Saturday, January 22, 2011

Good-bye Keith

Maybe the news is all in how you look at it.  Take the news of Keith Olbermann's sudden (or maybe not so sudden) departure from MSNBC.  If you are an outspoken  progressive distrustful of the government and even more so of giant corporations, you might connect the dots between the Justice Department's approval of the NBC-Comcast merger and the almost immediate termination of Keith Olbermann's contract thereafter, and conclude that the government and these giant corporations have teamed up to silence a strong progressive champion.  If you're a bit more cynical and less inclined to view the world in ideological terms, you might decide this was just a business decision by both parties, the talent deciding to walk and take a big payoff because his salary demands were not being met, while the producer decided the talent was too troublesome and perhaps past his prime ratings-wise.  If you're a moralist or an old-fashioned journalistic purist, you might think Keith Olbermann deserved a comeuppance for his flouting of journalistic ethics. and his biased and opinionated presentation of the news.

As for me, I think there might be a bit of truth in all these theories, but I'll admit I was never that big of a Keith Olbermann fan, so I'm not really sorry to see him go.  I don't care for his smirky, snarky tone of voice, and I doubt he was very effective at persuading anyone who did not already agree with him, of anything.  I'm not a journalist either, but I like to delude myself into thinking that what I'm doing here in my very humble way is the opposite of what polarizing figures like Keith Olbermann are doing.  I support a similar progressive agenda, but I'm also trying to promote respectful dialogue, stay positive, tone down the rhetoric, and keep things in historical perspective.  And I hear Keith Olbermann may soon be moving to the internet to join me, since he is off the air for a while.  Good night and good luck, Keith.


  1. I did read a post by a plaintiff's-side employment attorney in California who gave his take on KO's departure. That he wasn't fired, but negotiated an end, whether at his behest or not, it would have involved considerable benefit to him. As part of the settlement he won't be able to talk about it for some period of time. In a NYTimes' article yesterday in Media Decoder, Comcast said the deal wasn't completed, they didn't have operational control and that they had "pledged they wouldn't interfere" with the news. Who knows.

    I had to laugh at your "Good night and good luck," ending, Joe. I have been thinking about Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow for several days. I was a little young when Murrow was on, but I do remember him with respect. Uncle Walter was much loved and appreciated. It would be wonderful to have someone like them on TV again.

    I solved my problem with the news last year by not watching any TV at all, including the news. I just don't want the aggravation. I either listen to a speech or coverage of Congress on C-Span online/or a live cast. And I look through Internet sites and read thoughtful articles that give details and facts.

    If I do happen to catch the news when I'm at someone's house it seems so shrill and emotional. I know there are conservative and liberal web sites like that, too. I think people that watch the news/read those sites are becoming desensitized. I wonder if they even realize how extreme it's becoming.

    The good thing is that there are plenty of online resources for an older Cronkite fan like me so I'm happy. And that's the way it is, Joe.

  2. He did pull in the highest ratings of any of MSNBC's shows, so I guess there's that. But the guy was an angry self-serving hack. I hear Liberals want him to run for Congress and I'm sure HBO will hire him.