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Marion On January - 22 - 2011

Oh, the angst. Keith Olbermann leaves MSNBC. Well, he left “by mutual consent,” which is a euphemism for getting the sack. And people expostulate. That’s right. The Left mourn the loss of one of their own, their voice, their conscience.

Spare me.

A multi-millionaire Leftwing television presenter who couldn’t abide sharing the same broadcast with anyone of a differing opinion, a narcissist who had issues with women in general, an effete who represented everything pejoratively elitist about the Democratic party which turned OFF the demographic whom they originally represented and disenfranchised them to such a point that they became ripe fruit for the picking by the avaricious and deceptive GOP, has left the building.

I am at a loss at the attitudes of people who should know better, demanding boycotts of the network and petitions for reinstatement and apportioning blame on that omnipresent entity, the sinister “corporation.”

To quote a well-known Rightwing sage (and that’s an oxymoron), I say to you this:

Man up! You’ve lost nothing, and Olbermann’s left with his pockets laden down from whatever $30 million weighs. He’ll serve out whatever time proscribed by his severance contract, in tweeting and twittering away; and at the end of his corporately-imposed exile, he’ll most likely get snapped up by Roger Ailes and decamp to take up residence as Fox’s voice from the other side, their first liberal infotainer since the retirement of Alan Colmes, snugly wedged between his old nemeses, Beck and Bill-O, and maneuvering his way around Fox to present Countdown.

That move makes sense. It shows Fox as really “fair and balanced,” and it garners the network a whole new tranche of liberal/moderate/Progressive viewers, including the usual haters from the Right who watched and agonised over Olbermann’s antics on MSNBC as much as the usual suspects from the Left do the same with Beck on Fox. A gig like that will also most likely pay KO a sizeable amount more than MSNBC would, so everyone would be happy.

Olbermann could carry on speaking his version of truth to power to the Right as well as continuing his argumentum ad hominem attacks, from time to time, on the President. That’s a small price for Fox to pay, enduring criticism from a Leftwing commentator, who – every time the only adult in the room does something the fraternity of eternal children cannot abide and refuse to understand – engages in the worst kind of rhetoric against someone from his own side of the political equation.

Keith would be ratfucking with Rove and not even be aware that he’s doing it, laughing all the way to the bank – or to Yankees’ games in the company of Sean Hannity.

In the meantime, until the martyr serves his sentence, it might be mete for the hoi polloi who hung on his every word to try to engage their minds with Lawrence O’Donnell, who’s not averse to presenting (and subsequently skewering) a divergent viewpoint and whose program encourages viewers to re-acquaint themselves with the lost art of the Left: the ability to think critically.

Categories: News & Politics, The Media

30 Responses so far.

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  1. KQ says:

    I’m in the minority here but I view allot of what you are saying in the same way. Spare me the people who make KO the victim of the horrible corporate media. He had no problem working for GE one of the biggest polluters on the planet for many years. He has no problem lampooning back room deals the government has to make to function when he refuses to tell us what the terms of his deal was. As he muzzles himself for the mountain of cash he received in his settlement the Americans he portends to be champion of are struggling to pay their monthly bills. How about sharing some of the wealth KO?

    But he’s a progressive saint so he can do no wrong in the eyes of his audience.

    Fighting the rich and powerful when your main ambition in life is to be rich and powerful rings hollow to me. Much of what he did talk about was absolute shtick to placate his audience and “earn” his millions.

    KO if you really want to serve the public run for office or work for scale on NPR or PBS. Then maybe I will believe you because then your words will be backed by deeds.

  2. escribacat says:

    So your point is that anyone who admires Keith Olbermann can’t think critically? Isn’t that a bit extreme? I agree that KO could be over the top sometimes and I got tired of his endless obsession with BillO the Clown etc. On the other hand, he was and is a powerful and convincing progressive voice. I admire that. I also believe he means what he says and his health care clinics show he takes real action as well. I can’t imagine him showing up at Fox.

    Frankly, Marion, I think there are quite a few similarities between you and Keith. Your fascination with Bill Maher rivals his with Bill-O and your passion matches his.

  3. AdLib says:

    I am not a KO fanatic, in fact, I had been laying off his show for a while because I did think he was pushing some things a little too far. However, I disagree with your sharply negative views of him.

    IMO, you are mistaken in your assumptions about people that you explain you don’t relate to, namely those who are upset at this.

    People aren’t upset because they feel sorry for him or worry about how much money he has, they are upset because of what the loss of a major Progressive voice and activist means for the agenda they believe in and want advanced. They’re upset that the Republican supporting Comcast will assume ownership of MSNBC with Progressive hosts more worried about toeing the corporate line and not speaking out too much (and certainly not against their corporate bosses) or losing their careers.

    You focus in your article on how much money Olbermann walks away with as a reason to discount the impact of his absence on MSNBC but these two things are wholly unrelated.

    Last year, Keith Olbermann helped raise $1.2 million for free health care clinics across the country. I’m certain that the thousands of people who were helped, some with very serious conditions, were grateful for the difference that made in their lives. We know for a fact that he won’t have that same platform and opportunity to repeat this in the future.

    That’s a good thing? For who?

    Olbermann was the first MSM broadcaster to challenge the Bush Admin after 9/11 on its war mongering and incompetence. Olbermann was the force that brought MSNBC up from very little ratings to a meaningful presence in the news game. Their most popular hosts were shepherded in by him. Like him or not, these are meaningful contributions and accomplishments.

    Yet, you group him in with those who have only operated to benefit themselves and Corporate greed at Fox news.

    Keith would be ratfucking with Rove and not even be aware that he’s doing it, laughing all the way to the bank – or to Yankees’ games in the company of Sean Hannity.

    When KO was suspended, you suggested that he was possibly collaborating with MSNBC on that as a ratings stunt. I know you have a very low opinion of him but I don’t think your POV on him has been or is very accurate.

    Your proposition appears to be that KO has no principles, would happily sell himself out to Fox and that those who are upset at what has transpired are just fans who are worried about how Olbermann is feeling and how much money he has. If this is accurate, I believe you’re mistaken on all counts.

    The setting for all of this, which does not even appear in your article, is the Republican-supporting Comcast buying control over MSNBC. How much more diverse, how much more plentiful, how much more stronger are the voices on MSNBC after this shot across the bow?

    Is this a good thing for Progressives and Democrats when at the same time, Fox News will be strengthened by this? The literal propaganda arm of the RW benefits from one less Progressive voice confronting them, that’s a good thing?

    Mark Zuckerberg may be a complete jerk as he appeared to be in The Social Network. Does that change what he accomplished? There are numerous actors who are/were miserable people but who you may enjoy in certain films. Are their films bad and accomplishments meaningless because they may not be people we would like?

    A complete discounting of Olbermann’s contributions and successes and attributing all manner of detestable attributes to him because he may not be the kind of person one might prefer surely leads away from accuracy and fairness.

    • javaz says:

      I agree with everything you’ve said, but I’d like to ask you to read my reply right before yours.

      I’d really like your opinion or anyone else that might read it.

      I truly believe that news people are lazy, and they rely on the Internet

      What I am suggesting is for left wing blogs to stop reporting on the right-wing-crazy, and start reporting on the victories on the left and focusing on progressive legislation --

      We’ve had some very major victories -- the end of DADT is very BIG.

      We should be concentrating on Representatives who are working for the middle class and poor.

  4. javaz says:

    LMFAO!

    Okay, so that might be wrong of me, but what makes laugh about this, was reading a diary on DailyKos, and how the diarist was writing while crying.
    I didn’t bother reading the entire thing.

    I have sworn off from blogging anymore, because I’ve pretty much have nothing more to say after 8 years of blogging.

    It’s all so redundant.

    It’s all the same bullshit day after day, and I am so done with it all.

    Yet here I am yet again blogging.

    We don’t do cable or Dish TV, because we’re cheap, but we have actually ordered the Arizona Republic to be delivered daily, and it hasn’t started yet.
    And yeah, it’s a totally right-wing reichstag paper, but we want to read what’s going on locally.

    I do not know KO at all, except for what I’ve read about him online, and seen him when he did Sunday Night Football on NBC.

    I do know from Marion’s articles that KO never votes, so that right there was a BIG turn off for me.

    My husband and I discussed the why of Republicans always being on free-TV shows, and we concluded that it’s because the Republicans are so totally childish and insane, and that’s newsworthy.

    But it’s also because the left pays so much attention to the right.

    The left are much better at blogging, and the MSM is lazy, and gets their news from the Internet.

    The left pays more attention to the right than anything else.

    We do not watch the national news, we’re pretty much ignorant in that regard, but I read far too many left wing sites for news, and while reading the left wing sites, I know more about Sarah Palin than we get from our local news.

    We have come to the conclusion that the left is part of the game, in that the left concentrates too much about the right and Teaboogers, and that’s what powers the news.

    It’s all about ratings.

    Sarah Palin gets far more coverage from the left, so maybe it’s time for us on the left, to start focusing on Reps and legislation and left-wing candidates and the things that really matter.

    We can’t fall into the corporate trap when it comes to news.

    There are far more left wing blogs, and we should stop focusing on all the insanity from the right, and start focusing and blogging about things that matter.

    • AdLib says:

      Hey javaz!

      I just don’t think there is a simple “this way” or “that way” to the current state of politics in this country.

      Sometimes, you have to confront the Repubs, other times you can assert Dem accomplishments and solutions.

      In the Fall of 2009, Obama went the route of ignoring the Bagger claims that HCR would create death panels that will kill your Granny. They thought, “No one will believe this, let’s not give it attention and ignore this lunacy.” Instead, people did believe that frequently repeated lie, along with others and HCR was nearly killed.

      In the SOTU address, I think Obama has a great opportunity to lay out how much has been accomplished by him and the Dems and inspire Americans with a vision for the future.

      Unfortunately, lies and attacks repeated by the Repubs are ignored by Dems at their own risk. We should pick and choose, not elevating attention towards things that are not worthwhile but combating disinformation when we can.

  5. Kalima says:

    Excuse me Marion, but wasn’t it you who last year at the time of the U.K. elections in May, suggested that my living away for so many years, had left me without a realistic understanding of what was going on in the minds of people in the country I grew up up in?

    • boomer1949 says:

      It’s a “pot-kettle” thing Kalima…

      boomer1949 says:
      01/06/2011 at 2:52 AM

      The American People posted by Marion Jan 4, 2011

      …there’s nothing that makes an American more American than living abroad and defending what it means to be just that….

      With all due respect Marion,

      This country is not the same country you left, 20, 25, 30 years ago and neither are its people.

      One of the most important aspects of being an American, is to actually live, eat, sleep, breathe, and experience what one could call This American Life.

      Please explain how one can legitimately defend what one no longer lives?

      • AdLib says:

        A discussion about sensibilities and perspectives from afar is legit but personalizing it takes it off course.

        Like yours and Kalima’s, Marion’s POV is very appreciated and typically inspires conversations of substance.

        It’s affirming to the openness and truth of our conversations here that we have and welcome differences of opinion.

        As for my POV on this, I think there can be unique insights from people who have a bit of distance from a situation but there can also be a huge gulf of understanding when not living in the same environment one is trying to assess.

        It’s a case by case basis as to whether one’s remoteness from a situation leads to objectivity or misapprehensions.

        So, I do strongly oppose the concept of automatically disqualifying anyone’s opinion because they aren’t living in an area or situation.

        Subjective opinions of people in the midst of a situation can be as mistaken or as salient as those by someone with a more remote viewpoint.

        If our focus is on seeking truth, where someone sits on this Planet is irrelevant to whether their insights are more on target or less.

        Afterall, look at me, I’m right about every topic no matter where it takes place in the world. 😉

  6. Bauart says:

    Not sure I agree with anything you said here, (other than the fact that he was extremely well paid and doesn’t really need my sympathy). I take all pundits with bag of road salt, and Keith Olbermann is no different. He does however faithfully present his opinions from the left side of the field and can occasionally, when it’s his turn at bat, knock it out of the park.

    Most recently his comments about Gabrielle Gifford and the blood bath in Arizona were on target, well delivered, timely and probably the most well spoken of any commentator on-air.

    Listen for yourself. http://youtu.be/k_ypNCrufp4


    • choicelady says:

      Hi Bauart -- don’t know you yet, but I like what you said.

      I LIKE Olbermann about 90% of the time. He backs up what he says, and I tend to be mostly in sync with him. I agree with AdLib -- when he was bad he was merely sucky. When he was good he was fantastic! He did reach new levels with his commentaries, especially on health care, and his compassion for real people was persistent and honest.

      Randi Rhodes was/is the same -- over the top, sometimes rude, incredibly narcissistic, but NOT ever at the expense of ideals which too many of the Left give up when something conflicts with their ego. KO kept his focus, backed up his statements, and I learned a LOT from him. He is NOT Bill Maher who has no principles, ONLY ego. With KO it’s the other way ’round -- ego yes, but principles more/most.

      Nobody on the Left can be silenced these days -- there simply are too few of us. His loss is a big loss. I will miss him.

    • AdLib says:

      Nice to see ya, Bauart!

      This is one of his finest Special Comments.

    • Khirad says:

      Indeed, and welcome Bauart!

    • bito says:

      Welcome Bauart, good comment. Hope you appreciate out Planet.
      Looked at your site and found it very interesting.

      Bauart provides creative services to a host of clients across all fields. Including: consumer products, healthcare, legal, non-profit, education, leisure and hospitality, oil and gas, telecommunications, television broadcasting, internet marketing, print and media, manufacturing, ad agencies, and many others.

      Again, Welcome.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      HI, Buart. I’ve not seen you here before and sorry I missed out. I agree, and well said. Good to have you here.

  7. Chernynkaya says:

    See, I don’t think the real angst is about Olbermann so much-- although for many that is part of it. I think that even though what you wrote makes several valid points, you are completely missing the bigger issue, and that is about silencing a voice of Progressives. Most of the reaction I see is about the extremely Rightward trend we see escalating, including (but not limited to) the Citizen’s United decision, the merger and near monopoly of Comcast, the midterm elections, the daily barrage from the Right of incendiary language, the rise of Corporatism, and, at the risk of histrionics, the perceived threat to free speech itself-- all of these, and many other factors, serve to enrage us.

    Look, I’m as cynical as the next person, but even I can see their are issues here that go beyond the petty office politics of Olbermann and Phil Griffin, and beyond the cynical chess game of broadcast corporatism. Perhaps those issues seem terribly bourgeois and quaint from your POV, but they matter a great deal to many of us.

    Whatever your or my opinion about him, to quote the CEO of Media Matters: “Olbermann led the charge against conservative misinformation in prime time. He was one of the few voices in the media willing to hold the Bush administration accountable and fight the right-wing smears against progressives and their policies.

    Keith is an innovator and an extremely talented broadcaster who showed there was a market for progressive views on cable news…”

    Marion, I value your posts-- they always get me involved and spark the best debates, and this is no exception. However, I have to admit to a degree of resentment I feel that you never comment or even read any of our posts or comments. This article is a prime example-- we have been discussing this since last night, and have gone over many aspects of the firing. And I think that’s one reason you evoke the reactions you get; I personally have to admit feeling insulted and patronized.

    • bito says:

      I wonder what it is like living in a country that has taxpayer funded alternatives in broadcasting and not just corporate controlled programming?
      I am not a sheeple, as I suspect many that watch KO were not, and I disagreed many times, but as you point out, Cher, he was a valuable voice against the huge corporate conservatism in the country. With so few voices, a loss of one is wrong. The loss of the pulpit is lost. It has nothing about what he made, Beck and Palin make more, it was what he said. I don’t really a flying fig if he made 5 times as much, his voice will be lost.
      I am not mourning the loss of KO, I am angry at the silencing of a voice of the left, because he did not kowtow to a corporation.

      • Marion says:

        The “C” in BBC stands for “Corporation,” which is exactly what it is, and its funded by a stealth tax called the television licence. If you don’t have one (cost about the equivalent of $225 per annum, all of which goes to the Beeb, so multiply 60,000,000 by that amount to get the Beeb’s budget), you pay a hefty fine or go to jail. Corporate rule through the government much?

        • bito says:

          Well you will have to help me with this. Are you equating the standards of Fox with those of BBC? Is Beck in the UK broadcast by the BEEB? I do not get to see all the programing from the UK as I suspect you do not get to see all the US programming from the the US there, but we see so much of a regression to the right in our corporate news that the loss of a voice from the left here is distressing on many.

          Paying taxes!! OMG, is that what we do to live in a civil society? Would you give up the BEEB to have your airways controlled by the Murdochs, GEs, Comcasts, Wall Street bankers and gamblers?
          I do not pretend to understand your broadcast services in the UK, but our public broadcasting is taxpayer is taxpayer funded and it is also known as a corporation. The Corporation for Pubic Broadcasting, of course you can’t see American Idol on their stations.

          • Khirad says:

            And I’ll take the Beeb and PBS over Sky and FOX any day…

            Although I do know that there’s a couple Beeb channels that are the equivalent of UPN.

            BTW, hear about the Prime Minister of Ireland?

            • Kalima says:

              The difference between CNN International and your domestic CNN is like day and night. I used to love to watch Amanpour, and her reporting from all over the trouble spots around the world. Her series on Muslims and terrorism was brilliant and excellent reporting.

            • Khirad says:

              I wish I could trade CNN FOR CNN International.

              I still remember when they once had an hour or half hour every day with Clancy and … Hala Gorani, oh, Hala, how I miss you…

            • Kalima says:

              I know, I’m so envious, all that popcorn going to waste. 😉

            • bito says:

              Kalima, what is funny, I don’t get CNN international here.
              But I can watch the latest car chase live in LA! 😀

            • Kalima says:

              Precisely Khirad. When you live away from home, having a reliable news service like BBC World, can make all the difference between actually watching international news with actual people on the program who know what they are talking about as opposed to your array of self-serving, opinionated know-nothings, or having to chose between listening to details of recent murders here, and the latest news about the newest incompetent MP and his cabinet’s crooks and fumblers. My only other choice for tv viewing is CNN International, and they don’t do such a bad job with international news either. If Murdoch gets his way with Sky, I feel sorry for the Fox- like programs it might bring in the future to viewers over there There are dumb people all over the globe, who might just succumb to mindless chatter instead of their own opinions, if they actually have any that is.

  8. boomer1949 says:

    Those of us who believe there is a redeeming value to what Keith Olbermann says, does, or represents are no different than those who believe the same when it comes to Bill Maher. The only difference is Keith has character, Bill does not. Moreover, Maher’s feigned “outrage” over Olbermann’s “mutually agreed” exit was opportunistic to say the least…nothng more, nothing less.

    Just sayin’.

    ***Edit*** Oh, and Bill hasn’t exactly cried all the way to the bank either.


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