Saturday, January 22, 2011

Goodbye and Good Luck

I'll make this quick because it's my last full day with Inara and I'd rather spend my time with her than think about anything involving TV news or politics.

Keith Olbermann is out at MSNBC because he's an uncontrollable, incorrigible, monumental pain in the ass; he typically refuses to be appreciative of or beholden to his bosses or the network's interests in general and somebody at the top finally realized he just wasn't worth all the trouble, particularly not with the Comcast deal now unforgivably rubber-stamped and the most "vampire squid"-like media monolith in history about to become a reality. The Comcast people are cleaning house at NBC as it is; it wouldn't surprise me if they made it clear to Phil Griffin that Olbermann needed to be off campus by nine o'clock Monday morning and that his local draft board would be informed that he was eligible for military service. No, I don't think there was some kind of secretive corporate cabal working against him behind the scenes; I leave that sort of conspiratorial ruminating to the Glenn Greenwalds of the world. It's probably more that he's a thorn in the side of just about everyone and, as I said, from a cost-benefit perspective, his bullshit just wasn't worth it anymore.

I'm not saying that all of this isn't a shame, because it certainly is. Olbermann's is an unapologetically progressive voice that shouldn't be silenced. His narcissistic drama queening is surpassed only by his intelligence, wit and sheer balls, and they'll be missed, at least until he finds some other outlet for them (although off the top of my head I can't imagine what that might be). While it's true that he helped to put a machine in place at MSNBC prime time that can probably now function without him, it won't function as well as it would have with him. Love him or hate him, he's a singular personality and despite the fact that he's a self-centered asshole -- as many true talents are -- what he brought to the table shouldn't have been easily dismissed. Or, in Olbermann's case -- after years of tumult and mutual acrimony with the NBC News mothership -- not so easily.

Whatever their differences, NBC and Olbermann should've been willing to compromise for the sake of a mutually beneficial relationship. But as anyone who's ever tried to make it work with a whack-job or a control freak knows, sometimes you just can't.


kanye said...

Olbermann's going back to sports. He's going to be the star that Comcast builds their new sports channel around. They might convert an existing channel, maybe they'll build something from the ground up. It'll be designed as a direct competitor to ESPN. That's my theory.

Either way, I'm glad that he's gone. Media personalities such as him do far more to damage honest public and political discourse than Fox News et al.

Bill Orvis White said...

Good riddance! This anti-American Commie is out and now, they're putting one in his old time slot to take his place. This O'Donnell fella admits his Communist Party affiliations every night. It makes me sick. I cannot wait to see Mr. O'Reilly tear this Red's heart out and feed it to him live on The Factor!
Thank the Lord Almighty that a good company like Comcast will be taking over PMSNBC. I know that there will be a massive spring cleaning of Communist O'Donnell, man-hater Maddow and this far-left pig named Schultz. I pray that Comcast will put Pat Buchanan in O'Donell's slot, maybe Phyllis Schlafly and hopefully maybe someone like Michael Reagan to follow.

Kevin Davis said...

I truly hope you're kidding about Olbermann being worse than Fox News. If so, bravo, sir. That was Colbert-worthy!

kanye said...

Sorry, I meant to say this earlier: Enjoy your day with your daughter.

Anonymous said...

kanye, Versus is the Comcast-owned sports channel.

It's unlikely for Versus to become a competitor to ESPN for a few decades. Because ESPN has a long-term broadcast contract with every sports league(except hockey, which Versus has) and major college conference in the country. In addition to NASCAR and European soccer. Until those contracts expire, Versus can't take any of those sports away from ESPN.

CNNfan said...

The last time I watched MSNBC was in the movie, "Despicable Me".

Deacon Blue said...

kanye, please don't tell me that you actually think Keith Olbermann does more damage to honest public and political discourse than Glenn Beck.

I'm hoping that I'm just misreading your intent and that somehow you simply think that Fox in its entirety is less divisive than Olbermann is individually (though I'd still find that hard to reconcile, too), because I'm not sure I can think of anyone showing up daily in media whom I find more damaging than Beck.

At least Olbermann used truth as his core when he ranted. Beck uses truth only as a very light seasoning for his feasts of misdirection and insanity.

Deaddancer said...

Are you kidding me? I am no Keith Olbermann man, but "Media personalities such as him do far more to damage honest public and political discourse than Fox News et al."

Really? Can you watch 10 minutes of Glenn Beck and still make that claim?

Kayne, I have read many of your replies in the comments section here at Deus Ex, and its one of the first things I've read that made me stop, read it twice, then say "what the fuck"?

Agent Scully said...

I'm really curious about the agreement that bars Keith from returning to television for a period of time (like O'Brien). Why does NBC insist on this? I understand why NBC bars him from commenting on his departure and doing interviews, but why can't he get another show now? Do you have insight why NBC does this Chez?

Anonymous said...

That's okay Kanye, we'll let you finish.

Steven D Skelton said...

Deacon Blue

Keith and Beck are two sides of the same coin.

With both of them (and too many others) facts and circumstance are placed in two piles....those that fit into the worldview they preach and those that don't. Those that do make the show and are discussed, those that don't are ignored.

Both invite, almost exclusively, only guests that agree with them onto the air.

Both are parts of echo chambers.

Both demonize their political opponents.

I say good riddance....maybe Beck will be next.

Benoît from Ottawa said...

Agent Scully, a guess: it would be, as you suggest, a contract clause -- and he's certainly been remunerated for it (at least somehow, in theory anyway) within the now expired contract.

The motivation is also, it seems to me, easy to guess: to prevent bad-mouthing and even more subtle stuff by the person, if she or he got a new similar job immediately afterward. (Just imagine for a second how a Stephen Colbert, feeling unjustly fired, could eviscerate his previous employer in a new show.)

Benoît from Ottawa said...

Off-subject (but on the one of spending time with Inara): Dear Chez, imagine what fun you'll have introducing her to some of the better Bugs Bunny* and other Warner Bros cartoons!

My son, years back, found them as devastatingly hilarious as I did when I was a kid -- or last week, take your pick.


CNNfan said...

Agent Scully:

My guess it that, as someone who still has a future as a news producer, it may not be advantageous for Chez to get into that.

Just an educated guess: Non-compete clause, maybe?

For the purpose of chatting, didn't the some other guy, perhaps the same you mentioned, (whose name I am omitting because I am not entirely sure) say something about 2 years full pay on his blog?

Kevin Davis said...


Thank you for offering a paradigm of false equivalency. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Deacon Blue said...

@ Steven D Skelton

I've seen and heard Glenn Beck completely make up shit and go with things he thinks are true (or wishes were) without any fact-checking or attention to reality.

I've never seen Keith Olbermann totally avoid reality in favor of making shit up.

Their level of "bombast" might be opposite sides of same coin, as well as propensity to surround themselves with like-thinkers, but there is no equivalency otherwise. When one person makes stuff up and/or doesn't care to check his facts and then spouts rhetoric about what people should think and do, that man is far more damaging than Olbermann.

Steven D Skelton said...


My equivalency may not be complete, but it certainly isn't false.

Beck may be a greater asshole than Olbermann and the degree of his chicanery may be greater...I don't know.

But I do know that what I said about Olbermann is absolutely true.

I understand that offends the sensibilities of some on the left who like to believe that the commentators on the right are bigger assholes than the commentators on the left....maybe true...but that doesn't change that they are both assholes.

Mart said...

Olbermann rants about the horror of endless war, the lawlessness of torture and indefinite incarceration and the obscenity of tax policies for the rich that hurt the middle class and poor. He rants both when Bush was doing it and now that Obama is doing it.

Beck rants about Obama's and liberal's fascism, socialism and efforts to destroy the America we know. That they are a spreading cancer that must be stopped. That they use the propaganda tools of Goebbels. Also too heard him say how he would enjoy strangling Nancy Pelosi to death while looking into her eyes.

So yea, pretty much the same thing.

Kevin Davis said...


How many people have killed or attempted to kill people and directly cited Glenn Beck's eliminationist and violent rhetoric in their motivation?

How many have done so with Olbermann?

(Hint: these are facts you can lookup via teh google)

I'm not sure whose "sensibilities" you're referring to, I was just taken aback at how breathtakingly and demonstrably false your statement was and thought I'd help you out.

Steven D Skelton said...


In a comparison between Olbermann and Beck, the actions of anyone other than Olbermann and Beck are irrelevant.

Furthermore, if you would get out of your own way you would see that I mostly agree with you.

Steven D Skelton said...


You invoke Nazi's or Hitler or anything having to do with the third reich outside the context of genocide...and you immediately lose the argument.

Godwin's law. Google it.

Deacon Blue said...

And Steven, if you'd work on your reading comprehension, you'd see tha Mart didn't bring any Third Reich stuff in personally...he noted that Beck accuses others of doing Third Reich stuff. So Glenn Beck is the one you should blame for losing the argument.

And by God, you're sure losing this argument based on illogic, inattention to detail and a thoroughly out of balance view of the actions of Olbermann vs. Beck.

Kevin Davis said...


Bullshit. While Keith is mostly just pompous, Beck uses violent imagery on a nightly basis... "The clock is ticking... The war is just beginning... Shoot me in the head if you try to change our government... You have to be prepared to take rocks to the head... The other side is attacking... There is a coup going on... Grab a torch!... Drive a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers... They are taking you to a place to be slaughtered... They are putting a gun to America's head... Hold these people responsible."

For God's sake, Beck's website has him holding a gun and dumping a body in a trunk! ( , )

Then, you get Byron Williams, you know, the guy who tried to shoot up the Tides foundation:

"I know Beck continuously talks about peaceful resolution but I have constantly disagreed. This, however, misses the point. It's not that Beck is directly advocating violence (he might be in Santa Rita himself if he did that) but he's giving voice and legitimacy to the violent fringe.

"Beck is going to deny everything about violent approach, deny everything about conspiracies," Williams told the freelance journalist John Hamilton, who did the interview to be published by Media Matters. "But he'll give you every reason to believe it. He's protecting himself, and you can't blame him for that. So, but I understand what he's doing."


Are we going to be surprised if anything happens to Frances Fox Piven?

It's easy to make the equivalency of Fox News = MSNBC, Glenn Beck = Keith Olbermann, but it's just not true.

Keith Olbermann = narcissist

Glenn Beck = inciter of violence and demonstrably linked as the inspiration to several deadly acts.

In what universe are those the same?

Chez said...

I don't agree completely with this guy's deification of Olbermann, but he spells out what separates him from Beck -- as many of you have done very well here -- quite nicely.

Mart said...

Wanted to thank Mr. Blue for posting the other night. I was starting too stroke out and then calmed down when I read his post.

MSNBC can bug me. Olbermann did not need the "Worst Person in the World". Maddow gets stuck on penis jokes. Ed Schultz does no homework. O'donnell - seems pretty rational so far. The plus side is they all try to be factual, keep their guests honest, etc.

OTOH multiple conservative media platforms repeat carefully chosen phrases to sell an agenda all day long. Drudge, Fox, Wash Times, Rush, Hannity, Beck on and on. I think that repeatedly hearing this propaganda reults in the totally illogical conservative blog comments. There is no way to compute the conflicting propaganda with data on the ground -

Obama, radical black Christian, secret muslim, pals around with terrorists, Kenyan birth certificate, FEMA camps, wants your guns, transnational highway, death panels, government controlled health care, job killer...

so they just type nonsense.