Home > Uncategorized > Good Night And Good Luck, Keith, Your Replacement Is A Breath Of Fresh Air

Good Night And Good Luck, Keith, Your Replacement Is A Breath Of Fresh Air

I understand now why MSNBC Countdown host Keith Olbermann last Monday “temporarily” suspended his show’s “Worst Persons” segment. It was he who was the worst person of them all.

By the end of the week, Olbermann was “indefinitely” suspended by his network for contributing $2,400 to three Democratic Congressional candidates in Tuesday’s midterms in violation of company policy.

Olbermann was replaced Friday night with veteran morning and day anchor/reporter Thomas Roberts who was magnificent, a breath of fresh air who would be a great addition to the last truly good hire, Lawrence O’Donnell. Roberts w2as less politically biased — which isn’t saying much for the cables — but his professionalism showed through loud and clear.

Roberts asked good questions, got decent answers and ran the show smoothly despite a few glitches and self-deprecatory comments about paying more attention to the video than his teleprompter.

I’m sorry, Keith, but you were a damn good news anchor when you wanted to be. And you, more than anyone with a sports background, knows damn well you cannot play hard only when you feel like it. That puts you in the same category as prima donna wide receiver Randy Moss.

Anyone who watched Olbermann anchor Tuesday’s election coverage for MSNBC would agree he did a magnificent job coordinating news breaks. No one in the NBC family other than Brian Williams could have done better.

That is until his bias showed and he became snarly that his liberal Democrats were taking a scrubbing. The poor man was rooting for his team on the short end of a blowout. You don’t do that in that role.  He turned testy even at his panel of Democratic apologists —  O’Donnell, Eugene Robinson, Chris Matthews and Rachael Maddow. Of course, that is only my opinion.

I have followed Olbermann’s career back to his  days on ESPN where he was occasionally brilliant and funny second only to Chris Berman.

After some dry runs, Keith found a home at MSNBC as a prime time anchor and made his bones by lampooning the Bush administration.  Some considered him a pioneer in that field. Others considered him a jerk.

Depending what sources you read springing or leaking out of the MSNBC heirarchy, Olbermann was creative, salvaged the struggling network from obscurity, impulsive, boorish, paranoid, bullying, snarky and oftentimes unreliable.

He admitted on air his idea of escape is to attend a Major League baseball game. Roots for salvation, so to speak. I was never convinced his first love, sports or news anchor.

What role Olbermann may or may not have had in flipping MSNBC from straight news reporting with a slant and attitude, to a liberal copycat version of the uncanny success of Fox News, I do not know. He became their showcase face.

Some but not all of his “special comments” features were brilliant, erudite and extremely biting in their pronouncements at the delight of one-dimensional die hard Democratic liberals. The conservatives, every one of them at Fox and across the country, hated him. And, Olbermann feigned he loved every minute of it which I don’t think was the entire truth. Criticism hurts all men with inflated egos.

But intertwined in Olbermann’s on air antics was the core of a veteran journalist. He knew what he was doing which is more than some of his competitors can say. His impatience was exemplified mostly in Worst Persons  destroying the pompous asses of the world. He railed against bias and inaccurate news stories by Fox yet in his own right was equally guilty — of bias if not of fact but by omission.

But that seems to be the nature of the cable beast as it has evolved in recent years. Yes, the pop anchors report news but with a slant and the line is blurred — despite Bill O’Reilly’s protestations — between news and opinion.

Memo to the cable networks: The public cannot differentiate between the two most of the time.

In recent weeks, Olbermann accused Fox of hypocrisy for some of its anchors such as Sean Hannity funding Republican candidates and fund raising committees. None of those guys were fired, as Ms. Maddow reported on her show Friday, because she said Fox does not have an impartiality clause as does NBC even though that policy does not extend to MSNBC staffers below the grade of anchor. Keith charged, and correctly based on the reported $2 million owner Rupert Murdoch contributed to the GOP, that Fox was an appendage of the Republican party.

But, if you are going to point fingers, you better wash your hands first. Olbermann didn’t and two of the three candidates he mailed checks to in the past month were recent guests on his show.

Why Keith did this without company approval is a subject of psychobabble. Oh, what the hell, let me guess. I think the guy is self destructive and was thinking if Fox can do it, by golly I can too. In some perverted fashion he was setting himself up as a martyr.

You know what, folks? I am from the old school of newspaper journalistic ethics. If caught, we, too, would have been fired on the spot for admitting contributions to a political campaign we were assigned to report. How we voted in the sanctity of a polling booth was our business but we knew it best to keep our mouths shut.

In my day, ethics, honesty and accuracy were the hallmark of our existence for without it we lost all semblance of credibility.

Nowadays, we don’t even bother with a perception of credibility.
What’s more incredible, the vast majority of readers don’t care any longer. Too many want to believe what they want to hear that fits their own view of the world.

There are multiple choices out here. Keith Olbermann isn’t one of them any longer.

(Olbermann photos courtesy of, top to bottom, loonwatch.com, olbermannwatcch.com, thehotjoints.com; Roberts, incideocal.com)

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