Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Disappearance of Keith Olbermann

By Robert Parry
January 22, 2011

Keith Olbermann’s abrupt departure from MSNBC should be another wake-up call to American progressives about the fragile foothold that liberal-oriented fare now has for only a few hours on one corporate cable network.

Read on.


Anonymous said...

Nice writeup Robert Parry. It's a damn shame that there will be no more Keith Olbermann. His show and especially those special comments will be sorely missed.

I was surprised he didn't do a segment about Glenn Beck's June 2010 comments that recently resurfaced a few days ago on the internet in which he is quoted as saying on his June 10, 2010 show on Fox news: "You're gonna have to shoot them in the head," in reference to Democrats such as then U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who he described as a Marxist "revolutionary" and "communist."

I'm sure we'll hear the rest of the story but Keith probably decided after Comcast was given the green light to buy MSNBC that his days were numbered and he decided to get while the going was good.

It could also be that he was concerned for his own physical safety after he had come out swinging hard demanding that rightwing commentators and newshosts acknowledge the role they have played in fomenting physical violence against Democrats and liberals. He may have run out of patience with the MSNBC hireups overall who may have laid down the law on what he could and couldn't do on his show. Maybe Keith got one too many death threats as well from the extremist right. I noticed he didn't give the number of days since Bush declared "mission accomplished" as he has on most of his previous shows even after Obama taking office.

James Young said...

I agree. Bring Olbermann back.

His presence as a representative of "American progressives" could only advance the cause of American Conservatives AKA "Americans."

Jay Diamond said...

Counselor Young makes clear with the buoyant and prideful sarcasm characteristic of his movement that in his opinion Olbermann is an embarrassment to "American Progressives".

Apparently he does not feel (or chooses to ignore) that beck, limbaugh, hannity, coulter, etc. are considered to be embarrassments by many principled conservatives by almost all independents, and many conservatives, to name several, Kathleen Parker, David Frum, the late Jack Kemp, and many conservative citizens who it is my privilege to know and to respect.

Finally, suspecting that many in his orbit will not possess the wherewithal to interpret his sneering sarcasm he then goes on to state outright that it is his contention that only the most extreme cadres of rightists in the United States qualify, to this gifted officer of our courts of justice, as "Americans".

For an individual specifically schooled in logic and in the profession of "justice" to express himself absent even a nod to those disciplines, he is himself an embarrassment to not only principled conservatives,
but to his entire profession and his country, the founders of his country, and the historic stated ideals of his country.

But the counselor merits our recognition for his having tutored us in the ethics and true "principles" of his cult.

Jay Diamond said...

PS to Counselor James Young.

In your scholarly legal alleged mind, has it occurred to you that many of our soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., are not right wing cultists, and many others are outright progressives.

Now come back here and tell me these troops, living and dead, are not as American as you !!!
This is the kind of "mind" the Federalist Society and rightist "legal scholarship" manufacture !

Counselor Young describes himself thusly, with customary "Real American" modesty "a nationally-recognized expert in labor and constitutional law in the context of individual rights, and recently argued his first case before the United States Supreme Court."

Yeah sure.

Jay Diamond said...

PPS: Too often lately some people confuse aggressively belligerent White Nationalism for "Americanism".

I submit that people such as described above are not more "American", when "American" is understood as reverence and adherence to the stated ideals of our founders and the founding documents they created.

bettenoir said...

"Ominous omen" is redundant. Watch your language.

Anonymous said...

Thought-provoking analysis of the effects on the progressive base of allowing some issues to be raised which yield negative reactions to Obama while suppressing real independence for liberal journalists.

coach1640280 said...

Progressives must think a little more out of the box.

The box is corporate media.

Life is tough for Maddow, Schultz, and O'Donnell.

Female progressive liberals are attacked viciously (Pelosi) and attacked literally (Giffords).

It's time to re-examine the assumptions of our democracy.


Dina in Ashland, VA said...

I will miss Keith Olbermann in ways that I cannot describe. He captured me when he spoke out against the Iraq war when all other newsmen were smiling through the funk of George Bush's farts. This has not been a good weekend for me.

What also promises to make this loss difficult is the gag order that's been placed on Keith. But on the other hand, what's bad for me may be good for him. Perhaps he's tired and needs a break. He's lost both his parents in the last 3 yrs w/o much time to grieve. We, his fans, demaned him back on air asap! Loss has a tendency to make a person reflect on the choices they've made in life & perhaps fighting, whether with management or Fox or conservatives, is more than he can stand right now.

Losing Keith's voice has been like a death in MY family- sudden and final. I will miss him so much. And I wish him all good things in the future.

Charlie said...

Point made on the pitifully little progressive content in all media and the decline of even that. The problem? Well as I see it, it all continues to come back to money. The right wing is being bought and paid for by the wealthy and the corporations (which while related are actually not identical). This because the various philosophies of the right mesh nicely with their focus on making themselves even more filthy rich. Since Citizens Untied, they can flood the political market with cash and get their bought people in, they control comment by owning the major sources of news and commentary, and they also control, via the purse strings, who is successful by buying add time on only the right wing media. Air America died this way and there are others. They are willing to loose money on some of these right wing shows if the long term effect is to bring more people to the side they is an investment. All of this is the result of the rise of the oligarchy in this country and, in fact, the world. The oligarchs could care less about the country. and even less about its people. To folks like the neo-cons, the good old USA is merely a business opportunity, and if it goes under, well there is always China. They only keep the USA on life support to be sure they have a market. The Tea Party, of course is just a construct created by the oligarchs and power brokers. Through lies and manipulation of emotion through fear they use this "movement" to get people to repeatedly react and vote against their own best interests based on the apparent support of "micro causes" by the bought media and politicians (read anti abortion, anti gay rights etc. In the 2004 campaign in Ohio there it was put simply as "get out and vote against gay marriage and while there, vote for Bush). So the right rises and the left declines. Since we dare not use their methods, it comes down to local and individual actions. Contributions of cash are well enough but real action speaks much louder. Investment in time and passion is the only way. The right has that passion but is artificially enhanced as described above; even to the extent of passionate attacks on health care by the very ones who need or will need assistance. So progressives need to be passionate. This is hard when defeat is nearly constant. If we do not then we are truly doomed and remember, it takes 1000 of we REAL people to have the effect of one wealthy person and 10,000 for a corporation. We have our work cut out for us but we did it once in Obama, no matter what you think of him now, and hopefully, we can do it again.

Anonymous said...

Comcast has wanted Olbermann gone for a long time and so MSBNC's parent must have known this and had intended to ax Keith back in Nov over his campaign donations but ended up letting him come back because of the 300,000 petitioners demanding Keith be reinstated.

Comcast is saying they don't give a damn what the viewers want. They own MSNBC and they'll damn well decide and Rachel's next to go. Lawrence's program will be so watered down and full of horrible stories about the GOP in charge of congres as to be unwatchable.

this just in:

Officially, the Comcast takeover is next week. But word has been circulating for months now that the new owners have wanted to "tinker" with MSNBC and had many changes in store, including a right turn for the left-wing cable channel so that it represents both political points of view more evenly. It is well known that both Comcast chief Brian Roberts and NBCU chief Steve Burke have donated heavily to the Republican party with Burke more recently donating money to a few Democrats as well as heavily to Republicans. Roberts was a co-chairman of the host committee at the 2000 Republican Convention while Burke raised at least $200,000 for George W Bush's re-election campaign.

angie said...

So where is all the progressive money? It is obvious that mainstream America does not read books, and gets its news from Cable TV, so wht Haven't wealthy progressives purchased at least one network capable of getting real news to Americans?


Read "James Young"s profile to see where he's coming from.
Nuf Said.

James Young said...

Uh, Jay, that you describe Conservatives as a "cult" speaks volumes, and if you had the wit to be a little more self-reflective, you might even understand why people like Limbaugh and Beck find such a receptive audience. There are those who call liberalism a mental disorder, but it really describes a number of disorders: extreme narcissism; sanctimony; etc.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that Olbermann is gone, but we already knew that MSNBC is ultimately owned by the war profiteering corporation GE anyway.

At the same time, these things happen frequently in show biz and it's usually more about ratings than politics.

Keith was a pioneer of liberal news media and should be respected for that, but let's face it, his shtick was starting to get old, jaded, and over-the-top vitriolic.

Rachel Maddow, by comparison, is bright, adventurous and interest-ing. She actually travelled to the Gulf during the oil spill, filmed the endangered habitats, interviewed the experts, digested their information and shared it with the public. Then she went to Afghanistan and did essentially the same thing.

Keith, on the other hand, sits in front of the same backdrop, night after night, using bigger and bigger words to spew his anger. I'm angry too, but this is not how we attract new viewers to our cause.

TV is for the mentally lazy who want to be spoon-fed and entertained while being informed, and perhaps Keith wasn't catering to those needs quite enough.

He might be more effective in Congress at this point, which is why there is now a movement to nominate him for the senate in Connecticut.