Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Welcome Back Fodder
While there's no arguing that his broadcasting heft has been sorely missed by progressives, the AV Club sums up the problem with Keith Olbermann's "new" show on Current TV:
"The kind of bosses who so antagonize the Keith Olbermanns of the world inevitably get around to complaining that such men are their own worst enemies. I take no pleasure in saying that the bosses are ever right about anything, but even a stopped clock nails it twice a day, you know? For much of the past decade, Olbermann's MSNBC show was a real corrective to much of what passed for TV news. He wasn't exactly an investigative powerhouse, just one more voice recycling the news images of the day and offering his opinions and attitude, but he was smart, funny, and humane, he knew how to use words, and he was the first to offer certain necessary opinions that were in short supply at the time, at least on a prime time TV news show. But during the last few years, Olbermann's shtick ossified; the patty cake with the guests grew more and more predictable, the serious editorializing became self-congratulatory and hectoring, and the feuds seemed self-generated and hollow, as if hitting idjits with a stick was just his way of staying awake against the odds. At some point, his fans might have entertained the question, what would it be like if Keith Olbermann stayed in the same place for more than five years? The answer, it turned out, wasn't pretty.
The great hope for Olbermann's taking his act across the street to a different network was that it might shake him out of his complacency and get him to try something new; maybe at least try out some new guests, who knows, even join forces with some of the video guerrillas whose documentary work is all over Current TV and provide a forum where viewers might get to see some actual reporting. In his inevitable, blessedly brief 'Special Comment', which seemed meant to double as a Charles Foster Kane-style statement of purpose, Olbermann vowed to provide 'a newscast of contextualization, that is, to be presented with a viewpoint: that the weakest citizen of this country is more important than its strongest corporation.' That doesn't sound half bad on the face of it, but if it just means having Michael and Markos and the boys over to run Fox News clips abd (sic) chortle about how awful they are, it's just going to mean extending his rut."
(h/t Alert Reader Michael J. West)