I wanted to wait a few days before putting something down about the sudden resignation (termination?) of Keith Olbermann from MSNBC. My thoughts are influx about what really went down — and we may never fully know the answer. But I still don’t think he was necessarily pushed, even if Keith himself used language suggestive of that outcome during his sign off speech. Rachel Maddow, during her tribute to Keith on Monday’s Rachel Maddow Show, stated that there is no corporate influence over the editorial control of her show, and that there never would be. So she’s not going anywhere. That seemed to jibe with my initial instinct that if Comcast, the soon-to-be-owners of the NBC networks, really wanted to get rid of the lefty evening programming on MSNBC they would just do it. They wouldn’t nickel and dime it to death. Clean sweeps occur on network TV all the time. So call me naive, but I don’t think there is a grand conspiracy here. I think this article’s title summed it up pretty well: MSNBC and Olbermann: A Failing Relationship.
Regardless of the reason, I still have a heavy heart about the end of Countdown with Keith Olbermann. He made me laugh, often. In addition to saying things that virtually no one says on TV, he said them eloquently and, when the occasion merited, with a good deal of humor. He is a damn good writer, and I hope he continues to put up posts on Daily Kos from time to time. And needless to say, he is a stalwart friend of the queer community, coming out with a very moving editorial in defense of gay marriage during the height of the Prop. 8 mess. But he was a voice of all those who are considered underdogs in the mainstream of society. He has always been an interesting voice — I am hardly a sports dude, but truth be told, he was the most interesting thing on ESPN and I did catch him during his gig there from time to time. Though in my mind, his best work to date has been on MSNBC. Not just his own work, but he used his position to help Rachel and later Lawrence O’Donnell get their own shows. Not bad.
Sure, he could get carried away. Some might call him a blowhard. Fortunately, he usually knew when to dial it back a bit when called on the excesses. But he did something which is becoming an increasing rarity in our cynical world: he wore his heart on his sleeve. I’m an old romantic, so I admire someone able to do that consistently. I hope it won’t be too long before we hear his voice again, whether it be online or on TV. We need the voice. And I always need a good laugh.
© 2011, gar. All rights reserved.