Comcast wants. They want someone they can control, preferring the face of MSNBC to be someone like Maddow, a cute, snuggly lesbian who rarely speaks out on economic injustice or other issues challenging the status quo. As her cowardly boilerplate response on Maher reveals, she already knows her place.

Why did Keith Olbermann leave MSNBC?
Michael Calderone
Sat Jan 22, 2011

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