Regarding Olbermann

Friday night, watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann I heard and saw him announce it would be his last show.

“There were many occasions, particularly in the last two and a half years, where all that surrounded the show, but never the show itself, was just too much for me,” -Keith O

Mental double take.

Then a half triple. I was only trying to keep my cat’s butt away from my drink.  That’s all.

I first discovered Keith Olbermann six or seven years ago on the internet, before the birth of brainspank.  Youtube I think.  Special Comments if I remember right.

I was in awe of his ferocious conviction and adroit articulation.  This guy says what I think better than I can, I thought.

Since then, people have said the same to me and about me and it’s always occasion for my own humility.

There has been no greater influence on my writings and style than Mr. Olbermann, save for the somewhat more existential specter of Hunter S. Thompson.

It goes without saying that I am saddened and dismayed.

I’m kinda pissed off.

I bet he would have said fuck a lot if he could.

I was fond of thinking of Keith as Edward R. Murrow but understood it was intellectually dishonest because Murrow was, out of necessity and protocol, far more impartial and absent an agenda.  Yet Murrow didn’t have a faux new agency like Fox News to contend with.  Indeed, the rise of MSNBC was doubtless possible in a big way because of Fox News.  The appropriate analog might be of Walter Cronkite in the context of the Nixon administration and the Vietnam war.  I’m old enough to remember the the musty smell of vacuum tubes and the visage of Cronkite on the black and white Zenith console television.  I’d like to think I remember Cronkite declaring that the Vietnam war was “unwinnable”.  I remember Apollo moon shots.  It coulda happened.

Lies propagated by the the media now are on a scale that Murrow and Cronkite would not have even been able to comprehend.  Prolific, profligate and insidious.

According to Politico, Lawrence O’Donnell will be filling the slot.

Rachel Maddow was on Real Time and had nothing to say.  Bill Maher didn’t hesitate calling bullshit on it.

I hear there was a four year contract two years still fresh.  They fired him.  Anyone seen Zucker?  They fired him.

Yes, Keith Olbermann was ostentatiously guilty for various forays into hyperbolic invective.  Still, he never failed to illuminate.  He never failed to tell the goddamn truth.  The fucking truth.  And with a confident hand, established the identity of what was a callow flailing would be cable news network.  America was in need of it.  Fearless, daredevil courage with unmitigated honesty and some sloppy catcalls were the fuel for his rocket.

I’ll bet he’s a dick.  I’m sure he is unless he likes you.

It should be noted that he was suspended in November in part for his campaign contribution to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; she of the remarkable recovery so far of a bullet through the head.

“The man who sees absolutes where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning is either a prophet or a quack. Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.” -Keith O

Don’t doubt for a minute that it was the fight he fought that led to his walking away.  He probably tipped out the door as he was getting axed.  Out the door of a house that he built.

The very vacuum of intel or reason obviates events as they are being described.  Comcast’s acquisition of all things NBC is a cheeseburger and a road map to Keith Olbermann’s departure.  COO of Comcast Stephen B. Burke, a ‘Bush Ranger’, raised at least $200k for Bush in ’04.

Burke is definitely a dick and we all may be in trouble.

Keith Olbermann spoke truth to power.  It was his specialty.  He took obvious delight in it.  I crap you negative when I tell you that’s why he’s gone.

I am sad.  He was by no means perfect.  But he filled the holes left gaping by progressive passivity with righteous anger and he will be missed.  We needed him and we still do.  He’s a champion.  I’m waiting to see how MSNBC intends to do better.  O’Donnell is quite good but it’s hardly the show or the spectacle that Olbermann masterminded over the last eight years.  Respect him much for the firebrand he is but understand that he’s pretty damn funny and an intuitive master of ceremonies.

This is stupid.  It was my favorite show on television.  I hated it when he had guest subs.  But I like them all now.

Crap false equivalency between the O’Reillys, the Hannitys and the Limbaughs as opposed to the Olbermanns, the Maddows or the O’Donells these days.  Bullshit.  The difference is elementary.  The former pursues an evil agenda with lies and obfuscation and the latter pursues an agenda with truth and clarity.  Yes they both get carried away.  Get over it.  I mean, they shoot horses don’t they?

“Moral? It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all the answers,” -Thurber via Olbermann

“Good night and good luck,”

Drinks for my friends.

27 Responses to “Regarding Olbermann”

  • Good article and I agree with you 300%. We did and do need a voice like Keith’s. To say I am sad just is not adaquate to share what I feel. I am also very disturbed that ComCast is now in Control. Will have to wonder if Rchel, Lwrence and Chris will also be gone soon? Thanks for sharing, TL

    • Michael Douglass:

      It is the question I’m asking here. He’s a good man. I miss him already. My mother tells me she refuses to watch MSNBC.

  • As usual, SPOT ON. Well done, bravo. 🙂

  • Evie:

    Great Read ~ and I agree totally.

  • Vanessa:

    I was channel surfing one night and came across Kieth 5 years ago. He quickly became a fixture within my family. I hope that he return’s soon………My 87 year mother LOVES him and is upset about what transpired Friday night

    • Michael Douglass:

      It’s weird how these things happen. He became an icon. He was good at what he did. I imagine it will end well.

  • jill:

    I don’t see any comparison between your writing and Keith’s.

  • TrishK:

    Nice post, I am with you!

  • Teresa:

    I know if I were more into the political scene, I would have true appreciation for your writings, but because they ARE your writings, I learn more from you then turning on the damn television and do appreciate the time you take keeping us informed. Thanks Michael!

  • Mandy Andersonn:

    I agree, wholeheartedly. Rachel and Lawrence (and sometimes Ed) really hit the nail on it’s head – when they’ve got their A game on. But that isn’t every night. Rachel meanders into the world of silliness a bit too often, while Ed is a fighter who sometimes rants like a used car salesman in a commercial. Lawrence calls himself the progressive of progressives, and yet is plainly an insider who is all too quick to point out how things are done, rather than how they should/could be. Chris Matthews? He lost me a long time ago. Keith was the wit w/ words enough to put a coherent voice to the anger the Left has been and is feeling. The man made MSNBC. His ‘Special Comments’ were always worth listening to, for the pure flow of language, and of course the content.

    Great piece, Michael!

    • Michael Douglass:

      He will be missed and I can’t imagine a better quarterback. Looks like they’ll be looking to O’Donell for that and I’m not sure he’s up to it. Thanks for reading.

  • Czat:

    *You should take part in a contest for one of the best blogs on the web. I will recommend this site!

  • Janet Carter:

    Excellent piece, Michael. I miss Keith already. I like Lawrence O’Donnell but he just doesn’t have the personality that Keith does. I have a strong feeling Keith will be back in one way or the other.

  • Junior's Ghost:

    Shame on me for thinking that Comcast would keep Olbermann on staff if only to keep upright the crumbling facade of corporate media’s attempt to portray themselves as an impartial voice fading across this wasteland.

    The curtain is up. All the cards have been laid. There may be a few progressives out there who stiil think mass media is still fair game. But I’ll be frank, outside of watching my own personal DVD collection. I’ve got no other use for my flat-screen TV.

    The net is our last chance to peacefully affect positive change in our democracy. You rock my world and please keep up the good work. But, if net neutrality falls by the wayside, most of the responsible adults in the room will be swept aside, when that happens all bets are off.

    I’d never condone violence. Ever. But millions of hard working people in this country have been losing too much ground for too many years with no recourse to salvage them. Too many Americans struggling for too long with no voice is a recipe for revolution. This is a weaponized populace, remember. It won’t be pretty.

    We need to draw our line in the sand, We need to say we will retreat no further. Please tell me where I can make a stand.

  • Michael Douglass:

    The answer is here. Net neutrality is the last front. I can’t believe I haven’t written about it. We absolutely must preserve it or all is lost.

  • When Keith left, whether by his own recognizance or by intimidation (we’ll never know for sure), one thing is certain: One of the ONLY voices who fought the Bush/Cheney Oligarchy was Olbermann. He was the ONLY one, who when ALL the other media participants joined in on the mocking bird chime, called them out for their insanity, their corruption, their greed, their lies, and their blatant fornication and exploitation of the US Constitution. If he was an @$$hole as some have claimed, I’d rather have an @$$hole who cares about the American people than an @$$hole who is just an @$$hole. Olbermann, to me, is one of the last pioneers of true journalism. Perhaps I did not always agree with him, but by far and large, he was one of a kind and a true hero to working class people in these United States. I had my serious doubts about the Comcast takeover; and with the decline of real American journalism, this “merger” has introduced to us the utter and complete dictatorialship of the media airways for the loony rightwing fringe. Sure, Beck and all his clansmen are having a gleeful chuckle over this. And that is the most twisted part of it all… the jerks with little or no education, with contempt for civility in these United States…those with the hateful vitriol have won the battle. They sit back perched on their high horses as if they have the full power to speak and do as they feel…even if it costs a life or two along the way. Where is the FCC? Where is the power that is supposed to protect the American people from these hate and fear-mongers? I fear that Olbermann’s departure is just the beginning… soon after, Maddow will go…then O’Donnel, then Schulz…then Maher… We may NOT always agree but they are the lone rangers on the media war that has become the non-news and propaganda of the lunatic fringe. Thanks for posting this oped, Michael…as always, you are spot on! <3 & Light — CA

  • Michael Douglass:

    I am in fear of the other shoe dropping. If Maddow goes, I’m moving to Canada. I’ll bet Keith is an asshole, people smarter than everyone around them sometimes grow into that. He was an island for a very long time and that took courage. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • I like your upsettedness… I agree. Hell, so needful for his commentary on Egypt that I’ve been posting his tweets…. geesh. Addicted, eh? Great Post.

  • Michael,
    I went to school with KO, he was pretty introverted, but never nasty. He clearly had integrity, too.
    just saying.

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